Winner, Winner, Roast Chicken Dinner.

I’ve always loved this chicken recipe. I think I saw the idea in a Readers Digest and made my own off of that. It takes everything up a notch. It’s going to take a wee bit more effort because of mixing the glaze and stuffing but it’ll be worth it. I’d call this an important company worth dinner! Or in my case? A midweek mind blowingly delicious impress your husband dinner.

“Oh hey Honey, yeah I know I took care of the kids all day and did loads of things around the house and milked the cow when you got home from work, but yes, yes that amazing aroma is the chicken I prepped ahead of time and popped in the oven before having some one on one time with my main gal, Will. You can bow anytime you want. Kiss my feet even if you’d like”

Okay. So I would never say anything quite like that to Marius, mainly because he would just be like yuhuh okay. BUT. I did make the glaze and stuffing after lunch, then right before I went to milk, I pulled the chicken out of the fridge, dumped it in the dutch oven, poured the stuffing in, rubbed some glaze on and put ‘er in the oven. I felt pretty proud of myself, because when I am on it enough to prep dinner well ahead of time so at actual making dinner time there is very little to do? I get all chest puffed out proud of myself. Like yeah, I’m really that good. (Just don’t come over and see tomorrow’s dinner time, kk?)

There’s a problem with the photos though, and thats that at 6:30 pm in November, there is not ONE speck of daylight left. So I worked with what I had and you’ll just have to imagine I took much better photos.

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It looks pretty unassuming fresh out of the pot. Kinda like any regular ol’ chicken. It’s once you scoop out the sauce that’s made itself in the bottom of the pot that makes it soar.

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By scooping the date, rosemary and lemon out of the chicken, whisking it in the liquid at the bottom pot, you’ve just made your self the most amazing pan sauce for drizzling. Chives optional.

I used a small chicken for this, we usually have 5-8 pound chickens, (check out this post on what a large chicken breaks down into) but we tried a different breed and the hens were only 3 1/2-4 1/2 pound butchered. Still just as tasty, but not as big. Oh well! If I was using a larger chicken, I wouldn’t increase the amounts of stuffing or glaze, just cooking time.

Date and Rosemary Roast Chicken

3-4 lb whole chicken, thawed

Glaze:

1/4 c honey

1 tbsp tamari or soy sauce

3 tbsp dijon mustard

Stuffing:

1 c finely chopped dates (I used baking dates that come in a brick you have to chop up)

2 tbsp dry or 4 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped

Zest+Juice of 2 small lemons (I prefer organic especially when using zest!)

3 tbsp of the glaze

Whisk together glaze. Stir together stuffing. Put your chicken in a dutch oven or pan you can cover well with tinfoil. Pour/Stuff the stuffing into the cavity of the chicken. Rub 1/3 of the glaze over the chicken. Cover with oven safe lid or tented tinfoil. Bake at 375F for 20 min a pound. Glaze halfway through. Glaze when it reaches 170F, then let it rest for 10 minutes. Scoop the stuffing out of the cavity, take the chicken out and put it on a carving block. Whisk together the dates into the juices in the bottom of the pot, then pour into a dish. I use my 1 c pyrex glass measuring cup for easy pouring! Slice the roast chicken, and put the dish of sauce on the table for pouring! Enjoy!

Asian Honey Sesame Marinade

I discovered a lovely lovely thing the other day.

 

Mom on a Mission

 

This morning, my sister texted me that a friend of hers was sick, and in a hospital 4 hours away. Another friend was going to visit, so she whipped up a batch of muffins to send along. In our family, when any of the following happens:

New baby

Death in the family

Illness

Moving

 

We bring food. Usually a batch of muffins or cookies.  The odd time a meal. I feel things like muffins for snacks are a better.

When a relative had a very very far along miscarriage, my Grandma made an ice cream bucket full of cookies and brought it over for them. The Mom put the bucket on the floor for her three young kids and let them have at ‘er while she had a rest on the couch.

 

When my Grandma is sick, I always throw together a quick stew (with canned venison, I can have a stew ready to go into a crock pot in 5-10 min) and bring it in an ice cream bucket to her house. I don’t even ask her (of course she’ll say ‘oh it’s okay, I’ll be fine) I just pull our her slow cooker and plug it it, pouring in the stew.

 

Mom on a mission is always trying to bring a meal to a family when they need it. It is a very very honourable duty.

 

When browsing her website, I found the Asian Honey Sesame Marinade and just KNEW I needed to use it for chicken wings and drumettes and bbq them. She says that it’s great for pork, chicken, beef, really any type of meat, but it screamed bbq chicken to me!!

 

As I was sucking the meat off the last bone…I practically screamed. I hadn’t taken a picture!!! Cowboy said I should take a picture anyways, because it shows that we really liked them:

 

They were out of this world tasty, and a simple marinade as well. She suggests you divide meat between 2 bags, and freeze them in the bags. When you want it, 24 hours before, let it thaw in the fridge and it will continue to marinade! I marinaded it all day, used half, then put the other half in the freezer.

 

Asian Honey Sesame Marinade

3 – 3 1/2 lbs chicken drumsticks and wings. (Or ready for kebab chicken, pork or beef. It would feed more if you were using boneless meat instead of wings and drumettes)

3/4 c soy sauce

3 tbsp high heat vegetable oil (I used grapeseed)

3 tbsp sesame oil

1/4 c honey

1 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds

3 tbsp grated fresh ginger

5 cloves minced garlic.

 

Mix together marinade in a bowl. Divide meat between a freezer bag and a liquid tight container. Pour marinade over the two lots of meat. Marinade 12-24 hours, or freeze until ready to use. BBQ on medium-high for 15-20 minutes, turning halfway.

 

This is truly a really really great BBQ chicken! We’re having them again tonight 🙂

 

 

 

The Economics of Buying a Whole Chicken

The only thing available to us is whole chickens, as we choose to raise and butcher chickens ourselves. For the first few years the only way I cooked chicken was by roasting it, eating it, then using the leftovers for sandwiches, soups, etc. Then I had this amazing brainwave. Why don’t I cut up the chicken, so that I can have different cuts to work with!

 

Liiiiightbulb. (I love the movie Despicable Me!)

 

So here is the parts all cut up in a picture. It looks a little crazy, but really, a whole bunch of cut up chicken? Why wouldn’t it be!

This chicken may not have been the best chicken to show, because the skin was a bit ripped from plucking. Bottom left you see wings and drumettes. Top left is breasts. Middle bottom is thighs (they’re huge!) Middle top is drumsticks. On the far right is the carcass, which still has lots of meat on, but when it gets boiled for stock, we’ll get all of those! And the very bottom left corner? That is Mac’s toes stepping up on his little art table. Which happens to have the best light in the house.

 

If you buy a whole chicken from a farm around here, you’re going to pay between $4 and $5 a lb. This was a 7.5 lb chicken and at $4.50 a lb you’ll be paying $33.75. That sounds like a lot, but look at the meat on it, it’s nice and dark, really flavourful, moist meat. There is no comparison. Yes, if you buy chicken breasts on a low low sale, you’ll pay $1.99 a lb. What does the farmer get when you pay that little? How can they support their family on that? They also won’t have much flavour. I can’t repeat how much there is no comparison.

 

Here is the breakdown on this 7.5lb chicken. I leave the skin and bone on everything. This just adds so much dimension. I’ve also added my educated guess on what each would cost to buy at our grocery store, of a fairly local company, but not of the same calibre that we raise. Ours are pasture and grain fed, but not organic.

1 lb 12 oz breasts. Yes, those beauties weigh darn near a pound each. $10

1 lb 3 oz drumsticks $4.50

1 lb 3 oz thighs $8

12 oz drumettes/wings $3

2 lb 13 oz carcass

(Yes, I know this is not quite 7.5 lbs, but I rounded it)

Once you boil the carcass (about 2 hours, until it falls apart), you’ll be able to pick off 2-3 cups of shredded meat and 6 litres stock. $6 for the shredded meat, and good quality stock is $4 a litre, so $24 for the stock, with addition of simply salt, peppercorns and bay leaf. I’m a fairly simple person for my stock.

 

So you paid $33.75 for this primo chicken, and you’ve gotten what you would have paid $55 for a lower calibre similar amount of chicken, if you bought it pre-cut up. It doesn’t take much to cut one up, it takes a bit of practice. I’m sorry I don’t have pictures for you, I didn’t want to get my camera covered in chicken juice, and I need two hands! Maybe I’ll bug my Mom to take pictures of me cutting one up.

 

Now you’re looking at this, and wondering what you would do with such little amounts of some of the items. This is where a bit of quantity comes into play. I’ll cut up two at a time, while still half frozen, then put them into seperate bags back in the freezer. I’ll maybe one to two chicken breasts for a meal, 4 thighs, 12 wings/drumettes, 3-4 drumsticks. I usually use half the shredded cooked chicken for a soup, and half of it for something like quesadillas or burritos. Even if you don’t put chicken in a soup, it’s still got the goodness of the chicken in it because you’ve made your beautiful stock. (I should probably write a post about that?) I don’t make meals with chicken breast where each person gets a whole breast, I’ll grill it, cut it up in the kitchen and split 2 breasts between 4 people. When it’s all cut up you don’t even notice. Soup is a very frugal but great for you food. It’s overlooked really, we eat a lot of soup in the winter, stockpiling the stock from the summer. It’s a fantastic way to use root veggies that are in season all winter.

 

Here it is on a larger scale. For example, if you cut up 3 chickens, you’d pay just over $100.

You’d have:

6 chicken breasts, 3-6 meals

6 drumsticks, 1 1/2 meals (4 for one meal, 2 to combine with thighs for another meal)

6 thighs, 1 1/2 meals (4 for one meal, 2 to combine with drumsticks for another meal)

12 drumettes/wings, 1 meal

6-9 c shredded cooked meat, 3-4 meals

18 litres stock, which would make atleast 9 soups, with the addition of some pretty inexpensive carrots, celery, maybe frozen chopped spinach, rice, pasta, potatoes, barley. All these grocery items are pretty darn frugal. Freeze it of course (or pressure can!) and use for soups or in other cooking.

Which is 19-23 meals and $4.5-$5.25 a meal for your meat in a meal. For good quality meat, that is fantastic. If you’re thinking that it’s expensive, then I need to explain to you how we feel about meat.

 

We eat wild, homegrown or local meats only. If we didn’t have this available to us, we’d be vegetarians. We ourselves kill 98% of the meat we eat. Same goes for butchering.

 

But seriously, we believe in eating meats that aren’t laden with hormones, aren’t grown on foods the animals weren’t meant to eat, raised by people who care about what they’re raising, and being raised in ethical, sustainable ways. Amen.

 

While you have to make a bit bigger of an investment, buying in ‘bulk’ and cutting it up yourself will be the much cheaper option in the long run!

 

I really encourage you to do this, to seek out a source for quality chickens, because once you’ve tasted one, you won’t regret it!

Our New Years Eve Chinese Food Feast!

On New Years Eve my cousin and his family came over to spend the evening and night. They have 2 children under 4, and we have a 2 1/2 yr old. So nobody gets out to a party. Especially since our mothers love to go out to friends places on New Years, thus ridding us of babysitters. Gee, Thanks Mom.

 

Hi Mom! Hi Auntie Kath! I love you!

 

We decided this would be the best of both worlds! They came over, I made a spectacular dinner, and then they put their children to bed upstairs, we all had a few drinks, watched the countdown, played labrynth and just chatted. It was loads of fun and we’ll for sure do it again. Sure playing boardgames isn’t exactly party hardy (Especially since we’re all under 25!) but when you have small children, adult boardgames are out of the question, so it really was fun!

 

Sorry for the crappy photos, it was taken quickly before putting on the table for a hungry crowd. Their 1 1/2 yr old, literally held his face 4 inches from his plate and vacuumed the rice into his mouth with a spoon. It was so cute!

 

All these recipes were made gluten and dairy free, because two out of four of them can’t have gluten and dairy. I’ll add in where we changed it up. I make these recipes normally with gluten and dairy.

Our starters were goat cheese stuffed mushrooms:

I put the plate on the table, went to get my camera and came back to this. Considering 11 were eating in very short order, I’d say they’re delish!

 

These were super simple, 15 mushrooms, stems pulled out and chopped up small, stems tossed into a bowl, caps onto a oven safe pan. Into the stems add 2 minced green onions, 3 minced garlic cloves, 1 113 gram package of roasted garlic goat cheese and pepper to taste. Mixed it all together and stuffed it inot the caps! I use a small to medium size mushroom, you don’t want them too large for finger food.

The Chinese Beef Broccoli (Actually it was Venison Backstrap…ooohhh soooo tender):

It usually has waaay more broccoli…not sure why I skimped on it? Didn’t realize until I mixed the two together. I make this all the time, and serve it with rice for a quick but yummy meal. For gluten free, I had to leave out the oyster sauce, but added more soy sauce. Then again…I didn’t use soy sauce, I used Braggs gluten free seasoning!

 

General Tso’s Chicken

Cowboy can’t get enough of this, he eats 2X as much as he normally does when I make it. It’s kind of labour intensive, but worth the effort for a special meal. I substitute Braggs for the soy sauce as well.

 

Green Onion and Ginger fried rice (with peas!)

This rice is weeknight easy. If you make rice the night before, just double it and make this the next night! I added 1 cup of peas right after the photo was taken. I used frozen peas, but they were room temp when I added them. I’d say add them when you add the rice if they are straight from the freezer! I skipped the rice wine and squirted Braggs all over it before serving. I added a bunch of garlic along with the green onions and ginger. I used more of both than it said…we were all getting sick with a cold and I figured those three were the kick in the pants that cold needed!

 

I spilled the rice after ahhh one (three?) two many mojitos and it went all over the inside of the fridge and the floor. Again, 1 1/2 yr old was on it and shoveling it into his mouth with his hands.

 

 

Not my finest hour.

 

 

The (un)fair state of my bathroom.

I hate dirty bathrooms. They sceeve me out. (How the heck is that word spelt?) My bathroom is clean, but very very messy right now.

 

Because we have chickens growing in there!

We bought an incubator a few weeks ago and shortly afterwards a broody hen at my Mom’s couldn’t decide whether to stay on her eggs or not, so we took them out from under her and put them in the incubator. I told myself that if ONE chick hatched and survived I would be excited! After 8 days in the incubator we candled the eggs.

 

This is the box we used to candle the eggs. The egg sits on the hole lengthwise and we put Cowboy’s big powerful work flashlight in the bottom. This is done at night in a dark room.

From what we saw, we figured the chicks were 12 days along, and that they would hatch the following Wednesday, meaning we would raise the humidity (helps the chicks break out) on Sunday/Monday. Well, Sunday morning I was going to the washroom and I heard “peep Peep PEEP”. If it weren’t for the fact I was already peeing, I may have peed myself with excitement! I ran and told Cowboy, who said they started last night.

 

“WHAT?! YOU DIDN’T WAKE ME UP!?”

“No”, he said “Then you would have been up all night for nothing.”.

 

Right. That’s why he’s the logical one here. We had two hatch that night, but we lost one. Tuesday night two more hatched and survived. Friday morning two hatched and one died. Saturday morning (Today!) this baby hatched.

(Ignore the dirt under my nails? Thankyaverymuch) This has been a higelty pigelty hatch. They should all hatch within a couple days of each other, but instead it’s been days apart. There is still 6 more eggs to go! Our relief milkers took the first three chicks, and they’ll take these two as well. The black one at the top hatched yesterday morning. Considering the wierd start to this incubation, I’m very glad with how it’s turned out.

 

My bathroom though?

Incubator…box for chicks that won’t stop bugging other chicks…netti pot!

Candling box…cute clip…Rockin’ Green…Chick food….basket of toiletries

 

Wait wait back up there…

Yes you, the cute gold leather clip I got at Twang and Pearl. I love how you look in my hair.

 

 

On a very bright note, along with the egg below, there is still 6 eggs to see what happens!

I’ll keep you updated!!

 

p.s. Gingersnap is going to be very jealous. And maybe if we ask really nicely, she’ll do a guest post on her Whisky Onion Mushroom hotdog/hamburger topping. She made it for the wedding and everyone had it on top of local pork sausages in fresh baked from our local bakery buns. Ah’mazin’.