Last week, D walked in the kitchen and found me standing on the kitchen table photographing raw chicken. With wide eyes he said, “Mom…….what are you doing?” #busted #caughtredhanded #kitchentablestranded
There was no good explanation other than Son, your mother is a crazy blogger.
Not that this explanation would satisfy and 8-year-old, but sure, I will stand on my kitchen table and wear the label of “crazy blogger” with pride because, well, crazy bloggers get to connect with crazy blogreaders. We get to join together in a powerful “ME TOO” and find comfort knowing we are not alone in this crazy world. Plus, we get to come together and learn how-to maximize the life-span of a fryer chicken for Pete’s sake! If that doesn’t fire you up, I don’t know what will. That right there is worth getting scolded by the second grader who, with a furrowed brow, tells you, “Mom, tables are not for standing.”
If you choose to go to Kroger and spend $6.03 on a fryer chicken, you too will feel your Superwoman cape flutter a bit in the breeze. Because who doesn’t feel like the Pioneer Woman herself for taking a dead animal and making it into something fabulous? But, if you choose to bake, re-make and suck the blessed life out of the daggum carcass…well, prepare to feel your cape soaring in the wind.
Here’s the easy, make-your-cape-breezy-fa-sheezy, beautiful instructions.
Day 1: Bake
Chop your favorite assortment of veggies and cover the bottom of a lined crockpot. (My aforementioned obsession with these may aid your cleaning!) I typically choose a yummy mirepoix and do mashed or scalloped potatoes as a hearty side dish.
Open, rinse and gently dry your roasting chicken. And oh mercy, don’t forget to dump the weird liver guts package thing out of the middle. I usually drag the trash can near the sink, take a shopping bag, wrap it around the nether regions of the chicken and shake it all like a Polaroid picture. Once I hear the gooey “plop” and sense a gag reflex coming on I hurl the bag in the garbage can and toss the bird in the crock pot.
Generously drizzle olive oil all over the fryer chicken, season with salt, pepper and any season that suits your fancy. (I like Cavender’s Greek Seasoning.) Stuff the bird with what you have on hand, onion, garlic and a lemon are my usual stuffers. Let the chicken cook on high for 4-6 hours
Enjoy baked chicken, deliciously seasoned veggies, some potatoes, crusty bread and a salad on day 1. It’s a great meal!
Day 2: Re-Make
Pick every little piece of succulent meat off the bones of this chicken. We feed a hungry family of 4 and typically have 1.5-2 cups of meat leftover. With this leftover chicken, you can make your favorite chicken casserole, quesadillas, burritos or soup!
A few of my favorites are:
- Pampered Chef’s Autumn Chicken Casserole With Cranberries
- BBQ Chicken & Avocado Quesadillas
- Gigi’s Chicken Extravaganza Casserole
- Edie’s Pumpkin Chipotle Soup
- Aimee’s Chicken and Wild Rice Soup
I get so excited about Day 2 because I didn’t have to do hardly any real cooking! Woohoo!
Day 3: Suck the Blessed Life Out of the Daggum Carcass (or more delicately put, make bone broth)
As soon as you’re finished plucking the meat off the chicken, dump the bones, etc. back in the crock pot, fill with water, throw in 2 tbsp of apple cider vinegar or lemon juice and let it cook for 24 hours. Enjoy the homey fragrance of rich bone broth being made while you go about living your life! Easy as pie. The chicken pot kind. :) I truly crack myself up when it’s past my bedtime. Once the broth is done cooking, pour it through a sieve or fine strainer into mason jars or freezer safe Ziplock bags. Then let cool and stick it in the freezer until you need it in a recipe!
I didn’t realize the full benefits of bone broth. I was just thinking, “Hey! Chicken stock costs way too much money and certainly there is some way to make it myself…” I had no idea how easy it was and how much nutritional value there is in it! Here are some insights from bloggers far more crunchy (and smart) than me! Enjoy their research.
Anyone who has read Gut and Psychology Syndrome knows the many benefits of bone broth and how it can improve digestion, allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more.
What isn’t as well know is that broth can help reduce cellulite by improving connective tissue, increase hair growth/strength, improve digestive issues and remineralize teeth.
Broth is also helpful to have on hand when anyone in the family gets sick as it can be a soothing and immune boosting drink during illness, even if the person doesn’t feel like eating.
Broth is very high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are vital for healthy connective tissue (ligaments, joints, around organs, etc). The Paleo Mom has a great explanation of the importance of these two amino acids:
“In addition, glycine is required for synthesis of DNA, RNA and many proteins in the body. As such, it plays extensive roles in digestive health, proper functioning of the nervous system and in wound healing. Glycine aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis and of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid. It is involved in detoxification and is required for production of glutathione, an important antioxidant. Glycine helps regulate blood sugar levels by controlling gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from proteins in the liver). Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland. This wonderful amino acid is also critical for healthy functioning of the central nervous system. In the brain, it inhibits excitatory neurotransmitters, thus producing a calming effect. Glycine is also converted into the neurotransmitter serine, which promotes mental alertness, improves memory, boosts mood, and reduces stress.
Proline has an additional role in reversing atherosclerotic deposits. It enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages in your heart and the surrounding blood vessels. Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.”
- Drink it plain with a little salt, ground pepper and crushed garlic.
- Braised & Roast Meats: Easy Roast Chicken, Salisbury Steak for Grownups, Cider-braised Brisket with Tzimmes, Roast Lamb with Oregano and Lemon, Beef Pot Roast with Winter Vegetables
- Soups & Stews: French Onion Soup, Potato Leek Soup with Dill, Gluten-free Chicken & Dumplings,Chipotle Chile, Black Bean & Chicken Soup, Spiced Lentil Soup with Roasted Tomatoes, Curried Lentil Soup with Coconut, Onion Bisque with Frizzled Leeks, Egg Drop Soup with Duck, Wild Mushroom Stew, Caldo Verde, Winter Minestrone Soup, Beef Burgundy, Kale and White Bean Soup,Asparagus Soup, Lovage Soup, Chicken and Wild Rice Soup, Lentil Stew.
- Braising Vegetables: Braised Whole Baby Beets, Braised Turnips with Parsley
- Freeze in ice cube trays and pop one in a smoothie.
Soooooo, there you have it! If you meal plan for the weekend, you should give this one a shot. You could feed yourself for an entire weekend out of a $6 chicken! And if you try it out, let me know how it goes. Or if you’ve been doing this for years and have other tips or tricks to share, please do tell!