for this we give thanks: week three

I bought 6 boxes of Kleenex this week (extra lotion).    I think we're all out now.  That's pretty much how the whole week has been.  But I'm feeling much better and excited to start cooking again.  One side note, we've been more sick this fall than we've been in a long time.  We have also been on the GAPS diet and eating a boatload of meat.  Coincidence?  My inner-vegetarian says no. 

Lots more veggies in the rotation this week;  a menu follows.  Also, as promised, how to cook a chicken for all its worth.   I've read those articles about how to get a week's worth of meals from one chicken; this is not that article - which I think is all a lie anyway.  I can get two meals from two chickens and a whole lot of broth.  That's my no-kidding genius saving tip o' the week. 

 

Week three check-in:

Goal for the month of November:  $900

Week one shopping:  $149.24

Week two shopping:  $149.42

Monthly co-op order:  $181.00

Week three shopping:  $131.76   

Amount remaining:  $288.58

Menu:

(many of the recipes here are taken from the Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook, one of my favorites.)

Now, how to stretch your chickens as far as possible (also the most delicious roast chicken ever) - with pictures!  (The lighting in my kitchen is terrible and I have no photo skills past point and shoot, so I beg your forgiveness):

#1:  Brine the chicken in the fridge overnight.   Dissolve kosher salt in a large pot of cold water.  I use about a cup and a half for two chickens.

Put your chickens in their salt water bath and let them sit in the fridge until you are ready to roast them.

#2  Prepare for roasting.  Take the chickens out of the brine, rinse them under cold water, pat dry with paper towels and arrange on a roasting rack.

#3:  Thinly slice a lemon and slip the slices under the skin of the breast.  Fill the cavity with parsley, herbs, a couple of garlic cloves, pepper and any remaining lemon.  Preheat oven to 400F.

#4:  Roast chicken(s) at 400 F for about 15 minutes, then turn the heat down to 350 F.  Roast for another hour or until the chicken tests done with a thermometer (180 F) placed in the thick part of the thigh.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes before carving.

#5:  After dinner, remove all the remaining meat from the carcass and save for your next meal.  Put the remaining bones, skin and drippings in a crockpot and cover with water.  The bones should be covered by about an inch of water, or more if you have room. 

#6:  Turn on low and cook for 24 hours.  If the broth is boiling too much, you can move the lid to let some of the heat escape.  Just keep it simmering for about a day.

#7:  Drain the broth through a colander into a large container.  You can divide it into smaller jars immediately and freeze (leave an inch or so of headroom for expansion during freezing) or store in the fridge and use through the week.  The fat will rise to the surface as it cools and congeal making it easy to remove before you use it.

#8:  Now, the good part:  put the bones back in the crockpot, cover with more water.  Repeat steps 6 and 7.    I usually do this a total of three times, getting lighter broth with each batch.  You can add vegetables (carrot, onion, celery, etc.) to the later batches for more flavor, or just use the lighter broth for cooking rice, beans, etc.  Bone broths help with digesting grains and starches, so I try to use broth for cooking those whenever I can. 

#9:  After you've made three batches of broth and got all you can from those chicken carcasses, you are still not done!  The bones will be super soft - you can crush them with your fingertip - and can be fed to your dog.  (Make sure you remove any onion if you have added that along the way.   Onions are not good for dogs.)  You can even run the whole mess through your food processor if you prefer and make a lovely glop out of it.  Disgusting, but very appealing to dogs.  :)  

 

We've got Thanksgiving next week, so I'm interested to see how my grocery bill pans out.  But it's going well so far! 

All the posts in this series can be found here.