Piadina…My new love!

Welcome to the yummy world of Piadina!

Piadina is where I want to live, well actually it isn’t a place (not that I know of anyway), but to me it is a fluffy little island that I forever want to live on or at very least eat everything off of!

Piadina is a soft, fluffy little Italian flatbread made with lard, I said it LARD! Mmmm.

I first tasted a yummy morsel like this many, many moons ago.  It was light and fluffy and it was filled with a caesar salad.  Ever since then I have been searching for that flavor I had no idea what it was, I figured it was an Indian style flatbread.  The hubs was bored and since no plain old chicken salad sandwich will do at our house, he whipped out “I’m going to make Piadina!” five minutes before the lunchtime hunger melt down.  I had no idea what  he was talking about so I rolled my eyes knowing that the wrath of hungry littles was about to pound on him like a sledge hammer carnival game.  Good luck, I thought.  But alas, Dad is way more fun than Mom, so he was able to keep the natives at bay.

I let him do his thing and stayed out of the way until I smelled the fluffy goodness in the pan!

OH MY WORD!  It was heavenly!  Not in a brownie out of the oven heavenly way, but in a salty, bacon-ish angels calling sort of way.  I know, you are thinking “it’s just bread lady!” but it is ohhhh, so much more.

I ran over to the stove, I may have “accidentally” pushed one of the kids out of the way, tore a piece off the bread, shoved it into my mouth and I was taken back to that silly salad-wich that I had tasted years ago int he midwest!

 It was AH-MA-ZING.

Since I wasn’t really interested in the process, honestly I thought “you’re making flatbread, not interested” so I didn’t take any pictures until I tasted it, and then all I could do was snap one picture before I devoured this sandwich. 🙂

Piadina

 You must try this, it doesn’t take long to make and its flavor is amazing.

I am very much on a sprouted what kick lately, but I ran out of the sprouted wheat flour. Boo…So I vow to make this with sprouted wheat and see if there is a difference.

The recipe credit belongs here, to Food52 Blog and to her Nonna!  Thank you Nonna, no chicken salad sandwich will ever compare.

Here is the recipe:

Serves 6 (recipe can be multiplied)

  • 3cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3 heaping tablespoons shortening or leaf lard
  • 3/4 cups warm water
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Fillings of your choice like Prosciutto, ham, mozzarella, fritatta, salad, Nutella, pretty much anything you want .  ***I vote Chicken Salad!!***
  1. Place flour in a mound on pastry board or counter. Sprinkle on salt and baking powder, and mix together with your fingers.
  2. Make a well in the center. Drop in the shortening and rub it together with the flour using your fingertips. Lumps are okay! And it will still be pretty floury.
  3. Make a well again and pour in water and milk. Mix with fingers until dough comes together. Add a little more warm water or flour, if needed. You want a soft dough – not at all sticky. Knead for a couple minutes, and roll into a log shape.
  4. Alternatively, all the mixing can be done in a large bowl. I like to use a fork to mix everything together.
  5. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, using a scale if you have one. With one hand, gently roll each piece on the board/counter into a ball. Mom says to use your thumb and nudge the dough ball under with each turn. Set each ball to the side on a sprinkling of flour and let rest for 5 minutes.
  6. Heat griddle to medium. Slightly flatten a ball and roll out dough to about 9 inches in diameter. Gently lift and place on hot griddle, scoring the piadina all over with the tines of a fork. If bubbles appear, quickly pierce those suckers with the fork. Cook each side for a few minutes or until each side develops some lightly browned spots. Remove to a clean dish cloth. Repeat with each ball, and stack each cooked piadina over one another. Loosely cover with a dish towel. When done, cut piadine into quarters and enjoy with your favorite sandwich fixings.
  7. Piadina freezes well. Reheat on a griddle.

Beans, Beans the Magical Fruit…..

Beans!  Beans! Beans!

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From blazing saddles to kids songs, if you are a man or under the age of 14, beans usually bring one thing to mind..

The Fluffies!

That is what we call a gaseous emission around here, well mostly.  My son is 6 so anything related to the bum is hilarious AND the talk of it is never-ending. 😉

Now, if you are an old mom like myself, you think of the nutrition a value of  beans.  Cooked, dry beans are low in fat, high in fiber and packed with protein. Dry beans provide a rich source of vitamins and minerals as well as plant phytochemicals.

So, take that Fluffies!

The other good thing is that my kids love them and I love serving the babes beans, that is until all of the BPA in metal can linings appeared.  When I found out about BPA, I went out and bought a ton of dried beans knowing that I could get around it all this way.  Except that you need to soak dried beans overnight if you want to eat them without breaking your teeth and who has time for that!?!  I am usually the one pulling frozen beef out of the freezer 30 minutes before dinner.  Organized for meal times, I am not!

So, since I am still afraid of the pressure canner that we bought and I had a closet full of dried beans and a husband that is willing to try anything, we set off to can some beans.

I had read how to do it and even asked a very helpful Facebook friend but was still leery about how they would turn out.  There were opinions about soaking first, not soaking, partial soaking, blah, blah, blah.  We were feeling lazy and impatient so we just put the dried beans in the jars.

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We canned black, kidney and garbanzo beans

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Black bean were treated to Mexican inspired spices, Kidney beans were left plain for soups and garbanzo got an assortment of herbs.

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We topped some with stock and some with water.  Some with herbs and some with spices.  Capped them all and into the pressure cooker they went.  After about 1 hour, we began to smell the spices and I was convinced that one had busted inside that was going to set off a chain reaction of events that would send the pressure canner careening into the air taking off like an inflated balloon that you’ve mistakenly let go of while blowing it up, zipping around the ceiling until it crash landed in the middle of the kitchen.

 Well, thankfully that did not happen. 🙂 Phew!

All of the jars were sealed, none broken and we had lots of fast and convenient organic beans to grab for any meal.  The best part, they are less than half the price of the already canned beans at the store and it took us less than 15 minutes to prep and a little over an hour to process, set it and forget it style (unless you are like me, cowering in a corner waiting for the explosion).

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 Pardon the goo on the jars, they were the bottom row in the water…

Now we have a closet full of beans, ready to eat!  I feel like I go to them more as an option for dinners because they are ready to go, easy and done.  I’ve even popped open a jar of chick peas to munch on… They are soooo good!

This is how we did it.

In each of the 12 oz jars we put 1/2 cup of beans, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and whatever herbs or spices that you want in them and filled the rest of the way (leaving 1 inch at the top for expansion) and give a quick stir. Cap those babies and set them in the pressure canner.  Follow the directions on the canner for water levels.  Start ‘er up and let ‘er rip for about 70 minutes. Then let your canner de-pressurize naturally.

Pull those bad boys out (with canning tongs of course) set them on a clean dry towel to rest over night.  In the morning put them away.  Simple as that!

We’ve flown right through the jars that we made, so it’s time to do it again!

** I found that in the 12 oz jars, I would put a little less beans, the really sucked up the liquid.  I might also try a really quick par boil before too…I bet that would help in pre-sucking up the liquid. 😉

I’ll keep ya posted…

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Wheat pizza with salsa, cheese and a can of our beans with frozen corn added to it.

Quick and yummy Mexican pizza!!

The Perfect Sprouted Wheat Pancakes…

I am not afraid to admit when I can’t do something.

I CAN’T make pancakes!

Even after working in restaurants for all of my working years, 4 years of culinary school and owning 2 food service businesses and I still can’t make pancakes.  Normally they turn out too runny, flat, undercooked or just plain burnt.  Whether a mix or not, the only way the I ever got pretty griddle brown pancakes was opening a box of pre-made, pre-beautifully browned pancakes.   If you know me at all, you’d know that I am very anti-processed and pre-made foods, so doing this to satisfy my kids want for pancakes really hurt my heart.

That is until now!

This is the recipe that saved my kids from years of therapy that would eventually stem from my pancake incompetence.

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Wahoo!!  Fluffy AND hard to burn…for whatever reason.

Bonus is that they contain sprouted wheat!

A bit about sprouted grains…

Sprouting grains changes the composition of starch molecules, converting them into vegetable sugars, so the body recognizes and digests sprouted grains as a vegetable

In sprouted grains enzymes are created that aid digestion, complex sugars are broken down which can eliminate painful gas, and vitamin and mineral levels increase.

Sprouting neutralizes potent carcinogens and enzyme inhibitors, as well as an acid that inhibits absorption of calcium, magnesium, iron, copper and zinc.

You can grab sprouted wheat flour

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at just about any grocery store, check out the natural and organic sections or here on Amazon !

Health Benefits abound and the kids were none the wiser !

Without further adieu..

Sprouted Wheat Pancakes

INGREDIENTS:

1 Cup Organic Whole Wheat Flour

1.5 Cups Organic Sprouted Wheat Flour

4 Teaspoons Baking Powder

2 Farm Fresh Eggs

2 (+) Cups Organic Whole Milk

1 Teaspoon Salt

1/4 cup (more or less to taste) Local Honey

Apples, Blueberries, Bananas, Coconut…any thing that you’d like to add

1. Mix together flours and baking powder

2. In separate bowl beat together egg, milk, salt and honey .

3. Stir in flour until just mixed.  Add fruits or nuts

4. Pre-heat griddle or pan over medium heat.  Melt a small amount of butter or coconut oil pan.

5. Ladle small amount of batter, cook until bubbly.  Flip and repeat with the rest of the batter unit you have a stack of golden brown pancakes.

Freeze what isn’t eaten and voila! fast breakfast on a busy morning.

Bacon, Sausage and Lard…

Phew… we’ve had quite the busy week!

2 – 30 lbs hams curing and waiting to be smoked.

13 pints of lard rendered and canned just waiting for pie crust.

100 lbs of sausage (breakfast and Italian) made, stuffed and packaged.

Almost 70 lbs of bacon cured in molasses and maple for 5 days then smoked, sliced and packaged.

~Blueberry Maple Sausage

~Sweet Italian and Blueberry Maple

~Getting a little Maple Yumminess..

~Rubbed and curing for 4 days

~Resting an hour before the smoker

~Smoked for hours and ready for the oven!

We still have so much to do…I must have 80 lbs of fat left to render, but the majority of the hard work is done.

Rendering fat….

Thankfully a friend rendered fat from a pig that she purchased earlier this month and warned of the odor and being very sensitive to odor myself, I am glad that I decided to cook the fat outside on the porch in slow cookers…It definitely had a certain smell to it.  Outside it wasn’t bad, actually we were cleaning up the yard in anticipation of hurricane Sandy and my son yelled “it smells like potato chips!”, which it did. 🙂  That being said, when all was said and done I had the whitest snow-white lard I’ve ever seen.  Because our pigs spent their lives outside in the sun, their fat is chock full of vitamin D, second only to cod liver oil!  Can you imagine??  Have you ever tried to stomach cod liver oil?  Not my favorite by any means.  Good to know that my pastries and morning eggs will have serious amounts of vitamin D…perfect for the winter. Yay!!

Anywho, here is how I did it.  You can literally set-it and forget-it!

~Sunny day rendering a little lard

Cut your fat into small pieces, the smaller the better, the more lard you will render out.

Place it all in a crockpot

Add 1 inch of cold water to the bottom of the pan

Set the crockpot on the lowest setting

Cover and forget for about 6 hours

You’ll see the fat shrink and the lard will begin to fill the pan.  When the fat (which will become cracklings) begins to brown, it’s time to strain, strain through cheesecloth in a strainer.  This will be the whitest of white lard.  Perfect for baking.  Pour hot lard into sterile jars and top with sterile lids.  They will self seal and be shelf stable.

Place the fat pieces back in the pan and continue to render.  When the cracklings resemble bacon pieces, you can strain it a

gain and this straining will be a bit darker and have  a little bit of a bacon/pork flavor, perfect for breads and frying.  Anything that you want to have a little more of an in-depth flavor.  Some people save the cracklings and add them to salads or anywhere else you’d want a little crunch.  I can imagine that a chicken breast coated in panko crumbs and cracklings would be AMAZING!

I, however ended up tossing them as it was really late and I was kinda tired of them…if I’m being completely honest. 😉

~lard, glorious lard

Here is the dream shot, although not a great one…

Our goal….

~Our own eggs AND bacon!!

From the very first egg gathered from our backyard chicken house over 3 years ago we said “wouldn’t it be great to have our own bacon to go with it!”…

 Much to the nay-say of others and many thinking that we are nuts….we did it!

We did it!!

And we will do it again, next spring.

 It has been so much more than a learning experience, it has really made me more aware of where my food comes from and where I WANT my food to come from.

I do have to admit that I can’t wait until next year to have little piggies running around outside…they really are such neat creatures. ❤

If anyone local is interested for next year….let me know.  We would love to share our home grown food. 🙂

Elderberry Syrup and Colds….

A few years ago, we were headed on a trip to North Carolina in the spring and our little one started with the sniffles.  I was pretty sure that nothing was going to stop me from visiting my sister, so off we went to Whole Foods to visit the vitamin guru there.  He suggested that we give our little guy elderberry pills often, until he was better.

So we did…and it worked!!

Ever since then, we’ve had a steady stock of elderberry  lozenges/pills in the cupboard.  Then I saw the syrup, easy to swallow and tastes great.  Whenever we get colds, it’s a one-two punch of the elderberry pills and syrup.  But, they syrup is expensive, it can be upward of $24 a bottle for organic! Yikes!!

We recently went to the Common Ground Fair here in Maine and bought a bottle of elderberry syrup from a local company. While it was great, it lasted us only a few days and had agave in it, which I am not a super fan of.

I thought, if they can make it, I can too!  So I started researching it and found organic elderberries online, ordered some, got busy and then put them aside.

My Mom recently got a bad cold and I thought, no better time than the present.

The benefits of elderberries, especially where colds are concerned are big!  They are a great source of vitamin C, are full of antioxidants, have anti-vial and anti-histamine properties.  Elderberries also reduces mucus and inflammation of the sinus and mucus membranes.  I also recently found out that it can help with your complexion and wrinkles!

 I AM IN!!

It is recommended that you take a daily amount of 1-2 teaspoons and 1-2 tablespoon every couple of hours when fighting a cold or flu.

Now, as I said, I made this in a hurry for my Mom, so the pictures aren’t great.  Next time I will do a better job with the pictures and update them when I do.

So, here is the recipe:

1 1/2 cup dried Elderberries

7 cups water

2.5 teaspoons cinnamon

4.5 Tablespoons fresh ginger root or ginger powder

2 Teaspoons cloves

2 cups raw, local honey

(It is important to make sure that you allow your elderberry syrup to cool to below 90 degrees before adding honey in order to keep the integrity and healing powers of the honey.)

Place the elderberries, water, cinnamon, ginger and cloves into a pan.  Bring the mixture to a boil, cover and bring down to a simmer.  Continue cooking for about an hour and a half or until the mixture has reduced by half.

Strain out the berries.  I couldn’t see throwing the berries away so I shared them with the pigs and chickens.  They loved them, gobbled them right up!

Let the liquid cool to about room temp.  Add the honey and stir well.  Pour into bottles and refrigerate.  It will last several months in the refrigerator.

My kids LOVE the flavor of the syrup.  Sometime when I make iced tea, I throw a couple of handfuls of dried elderberries into the tea as it is steeping.  I strain the tea, add some, ice, juice and honey and YUM!

Do you use elderberries?

I have heard that you can make wine out of them as well!  That would certainly make any cold more bearable. 😉

The last of the warm summer days…

Every year about this time I look around and think, did I have my windows open enough this summer?

Did we get enough fresh, warm air?

Did we do all that we wanted to this summer?

The answers:

There is never enough open window time. 🙂

The air is always fresh, though not always warm. 🙂

No, the summer escaped us, but all of the major ideas were accomplished.

Our garden was not uber fruitful this year.  We had a giant crop of cucumbers early on, before the beetles got them.  The  tomatoes did well before the hornworms got them.  Zucchini also did well, before the beetles came…We just donated the garden to the pigs, they loved it and are still digging out there, for a few more weeks anyway.

The seasons seem to change so fast around here!  One day it’s sweltering, the next the fire is roaring.  I fear that I’ve hung my last load of laundry on the line until the spring.  As much as I will miss all of the outside doings, I will have more time to take care of things inside now. 🙂  Bring on the baking, blogging, crafting and homeschooling!

I am ready.  We have had a very busy summer and are ready for a little slowdown.  We have some buttoning up of the farm around here, the chicken coop needs to be cleaned out and winterized, the pigs off to the butcher, summer gadgets put away for the winter and on and on….

Now that the warm weather is coming to an end, the grill will go away and so will one of our favorite meals.  It’s quick, a great vessel for leftovers and tastes great…

Since this is a quick grilling pizza, your sauce and toppings must be warm when they are put onto the pizza.

We used some leftover bacon from breakfast and garden goodies to make this one…

Pre-flip…

Post Flip.

Grilled Pizza!!

1 Dough ball

Leftovers from the fridge, garden etc…

Sauce

Cheese

 You can buy dough at the store or make your own.  I always pick one up while shopping, it keeps great in the freezer and is so quick and useful.  This dough was an organic sample given to us (perks of the “other” job)

Pre-heat grill to high, scrape your grill clean.  It often helps to take an old, clean towel drizzle  it with  olive oil and rub down the hot grill grates (quickly) using tongs to hold the towel.

Let dough sit out at room temp for about 20 minutes.  Rub a little olive oil on a sheet pan (leaving the corners dry).  Hand stretch the dough then place it on the tray.  Stretch the dough to the corners of the tray pressing the dough into the dry corners  (it helps the dough from shrinking back).

Meanwhile heat your sauce stove top.

Sauté all of your toppings.  I often just do this in a pan on the grill, top down with the pan handle sticking out while it is heating up….why waste the heat. 😉

Now….

Turn your grill to medium-high.  Slide your dough off the pan an onto the grill.  Close the grill and wait a few minutes.  Your dough will rise.  You are looking for nice grill marks on the underside and a nice crust.  Once that is formed, using a big spatula, place the spatula under the dough and begin to lift, quickly place your other hand to guide the top when flipping and continue the flip.

Now it’s time to top your pizza with the warm sauce, cheese and toppings.  Close the cover and allow cheese to melt and bottom to get a nice crust.  Once this is done, lift one side of your pizza, slide your original pan underneath and Voila! Dinner!

So Easy…you can omit the sauce and make it into a flatbread….

Pre-cook eggs, add salsa instead of sauce and you’ve got breakfast pizza…

Give it a try!  It’s an easy way to keep the kitchen clean and cool. 😛

If anyone out there has any organic remedies for squash beetles and hornworms, I’d love to know! 🙂

Bacon Jam!!!

 Now I figured with a name like Bacon Jam, that THIS would be a recipe that I would really like…Man, was I wrong!  I am IN LOVE with bacon jam…I mean really in love.

This is our new go-to condiment.  It goes on burgers, in grilled cheese, with cream cheese on crostini, in chicken salad, on baked potatoes and we’ve only had it in the house less than a week!  I would venture to say that it would be amazing with a little vanilla ice cream! Yum!!

I brought a jar to a family cook out and made everyone try it!  Unless everyone was just being polite…the reviews were (as I suspected…) “where can we get some?!?”

(My husbands bacon jam filled dinner plate! Ha, ha)

Looks like I’ll be putting Bacon jam on my Christmas gift list!

Want some of your own…

Here ya go!

 After my family filled their plates the first night right out of the crock-pot I filled 3 jelly jars and 4 smaller jars

3 lbs bacon

4 medium onions sliced

8 cloves garlic

1 cup apple cider vinegar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup (the real stuff)

1.5 cups brewed coffee

1/4 cup molasses

2 bay leaves

Chop the raw bacon into small pieces and cook in a skillet (render out the fat) until the bacon is nice and crispy.

Remove the bacon and set aside.  Cook onions and garlic in remaining bacon fat until translucent.

In the meantime, put the rest of the ingredients in a crock pot.  Transfer the onion and garlic mixture and the bacon bits into the crock pot and set on high for 3-4 hours or until you have a runny jam like consistency.

I got impatient and put it into a wok and reduced it that way (the smell was intoxicating and I just couldn’t wait anymore!)

Pull out the bay leaves and zip it all in the food processor until the bacon is broken up, just a few spins.

Put it into jars and refrigerate.  Add to everything!!

My favorite so far is store-bought natural rotisserie chicken, pulled and mixed with mayo and bacon jam! Delish!!

I would think you could can in a pressure canner, but I will ask the experts before I make that claim for sure. 🙂

Next time I think I’ll experiment with a savory bacon jam.  This one is on the sweet side, I can just imagine one with a bit more garlic and rosemary….Mmmm….

Babies and Butter…

Piggies.Piggies.Piggies!

I find myself outside often, just leaning over the fence staring at them, they are so cute!  They scamper and run, eat and poop.  I swear the little brown one is straight out of the new muppet movie.

Adorable!

They took a few days for them to get acclimated to us, but now they come running.  One even tried to eat my boot this morning.  They are smart and curious and LOVE to eat and root around.  One of the reasons that we chose the to put them in the area that we did is because in that area, the ground was so hard and compact that we would have has to till the whole thing to have a garden in that spot next year.  Now, with the help of my little friends snouts and their love of bugs, the area is being tilled and turned.  I really had no idea that there was soil under there as they stripped all of the rich topsoil when they built our home.  We will let them till and eat all they want from that paddock and when they are through, we’ll move them to the other side and plant a fast growing crop in the side that they turned and keep flipping them so they always have fresh pasture to play an eat. 🙂

So, that’s the piggie update. 🙂

Now onto butter!

We do love butter so I thought I’d buy some cream and make my own.  I had NO idea how easy it was!  Now, I get fresh cream and make butter once a week.  You really don’t have to watch it until the very end as it splashes.

First add your cream to a stand mixer with a whisk..I had a little in my coffee, so it wasn’t quite a quart, but the coffee was amazing! 😉

Add cream to the mixer and start whipping.  Add 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of sea salt…

Keep whipping…you’ll recognize the yummy whipped cream stage, but keep going…

The whipped cream will become loose and chunky and you’ll begin to see the buttermilk separating.

You might want to get a towel to put over the mixer at this stage as it will splatter….

When it begins to ball up, you’ve got butter!!

Pour off the buttermilk and save it for a recipe.  Take your butter and run it under very cold water while kneading it until the water runs clear.  This washes the excess buttermilk out and makes your butter last longer.

At this stage you can put your freshly made butter back into a clean mixing bowl and add chopped herbs or cinnamon sugar or honey or just about anything to make a flavored (compound) butter. 🙂

Yummy butter and buttermilk!

Use your fresh butter for some Salted Caramel Buttercream creme horns!! Mmmmm!

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Now, on the subject of butter…I have read that to get a richer butter flavor it is recommended to let your cream sit out for about 12 hours to sour a bit, then churn it.  I will try that next time, but I find this butter to be just delicious.  You might also want to add a bit of vinegar to your buttermilk if you are using it in a recipe as most buttermilk is cultured (soured).

As the grass turns greener in this area I plan on getting cream from local pastured cows and making bulk butter and freezing it.  Milk and cream from cows grazing on new spring grass has so many more vitamins than any other time of year.

Might as well capitalize on that. 🙂

Enjoy your butter!!

What to do with a whole chicken?!?

As I stood in the grocery aisle not that long ago I overheard two women talking about what a waste it was to buy a whole chicken and it dawned on me that most people don’t realize the benefits AND cost saving that goes into using a whole chicken.  I’ve kind of made that my mission when the topic of chicken comes up and what I hear most is “I don’t have time for that”… but you do because it will save  you time in the long run.

We, as a family of four can get about 4+ meals out of one whole chicken!  That’s pretty good for a $10 investment.  I always look for the natural chicken on sale and freeze them or wait for a sale at Whole Foods.  When we are in a hurry, we even buy the natural rotisserie chicken at the grocery store for quick meals.   I do find that these chickens are a whole lot smaller than ones that you roast yourself.  When you do go this route, DO NOT THROW THE BONES AWAY!!  I’ll explain that part later.

One day we will raise chickens for meat, we just aren’t quite there yet….maybe next year. 😉

The best way to get the most out of your chicken is to first roast it.  If you work outside of the home, I would suggest doing this on a Saturday afternoon because it takes about 15 minutes of prep and 1.5 hours of cooking.  Heck, while you’re at it, roast two and you’ll have meals all week long!

Meal 1…

Roast Chicken:

1 Natural whole chicken

Olive oil

Fresh Thyme

Fresh Lemon

Salt

Pepper

Method of Prep: Pre-heat oven on to 425 degrees.  Place your chicken in a roasting pan (preferably on a roasting rack), remove giblets from inside.  Save the neck for stock.  Rub your chicken with olive oil, salt, pepper, thyme leave and lemon juice.  Place used lemon and thyme sprigs/branches inside chicken.

Oven sear at 425 for 15-20 minutes then reduce heat to 375 and cook until golden brown.  Should be about 1.5 hours.  Temp breast at 180 and thigh (near the bone) at 190.

Let it cool for a few minutes.  Remove the breasts and serve with your favorite sides, rice, potatoes, vegetables, or over salad. Yum!

 Meal one done!

Meal two…

Pick the remainder of the chicken from the bones after your roast chicken dinner and place in a plastic bag for another meal.  Perhaps some:

Chicken Quesadillas/Burrito/Rice bowl

 One organic diced onion

Leftover Chicken

3 cloves organic diced garlic

Organic Black beans

Frozen organic corn

Leftover cooked organic rice

Saute Onion and  Garlic in a a little olive oil.  Add leftover chicken, rice, corn and beans when onions are translucent.  Add some mexican spices, cumin, coriander, chili power, whatever you’ve got.  Heat it all up together.

Place in a  bowl or tortilla and top with cheese, sour cream and salsa. Eat!

or

 Chicken Fried Rice

Leftover organic cooked rice

Leftover chicken

Diced onion

3 organic eggs

Frozen organic peas, pea pods, carrots, broccoli, mushrooms whatever you’ve got on hand

Soy sauce

Sesame oil

Olive oil

Method of prep: in a large sauté pan or wok, heat up 2 Tbl olive oil and 1t sesame oil.  Sauté onion until translucent.  Add eggs and scramble in the pan until just cooked.  Remove eggs and onions.  Add a bit more oil, sauté any frozen vegetables and add chicken heat until warm then add rice. Heat the rice and add soy sauce to taste.  Finally add scrambled eggs in the end.

Mix it all up and you have another dinner!  Takes maybe 20 minutes to make and is such a comfort type food. 🙂

  If you do cook 2 chickens, you will have enough of the dark meat to throw in a slow cooker with some salsa or bbq sauce  to make some great pulled chicken for later in the week!  So many choices!

Meal three…maybe even four…

How to make Chicken Stock recipe is here in a prior blog post

I would suggest starting this on a Sunday morning on the stove or in a large slow cooker.  Your home will smell amazing!  There are so many vitamins and amino acids that come from making your own stock that the grocery store options don’t have plus, you are using an item that you have already paid for!  Whenever I have bones left over, I save them, freeze them and pull them out when I want to make soup.  I also make LARGE batches and freeze or can the extra stock so when we need a meal in a hurry, all we have to do is add veggies, pasta, rice, beans whatever is in the pantry or leftover in the fridge not to mention the flavor and extras that you get when cooking a batch of rice using your own stock, it’s amazing!  When you refrigerate your stock, you will have a nice float of chicken fat on top…save it for a bonus meal 5!

You can add fresh chopped or frozen veggies and pasta for a quick dinner.  You can even save some chicken to add back into the soup.

Bonus Meal 5…..

Once we’ve eaten chicken rice, noodle, veg soup for a few days we get a little sick of it, I turn it into a chicken ala king or chicken pot pie. Bring your soup to a simmer while you make a roux.

Take the chicken fat and flour, equal parts and make a roux(thickening agent) with it.

Step 1

Heat 6 tbsp. of chicken fat over medium heat until it is completely melted.

Step 2

Whisk in 6 tbsp. of all-purpose flour. You should have a slightly grainy mixture.

Step 3

Simmer the roux, whisking constantly, for six to eight minutes for a blond roux. The roux will expand and thicken as you simmer it, but it will gradually decrease in thickness the longer you cook it. If the roux begins to burn or turn brown too quickly, reduce the heat.  Remove half of your finished roux (incase you have too much, you can always add more if you need it)

Step 4

Take a little bit of your soup stock and whisk into the pan with the roux to temper the two together. Then slowly whisk in the roux and stock mixture into the rest of your soup.  Bring to a boil. It should be the consistency of a thick gravy, if it isn’t, add a bit more roux and boil again.  Chill and serve over rice, in crocks with pie shell top or in a pie shell for a traditional pot pie.  I freeze these pot pies and pop them into the oven when I don’t want to cook. 🙂

And, THAT is how you use a whole chicken, grocery store ladies! 😉

Be mine….Oh, wait you already are.

Happy Valentines Day!  

Ahhh, Yes, Valentine’s Day!  This day in my life has had many meanings as the years have ticked away.  When I was little, it was another excuse to get candy.  When I was in grade school it was an excuse to find out who liked you.  Once in grade school, maybe 3rd or 4th grade, a boy from my school dropped off a dozen red roses to me at my house!  Crazy, I thought, but  hey, that’s how I rolled with the grade school boys! 😉   As a teenager Valentine’s day was a reason to ogle the boys and try to figure out what that girl had that I didn’t.  As a twenty something, it was known as Black *insert day of the week here*, mainly because we ladies never seemed to have steady beaus around that time.  I do believe that there is too much pressure on Valentine’s day for the daters of the world, but that is a different post all together.  Now, it’s for my little ones, a chance for them to get chocolate, heart-shaped breakfast and learn that giving and showing love is not just a February 14th occasion, but an everyday occasion.

I love my kids, sometimes they would say too much.  But when I hug and kiss them, I make sure to give them a special little squeeze because I know that there are so many little ones that don’t get nearly the amount of love that my little ones get.

So forget the cards, and candy (well chocolate is always a good thing) and instead give a little extra squeeze to the ones you love and tell them why you love them, they’ll appreciate it more than that piece of paper in the long run. ❤