Tag Archives: chicken

A New Year’s Resolution

January, in so many ways, is a month of fresh starts and new beginnings. Most of us have made our resolutions: to lose weight, to exercise, to spend more time with family, etc. Many of us will put these well-intentioned resolutions to the side before the month is over. But what if you had a resolution that required a commitment of only one week? Would you be able to keep it? What kind of change could a one-week resolution have on your life or your perspective of the world?

The answer is quite a bit.

Here is the resolution I am asking you to make: For one week stop to consider the people who make your meals possible. Don’t focus on the factories or grocery stores, don’t focus on whether the food you eat is healthy or not. Think beyond these things to the farmers, the men and women who grew the wheat in your morning muffin, the corn in your tortilla chips, the beef in your burger. You don’t need to spend time debating the method of farming – conventional or organic, large or small scale, you just need to take time to picture the people.

If every one of us took just a moment to stop and wonder about who raised the food we eat, what kind of impact would that have? Regardless if your dinner consists of chicken nuggets and French fries or baked chicken and mashed potatoes – proud farming families cared for and raised the food you are eating.

When you begin to focus on the people that make your meals possible your perspective changes a little. Take one moment before a meal to imagine the faces, the hands, the hearts of the nation’s farmers. When you do so, you begin to connect to the food they worked hard to raise and harvest, closer to the animals they care for and the land they tend.

As a member of a proud farm family, I’d like to ask you to make this one-week resolution. My family raises cows for milking and for beef, my brother combines local fields full of wheat, oats and corn, my friends tend to salad greens, butternut squash, and other veggies grown for both processing and local markets. Farm families come in different forms and sizes but the passion for the work we do is the same, the pride and care we take in providing safe, delicious food is the same as well.

Happy New Year from my farm family to yours.

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Filed under Basics, Common Ground

Icky is the word

I have a killer cold. Snotty, congested, coughing and just all around icky. I not only feel icky, I look icky. This weekend started with me being sent home from work because (even though it wasn’t directly spoken) I was grossing people out. I spent the rest of the time in a Nyquil-induced haze.

I did take the time to make a heaping pot of wholesome, chock-full-of-goodness chicken stock – complete with chicken feet. I know, I know, chicken feet! Talk about icky, but I’ve been told by several truly awesome cooks that chicken feet are the key to the most awesome chicken stock you will ever have. And after this weekend’s batch I am in complete agreement. The stock turned out so amazing that I am convinced a week of quick and easy chicken soup will have me back to the picture of health in no time.

Here is an older recipe for chicken stock. If you can find chicken feet (which I highly recommend) throw in about a pound to pound and a half. They add a dense richness to the flavor.

Quick and Easy Chicken Soup (serves 1)

Ingredients:

1/4 c. chopped onion

1 large celery stalk, chopped

2 medium carrots, chopped

2 c. chicken stock

1 T. parsley pesto

Cooked noodles or rice (optional)

  1. In a medium sauce pan, heat 1T. olive oil.
  2. Add onion, celery and carrots. Saute over medium heat until fork-tender (about 5 minutes).
  3. Pour in chicken stock and bring to boil. Cook for additional 3 minutes.
  4. Remove from heat. Stir in parsley pesto and noodles if desired.

This recipe is my go-to for a quick but hearty soup. In less than twenty minutes I have the most delicious and fortifying soup chock full of veggies. Perfect when I’m feeling tired, cranky or just plain icky.

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Filed under Food

Home economics

Two years ago I lived on a very tight budget. I’d been let go from a consulting job and was working part-time at a local farm (see January 2010 posts). I had student loans and rent and a whole lot of worries. During this period I lived on a $20/week budget  for all groceries. I did it and did it well, never really feeling like I was terribly deprived and only once eating Ramen noodles. I ate healthy, satisfying meals – or dinners at least.

Today I am again living on a tight budget. I have a wonderful full-time job in a field I love. I am not as burdened with the immediate financial worries as I once was, but it doesn’t mean that I have forgotten the lessons learned either. I’m back to having a very low grocery budget – $30/week. This may blow some minds but as I said all those years ago – it just takes some planning and some know how. I’ve realized that know how is a rare commodity in today’s world.

Question: Do you know what to do with a whole chicken?

I ask because a $5.00 chicken ($4.92 to be exact) has provided me with a week’s worth of meals.

Sunday I roasted it on a bed of potatoes, onions, carrots and celery. I put the meat aside in containers for later use.

Monday I had chicken salad and crackers for lunch while the carcass boiled away in a large pot to make stock (click for recipe). And for dinner I had cream of tomato soup (below) with grilled cheese.

Tuesday’s lunch was left over roasted veggies with about 1/4 c. of shredded chicken and dinner was a quick saute of the final roasted veggies, 1/2 c. of chopped chicken and frozen green beans.

Today is leftovers from last night for lunch and a piping hot bowl of chicken and rice soup for dinner.

Thursday will be leftover soup for lunch and chicken parm pasta for dinner.

Friday will be more soup for lunch and, well, dinner hasn’t been decided yet.

One chicken has provided me with all these meals plus many more. I have 3 quarts of stock still in the freezer and that’s not counting the 2 I have in the fridge waiting for tonight’s soup. I have one serving of tomato soup and 3 servings of diced chicken in the freezer too. And after tonight’s soup I’ll have another 2 servings of that tucked in the freezer as well.

And no, I am not sick of chicken… yet…but I won’t be doing a repeat next week – that featured food is yet undetermined. Careful planning, creative menus and know how – that’s how this single girl is happily living on one tiny (but delicious) budget.

Quick and easy tomato soup (2 servings)

1/4 c. finely diced onion

1 c. tomato sauce

2 c. chicken stock

1/4 c. heavy cream

salt and pepper to taste

  1. In a sauce pan saute onions in 2 tsp. olive oil until translucent.
  2. Stir in tomato sauce and let cook 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Add chicken stock and bring to a boil. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Turn heat to low and stir in cream. Let cook for another minute or two or until soup comes back up to temp.

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Filed under Basics, Day to day, Food