Tuesday, July 22, 2008

MAKE-A-MENU SAMPLE - The Rubber Chicken

Do you remember my post about the Pilgrim's Pride chicken that I purchased with my coupons? I bought 10 of them. Wow... That's a lot of birds! What does one do with that many cluckers? Well, you follow the steps to Make-a-Menu and make cooking a no brainer! (Or, should I say, a "bird-brainer"?) Okay - enough with the bad jokes...

Step #1:
I found 5 recipes on my Baby Step #1 Family Favorites list that use cooked chicken pieces as a main ingredient. I then made a page for each recipe by either printing out the recipe or making a copy. I put the pages behind the "chicken" section of my Make-a-Menu Notebook. Here are my 5 recipes:

* Almost Famous Chicken Patties (From The 30 Day Gourmet)
* Crispy Chicken Tacos
* Mom's Chicken and Rice Soup
* Ree's Chicken Spaghetti (from Confessions of a Pioneer Woman)
* Stuffed Shells (From The 30 Day Gourmet)

Step #2:
I then wrote those 5 recipes down on 5 different days of my calendar:
July 16 - Mom's Chicken and Rice Soup
July 24 - Almost Famous Chicken Patties
July 29 - Ree's Chicken Spaghetti
Aug 3 - Stuffed Shells
Aug 6 - Crispy Chicken Tacos on Aug 6

Step #3:
After I wrote these recipes down on my Make-a-Menu Calendar, I took a look at each recipe and jotted down any ingredients that I'll need on my grocery list.

Step #4:
Now comes the time to do a little prep work. It will pay off when I have a busy night!
The last thing I did was boil 3 of the chickens. After cooling and chilling overnight, I threw away the layer of chicken fat, and set aside 10 cups of chicken broth for freezing and using in the chicken spaghetti at a later time. Then I picked the meat from the bones (I HATE, HATE, HATE this part of the job!!) I packaged 4 bags with 2 cups of chicken each.

The remaining 2 cups of chicken and defatted broth was used to make the chicken soup that night. It was sooo yummy, and I had enough left over for the next day's lunch and to freeze 2 large containers of soup for two other meals, which I wrote on my calendar on August 4 and 25.

Let's review:
3 Chickens for around 3 bucks each so my budget will be preserved...
8 Meals each for 4+ people (my kids always have a guest, it seems!)...
My menu already made out so my sanity is saved...
Half the cooking done and in the freezer so my nerves won't be frazzled at dinnertime...

Those chickens stretched a loooonnnnngggg way. Don't ya just love a rubber chicken???!!