Monday, March 15, 2010

Frugal eating: 1chicken + 1 crockpot = 2 meals

Frugal eating is not something I'd say i excel in, however it is definitely something I STRIVE towards. My husband and i (and our kids, of course) don't often eat out, except when traveling. i TRY to make as many meals as possible, though i do fall back on a frozen pizza on occasion. I do like to think i probably cook more than the 'national average'... though that is in part just because i'm actually at home all the time, so have no good excuse ;)

i recently tried something a bit new. i roasted a chicken in my  crockpot. I know, this is NOT a new 'trick'. It is, however, new to me.

Crockpot Roast Chicken
1 smallish roasting chicken
oil/cooking spray
broth or water
spices, as desired

i used a medium crock pot (about 5L, or 1 1/4 gal, approximately)
Defrost chicken at least halfway, if necessary. Stuff cavity with pieces of celery (adds to flavor)
oil inside of crock. place 2-3 pieces of celery on bottom to prevent chicken from sticking. stuff chicken into the crock. add 2-3tbs broth or water. sprinkle spices onto chicken skin (i used garlic powder and pepper)
Cook on low for 8-10 hours. Chicken will be very tender and tasty, though the skin will not be particularly crispy.

serve with potatoes or rice along with at least one vegetable choice.

 later that day, or the next morning:

Chicken stock
Cut all remaining meat from the bones, dicing it, then reserving it in the fridge for later. Dump all remaining bones, skin, celery bits, etc in a stock pot (or any large pot). add water to cover (use at least 1.5L) throw in:
1 bay leaf
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 onion, coarsely chopped,
1 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp thyme
salt and pepper to taste

bring to a boil, then simmer for at least an hour to extract all the chicken-y goodness!
strain to remove all the bits, keeping only the broth.
adjust seasoning as desired

Chicken crock soup
make up any chicken soup using the broth and stock you've reserved. i usually wing it. i would write down a recipe, but frankly, i don't remember exactly what i used. A decent  looking soup recipe is found here. Cook everything but the noodles and chicken for at least 3 hours on high, or 6 on low, before adding the chicken (which just has to reheat) and noodles (which will cook nearly as fast as the package directions!)
just remember: any noodles or other quick cooking items should be added shortly before serving, rather than at the beginning of the cooking time, and if using your broth for a recipe, DO NOT add water as well! Just substitute your broth for the whole fluid of the soup.

and when you're busy pulling apart that chicken, why not save the wishbone and get yourself a little extra luck?

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