Living On Oxygen for Life
If you are like me, you like to save time AND money. Lately it’s been getting harder and harder to do that with the price of chicken increasing. Saving yourself time has become important too because living on oxygen means you don’t always have the energy to cook a whole meal all at once. I’ve started to think of ways to accomplish both, saving time and money, while making meal planning a little easier. There are so many ways to use a whole chicken. Once I tried cooking one to prepare a meal, I was hooked.
First you need a bird. You can pick up an uncooked whole chicken at your grocery store. I like to cook the chicken within a few days of buying it. I don’t buy it and freeze it whole. Ok, assuming you bought the bird and you want to cook it now. You want to clean this bad boy by running it under cold water and rubbing your hands all over it.. even under it’s wings (I like to call that their armpits.. hehe). I always wear latex gloves to do this. You can find them as a box of 50 in Walmart in the health & beauty department (near the pharmacy section). The chicken will have the neck and some other innards within it that you’ll need to remove. You can cook the chicken neck with the whole bird.
You’ll want to chop up in large chunks the carrots (4), celery stalks (4 or 5), and one whole yellow onion. You’ll need to place this in the bottom of a large stock pot (I use my pressure cooker because I don’t have a stock pot. Bummer!). Place the bird in the pot breast side down and fill the pot with water to cover the chicken.
In my pot, the water is only about 3/4″ from the rim. Add salt & pepper. Bring the water to a boil, and then turn the temperature down but keep the water to a slow boil. About every 30 minutes, I use a pair of metal tongs to turn the bird over and continue to cook for a total of 2 and 1/2 hours. You’ll know that the chicken is done when you try to lift the bird with the tongs and the part you are lifting falls from the bird. For a final check, I CAREFULLY slide in & clamp the tongs along the backbone and lift CAREFULLY to see if the back falls from the rest of the bird. If it does, it’s done.
After you CAREFULLY remove the cooked chicken from the pot that now contains homemade broth that you’ll want to save after you skim out the vegetables (Sometimes I give a few pieces of the carrots to my dog, Rocco), you’ll place the bird in a large bowl to cool. You can pick the bird within 30 minutes if you wear latex gloves and you’re careful. When the meat is picked from the bone, fat and skin, place the chicken in a FREEZER ziploc bag to seal. Don’t forget to roll out the excess air from the ziploc as your zip it close and then place it in the refrigerator until the chicken is completely cooled.
To package the ziplock bag of chicken, I wrap the rolled ziplock bag containing cold chicken in heavy duty foil and place that inside 2 brown paper lunch sacks. There’s just something about paper and cardboard boxes that help insulate against freezer burn. I then tape it closed and label the paper using a sharpie pen with the content and date cooked. Just put the chicken in the freezer for later use. There are many recipes that you can use this chicken. My husband loves Chicken Enchiladas, Impossible Broccoli Pie (with Chicken), Chicken Noodle Soup (using the broth cooked down) just to name a few meals.
There are also ways that you can use store bought cooked roasted whole chicken and Tom will be writing all about that. I will post the link to that article once he has it written. Here’s a preview! Baked Chicken In A Flash!