Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Smart Food

Every once in a while @jclarkey and I get it together and plan our meals out wisely.  Last night, for instance, we had steak salad with tomato, red pepper and goat cheese.  Today for lunch I had a similar salad (sans steak) and tonight for dinner we had steak, tomato, red pepper & goat cheese pizza.  It was delicious -- and there's still lots of lettuce, tomato, some steak and a bit of goat cheese left!  It was a giant steak.  I'll also be having steak pizza for lunch tomorrow :)

We're not always so clever, but when it works out it's great.

In my opinion, chicken is the perfect food for going a long way.  A roasting chicken is a perfect Sunday night meal.  You can cook it slowly all day, filling your home with mouth-watering chicken aromas.  I usually like to make the chicken breasts the first meal.  That evening I'll separate the thighs and drumsticks, and remove any other meat I can manage.  The legs will be the following night's dinner and the other bits will go into a chicken salad sandwich.  What comes next is my absolute favourite part of cooking chicken -- making the stock.

Throw the rest of the chicken remnants and bones into a stock pot along with your choice of herbs, vegetables and spices.  My faves include garlic, onion, bay leaves, carrots and celery.  For the best flavour, I recommend leaving the skin on the garlic and onions and cutting them into large chunks.  I would suggest never adding salt to your stock -- odds are you'll add salt to your soup or whatever other dish you end up making with your stock.  There's really no need to add salt to stock.  The last time I made stock I also decided to add an apple and it ended up being a wise choice.  You can't really taste the apple, but there's a slight hint of it in the aroma.  You'll want to simmer your stock for a considerable length of time -- this is another one that can go all day and fill your house with wonderful smells.  When it's done just filter out the bones and vegetation and strain your stock into freezable containers.  Make sure you strain it well!  Chicken bones and bay leaves make especially dangerous choking hazards.  One chicken should produce about 10 cups of stock.

If you're not digging the chicken salad sandwich idea, throw the chicken bits into a few cups of stock, ramp up your spices (@jclarkey adds a dry soup mix called Cock Soup Mix.  I wish I was joking -- that's really what it's called) and viola, chicken soup.  For a real masterpiece add homemade noodles about 5 minutes before your soup is done.

Planning ahead to eat smart home cooked like this is not only healthy and delicious, it can save a lot of money.  A $15 chicken or steak might seem like a lot at the grocery store, but if you can make it cover 3 or 4 or more meals it's a pretty good deal!

Aaaand, for a well-rounded blog post, here's a picture of my adorable dog:

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