Als ich wisse das Morgen der Erde enden wuerde, immernoch wurd ich mein Apfelbaum pflanzen.

Even if I knew the world would perish tomorrow, I would still plant my apple tree. - Martin Luther

"Factory work's easier on the back, and I don't mind it, understand, but a man becomes what he does. Got to watch that. That's why I keep at farmin' although the crops haven't ever throve. It's the doin' that's important." Madison Wheeler in Blue Highways by William Least Heat Moon

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Easy and Cheap - Four Dinners from One Bird

Over the summer I tore a page out of the June/July issue of Mother Earth News with the advice to turn one chicken into three easy meals using your crock pot. It intrigued me, and I knew with going back to school I would be depending on the crock pot for those crazy nights.  So, last week I tried it.

Day 1:  Roast Chicken in the Crock Pot

Spray cooker with baking spray.  Stuff chicken with lemon slices and fresh herbs of your choice.  Cook on low for 8-9 hrs.  Season with salt and pepper - do not add liquid.  Before you serve it, save some good meat for meal # 2.

Day 2:  After supper put the chicken (minus the good meat you've cut off the bone), including the herbs back into the crock pot.  Add carrots, onion, parsley, garlic, ginger and celery and cover it all with water.  Turn the crock pot back on low and let the stock cook overnight.  While you're at it chop up a few carrots and celery and put them in a separate container in the fridge.  If you're a homemade noodle making person this is also the time to do those.

Warning - if you're a light sleeper like me, the delicious smell of chicken soup may just wake you up at two in the morning.

In the morning, pour the broth through a colander placing the broth in one container, and the meat/bones/vegis in another.  Put them both in the fridge.

In the evening, skim the fat from the stock (reserve 2 c. for Meal 3) and add it to a soup pot on the stove.  Heat to boiling, then reduce to a simmer.  Add cut up vegis, reserved meat (from Day 1) and noodles.  Cook until it's all tender - add salt and pepper as needed.  Unless you have a large family, you'll have at least a quart of soup left - use it for Meal number 4.

Day 3:  Chicken and Dumplings

While your soup is cooking, pick through what was left from the stock making.  Put any good meat in a container, and give the rest to the cat.  Return reserved stock, and the meat pickings to the fridge.  When you're ready for supper, add the stock and meat to a pot, and add some homemade cream soup mix (or a can of cream of something - you pick).  When it's simmering, drop walnut sized amounts of biscuit dough on top, cover the pot and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the dumplings are cooked.

The boy was especially pleased by these meals - he kept mentioning something about dinner getting better, and better and better.  I loved the simplicity, and the happy home feeling you get from a house filled with chicken noodle soup.

The next two pics have nothing to do with food.  They're of our last of the summer adventure, and of the first day of school.  They're just here because these pictures make me happy.

We hiked to our favorite swimming spot in the creek - a wonderful way to spend our last day before the crazy fall hit.
I think I'm going to cry when he cuts that hair, and the girl - when did she get old enough to be in middle school?

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