Thursday, August 6, 2009

Yummy things to do with this week's food

I'll start with the chicken leg quarters and potatoes from Food City:

1) Remove the skin - yes, it's gross, but the fat on the skin is grosser. Okay, personal preference here, but seriously, if you make chicken broth/soup without taking the skin off the chicken you end up skimming a 2 inch layer of fat off the chilled soup. Trust me - skinning is far less gross than skimming.

2) put the chicken legs in a big pot of water. Add onion, carrot and celery. You don't have to peel the onion or the carrots and chop the celery into big pieces. You have to sieve it out later and leaving the stuff whole makes that easier. I like to add garlic also, but that's me. I add garlic to everything.

3) heat the water to a boil, then let it simmer until the chicken meat is falling off the bones. When that happens scoop out the chicken legs and meat as best you can with a ladle or big slotted spoon. Let the legs cool, then pull the meat off the bone, return the bones to the broth and put the meat aside.

4) simmer the broth down to about half it's volume, use a strainer to scoop out the onion, carrot and celery and the bones and whatnot. Remove from heat and let it cool. When it's pretty cool, put the whole pot into the fridge.

5) The next morning, remove the pot from the fridge and skim off any chicken crud (you'll know what I mean when you see it) and fat from the top of the broth, then freeze in whatever quantities make sense for your family and cooking habits. You can freeze in plastic bags, or freezer containers. Lots of people like to measure it out in 1 cup portions for use in recipes, or freeze it in ice cube trays to add to a veggie saute for some flavor. I freeze a 4-5 cup portion and the rest in 1 cup portions. The larger amount is for making a big pot of soup from leftover meats and veggies.

That's an old frugal trick - save dinner scraps in a freezer container. Every once in a while empty the contents into a pot with some frozen chicken broth to make a yummy lunchtime soup. Serve with a nice crusty bread.

I digress.

Okay, now what do you do with all that chicken meat. Remember, I suggested buying 20 pounds of those legs, so you probably have about 10 pounds of meat after getting rid of the skin and bones. Well, you can freeze that also, in 1/2 to 1 pound portions. I use it to make chicken salad, as a topper for green salads, to use in rice dishes (remember the bulk bin brown rice you just picked up?), barley dishes, pasta dishes, potato dishes (remember the 10 pound bag you just bought?) make soup!

There's a lot of mileage to be had in those chicken and potatoes.

And the apples - think applesauce, apple/barley pudding, apple/potato gratin (remember, Google is your friend), apple brown betty...

And speaking of rice (Yes, I was, two paragraphs ago), make rice pudding with dried apricots, nuts and some of those dirt-cheap raisins I hope you picked up last week at Sunflower Market.

You can also make chicken and rice (make the rice in some of that chicken broth - 1 cup rice, 1 cup broth, 1 cup water, Italian seasoning, or whatever you like, bring to boil, reduce heat to very low, cover, let cook for 20 minutes. Eat.

I'm tired of typing, so I'll be back tomorrow with more ideas for what to do with all that food I suggested buying yesterday.

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