I Say Chicken. You Say Yay!!

If you’ve followed my blog at all, you’ll know I love chicken.  I have certainly had quite the love affair recently!  I couldn’t help myself!  When bargain prices meet happy, all ready prepared chicken, well I simply get weak in the knees!!

Whole roasted chickens, prepared in a way that is safe for my diet, (I ask!!) spiced nicely, and all I need to do is take it home and eat??  Now, that’s my kind of fast food!!  In fact, I was so thrilled with this deal I took home two!

Of course, once home with my sense of reason back on solid ground, I realized I had no room for two domed containers holding whole roasted chicken.  What was I thinking??   My fridg is tiny!  Well, good thing I think well under pressure and went to work using my brand new set of high quality kitchen knives.  Yes, I finally treated myself to some quality blades and oh wow!!  FoodRadical is one delighted chef!  I filleted and cut those chickens to the bones!!  I even took those bones and boiled all the goodness right out of them, creating a lovely, healthful broth for chicken and vegetable soup.

I taught my first Healthy Eating on a Budget workshop at one of the apartment buildings where I work.  I’m sure you could guess that the budget friendly, healthy recipe and sampling I provided was this very chicken and vegetable soup I speak of!!  It is one of the most affordable and healthy meals for people on tight budgets.  I love teaching people how to use a whole chicken to get the most from their precious food dollars.  That class was so successful and a ton of fun for me!  I am in my perfect element with this job!  I love it!

I am here to say that I might be sick of eating chicken.  Almost!  I have had chicken for lunch and dinner; even sometimes for breakfast, the past two weeks.  For real!  I have found a plethora of ways to create delicious meals using chicken.  My recent favorite this past week has been chicken and spinach stuffed acorn squash.  It’s simple–bite size chunks of chicken along with a handful of baby spinach stuffed into the cored center of a cooked acorn squash.  Yes, yum!!

Seriously though, whole chickens cooked or not are truly a fantastic way to stretch your bucks while still feeding yourself and whoever else for at least a week!  The fact that you can make another week of meals simply by using the bones to prepare a soup is phenomenal!  Give it a try.  Here is a very simple recipe I use in the slow cooker.  Toss your ingredients in, turn it on, forget about it!!  But, not for long because the fragrance, you’ll soon discover is drool worthy and you’ll be counting down till it’s ready!

Chicken and Vegetable Soup

In a slow cooker, dutch oven or large pot, add:

1/2 yellow onion, sliced

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 carrots, sliced in rounds

2 celery stalks, sliced

spices of your choice (I like basil, parsley, paprika and tumeric)

2 cups chicken pieces or chunks

8 cups of broth (made from bones of the whole chicken)

Set to desired temperature and anticipate a fantastic meal!

I throw in about 2 cups of spinach about 15 to 30 minutes before eating it and allow that to wilt.  Tastes so good!

Optional add ins:  radishes, turnips, kale, any veggie that happens to be in your fridg!

Enjoy with your choice of sides!
Here’s some of what I’ve been enjoying:

Soup!

Soup!

soup!

soup!

and more soup!

and more soup!

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Simple Spinach Salad with Chicken

I am winding down from a fabulous long weekend.  I sure had a ton of fun!  I used the rest of my afternoon today to prepare a few things and ready myself for the week to come.  It’ll be a short one, but I already know it’s going to be super busy.  I’ll be looking forward to another coast trip next weekend and that will be here before I know it!  I even have prepared foods stored away in the freezer ready for our coastal road trip!  I will be so happy when Friday roles around and all I need to do is pull things out of the freezer and load them in the cooler to go.

I am feeling extra thrilled with my bargain meals for the week.  I bought a “happy chicken” fryer last Tuesday at the market.  I roasted it and ate lunch and dinner meals from it nearly every day.  This afternoon I cut off the rest of the chicken, creating strips for tonight’s dinner and cubes for a red curry chicken and vegetable dish later this week.  I currently have the carcass stewing on the stove top so I can make a chicken, vegetable and rice soup.  Half of that will be for my beach weekend and the other half will be stored in the freezer for future meals.  For under $9.00 that whole chicken will have given me roughly fifteen or so meals.  Isn’t that awesome?!  I did it right when I bought groceries last week!  I am learning to work it right with my new grocery budget and it is feeling great!

Check out this amazing salad I enjoyed for tonight’s dinner.  It was so simple and delicious. My tummy is happy, my little home is clean and after I finish making the soup that has begun on the stove top, I will be kicking my feet up and enjoying my peaceful evening.

Give this simple salad a try.  The flavor combination is divine!

Simple Spinach Salad with Chicken

2 cups of baby spinach

a few thin slices of red onion (to your liking)

5 pecans, roughly chopped

2 Tablespoons of dried cranberries, roughly chopped

2 ounces of sliced chicken breast, cut into strips

a couple turns of the pepper mill over the salad

drizzle with balsamic vinaigrette (home made)

garnish with fresh radishes

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Coconut Curry Chicken

I had a lovely time at the coast this weekend.  It was nice to get out of Portland where the weather was near record heat temperatures.  The coast was a lovely mild temperature with bright sunshiny blue skies, but a bit too breezy for me.  As is typical for the Oregon coast, I certainly did not complain.  I spent time with my family there, watched my nephew graduate, shared food, conversation and laughter.  I walked on the beach, I stopped and stretched toward the roaring ocean.  Hot tubs, soaks, luxurious baths and good food all weekend.  I truly enjoyed my rejuvenating get-a-way.  Even though it was scorching hot upon my return to Portland this afternoon, I entered my home and was met with a cool, comfortable feeling temperature.  That made me very happy and is a good indication of what to expect as the heat continues into summertime.

I did my unpacking and began organizing my plan for food this coming week.  Needing to use some chicken, I decided on a dish I know I will enjoy for most of this week.  It’s easy, it can be portable, it is nutritious and filling.  When I can use up the items in my little fridg before my next trip to the store, that makes me happy!  I whipped up what I call coconut curry chicken.  I love that I can use just one pan, my cast iron skillet.  I also made some brown rice as a delicious accompaniment to this dish.

Looking ahead to my busy week I am excited for many things on my work agenda.  How cool is that?!!  I am really excited for my work week.  I am continuing to love my job.  It is so perfect for me.  I know I’ll love my week even more with my delicious meals on the go I will get to enjoy.  Have a great week!  Eat well.

Coconut Curry Chicken

Heat a tablespoon of sunflower seed oil (or whatever you have on hand that isn’t olive oil) in a 10-12 inch skillet.  Add 1/2 of a medium yellow onion, finely chopped and saute until translucent.  Next, add one pound of chicken breast cut into bite size pieces.  Saute until just browned.  Add 2 Tablespoons of powdered yellow curry and stir around to coat the chicken pieces. Add one 14 ounce can of light coconut milk and a half cup of chicken broth. Stir until combined and simmer uncovered for 20 minutes, or until sauce begins to reduce and chicken is cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degree. Top with freshly chopped green onions and cilantro.  You could even add a crack or two of some fresh peppercorns! Enjoy over greens, rice, or both!

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