Sunday, August 9, 2015

One Chicken, Three Meals

I like meal plans where I can go shopping once and from one main item (in this case a chicken) make three different meals. Even better is when I can use up whatever is in my fridge and nearing the end of its life. This post is mainly for my daughter, who is now living on her own and on a budget, but I thought I'd share it as a blog post.

The short version is that I bake a chicken (meal 1), make soup from the carcass (meal 2), and use the leftover chicken meat to make a chicken-pasta-salad (meal 3). This works with one chicken for 2 people. The chickens here in Germany are smaller than ones you can get in the U.S., so if you're there you can probably feed 3 with this plan.

To avoid chicken three days in a row, freeze the soup for later, grill a juicy steak on Day 2, and make the pasta salad on Day 3.

During the hot summer months in Germany where you don't have air conditioning, pick a day that isn't hot to bake the chicken. If you don't have one of those, buy a rotisserie chicken to avoid heating up your kitchen.

What you need

Baked Chicken (Day 1):
  1 chicken
  1 apple
  1 onion
  1 clove garlic
  2 or 3 unpeeled baking potatoes (not too big)
  2 tablespoons melted butter
     paprika (the spice)
     salt & pepper
     an additional side - cooked carrots, bread, or a salad

Chicken Soup (Overnight, Day 2 or freeze):
    chicken carcass and skin
    whatever you have in the fridge and spice cupboard for making soup
         (carrots, celery, onion, garlic, seasonings [but NO salt], parsley, etc.)

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Salad (Day 2 or 3):
  8 oz (250 g) or less of tube-shaped pasta
  1 1/4 cup (318 g) Greek yogurt
  1/2 cup (100ml) mayonaise
  2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
  1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  1/3 cup chopped fresh dill (or whatever amount you want)
  1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives (or more!)
     leftover chicken meat
  2 stalks celery
  1 small cucumber
     mesclun greens (green and red lettuce)


Baked Chicken (Actually "Chicken-Potato Roast"):

  1. Rinse chicken inside and out, and dry with paper towels.
  2. Heat oven to 375°F (190°C).
  3. Peel onion and cut into wedges.
  4. Cut apple into wedges.
  5. Peel garlic and cut into small pieces.
  6. Salt and pepper inside of body cavity if desired.
  7. Stuff apple, onion, and garlic into chicken's body cavity, and tie or skewer legs to tail.
  8. Place chicken, breast side up, on rack in roasting pan.
  9. Cut potatoes crosswise about three-fourths of the way through into thin slices. Place on rack around chicken.
  10. Mix melted butter, thyme, paprika, and salt and brush over chicken and potatoes.
  11. Roast uncovered for 2 hours,* basting chicken & potatoes with drippings every 30 minutes or so.
    *The original recipe says 1 1/4 hours, but it was never done that quickly!
    Chicken is done when meat thermometer reads 180°F (82°C) and juice is clear.
  12. Let chicken stand 10 minutes before carving. 
  13. Discard apple, onion, and garlic, but save the carcass!
  14. Serve the drumsticks and wings with your choice of sides. Save the breasts and thighs for the pasta salad.

Chicken Soup:

  1. Put the chicken carcass and leftover skin in a slow cooker. 
  2. Add enough water to just cover the carcass.
  3. Add whatever you have in your kitchen that beefs up soup - see ingredient list for ideas.
  4. Turn the slow cooker on to high for 30 minutes, then reduce to low and leave it alone overnight.
  5. In the morning, remove bones and vegetable pieces with a slotted spoon, strain soup, cool.
  6. Refrigerate if serving soup that day or the next; otherwise freeze it.

Creamy Chicken and Pasta Salad:

  1. Chop dill, chives. and celery.
  2. Peel, cut lengthwise, seed and chop cucumber.
  3. Shred the chicken meat.
  4. Cook pasta according to directions, drain and rinse under cold water.
  5. Meanwhile, whisk the yogurt, mayonnaise, 1/4 cup water, the vinegar, mustard, dill, chives, and 1 teaspoon salt in a bowl large enough for the pasta salad.
  6. Add the chicken, celery, and cucumber to the dressing and gently stir to combine.
  7. Shake excess water from the pasta and add it to the chicken salad.
  8. Season with fresh ground pepper and toss.
  9. It's best if it sits for an hour or longer in the refrigerator so the tastes blend together.
  10. Serve over greens.

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