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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Industrious: Food Musings

I know it's been sometime since my last blog entry and my "disappearance" has been cause for concern (thank you to those sending inquiries as to my whereabouts!)

So, why haven't I been blogging these days? A few reasons: the new school year (getting ready and acclimated to a child in real school), increased load of extracurricular and work activity, and probably the biggest reason I've been absent: watching the weight...

Just because you're on a diet doesn't mean your food has to be void of flavor. In fact, that's just the time to increase the flavor factor! You know, more garlic, more spice, more non-oil laden marinades, etc. One of the great bi-products of committing to a new eating regiment, is the fact that you can really save money. So it's this notion that has inspired me to lose the writers block and share what I know.

Sunday night I made a 7.65 lb. roast chicken. It was on sale for $.99 per pound. So for about $8, I managed to make dinner not one night - but two! And, I made lunch from my $8 purchase not one day - but two! And...I made chicken soup for the Jewish holiday that begins Friday night.

I can't tell you how easy this was and how amazing it feels to make dinner and then continue cooking. Naturally, even if you're not on a diet, you may still want to save money. So here are some ideas you can use for your $8 purchase (or similar amount).

Sunday night - To eat dinner at 6:30 p.m., begin roasting your chicken at 3:00. Wash it well, inside and out, and dry it. Rub Kosher salt inside the cavity and on top of the bird. Sprinkle with ground ginger and pepper. Cut two lemons and 1 onion and stuff them inside, loosely. Then add a bay leaf, fresh dill, and carrots and celery all around the bird. Cook for about 2 1/2 - 3 hours, depending on the directions and weight. See? No oil or other fat...count 3 points for 3 oz of chicken breast! Ours was served with rice and sweet potato and salad.

Pack yourself lunch - Place your alotment of chicken (whatever it might be!) into a take-to-work container and add a salad under it. Or add veggies and rice. Or make a chicken salad with dill and celery or with grapes and walnuts, instead.

Set aside in the fridge remaining meat from the bird (I had about 4-5 cups of chicken).

Soup: Carve the bird and serve - from your Sunday dinner. Place the carcass, all extra bones - with meat stuck to them, a little skin, and all the veggies left over from the roast and additional 1 1/2 cups of chicken into a large soup pot. Add 2 medium onions quartered, more carrots, more chopped celery, more fresh dill, more ground ginger, more salt, a peeled and cut parsnip, a peeled and cut turnip and a couple of whole cloves. Add enough water to just cover the mass. Set on high simmer for about 3-4 hours. Occasionally skim off the cloudy bubbles that form on top. Pour out the broth through a colander and into a large pot - leaving the bones and solids in the colander. Pick off all viable meat and add to the broth with any viable carrots and celery. With the bottom of a cup, squash the remaining veggies, etc. to ensure that all the flavor and juice comes out. Allow broth to cool completely before placing in the fridge, covered. In the morning, skim off the solidified fat. At that point, you can freeze it in small batches for a later date!

Dinner Tuesday night: How about Chicken Burritos? Take out your can of black beans and warm on the stove. Heat a large frying pan sprayed with Pam Spray and saute 2 sliced scallions for two minutes or until soft. Add remaining chicken and heat through. Add about 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground cumin, 2 Tbsp. lemon juice and 1/4 cup chopped cilantro. Mix well. Put into little cups: cheese (use reduced fat if you're watching), beans, avocado cubes, salsa, tomatoes and build a burrito onto a small fat-free tortilla!

Lunch the next day: repeat above!

Tonight...pork chops!

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