3 Meals Now & 2 Put Up For Later...From A $3.00 Flat Of Chicken Thighs
My husband does most of our grocery shopping. We don't own a car so it's very lucky that our son works with him and is a close neighbor. It works well for our son as well, since we contribute to gas and car maintenance. As you may read between the lines, ours is a very close family.
I can arrange a ride to town when it's necessary, but it's just easier for Bruce to shop on his way home from work. Our system works for us and I rarely have an issue with a purchase choice he makes.
However, last week, when I had asked for a “large flat of chicken thighs,” he brought home a flat of six pieces, rather than the ten or more I had envisioned. To his credit, the entire flat cost less than $3.00 and each thigh was rather plump. I suppose many people would have seen it as a “large flat of chicken thighs,” but I didn't and it threw my plans off...at first.
See, I try to spread food, and therefore the expense, as far as I possibly can. I also try to prepare healthy, satisfying and filling meals that stick to the rib and comfort the soul. Six thighs just didn't seem like much, until I donned my thinking cap.
Here is what I came up with...
I took the skin off the chicken and put it in a small pot, covered it in water and boiled it until the water had reduced by half.
Note: We don't eat the skins, but they are highly prized --special treats, for our dogs and the water I boil them in, once the fat is removed, is frozen to later be added to stocks.
Then I put the entire flat of meat in a stock pot, added 3 quarts of water, 3 bay leaves, salt and pepper and set it to boil. Meanwhile, I sautéed 2 large onions, 1 large green pepper and a celery stalk –all sliced thinly, in 2 tablespoons of olive oil, then added them to the boiling pot and turned the whole thing down to simmer. I cooked the “soup” for about twenty minutes, then removed the chicken and set it aside to cool.
Once the meat was cool enough to handle, I took two of the meaty thighs out and set them aside, then put the remaining four in a lidded casserole dish and put it in the refrigerator.
I took the meat off the bones of the two I kept out, added the bones back to the simmering pot, then chopped the meat into bite sized chunks and set them aside.
In my 3 quart saucepot, I sautéed another thinly sliced onion in oil until they were clear and tender. Then added the meat, a ladle of the liquid from the stock pot, and a can of creamed soup (I chose mushroom) and simmered it while I prepared egg noodles and a salad.
Monday we ate Creamy Chicken & Mushroom Sauce over egg noodles, served with a salad. Left over sauce went back into the stock pot and everything was refrigerated until the next day.
I pulled two of the remaining thighs out, removed the bones –bones went to the stock, and chopped the meat into bite sized chunks and set it aside.
I pulled out my trusty 3-quart pot and sautéed a large, thinly sliced, onion in olive oil in it. Then added the meat chunks, a ladle of the soup from the stock pot, a jar of marinara sauce, oregano, salt and pepper and three chopped garlic cloves –we like garlic. I simmered the sauce for half an hour then served it over spaghetti noodles.
Tuesday we ate a version of Chicken Cacciatore with garlic bread and a salad. Left over sauce went back into the stock pot and everything was refrigerated until the next day.
I took out the remaining two chicken thighs, removed the bones –bones went into stock which was boiling on the back burner, cut the meat into bite sized chunks and set it aside.
Into my 3-quart pot, I poured 4 cups of dried Great Northern beans, cleaned them, and then set them to boil in enough water to cover them with two inches headroom. After they had boiled for twenty minutes, I drained the water off, rinsed the beans and then put them into the stock pot with all the the week's goodness simmering away. Then I removed the chicken bones and bay leaves, added the chicken chunks and let it simmer, stirring occasionally, for two hours.
Note: To the stock, I also added 1 heaping tablespoon of dried green bean flour and 3 finely grated carrots. My husband is a very fussy eater and refuses to eat most vegetables –if he knows they are there. I've learned to sneak them in over the years, but that's for another article.
Wednesday we ate White Bean & Chicken Soup with cornbread and a salad. We had enough soup left over to fill two, quart sized, canning jars...so I canned it and put it them the pantry for two more meals at some later date.
Not bad for a $3.00 flat of six chicken thighs.