Tuesday, April 6, 2010

One almost 5 pound chicken, three delicious meals

Are you in on the secret? No, I'm not taking about that book that describes how to wish things into being. *eye roll* I am talking about cooking from your pantry and fridge/freezer. Everything I need to make for this series was found in my own house. Three complete meals (plus leftovers) from what I have already in my house. The chicken came from the full size freezer in my garage. I purchased it in November 2009 for $2.41. This week I will be sharing with you one way to cook once and eat three different meals from the leftovers.

When we first got married my husband informed me that he did not like leftovers. Well, I started brainstorming because, as a family of two, we have a lot of leftovers. Americans waste so much food by letting leftovers and other foods go bad and I didn't want us to contribute to that. (
Here's an article by The Discovery Channel) So I decided that rather than serve my husband roasted chicken three nights in a row I would come up with a plan to "re-make" the leftovers into a completely new meal. Also, we are snobs and only really like eating white meat. We can save a ton of money by buying a whole chicken rather than just the breasts so I needed a way to "hide" the dark meat to make us want to eat it. Thus, the roasted chicken to chicken stock to chicken soup to chicken salad journey began.

Since I started cooking this way it has become one of my favorite time and money saving tricks. Last night I got home from work, prepped my chicken (I'll tell you more about that later) and then put it in the oven to roast for about 1 hour, 40 minutes. The first night that I make roasted chicken I make mashed potatoes and gravy to go with it.

How I roast chicken- a tutorial by a semi-OCD germ freak

You will need:
1 chicken- take out and throw away the nastiness that is stuffed in the cavity. Try not to look at it. Wash your hands 5 times and try to forget it ever existed.
Paper towels
2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
Seasoning mix (example: garlic herb, lemon pepper, etc use your favorite)
kosher salt (only a little if the seasoning mix contains any)
freshly ground pepper (life is too short to use fake pepper from a can)
1 teaspoon paprika (I don't care what other kind of seasoning you use- you need paprika because it tastes good and it give the chicken a nice color)
1 lemon cut into 4 chunks
1 small onion cut into 4 chunks
2 cloves garlic- don't cut just smash it
1 basting brush
something to roast the chicken in- sometimes I use a large corning ware oval dish last night I used a 9X13 nonstick pan
oven mitts (duh)
cutting board
really sharp knife
1 small saucepan
1 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup chicken stock
mashed potatoes-use your own recipe

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Dry off the outside of the chicken really well using paper towels. This is what will allow you have a crispy golden skin. Throw away the paper towels and wash your hands 5 times.

Step 2:
Combine your seasoning blend, the salt, the pepper and the paprika in a small ramekin. Put the olive oil in another ramekin. Brush the outside of the chicken with olive oil. Sprinkle the seasoning mix one with one hand and use the other to rub it in. Use the same hand to flip the chicken. Use the "clean hand" to brush olive oil on the other side and then sprinkle with the seasoning mix. Use your "dirty hand" to rub it in. Use your "dirty hand" to put the chicken in the roasting pan breast side up. Use your "dirty hand" to shove the lemon, onion and garlic into the chicken cavity.

Step 3:
Wash your hands 5 times and swear that you will never again roast a chicken because surely it cannot be worth all this (5 minutes of) effort. Place chicken into oven. Set timer for 1 hour, 40 minutes. Go sit on the couch and watch TV and try to forget that you just touched a raw chicken.

Step 4:
With 30 minutes to go on the oven start making your mashed potatoes and any other side dish that requires cooking. Tip: you don't have to cook salad- I'm just saying. You've done enough with touching the raw chicken.

Step 5:
Take chicken out of oven. Test for doneness. Remove from roasting pan to cutting board and tent with foil.

Step 6:
Finish mashed potatoes. Keep warm.

Step 7:
Pour juices and tasty bits into a small sauce pan. Combine butter and flour into a paste using a fork. Whisk into the chicken juices. If gravy is too thick add chicken stock (it usually is too thick).

Step 8:
Carve chicken (there are how to videos all over the Internet). Our family of two eats one and a half breasts. Serve roasted chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy. Moan because it is so good. Be forced to share with any furry children that live in your house, especially one large cat with a chicken addiction.

After dinner remove all of the leftover meat from the bones. Set aside leftover breast meat for chicken salad. Set aside all the dark meat for chicken noodle soup.

Save the bones! Throw them in a bag and store in the refrigerator. Tomorrow we'll make chicken stock in our crock pot while we work.

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