Wednesday, June 3, 2009

4 Ways to Eat a Chicken

Last weekend I purchased a whole, uncooked, chicken from my grocer thinking I'd roast it for dinner and use the leftovers to make sandwiches for our lunches. Good thing creativity struck! Using items from the garden and pantry we ended up with 4 distinct meals.

Meal 1:

Herbed Roast Chicken
1 chicken, 4-4 1/2 lb
1 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 Tbsp chopped fresh taragon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c fresh squeezed lemon juice
2 Tbsp butter, room temperature
pinch of cayenne pepper
pinch of paprika
salt & pepper, ground
whole fresh rosemary and taragon sprigs
1/2 of a small apple

Preheat the over to 425 F. In a small mixing bowl combine the fresh chopped herbs, garlic, lemon juice, butter and spices. Coat the outside of the chicken, all over, with this mixture. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a stoneware baker. or on an oiled rack in roasting pan (if using roasting pan add 1 cup water into the pan to prevent the drippings from burning). Place the apple half and the whole fresh herbs in the body cavity. Roast the chicken, basting several times with the pan juices until golden brown, about 50-65 minutes. An instant read thermometer in the thickest part of the thigh should register at least 170 F. Remove chicken from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes before carving.

*In order to make the remaining meals, pull as much chicken from the carcass as possible and shredd it into bite-sized pieces. Put the carcass in a pot of boiling water for at least 45 minutes or until the remaining meat falls from the bones. Discard skin, bones and cartilage, saving the pieces of meat that have fallen from the bone. Cool the chicken stock and freeze in glass jars or small plastic containers for later use.

Meal 2:

Dried Fruit Chicken Salad
2 c shredded cooked chicken (or turkey), chilled
1/4 c pine nuts
1/4 c assorted dried fruits, chopped

2 Tbsp light sour cream
2 Tbsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 1/2 Tbsp rice wine vinegar
salt and pepper to taste

Combine dressing ingredients in a large bowl and mix well. Add chicken, nuts and dried fruits, stir to combine. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before serving. Serve over bibb lettuce as a salad or in whole wheat toritillas with lettuce as a sandwich.

Meal 3:

Baked Chicken, Vegetable and Rice Casserole
1 c white rice
1 c shredded chicken
1/2 c chopped zuchinni
1/2 c chopped summer squash
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh taragon
1 c chicken stock or water
1/2 c light mayonnaise
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/2 c chopped fresh or frozen broccoli
1/4 c plain bread crumbs
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9x9 baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Add the rice and stock (or water). Sprinkle the top with the chopped fresh herbs. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes. Remove dish fromt he oven and sprinkle the top with the chicken and squashes. Cover and cook another 20 minutes or until all of the liquid has been absorbed by the rice. While that is cooking, mix the mayonnaise, cheddar cheese and egg together. After the 20 minutes has elapsed, remove the dish from the oven; add salt and pepper to taste and stir so the meat and vegetables are evenly distributed. Evenly arrange the broccoli on the top of the rice mixture. Pour the mayonnaise, egg and cheddar mixture over the top and lightly coat with the bread crumbs. Return the dish to the oven, uncovered, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the cheese begins to brown.

Meal 4:

Chicken Nachos with Creamy Barbeque Cilantro Dipping Sauce
1/4 bag of tortilla chips (I like Hint of Lime for this dish)
1 c shredded cooked chicken
1/2 c bbq sauce (recipe to follow, or store bought)
1 can black beans or chili beans
1/2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1/2 of a small tomato, chopped
1/4 of a medium sweet onion, chopped
1/2 c chopped Romaine lettuce

Preheat oven to 350 F. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add cooked chicken and half of the barbeque sauce. Continue cooking until chicken is thoroughly coated with sauce, adding more sauce as necessary. Spread tortilla chips on a baking sheet, overlapping them so there are no gaps. Spread the chicken, beans, cilantro, and cheese on top of the chips; bake until cheese is melted about 10 minutes. When cheese is melted remove baking sheet from oven and top with tomato, onion and lettuce. Serve with Barbeque Cilantro Dipping Sauce.

Simple Barbeque Sauce
2 c ketchup
1/4 c distilled white vinegar
1/4 c molasses
1 Tbsp dry mustard
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
dried oregano and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 Tbsp bourbon (optional)

In a saucepan over low heat whisk all ingredients together. Simmer for 20-30 minutes, stirring often. Makes about 2 1/2 cups.

Creamy Barbeque Cilantro Dipping Sauce
1/3 c light sour cream
1/4 c light Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing
1/4 c barbeque sauce
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

Stir all ingredients together in a small bowl. Taste and adjust flavors to your liking.