How to Get Three Meals Out of One Chicken

I have a lot of eaters in my house. Many hungry mouths follow me around all day long making this odd noise. “I’m hungry! I’m hungry!” they whine. It costs a lot to get them to stop making that noise, but I have stumbled upon some strategies and I thought I would share my favorite.

I can make one chicken feed this large family for three nights. How? Like this:

Night One – Roast Chicken with Garlic Baked Potatoes.
Roast the entire chicken with  seven garlic bulbs. Cut the top 1/3 of the garlic bulbs off and sit them in the pan (I use my deep cast iron skillet with a lid) around the chicken. Then drizzle olive oil and salt over all, being sure to cover the garlic well. Bake at 350 degrees until done (one to one and half hours). At the same time, bake potatoes. To serve, cut chicken breasts into medium sized portions for bigger eaters and give the wings to the littles. Squeeze one entire bulb of garlic over each opened baked potato. Drizzle drippings from the pan over potato and chicken. After dinner, remove remaining meat from carcass and put in the fridge. Now make broth with the carcass.

Chicken Broth Recipe
Place chicken carcass, one onion, two carrots and two celery stalks into stock pot and add enough water to fully cover. Place over high heat until boiling; lower heat and simmer until ready to use. (A good crock pot is better than my method, but mine doesn’t simmer well enough.)

Night Two – Shredded chicken in something
On the second night, use the remaining meat (thighs and drumsticks) in some kind of chicken casserole or stir fry. My favorite choices are chicken pot pie or chicken tacos.

Night Three – Soup
Now that your broth has been cooking for about two days, it has sucked out all the yummy nutrients that the chicken carcass had hidden in its bones, grissle and skin (discard veggies and chicken remains – we just want the liquid). Time to make soup. Our favorite is my totally made up tomato soup recipe:

Tomato Soup Recipe
Grate two carrots; dice two celery stalks and an onion; saute veggies in olive oil in a good size sauce pan.
When veggies are tender, add a liberal amount of thyme, basil, and oregano; saute a little longer.
Add broth and two cans tomato sauce. (depending on how much broth there is, I may add enough water to make a enough soup for my whole crew – total needed for us is about about 10 cups of soup) Bring to a boil; lower heat and simmer a little while.
Serve with biscuits or grilled cheese sandwiches or oyster crackers or whatever you have on hand.

In this way, I am able to feed seven hungry people three dinners with one chicken.
Do you have any strategies for making your grocery dollar stretch? Do share it!

Building a Strong Family

On Saturday we started a new family habit. We turned off all the electronic devices and spent the day together.

We played Legos together. I declared a challenge to everyone to build a self portrait. I totally got the giggles when my self portrait turned out with crazy eyes, wild green hair, and a crooked smile. We built forts and space craft, we built cars and weaponry. We built a great memory.

We colored. I put a pile of graph paper on the table next to the box of crayons and set the creativity loose. We had wild scribbles, maps of imaginary lands, and fair isle patterns (can you guess which one was mine?). We sang while we colored – we sang patriotic songs like “God Bless America” and “The Star Spangled Banner”, and then we sang old hymns and like “Amazing Grace” and “Go Tell it on the Mountain”, and we sang fun kids songs like “Ho Ho Ho Hosanna” and “Jesus Loves Me”. We created a memory.

We had some down time. The little ones went down for a nap and everyone did something quiet. There was reading and knitting and writing going on. The Man got a little nap in. There was a nice, quiet lull in our day.

Then we had to eat something so The Munchkin, The Princess, and The Dancing Queen helped me make an early dinner – chopping, mixing, pouring, grating… We all ate a delicious meal. Then the other half of the family (The Man, The Bookworm, and The Boy) cleaned up the kitchen.

For the rest of the evening we played games. Mouse Trap, Bananagrams, Mancala, and Don’t Spill the Beans. We laughed and hollered. We hooted and cheered. We had so much fun. We made some great memories.

Being a homeschool mom, I spend everyday with my kids. We do a lot of stuff together, too. We do our school and our chores, we eat every meal at the kitchen table, we go everywhere – always together. But I often forget to enjoy our time together. I get absorbed in getting this done, or getting through this day, or making this goal. I easily get distracted by Facebook or writing this blog or surfing Ravelry or checking my email. I don’t always have fun with my kids. I don’t always enjoy being together. So this was an excellent exercise in slowing down and making each moment of the day count.

We didn’t spend any money. We didn’t go anywhere. We didn’t do anything that we don’t already do all the time. We just did it together. A deliberate family day. An excellent new family tradition.

So, don’t look for me online on Saturday. I will be busy making memories with my family.

Look At What I Made!

Yarn! Real yarn!

Three things about my first spinning experience.

1. Park and draft is a great way to learn. There is no way that I could have spun this suspended just yet. I am all thumbs and the spindle keeps back spinning and the yarn keeps breaking and the spindle keeps falling on the ground…. But, by the end of this project I was pretty good at drafting, so I have hope.

2. Spinning is a whole new world! New terms, new tools, new techniques. I am learning so much I think my brain may explode. As a knitter I didn’t really care about the actual structure of the yarn (amount of twist, breed of sheep, etc…) as long as the color was pretty and it felt soft and looked awesome and had that special X-factor that gives yarn irresistibility. But, I am interested to see how all this understanding will change the way I shop for yarn in the future.

3. I have hardly knit a thing since the spindle entered my life. Interesting, huh?

I have used up all the roving that I was given and am now left to my knitting until the mailman brings me more. I hope to get a bunch of knitting done before then because when it comes, I don’t think I will feel like knitting much. I just want to spin all day long.