Chicken Stuffed With Sun-Dried Tomatoes: Shopping in Your Own Pantry

The same so-called financial experts who tell you to shop with a list also tell you to shop your own pantry before heading out to the store.

If you are a list maker, too, this is not a bad idea because it keeps you from buying a duplicate of something you already have. My husband declines to do this, usually, with is why we have so many jars of mustard and pickles in our fridge.

For the past several months, we've been cooking a whole chicken every Sunday, eating chicken salads for Monday and Tuesday, and making a fabulous chicken stock for the freezer.

Surverying the cupboard and the refrigerator, I found a large sweet onion, plenty of garlic and a half bag of sun-dried tomatoes. I bought fresh rosemary and thyme at the store and we had a moist and tangy chicken with a layered taste that hinted of a sunny slope in the Vaucluse, perhaps.

The tomatoes, garlic and onions were stuffed inside the chicken; the herbs were placed under the skin and under the chicken. Then I rubbed the skin with a garlic-tomato bread spread and seasoned it with herbes de provence and pepper. Sel de fleuer from the Carmargue was added near the end of the roasting cycle.

We served it with roasted red and green peppers, a staple at our house, and Kalamata olives. We paired it with a Johannesburg Riesling left over from the lemon-baked salmon we had the night before.

In our eagerness to eat, I neglected to take photos, but both meals were excellent.

Do you shop your pantry first? If you did that right now, what would you find that could be stuffed into a chicken for a dish that was uniquely yours?


Kalyn said…
I'm quite bad at this, but I'm trying to do better. This is after adding up my food bills for a year and realizing a family of 8 could eat quite well on what I spend for one plus guests.
Katie said…
For the same reason I got in the list habit I normally have a well-stocked (someone, who shall remain nameless, would say overstocked).
It's particularly full after our trip to Andorra where I stocked up on Spanish stuff - let's see, with the chicken - how about a 'butter' for under the skin of pimientos mashed with anchovies and olives?
Mary said…
I always check on things in my fridge and pantry before heading out to the grocery store, mostly because I'm trying to be frugal and avoid waste, but I'm maybe a little compulsive with my lists. How to roast a chicken with what I've got in my pantry? I've got Meyer lemons, fresh thyme, rosemary and fennel in my fridge, I'd probably put a half lemon and the herbs into the chicken and roast fennel and Meyer lemon slices to go along with the chicken. Maybe serve it up with some penne and parmesan cheese? No chicken for me tonight, though. We're having lentils (trying to use up things in my pantry before we move at the end of May).

Lydia said…
Raisins or dried cherries, orzo, and assorted herbs -- and if I had some ricotta or cottage cheese, as I often do, I'd mix it all together to make a fabulous stuffing. Also, there's often a package of dried stuffing in my pantry -- I like to augment plain cornbread stuffing with all sorts of herbs and dried fruits.
For the chicken: lemon, onion, parsnip and carrot from the fridge, garlic from the pantry
rosemary & thyme from the garden.
I make list, I don't always end up with said list in the store.
Kay & Mom said…
I'm really obsessive about my pantry. It is very organized and I do check it every time before going grocery shopping. Actually I made a list of all the items we always have on hand and put it in the order of the grocery store aisles. Each week before going to the grocery store, I go through the list and look through the pantry, fridge and freezer to see what I need. I get a lot of teasing about this but it solved my problem of having 14 cans of kidney beans and no pinto beans!!

Mimi said…
Kalyn, it's awfully hard to plan in adcance, isn't it? We are all so busy. Making use of everything probably means sitting down and - gasp = planning. SO I like the serendipitous approach.

Oh, Katie. Yum. Oh, that sounds good.

Smart move, Mary. Lentils are difficult to move! such tiny things. That chickens sounds good. I have regular lemons, but no fennel. It is very expensive here. A rare treat.

Cottage cheese! Lydia, I would never have thought of that - mixed with everything else, I'll bet it's good.

Tanna, lucky you! chives are coming up here, but that's it.

Dana, if we could figure out what to do with my 14 jars of mustard and your 14 jars of kidney beans - that's what I used to do when I was single and broke - mix odd things the night before payday
Toni said…
My late husband was a master of shopping in our pantry. But then again, he was also a master of shopping for food. He was incapable of buying just one of anything, so I had to laugh when I read your comment about having so many jars of mustard and pickles! I can hear him ask "What's wrong with that?"

I think I got the habit from him of shopping my pantry. I also aquired - but in vastly moderated form - his habit of keeping interesting things on hand, "just in case". My herbs and spices would satisfy a chef of just about any country. My dried ingredients come and go. My freezer has been raided to the point where I'm ready to start filling it again.

Oh, but I understand Kalyn's dilemma. Sometimes it's just impossible to resist getting something fresh off the shelf!
Mimi said…
Toni. sometimes those odd little jars of the exotic hold such promise for us that they are irresitible.

They should not be resisted.

About 10 years ago, when fennel was a rarity here and much cheaper than it is today, I bought some on a rainy spring day. We ate is sautéed that night, with steak, I think, and it added an element of magic to our meal.

That is as it should be. Meals should hold magic.
breadchick said…
Sometimes yes. Sometimes no. I"m getting better and would be better still if MBH would get that bar code scanner and write me a shopping list program for the computer. I could scan bar codes in, download them to my Ipod (where I download my shopping list to) and KNOW what sitting at home in the pantry. BTW, I have quite a few mustards in my fridge too...for exactly the same reason
Terri said…
Popping by to check your anxiety level for your trip to
Since tomorrow is May 1 (and I have been in Paris on that date and LOVE the Lily of the Valley they sell. One of my favorite flowers) it's only a couple of weeks now until you leave!
That sure did creep up fast. Well, maybe not for you. Glad to see all is well in your French kitchen.
Mimi said…
Mary BC, What a great idea! I only have an iPod Shuffle, so I can't do that - but what a great idea!

Thanks for stopping by, Terri. Actually, since this is the end of the semester and I have an exam to give AND things are busy at work, my anxiety level has less to do wtih my trip than with my life!

Yes, two years passed very quickly. It won't be so long next time, unless my husband gets another big project at work. Even with that, I think we will find a way to go again sooner.
Callipygia said…
I think that I'd like to swap pantries. Your dinner sounds magnificent. I have a bunch of smoky dried chilis which I'd experiment grinding into a powder with sea salt, lemon& garlic. Tortillas, beans, salsa and rice would have to be part of the chicken dinner.
Mimi said…
I dunno, that sounds awfully tasty, Callipygia!
Farmgirl Cyn said…
Lots of lettuce in the fridge, so that would have to be a part of the meal. Also a large box of organic baby spinach, so perhaps baked chicken with carrots and onions on a bed of baby spinach? The chicken could be seasoned with just about anything as the pantry is filled with spices and herbs from nearly every country in the world! I am experimenting with mediterranean cuisine of late, so I have stocked up on unusual (to me) herbs. I wish I was as organized as Kay and mom!
Mimi said…
Me, too, Cyn. But your dinner sounds wonderful. I am always ready to eat Mediterranean influenced food.
Anonymous said…
I don't often plan things very far in advance anymore. When I shop I certainly don't buy something for each day of the week. I look in my freezer and then in my store cupboard and decide. I very occasionally plan ahead but I think it's much more interesting sometimes deciding on the spur of the moment.
Kristen said…
We have the same weekend tradition. My hubby always makes rotisserie chicken on the weekends and we enjoy it in salads and sandwiches the rest of the week.

I used to be so organized and would have my pantry inventory on the fridge and would mark off things as I used them. Where did all of this organization go??
Mimi said…
Anne, I agree. Sometimes not knowing what you'll eat is fun. Like tonight, I got home from work at 8:30 and made a salad of chicken, canned roasted pepper, cheese, lettuce, roasted asparagus and almonds. A variation of last night, to be sure, but still good.

Kristen, I had a two-year period when I free lanced from home, and was very, very organized about meals. I fed us on about $70-80 a week - it was a good time of my life. No pressue.
Betty C. said…
Since we live pretty far from any major food shopping site, I am always shopping my pantry. A lot of what I cook is just out of my head and pantry, or a modification of a recipe using "what's on hand."
Julie said…
Lots of good ideas here. Katie's sounds particularly good.

I don't always make lists, and like Tanna, when I do make lists they don't always make it to the store with me.
Mimi said…
I really enjoy shopping the pantry. Sometimes, Betty, I find some really interesting ingredients I'd forgotten about.

More often that not, Julie, my lists end up at home.

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