Sunday, October 12, 2014

One Chicken, Five Dinners

A few days ago I got the bright idea to start up Sunday roasts again.  Though Mr. B works on Sundays, I'm free during naptime about three hours before dinner time, so it seems like a good time to cook solidly healthy food.  Whenever I moan and complain about the price of local, humanely raised chickens (about $20 per chicken), I think about all the meals that one bird's life gives us.  All food included, we can feed three people (two adults and one toddler) for five days for less than the cost of going to McDonald's twice.  I think that's pretty darn good.

Today, I made Ina Garten's perfect roast chicken.  We're not huge fennel fans, so instead, I threw in chopped parsnips.  As I was prepping the carrots, onions, parsnips, and garlic, I threw the peels into a ziploc that we keep in our freezer.

I made the chicken in my cast iron dutch oven.  I've never done that before (I always use a roasting pan), but it turned out really well.

Night One:  I pulled the chicken out onto a platter to cool while we ate the legs for dinner.  After the chicken was cool, I stripped every bit of meat off and portioned it out into pyrex bowls.  The breast meat is kept in two large pieces.  The thigh meat and various bits will be chopped up when we use it.

The carcass went back into the dutch oven with the veggie scraps from the freezer, a little apple cider vinegar, and enough water to cover it.  It'll simmer on the stove for the next few days.  Add water as necessary to keep the levels up.

Night Two:  Half of the breast meat will be panini for tomorrow night.  I use homemade bread, a little mustard, an apple sliced thinly, colby cheese, chicken slices, and whatever greens we can find in the yard.  I fry it up in a little butter in a #8 cast iron skillet.

Night Three:  The thigh meat will be made into chicken shepherd's pie.  Yes, it's a recipe from my old Weight Watchers days, but it's tasty nonetheless.  You can use the chicken broth that's been simmering on your stove and add back a little water to the pot.

Night Four:   The other half of the breast meat will be made into burrito bowls.  Even though it's already been cooked, you can season it with cumin, cilantro, and oregano, and it'll be just like it was cooked from fresh.  If you add a little broth in during reheating, it keeps it from drying out.

Night Five:  Chicken noodle soup of course!  Ours is really simplistic - strained broth, noodles, carrots, celery, and the last of the chicken - light, dark, or otherwise.

That will bring us round to Friday, which is already our traditional homemade pizza-and-a-movie night.  Next week, we'll make a beef roast, and see how many great recipes we can make out of that.

What do you do to make the most of your food budget?

1 comment:

  1. That is great! I always make my chickens in a Dutch oven too.