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Real Food Money Saving Tips: Chicken Thighs and Drumsticks for Stock

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Want to make chicken stock but don’t think you can afford good quality chicken? Buy chicken thighs (bone-in) and drumsticks. These pieces are quite inexpensive. Conventional health tells us to avoid dark and red meat. So over the last few decades, meat producers in the U.S. have put a premium on white meat – which is actually the least healthful. Dark meat is actually better for you to eat because it contains more of those all important nutrients found in poultry (see below). If you can get your hands on chicken organ meats, those are also cheap, and extremely nutrient-dense to use in soups, stews, casseroles, and any other dish which has a lot of ingredients in it (think hiding the organ meats in these meals).

Once you have let your bones soak for an hour or so in filtered water with a splash of apple cider vinegar, add in all your other ingredients: butter or ghee, onions, carrots, celery, salt, pepper, and any seasonings you like. I frequently use any combination of the following: parsley, thyme, sage, marjoram, oregano, or basil. Here’s a post about making bone broth.

If you are feeling adventurous, find a farmer who will give you or sell you some chicken feet. Yes, chicken feet. These are incredibly cheap and fantastically abundant in minerals, amino acids, gelatin, and collagen – which helps your whole body and especially your skin, eyes, and bones.  You can add these into any chicken stock after cleaning them and clipping off the nails. Some people don’t clip them off, but I do since toxins can collect in them (such as arsenic).

Is all chicken created equal?

Unfortunately, no. You will get the most nutrition from chickens (or any poultry) raised on pasture, without antibiotics or feeds which alter their nutritional composition such as corn, and grain (and are likely to be sourced from GMO – genetically modified organisms). You are also going to get 3-5 times the amount of nutrients like CLA (conjugated linoleic acid), Omega 3 essential fatty acids, and fat soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.  Read this informative article from Eat Wild to learn more about the benefits of grass-fed and pasture-raised.

Sources for chicken:

Ideal - pasture-raised direct from the farm – may also be organic (ask local farmers or go to your farmer’s market) see this post about deciphering egg and poultry labels
Better - Pasture-raised chickens from local grocery or health food store – may also be organic
Acceptable - commercial and grocery store organic, “cage-free”, or “free-range”, omega-3 chickens. Many of these are also raised on feedlot premises, but may be antibiotic-and chemical (pesticides) free.
Avoid – conventional poultry from the grocery store which likely is raised on a feedlot, usually administered antibiotics, usually exposed to pesticides/herbicides, and most often given corn, soy, and grain as main source of feed.

Deciphering egg and poultry labels
More money-saving tips:
Waste not, want not: tips for saving in the kitchen
3 tips for eating organic on a budget
Proof that real food doesn’t have to cost a bundle, is nourishing, and satisfies!
Food budgets- using creativity and prioritizing for healthy eating

This post is part of Simple Lives Thursday Blog Hop, hosted this week by Sustainable Eats

Healthy Living Kids & Family Real Food Recipes

Roasted Chicken with Tomato Cream Sauce and Vegetables

www.mypicshares.com
Last week, I wanted to make something with chicken that was a little out of the ordinary; something special. We prepare a roast chicken sometimes once a week (budget allowing) and use the meat for at least two meals, and then cook the carcass for broth and soup. This time, I happened to have a whole breast instead of an entire bird from the farm where I buy chicken.

All I could think about was Italian. I started asking my son if he wanted Mexican or Italian, and described how I might prepare it if I went Italian. He definitely wanted Italian too. So I made up my mind I’d make a tomato cream sauce to go with it.

The bouquet of tomatoes and garlic with basil sauteeing in olive oil is intoxicating, and it becomes even more so when your preparation becomes soft and can be added to the cream sauce mixture. The delicate aromas of cream and tomato go exquisitely together with the pungent, yet savory smell of garlic and basil.

My husband is a great cook, and he and I prepared the cream sauce together so it would turn out perfect. :)  Everything we made was pretty much impromptu. I’m not one for planning or getting things done ahead of time. I put the chicken in the oven and set the timer for one hour. Then we waited until about a half an hour before the chicken would be finished to start the cream sauce. The results were fantastic and it was easy!

Ingredients, cream sauce:

  • 2 cloves minced fresh garlic
  • 4 – 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 2 tablespoons cream or sour cream
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • chopped tomatoes – 2 – 3 depending on the size and how much tomato taste you want
  • chopped fresh basil – we used about 10 leaves

Roasting chicken:

  • roasted chicken – you can use a whole chicken or parts; we used a whole breast with bones and skin (don’t forget to save the carcass for broth and chicken fat for other cooking projects when your chicken is done cooking!)
  • rosemary, dried – 1/2 teaspoon
  • oregano – 1/2 teaspoon
  • basil – 1/2 teaspoon
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil, two tablespoons or more if desired – melted and poured over the chicken to bake
  • rice pasta (optional), or you could use rice

Vegetables:

  • Your choice – we used diced zucchini and green beans
  • butter or ghee for vegetables

Directions for preparing the chicken:

  1. Gently melt coconut oil on the stove.
  2. Prepare your chicken for baking – use a baking dish that is the appropriate size for your chicken. If you are baking a whole chicken, you can use a baking dish, dutch oven, or piece of parchment paper spread over a cookie sheet. This is how we roast our chicken. I normally bake my chicken on 350 degrees in the oven.
  3. Pour coconut oil on the chicken and then sprinkle your seasonings on top. Place your chicken in the oven and bake for 45 minutes to an hour if you have large pieces such as a whole breast. If you have a whole chicken, bake approximately 20 minutes per pound. You can cover your chicken toward the end if the top starts to become too brown.

Directions for cream sauce (with rue):

  1. When your chicken is approximately 1/2 hour from being finished cooking, start the cream sauce and cut up your vegetables for steaming. Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan up to medium heat (just before smoking). Begin to sautee minced garlic, tomatoes and basil. Sprinkle salt and pepper while cooking. Sautee until your mixture has become a mush (sauce). Turn to low heat.
  2. Now you are ready for the rue. In a small pot, melt 2 tablespoons of butter on medium-low heat. Gently stir in sprouted flour until you have a paste, the same consistency of pancake batter. Gently add in a cup of chicken stock, and keep stirring until mixed well.  Stir in a pinch of salt and pepper.
  3. Gently stir in a half a cup of whole milk. Keep stirring until milk has warmed. Gently stir in two tablespoons of fresh sour cream until warm.
  4. Gently stir in olive oil, tomatoes, and basil mixture with the rue ingredients. Keep on medium low. Bring it to the point where it is just barely steaming while stirring constantly but slowly. Do not allow it to settle or burn. You might see a bubble or two of milk – this is when you want to bring the heat down, and leave the pan uncovered. Allow it to sit this way on low heat for about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally until serving and keep on low heat.

Vegetables:

Depending on what you use, you can steam or sautee your vegetables, or prepare them in some other way. We steamed our vegetables for this recipe and added butter at the end. I chopped up a whole small zucchini squash ahead of time and set aside. When I was ready to cook the vegetables (about 10 minutes before the chicken was finished), I used a small pot with a steamer and boiled some water. Then I added some frozen green beans from a local farm and the chopped zucchini. I steamed them for about 7 minutes and then added butter at the end.

Directions for pasta or rice:

If you choose to prepare pasta or rice, you will want to start these items ahead of your other meal items.

Rice:

You will need 40-50 minutes of cooking time on the stove after you bring the water to a boil. I use approximately 2 cups water to 1 cup rice. Brown rice needs longer cooking time than white, and we always use brown rice. I add a bit of sea salt and a slice of real butter to my rice water for flavor and to keep the rice from sticking together.

Pasta:

  1. Prepare about 15 minutes before chicken and sauce are finished.
  2. Fill a stockpot with water and bring to a boil on high heat.
  3. Add a teaspoon of olive oil and 1 teaspoon of salt.
  4. Bring to a boil on high heat.
  5. Add pasta – anywhere from 10 – 16 ounces, depending on how many people you are serving.
  6. Stir and separate pasta quickly to avoid it sticking together.
  7. Allow pasta to boil for a minute and then turn it down to low. Cover.
  8. Stir occasionally while simmering for about 10 minutes.
  9. Test pasta to make sure it is at the right consistency and then drain water promptly. If pasta is left in the water even a few seconds too long, it can become soggy.

When all your food items are ready, serve chicken and vegetables on plates and pour the luscious tomato cream sauce on top. Garnish with basil leaves and shredded parmesan or asiago cheese if desired (it’s so good that way!).
This post is part of GNOWFGLINS Tuesday Twister Carnival and A Moderate Life’s Two for Tuesdays Recipe Carnival. Please visit Wardeh’s and Alex’s sites and see the other great recipes listed there.