Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Week of Meals - Chicken

I have a concept of cooking that saves time and money.  My previous post: A week of meals – ham.
Basically, I make my “meat” on Monday, I put it in a Nesco roaster and let it cook – enough meat for the whole week.
This week it is chicken.  In the morning I put 4 whole chickens in the Nesco – FROZEN – set on low and left it all day. 
I like a crispy skin, so I took one chicken out when almost done and put in a roasting pan in the oven. 
Monday’s Menu:  Roast chicken, mashed potatoes and my freezer corn (from garden).
After supper, take the time NOW to debone and skin the other 3 chickens.  This will take time now, but will save you a lot of time during the week.  Save the carcasses and skin and Nesco juices – you will pressure cook these to make a great stock to use during the week.
In the morning the fat will settle to the top of the container of juices and you can throw that away. 
Take the juice and carcasses and put in pressure cooker.  I add carrots, celery, onions and garlic – fill with enough water to cover all and pressure cook @5# till kettle clickity clacks about 30 minutes.  This will give you a great stock and some extra meat to use later in the week.  Strain the stock – reserve in the refrigerator.  I sorted through the strainer and picked out any useable chunks' of meat to use, soft cooked carrots, etc. for “chicken bucket” and some skin and such for the barn cats. 
NOTE:  This is really full for pressure cooking – however, I trust my cooker and know how much it can handle – normally you don’t fill it this full.
Now you are ready for the week.   I did this on Tuesday.
Chicken Quesadillas:
Note:  The bean spread we made last week.
Spread flour tortillas with beans fill with Chicken filling – 1 can cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 C sour cream and diced chicken – makes a lot of filling.  I also added some Monterey Jack and cheddar cheese to these.  Put a little quesadilla sauce on bottom of pan, place rolled tortillas in pan, top with the cheeses, diced scallions, black olives and bake for 30-40- min. 
While baking, mix up a salad with avocados and dress with lime juice and oil.
Easy and tasty.
Wednesday’s Menu:  Homemade Chicken and Spinach Ravioli
Making homemade pasta is on my “leap list” so this is my first attempt – I will be making it again!
I made a simple red sauce using some of my canned tomatoes, some fresh tomatoes (need to use), onions, garlic and to add some sweetness – carrots.  Cook this down for an hour or so until everything is soft and mushy.  Add to you processor and blend it all together – skins, seeds and all!  Makes a really good sauce – extra can be put in the freezer.
For the pasta, I followed a simple recipe:  four, eggs, salt and water.  I mixed it all on my counter (like they do on food network) and kneaded it all together, let rest for 15 min. or so.
Remember the meat that cooked off the bones – you now use it.  Take chicken pieces and put in your processor – blend until small pieces.  Add minced spinach and onion to meat along with some grated Asiago cheese.  Mix together, I added 2 T melted butter to bind it – this is your filling.
Using another one of my estate “buyout” treasures – an old pasta roller – roll out your dough.  NOTE:  need extra hands!
I made some big ravioli – put in salted boiling water – when they float to top, flip them over and basically they are done.  Takes only minutes.  Top with sauce – they were yummy!
Thursday’s Menu:  Chicken Dumpling Soup
Remember the stock we made Tuesday, now you use it.  Take out stock – I divided into 2 kettles (I’m making a soup Friday too – so why not get that started now).  Add some water to about 3/4 full.  I actually added some “chicken base” too. 
You can make the soup with the things you like in it.  I actually cleaned out my refrigerator and added, corn (from Monday), green beans, carrots, celery, onion, S&P, diced sage and parsley.  Add chicken.  I make fluffy dumplings (flour, salt, baking powder and milk).  bring soup to boil and drop by tablespoons into pot.
A real family pleaser on this COLD Wisconsin Day!
Friday’s Menu:
I LOVE Olive Garden’s Creamy Potato Gnocchi soup.  So, I tried to duplicate it.  Stock, celery, carrots, onions, parsley, chicken, heavy cream, nutmeg and grated parmesan cheese.  While this comes to a boil, mix up your gnocchi.  I had some left over mashed potatoes from this week, added them to flour, egg, milk and salt till works up into a dough.  I rolled them in little balls and rolled them off a fork to make those lines.  I then put them on a floured cookie sheet.  Once soup comes to a boil, drop floured gnocchi into soup (extra flour will thicken up soup).  Make a light salad and you are done. 
That’s it for my “Chicken Week of Recipes” 
Blessings from Wisconsin!
linked to:


Growing Home


Bama Girl said...

Jacky, I really enjoy reading your weekly menu plan and seeing how it all comes together throughout the week! That Nesco really comes in handy! I rarely use mine since I only cook for three. I love how you filled up your pressure cooker; most people wouldn't do that! Your ravioli and gnocchi is making me want to try this. They look delicious! I am going to be on the look out for a pasta machine at yard sales and estate sales. Check out my latest estate sale find and let me know what I can do about the smell. Blessings from Bama!

Michaele said...

Oh you are killing me here! It's an hour before dinner and I am drooling. Every single one of those meals are comfort foods! And THAT is what dumplings are supposed to look like. I would love to try the raviolli.
p.s. no ghost - just a camera not sure what I was asking of it.

Faye Henry said...

Oh my land child.. All I can say is Wow:-) Can I visit for a week.. Loved the look of the pasta.. Something in my to do list..
God bless

dr momi said...

Wow....everything looks so good! I'll have to try the quesadillas!

Kathy Felsted Usher said...

This is Super! I had to laugh though, when my mom comes to visit it's as if she were visiting Mars. She is used to going out, having something different every night and doing a lot of non-homey things. We don't. My husband is the cook around here, it's safer that way. He makes his Pot-O-Meat for the week- poor Mom. I love this approach though, something the same but different every night. I'll have him follow your meal plan next time she visits!

Heidi said...

Wow! I want it all. The creamy potato gnocchi soup, the giant ravioli, the dumplings, the homemade chicken stock, and the great roasting idea using the Nesco. I do it for extra turkeys at Thanksgiving, why hadn't I thought of using it before? What a great post, loaded with wonderfully practical ideas. Using the same thing for several days, but so differently, it'd be like eating out. I'd never get tired of this approach. You must be a great cook too. Your food looks so good.

BoPeep said...

I was skeptical that eating chicken for a week straight would be tolerable. But you've done a great job making it unique each night! On a side note, check your email. I'm not sure if you received my message about the Hometown Victory Girl Sewing Day at the Cutting Edge. We'd love to have you join us!

OurCrazyFarm said...

That old pasta roller is great! So many yummy looking recipes!

Dicky Bird said...

Thanks everyone for the nice comments!

Carmi said...

I had three frozen chickens and they are in the roaster now. I don't have a Nesco and my roaster only holds three chickens. You said low temp to cook the chickens. Would that be about 170 degrees? How about water, did you put any in the roaster?

mimi charmante said...

I found your blog this morning and can I tell you how much it reminds me of home? I live in Seattle now but am from Minnesota and seeing your recipes and posts, not to mention the photos - it gives me this warm feeling of comfort.
Thank you - I will be back!