What to Do With Leftover Chicken- The Best Potato Skins Ever!


What to Do With Left Over Chicken

As I mentioned in my previous post highlighting my Oven Baked Whole Chicken Recipe, I often buy and cook a whole chicken just so that I can use the leftovers. Today I am happy to share with you my favorite thing to do with leftover chicken. This is my secret recipe for the best potato skins ever!

Although I have been making these for like 20 years, they are originally inspired by a recipe from a restaurant we used to frequent when I was a kid, named Peppers. It was in Monrovia or Arcadia, CA. It is probably still there, but I wouldn’t be confident that they still make things like they used to. They might, but nevertheless, I live very far away from there, so I make my own potato skins now.

The SearchChasing the Dragon

Since my love for these delicious treats began when I was under 10 years old, I have ordered potato skins at restaurants all over the place for many years. Pretty much every time I see them on a menu I order them in hopes that I can find somewhere to get that meal I remember loving so many years ago. Needless to say, I am chasing the dragon, and have never found anything even close. Thus, as I said, I am forced to just make them at home for myself.

The Sadness

Nothing is more disappointing to me than ordering potato skins somewhere in excited anticipation, just to receive slivers of overcooked skins with hardly any toppings or substance. Not to mention, they are usually way over priced. A few months back I ordered some at a local restaurant for the first time. They were like $12 and it was literally the skin of one small potato sliced into 6 crescents, with burnt skin, and maybe half a piece of bacon crumbled over it. Infuriating!

The Good Stuff

Luckily though, I can and do make my own wonderful and hearty potato skins. My skins aren’t these wimpy pathetic versions restaurants try to sell me. They are so good, they can be served as an appetizer, or as a meal in themselves.

What You Will Need:

  • 4 Potatoes (not tiny, not giant…like a regular baked potato size)
  • 4 strips of Bacon
  • Leftover Chicken
  • Cheddar Cheese
  • 2 Green Onions (optional)
  • Baking Sheet

Preparation

ChickenLeftover Chicken

I generally attack my leftover whole chicken beforehand and strip any meat left on it and put into a Rubbermaid container for potato skins and often times chicken tacos.

Potatoes

Then, because I don’t like to wait long for things, I generally cook my potatoes in the microwave for about 10 mins first. If you have the time and the patience to bake your potatoes in the oven, they really do seem to come out better that way. You just have to plan ahead about an hour instead of ten minutes.

Once your potatoes are cooked you will want to let them cool a bit before attempting to move on to the next steps. You can go ahead and cut them in half at this point to help them cool faster, but you will probably want to use an oven mitt.

Make sure you cut them lengthwise in the center of the potato. You want to end up with as symmetrical and evenly sized halves as you can.

BaconBacon Bits

While your potatoes bake, or while they are cooling, you can go ahead and cook your bacon. Pull your bacon out of the frying pan before they get too crispy, as they will continue to cook once you assemble and reheat your skins.

Pat dry the excess grease from the bacon with a paper towel. Once the bacon is cooled enough to touch, cut it up into little pieces, or crumble it by hand. You can also cut it up before you cook it. I change my mind on which way I like to do it every other time I cook bacon for a recipe where I need small pieces of bacon. It works either way, so it is up to you which way you prefer.

Cheese

You will want to shred 1-1 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese. I usually just shred a bunch of it, and if I have too much I put in a container in the fridge and save it for taco night.

Green Onions (Optional)

These were not in the original recipe from my childhood restaurant, but I have added them over the years because I love them. It adds color and a nice flavor to the skins. So, feel free to just dice up a couple green onions or chives.

Putting it all together

The Scoop

Now that your potatoes are cooled down enough to touch, you can cut them in half if you haven’t already. Again, for presentation and so that friends and family members don’t have to fight over bigger and smaller portions, make sure you try to cut them as evenly as possibly down the center lengthwise.

Then you want to scoop out some of the potato from the center of each half. You will want to leave about 1/4 inch of potato around the inside of the skin. I know they are called “potato skins”, but you really want some potato in your skin or they will be like the lame burnt skins restaurants serve. I use a regular metal spoon to scoop out the center of the potato. If you didn’t cook your potatoes long enough to begin with this step can be difficult.

If the potato isn’t coming out easily then you should cook them longer. Pop them in the microwave for a couple more minutes until they are cooked.

Fill ’em up

Now you should have your 8 potato halves scooped out and ready to go. Now is the easy part.

Place your skins on a foil covered baking sheet, for easy clean up later. I don’t always do this, but you may want to rub oil over the skin of the potato to help them crisp up a little in the oven, and just to make sure they don’t stick…just in case.

Now you take your leftover chicken and kind of shred it up as you put it into the potato if you haven’t already. If your chicken is bland at all you can add salt and pepper as necessary to the chicken or to the inside of potato.

Fill the each potato cavity with chicken, then top each one with a good helping of the shredded cheese, add some bacon crumbles, and sprinkle on the green onions. You can push the crumbles and green onions into the cheese a little so they don’t fall off.

See how easy that is?! Now you are ready to heat them up and melt that cheese.

Heat up your skinsSalsa and Guacamole

Put the baking sheet of potato skins into your oven preheated to 400 degrees. It should only take about 10-15 minutes to heat them up. You want the cheese to melt and the skins to get a little crispy around the edges. Just keep an eye on them so you don’t over cook the cheese.

Serve with a side of sour cream and salsa! You can also add guacamole if you have some.

Spicing it up

As a kid, and even now I go with the basics on this dish…Tabasco all the way!

But I think if you added some diced jalapenos (or even habaneros) to the chicken while assembling that could add a really nice spice to the recipe. Actually, I will try that next time I make them. I will only do half of the batch that way, so the wimpy people in my house don’t get burned. I’m nice like that…

I hope you now know what to do with your leftover chicken. Enjoy the best potato skins ever! If you have any questions, suggestions, or comments, I would love to hear from you. Please feel free to leave a comment below, and I will get back to asap!

 

 

 

 

 

Oven Baked Whole Chicken Recipe- Juicy and Delicious


Oven Baked Whole Chicken

Sometimes when I need chicken meat for something else I want to make, which is often the case, I just lazy out and buy a precooked whole chicken from the grocery store.

Cooking a whole chicken is something I only do two or three times a year for some reason. I really should do it more often though, because it comes out so juicy and delicious every time. Oddly, whenever I think about making one I talk myself out of it because it sounds like too much work. But every time I just do it, it isn’t hard at all. A few minutes of prep and in the oven it goes. It is actually much easier than other meals that I make way more often.

So, today I will share with you my easy oven baked whole chicken recipe. I cooked my most recent whole chicken the day before yesterday, and it came out so great I thought I should write about it. And my next article will be about what I am doing with the leftovers tonight. I can’t wait!Cost of Whole Chicken

One thing that does hold me back at times is the cost of the chicken. Many times I have gone to the store with the intention of buying and cooking a whole chicken, and then quickly changed my mind when cooking my own chicken costs more than buying the store’s precooked chicken. In those instances I either buy a cooked one, or just change my dinner plans altogether.

But when everything aligns… I am in the mood to cook one and the price is right, we get to enjoy one awesome chicken!

This last one I bought was $1.59/lb. Which is still a bit higher than I prefer, but I really wanted one, so I went for it. As I have mentioned in other articles, I have set prices in my mind for different products. It doesn’t seem to matter that inflation occurs, or that my perfect price is probably based on my ideals from 15 or more years ago. I just don’t feel good about spending certain amounts on certain things. I am weird that way. I have almost completely stopped buying cereal because of this self induced phenomenon.

The Preparation

  • First thing you want to do is rinse the chicken and get the gizzards and things out of the middle.
  • Then it is best if you pat it dry.
  • Put it in a baking pan. I typically use a 9 x 13 glass baking dish, but this is pretty flexible. You just want the chicken to fit comfortably and make sure it is at least an inch or too deep, so that the juices don’t overflow.

Seasoning

First I start with the inside cavity of the chicken:

  • I always take some softened butter (or margarine will work if that’s what you have) and rub it all over the chicken for flavor, moisture, and help with browning, and put about 1/4 stick of butter inside the chicken.
  • I add a good amount of salt and pepper to the inside of the chicken.
  • Depending on the size of my chickens cavity, I put 1/4 to 1/2 of a lemon inside (you can give them a little squeeze as you are putting them in there.
  • Also inside goes 1/4 to 1/2 of a yellow onion and
  • 3-5 halved cloves of garlic

Then I do the outside of the chicken:

I try to season the bottom of the pan while holding the chicken up so that the bottom gets seasoned too. Then while holding the bird with one hand by cupping the edge of the cavity I season the top and sides as best as I can. Don’t get all crazy trying to get every nook and cranny, unless you want to. It isn’t worth stressing yourself out. Here are the seasonings I use, and I always do it in this order.

  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Garlic powder
  • A little lemon pepper if you have it
  • PaprikaSeasoning For Whole Chicken

I typically leave tiny lumps of butter above the legs (or wings depending on how it is positioned) and push half a clove of garlic into the butter for good measure. I am sure this is not necessary, and may not actually do anything, but it’s my thing and I always do it.

Cook Upside Down?

You can’t really discuss cooking a chicken (or a turkey) with out mentioning which way to position the bird…Breast side up or down?

It really comes down to preference. Personally, I am a dark meat girl. So, in general, I prefer the breast on top so that the dark meat is as juicy and flavorful as possible. But since I am not cooking for just myself anymore, the past few years I have typically put the bird breast down.

One other reason I prefer the breast up is so that the skin on the breast gets crispier. I think it makes bites of the breast taste better, but many people would disagree with the importance of that, and want the naturally dryer white meat on the bottom to add some juiciness.

But, honestly, either way, it will be delicious.

Cooking

I cooked this chicken for 15 minutes at 450 degrees then for 20 mins per pound at 350 uncovered.

Spicing it Upjalepenos

You could easily give this some spice by cutting up your favorite hot pepper and adding it into the cavity before cooking. Because I am the only person in my house that likes spicy food, I used hot sauce to spice up my plate after it was cooked.

My favorite hot sauces for chicken are tangy types like Franks original or Ol’ Delta. Also, if I am in a BBQ sauce mood, I sometimes dip my chicken in my favorite BBQ sauce Kinders Exxxtra Hot. Mega good BBQ sauce!

Oven Whole Baked Chicken- Eat Up!

Now you can go ahead and dish it up along with your favorite side dishes. We typically eat the legs, thighs, wings, and a little of the breast meat. We save the rest for a different meal in days to follow. I will be doing a follow up article on one of my favorite things to make with leftover chicken.

I hope this article was helpful and you enjoy your juicy, delicious, oven whole baked chicken! If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions I would love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below, or in the contact form in the main menu above. I will back to asap…See you soon!

Italian Fried Chicken Cutlet Recipe- So Delicious!


Italian Fried Chicken Cutlet

Surprisingly, I find that there must be quite a few ways to make a chicken cutlet. I know this because I am often astonished when I order one at an Italian restaurant I have never been to, and they have some how managed to really mess it up.

It is so disappointing when this happens, because it is truly one of my favorite guilty pleasures. So, in order to help you all make your own at home and avoid the potential sadness from going out and getting something less than you deserve– I will now share my delicious Italian fried chicken cutlet recipe with you all!

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Easy Baked Chicken Thighs- The Way My Grandma Taught Me


 

secret-recipe

Hello again! I’m here today to share my secret special recipe for easy baked chicken thighs! I have actually been fighting with myself whether to share certain recipes or not, because some of them are like my special thing. My rabbit in the hat you could say.

It is really fun to cook for people and have them tell you how marvelous everything is. I realize that sharing my recipes here won’t stop that from happening, but it does feel like I’m explaining the mystery behind the magic. In any case, I have decided to share my awesome and easy recipe for baked chicken thighs.

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