Friday, February 4, 2011

Sunday chicken ... on Tuesday

Tuesdays are our busiest days around here. The kids have classes all morning into the afternoon and we work at the farm in the early evening. That leaves little time (or energy) for cooking dinner. While homecooking is a goal in our house, I'm not above getting a little help from the local grocery store, especially when that help comes in the form of a delicious Whole Foods rotisserie chicken that just happens to be on sale each Tuesday. Prepared food isn't usually cost-effective, but I'd be hard-pressed to buy a whole raw chicken of the quality offered at Whole Foods for the price we pay to take it home already cooked. Make a few healthy sides and a salad and it's a well-rounded meal for a busy family.

I do love a good rotisserie chicken, but honestly, there's only so many times I feel like repeating the same meal in the span of one week. Luckily, cooked chicken is easily adapted to lots of delicious, quick meals. Recently we've enjoyed...

Chicken and roast vegetable enchiladas with a Rick Bayless flair. I was never a big fan of mexican cuisine until this cookbook made it into our home. Matt is quite the fan of mexican fare and extremely good at cooking it, so I'm happy to oblige these dinners.

Another simple chicken dish:

Chicken Stew

2 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, diced
3 ribs chopped celery
4 cups stock or broth
1-2 cups shredded cooked chicken
6-8 potatoes, cut into chunks
1 cup corn kernels
1 cup green beans

Saute celery and onion in olive oil. Add stock or broth and chicken. Bring to a simmer. Add potatoes and cook until soft. Toss in vegetables and cook for about 10 minutes more. At this point, you can thin the stew with water, thicken it with cornstarch or make it creamier by adding milk or cream. Season to taste (it goes well with a few sprigs of thyme thrown in while the stock simmers.)

And speaking of stock, what's a girl to do with her weekly haul of chicken bones? We save them in the freezer, and every few weeks they're dumped into the stock pot with herbs and any old veggies lying around (carrots, celery, onion, mushrooms, etc.). Then it's left to simmer all day long.

Stockmaking is one of my favorite culinary undertakings. It makes the house smell good, and it makes me feel good to know we are using every bit we can.

Strained and chilled so the fat can be skimmed off the top, then stored in freezer-safe jars.

From a few weeks' worth of chickens, we have stock enough to get us through a few more creative Tuesday dinners.


helen said...

i love making stock too! wish we had a whole foods near enough to take advantage of that deal. never underestimate the power of a rotisserie chicken to save the day! (i found your blog from the link on mdc).