1 June 2014
In our nest, we're all about trying to find ways to squeeze the absolute most from our money, food and time right now. If we can do it and produce zero waste, that increases the awesomeness factor x10. Our favourite way to do all of the above begins with one chicken.
Harking back to my childhood, where we'd have a roast every weekend, we've begun to do the same. It sets up our week with full happy bellies and a bunch of meals already begun for our week ahead. There are some wonderful people all over the place talking about how they do this (Gourmet Girlfriend is one), but here's our chook rhythm and how it all works...
So we start with roasting one chicken. I look for the biggest chook I can find, always free-range, preferably organic and pasture fed. I keep some of the juices for gravy and pour off some oil for cooking tomorrow. I also roast up a whole load of veggies (more than we need) to go with it and that's our first meal. Super yum.
Later, I remove all the remaining meat from the bone and pop it in the fridge for another meal. The bones go in the slow cooker with an onion, chopped in half (skin and all), some garlic, carrot, celery, pepper corns, a bay leaf, water and a slosh of apple cider vinegar. That bubbles away for 24hrs. So there's stock/bone broth good to go for meals during the week. I get about 2L which usually makes 2 serves for our family, enough for soup and to add to a casserole or something like that.
In the morning, the left-over veggies make a lovely simple frittata*…
If I was lucky and found a big chook, I'll have managed to have enough meat left over to add to the bone broth for soup. A big chook will do this. Otherwise we'll enjoy the broth with lots of veggies. There are a multitude of other ways I can use the meat too… chicken pies, quick stir-fry, curry, risotto… And of course, cold as is, or on a sanga.
A favourite right now is what we've come to know as Crispy Chicken Salad. Lettuce and a bunch of other yum green veggies (whatever's seasonal and available), some grated carrot and some left-over chicken which has been shallow fried in left over chook fat/olive oil/coconut oil/ghee until it starts to go crispy. We throw a handful of fresh coriander from the garden on top and some homemade thai-style dressing. Sometimes we throw sesame seeds and kim-chi in the bowl too, just for yum and probiotic value.
So what to do with the left over stock bits and bones? I pick out the onions and whiz what's left in the food processor. After 24hrs, the chicken bones are so brittle they crumble in your fingers. With the veggies in the stock, they make a super easy, nutritious food for our furry owlets. Full of minerals and good things. We feed the soft, whipped up left-overs to our three cats and chihuahua. It lasts about 3-4 meals. And best of all, it uses ALL the last of the waste. And saves us a HEAP of money - pets are expensive! Especially if you want to feed them good stuff, and we KNOW this food isn't full of preservatives and other yuck stuff they don't need.
So there's our week all set up. The rest of my meal plan fits in around that. Super easy and and affordable and helping to stretch everything a bit further. And some really great, healthy meals too!
What are your tips for stretching your meals and your budget a bit further?
Any great left-overs recipes?
Have a gorgeous week! xx
*Stay tuned for our super-quick breakky fritatta recipe next week. xx