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Monday, April 28, 2008

Using a Rotisserie Chicken When Your'e Sick..




I've got a few little chickens in my freezer, but being under the weather today I just am not in the mood/energy to thaw and properly deal with a frozen solid chicken.

I am blessed to have a son here who was able to run to the store and pick me up 2 rotisserie chickens from Food Lion and the 'must haves' from my grocery list. The rotisserie chickens were just getting done when he got to the store, so they are perfect. He had a couple of legs for his lunch and I took the remaining meat off the bones of the rest and placed it all on a plate, then covered it with plastic wrap and stuck it in the fridge. I never put whole cooked chickens in the fridge I take them apart and spread the meat out a bit so it will cool quickly and not let any bacteria get brewing in it. The meat is in there for us to 'grab quick' and make whatever our little hearts desire for dinner--cuz I am not cooking. Sorry-- sick. My son also picked up a bag of salad mix and some croutons--so that is an option for some chicken, also we have tortilla shells and cheese, I mean there's plenty of ways to use chicken and 'mom' does not have to do all the cooking when there are easy fixings on hand.

The last thing I did with my rotisserie chicken for now is to grab all the bones and carcass parts and toss them in my big stock pot. I then went in the fridge and grabbed a handful of carrots, celery and onion. I was so pleased that there were already cleaned and cut up veggies in my fridge. (Cuz I was on my toes last week! Yeah!!) I didn't have to do any chopping now, on a day I feel so yucky. I keep grabbable celery & carrot sticks in gallon size ziplocks and I also keep onions either fine or loosely chopped in those nifty little clear plastic rubbermaid containers that I brag about so often. I used to just keep them in mason jars--same principle--you need to keep chopped onions in something airtight and thick enough to keep the onion aroma from spreading around in the fridge. I like very clear containers because what we don't see clearly often ends up garbage, what we do see clearly gets used up.

So-- anyhow to my stock pot full of bones, celery, carrots and onion I added small handfuls of thyme, sage and a few bay leaves. I also added a bit of salt and some black pepper. I brought my pot to a boil and very quickly turned it down to just above the lowest setting on my stove. In a couple hours after I nap a while I can strain all the bones and veggies out of the stock and I'll have fresh chicken stock to use for soup. I usually try to cool my stock rapidly by putting the pot in a sink full of ice water before I strain it. After straining it into containers I refrigerate it. When it has been in the fridge for a while the fat will separate and I can come in and just scoop the yellow chicken fat off the top of the stock.

The chicken fat is actually a usable thing--it can be 'good for you' in small doses and you can't get more frugal than free fat, I sometimes keep a little bit in the freezer in a small baggie. I like to use a 'wee tad' of it in my homemade matzo balls. This isn't diet food of course--but if you are sick chicken fat in the soup can be a nutritious boost and it is very flavory. I intend to put some cayenne in my soup tomorrow too--for the soothing benefit for my throat.

Tomorrow I plan to make some of my chicken soup from whatever chicken is left in the fridge after everyone grabs what they like tonite, and my homemade stock. The thing is this was all pretty easy--it does take time but it isn't time that has to be spent all at once. It can be done in 'paces'. Having cut up veggies on hand, made it super easy to start the stock and I don't have to watch that pot while it simmers--I can take a nap. So for a few minutes of prep I get something really worthwhile to use tomorrow when hopefully I'll be a little better.

Rotisserie Chicken when you're sick-- A semi-frugal helper!

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