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Whole chicken experiment, day 4

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Why make your own stock? Well, what else would you do with your bones? Throw it out. Shameful. Home made chicken stock is unbelievably better than the canned stuff; It is more flavorful and adds depth to the dish. Plus it’s ridiculously easy to make! Even easier if you have a slow cooker.

HINT: Buy soup socks. Soup socks allows you to cook everything into cloth sieves, making clean up and separating the ingredients a snap. “Remove the sock and leave the stock!”

Usually, I throw the chicken carcass into one sock and the mirepoix into another sock, toss those two socks into the slow cooker, fill the cooker 3/4 of the way with water, season a bit and in the words of Ron Popeil, “set it and forget it.” I come home and voila I have stock that I will use as a base for risottos, soups, quinoa, etc. Trust me, everything tastes better with home made stock.

Last night, since I wanted to make a meal of this as part of my experiment, instead of diced onions, celery and carrots I tossed into the sock chunks of onions, carrots, leeks, potatoes, turnips, radishes and some fresh herbs. When I got home, I scooped out, bagged and tossed into the freezer some of the stock, threw out the sock of chicken bones and opened up the sock of veggies into the remaining soup and tossed in some elbow macaroni. Too easy!

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Whole chicken experiment, day 3

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Dinner 3: Chicken enchilada

Used the remaining chicken meat and also the chicken chunk and cream of chicken soup mixture that I had extra from yesterday’s pot pie to make tonight’s enchiladas. Enchiladas are pretty hard to mess up and only takes a few tweaks to step it up, ie using chipotle peppers in the enchilada sauce and of course garnish with fresh cilantro.

No more chicken meat left but the whole chicken yielded 3 filling meals. Not done yet though. Check back tomorrow.

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Whole chicken expirement, day 2

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Dinner 2: Chicken pot pie with a side salad of mixed greens, fennel, fuji apples, dried cranberries and gorgonzola

Never made pot pie before.  Actually never have eaten pot pie before.  So I was a little nervous about preparing this, especially with a friend who adores pot pies coming over for dinner.  I followed this recipe but made a few adjustments: http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/recipes/main-courses/chicken-pot-pie-with-cheddar-old-bay-biscuit-topper/

My adjustments:
1. I used one can of cream of mushroom soup and two cream of chicken soups
2. Did not use Mrs. Dash or onion powder, just seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground pepper
3. Cubed up some creamer potatoes, precooked them using ziploc steamer bags and tossed them in 
4. I used pecorino cheese instead of cheddar
5. Doubled the old bay
6. Watered down the bisquick batter a bit more, it was a little thick with the current ratio
7. And of course, instead of the whole boneless chicken breast, I took my left over chicken, shredded the meat and used that instead

Actually kept some of the chicken meat, about 1/2 cup of it for dinner tomorrow.  I also saved all the bones to make stock.  

The result…I enjoyed it although I never have had pot pie before so I don't know if the flavor was right.  My friend said it was "brilliant" and that it "reminded her of home", which of course made me beam from ear to ear.  
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Whole chicken experiment, day 1

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Trying to save money while challenging my culinary skills with a little experiment this week: how far can I stretch one whole chicken.  The victim, er subject, is a 7 lb Purdue roaster chicken, which cost me around $9 from Fresh Direct.  

Dinner 1: Roasted Chicken with a side of quinoa and pan roasted brussel sprouts
Roasted chicken is one of my favorite things to make…so so easy.  To make mine I stuff the cavity with orange slices, onions, cilantro (or whatever fresh herbs I may have around) and garlic .  I also squeeze the orange onto softened butter with minced garlic folded in and I stuff this mixture under the chicken's skin.  I have a convection oven with a roaster function so I just enter the the weight of the chicken and it always comes out perfectly.  
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