Sunday, November 20, 2011

The 89 Cent Treasure

With Thanksgiving around the corner, there is much talk of turkey.

The grocery stores are running sales on the popular thanksgiving bird.  The wild turkeys are still meandering about our backyard and they are remembered daily in prayer in our house as the two year old prays, "Dear Dog... Tank you for da turkeys backyard".

... Perhaps he understands more than we think as our oldest seems determined to one of these years provide the turkey, one he has hunted himself, for our Thanksgiving table.  Maybe Noah knows that the turkeys might need protection from his big brother.  That's beside the point...

Feeding five mouths is not always easy, and is never cheap.  I am always looking for ways to create easy, economical meals and all the talk about turkey prompted me to share this tip.
One of the best ways I have found to accomplish both easy and economical meals is to take advantage of the oven roaster chickens that go on sale for about $.89/lb. from time to time.

When that sale runs, I stock up.  These chickens freeze well.  I thaw one for a few days in the fridge and after it has had time to thaw, I place one in the crock pot early in the day.  No liquid needed (in fact, if your crock pot is small, adding liquid may cause the pot to spill over).  Simply add salt, pepper and perhaps some poultry seasoning is all.  Left on the low setting until dinner time the chicken cooks perfectly.

Though you certainly can, we do not often simply eat the chicken this way as I find I can stretch it further if we use it in other dishes.  I have, over the years, compiled a large collection of recipes involving cooked chicken.

After dinner (yes, after, as I rarely plan to use this bird for this meal so as to save time), I debone the chicken.  I separate the meat into meal sized freezer bags.  I find that I can get at least six meals out of a good sized chicken.  The skin, bones, and juice all get put back into the crock pot and are refrigerated until the following day.  The meat is refrigerated or frozen for future use.

The following day, I add water and vegetable scraps to the carcass that has sat in the fridge.  This is left to simmer, again on low, all day in the crock pot.  At the end of the day, the liquid is strained.  The solids are tossed in the garbage and the broth that remains is saved and frozen for future use as stock, or broth for soup.
This stock is separated into several tupperware containers to be later used as soup broth.  Smaller, one-cup amounts, are saved in recycled yogurt or margarine containers to be used as stock or broth for casseroles, etc.  This all freezes perfectly.

Not only do I eliminate the need to buy broth or bouillon, but also I am able to very quickly thaw already cooked chicken and whip up a quick casserole, chicken pie, or stir fry.  It is also leaves me little excuse to be unprepared for dinner.

"She rises while it is yet night and provides food for her household and portions for her maidens."  Proverbs 31:15
"It is good to give thanks to the Lord..." Psalm 92:1

1 comment:

GPJ said...

you forgot "Tank you for my Trisha and my Trisha... Aaaaaamen"


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