Where you go, I will go; where you live, I will live. Your people will be my people for your God is my God.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Missing this.


The Whole Chicken.

{A post that could be subtitled, menu planning, leftovers, tight wad, hospitality, animal feed, or homemaking.  You choose.}

Warning:  There may be blood and guts involved. Read at your own risk. 

I like to buy whole chickens.  And this post is about the why and the how of it all.  Those who read recipe blogs know that this is no new idea, but because of our South of the Border status, our situation is unique and perhaps interesting looking in from the outside. 

I buy a whole chicken or several reasons, the first being because it’s a goo bit less pesos per kilo than other cuts of chicken.  Here at the butchers, I can buy by  the whole thing, but they will cut it up any way that I like.  The just weigh it first, head, feet, guts and all.  These week the chicken weighed 2 kilos {4.5 lbs-ish} and I asked for the legs and wings to be cut off and placed separately.  The head, tail, feet and innards where already taken off, so I was left with the breast, backbone and thighs still together. 

Once I arrived home, I rinsed the body and the legs and wings.  This is not a common practice to the land north of here, but here it’s a must.  Our chicken {who was still clucking this morning} comes complete with a few feathers and smudges of dirt and blood.  Not very appetizing! 

The guts and other unwanted parts, I placed on a big pot to boil with lots of rice and a little salt.  Later I added cold tortillas {as opposed to fresh} and this fed our dog for three days.   Again, I know not common place to most of my readers, but I dare say in most of the world dogs eat chicken {and other} bones.  He is huge {a Doberman} and this does a wonderful job of filling him up.  Plus what we save on dog food for those few days more than pays for the price of the whole chicken. I also give skins and things to the cat….his usual diet are the rats and lizards he catches, so I figure a bit of chicken won’t do him any harm either.

Anywho, our chicken is now clean and the unwanted parts are taken care of.  On to the good stuff:  our menu for the week! {Just the main meals that we eat around three in the afternoon.}

Monday {the day the chicken was purchased}:  Fried chicken {legs and wings} and leftover vegetable soup from Saturday’s meal. 

Tuesday: Roasted crockpot chicken {the body} with potatoes.  Complemented with refried beans. Afterwards, I shredded what was left of the chicken to use for other recipes during the rest of the week.

Wednesday: Garbanzo soup {or that’s my name for it at least.  Details and recipe further down.}  Like most soups I tend to make, this one seemed to multiply.  We were destined to be eating it for the next five days, so….

Thursday:  We invited family over.  Knowing that the garbanzo soup would not be enough in and of itself, I made tinga for tostadas with the rest of shredded chicken.  Tostadas are great for using up the little things that are laying around in the fridge.  Cold tortillas {fried to make the actual tostada} refried beans {from Tuesday}, tomatoes, the last bit of salsa, queso fresco {leftover from the Garbanzo soup} avocados, and lettuce.  We were eight in all for lunch and out of everything, there’s only about a half cup of soup and a few beans left. 

So there you have it.  Four unique meals from one chicken.  If we hadn’t of had guests over, it would have lasted for a couple other meals {I was planning on chicken salad on croissants and enfrijoladas stuffed with chicken}    for our small family, but I don’t regret the company in the least.

{A side note on menu planning. I write a simple menu in a notebook at the end of each week [for the following week] and make my shopping list from that.  Something else I recently started though, was to write out what we actually ate as the week went passes.  I’m finding that what we actually eat varies greatly from my written out menu.  Often the same ingredients are used, but because of leftovers or a dish that someone sends over or an idea from my husband, things change.  By keeping a list of what I plan to make and what I actually make, “our” recipes are expanding.  Whenever I need an idea, I just flip through the notebook, cause changes are I already have ingredients on hand for several of the meals in there.} 

Enough with all that and on to the promised recipe…..

Garbanzo Soup.

Though that’s not actually it’s name.  I never caught the name  On Sunday we went out for dinner and a lady at our table ordered this soup and loved it.  I had a taste and thought it was pretty good myself, so I decided to try my hand at recreating it at home.  Here’s  what I did…. {sorry for the lack of precision.}

~ Soak dried garbanzo beans for a day or so. 

~Places beans with fresh water in pressure cooker.  Add diced chipotles in adobado sauce {based on the level of spiciness you would like. I add used tow large ones} along with a bit of onion, fresh garlic, and chicken bullion cubes. {If I had had chicken broth I would have just cooked everything in that.} Pressure cook still you start smelling  cooked beans. 

~Meanwhile, chop up your veggies.  I used a couple carrots, one zucchini and several potatoes with the skins still on. 

~Open up the pressure cooker.  It’s okay if the beans are still a little hard.   Taste for salt content.  Add in salt and pepper to taste, chopped veggies, and I threw in a bay leave and crushed basil for kicks and giggles.  Pressure  cook for a few more minutes until everything smells good and done. 

~Open up and add in a bit of shredded chicken.  Taste broth and adjust spices as need. 

~To serve, cut up queso fresco into to chunks and place in the bottom of your bowl.  Spoon soup into bowls and turn everything around so that your cheese gets warm and begins to melt.  Place a couple avocado slices on top. Eat with fresh tortillas.  

A couple notes: 

~If using canned garbanzos, I would skip the whole pressure cooker thing and just let everything simmer on the stove until soft.

~If serving young children, don’t cook the chipotles in with the broth, but dice them up to and place in a small serving dish.  When time to eat, each person can serve themselves to their own gusto.  For Job, I just rinsed off a few beans and veggies, though looking back I would have liked to have feed it to him as a soup. 

~ I think the smokiness of chorizo would be a nice substitute for the chicken.

~While garnishing with sliced avocado adds a nice pop of color, {and it’s the way they served it at the restaurant} I would prefer to make a simple guacamole, fold it into a warm tortilla and dip it into the broth.  

And that’s all folks!  A recipe this family will be coming back to again and again!

Thursday, February 7, 2013


Today I’m grateful for…

~slow cooking beans.

~swayed away in the rocking chair with my babe long past bedtime.

~ a new-to-me shirt.  a sweet considerate gift from my husband. 

~seeds.  lots and lots of seeds.  and the promise they bring of fresh beds of lettuce, beefy tomatoes, and the sweet smell of lavender. 

~Matthew 15.

~chocolate milk for him. peppermint tea for me.  cinnamon rolls for all three.  a cozy breakfast with my boys. 

~a baby carrier and a long walk. 

~sore muscles.

~eggs down 8 pesos. 

~prolonged sick days.  

~hymn singing and baby bathing.

~roses wilted. 

~creamed corn and bacon wrapped chicken.  yum! 

~a knowledgeable old soul. 

~tomorrow’s trash day. 

These days are just a hummin’ by and we are trying to suck every last sweet drop of ‘em!