I told my friend on Facebook the other day, after asking for her roasted chicken recipe, that one of my goals for the summer is to "learn to cook like it's the Depression." Because with three boys and one-point-two incomes, we're going to need to be creative in the kitchen. I'm starting with roasted chicken. At $0.85 a pound, it is less than a third of the price of breasts alone and Wes could really use the extra fat in the dark meat anyway. And after you eat the parts you want, you can boil the rest to make chicken stock and save even more money.
My parents came over for dinner last night, so I made them this recipe with a five-pound chicken I bought for approximately $4.75. After we carved it, found some uncooked places (Klassy! Also, grr broken meat thermometer!!), microwaved the uncooked pieces, and served it, it was delicious and moist! The potatoes were perfectly done too. I shall trademark my roasting/microwaving combo strategy and make millions!
After bedtime Ryan and I sat at the kitchen table and talked about our days while we picked the extra meat off the bones (ro-man-tic). Then I used the bones and skin to make ten cups of stock in the crockpot (OH the heated debate that occurred on my Facebook wall when I put up an innocent little appeal for stock-making tips!! Highly amusing. And informative!). TEN cups! Ten cups of stock at the store is $5! The same price I paid for the whole chicken! That we also got to eat for dinner! Bring on the Dust Bowl!
Tonight I'll make chicken soup with the extra meat and four of the cups of stock. CHA-CHING!
(I attribute this little home cooking jag to the abrupt end to the semester and resulting directionless creative energy. For lunch yesterday the kids had organic black bean and Monterrey jack tacos while I enjoyed a mozzarella and tomato sandwich with fresh basil on ciabatta bread with a side of sliced fresh pears. I am not bragging. I'm just kind of amazed because usually lunch involves yogurt and peanut butter toast for the kids and a handful of Halloween candy and a side of guilt-induced fresh fruit for me. Bon appetit!)
It's not all fun and chicken stock around here though. Do you know what your house smells like when you simmer a chicken carcass in a crock pot for ten hours over night? Like CHICKEN. Not chicken. CHICKEN. I woke up at 4:00 sure that someone had left a toy in the oven. Putting the stock away in the freezer has helped. But I'm going to make some peach cobbler too just to make sure the smell coming from my house doesn't start attracting stray dogs.
Next we'll move on to the Cold War and learn how to prepare dried beans in the crock pot. I'll be off the grid in no time!
Now, if you'll excuse me, I've got a sleeping baby and about ten hours worth of chicken smell to wash out of my hair.