Chicken is the mainstay of summer cuisine and the backbone of the economical kitchen (Proverbs 31:27). Chicken is usually the most inexpensive of all meat cuts and is useful down to the bones! Consider what you can do with one whole bird (the least expensive way to purchase chicken).
Meal One—roasted chicken.
Roast several, remove the meat from the bone, cut in small pieces, and freeze in recipe size freezer bags. Be sure to discard the bag after removing the chicken. Chicken can be frozen up to 9 months and still maintain its quality.
Meal Two—chicken salad, chicken pot pie, sandwiches, stir-fry, tacos, or burritos.
Meal Three—homemade chicken soup made from the carcass of the bird.
Keep Your Chicken Food Poisoning Free
Plan to do your grocery shopping in the early morning or evening, especially during the summer. The trunk of the car should only be considered a temporary place of storage for foods. Although doing several other errands after the food marketing might be good time management, to leave foods in the trunk for any length of time is not good for food safety. In fact, because the temperatures in the trunk of the car are usually much warmer than the outside air, foods left in the car will perish more quickly. Foods should be brought home as soon as possible after purchase and stored at the proper temperatures.
Chicken should only be refrigerated for one to two days after purchase before use. Less than 24 hours is best. If you don’t plan to prepare and cook it in that length of time, it should be frozen.
The rinsing of poultry (or meats) before cooking is no longer recommended because the washing may cause splattering over kitchen surfaces, contaminating those surfaces.
Thaw chicken (and other foods) using one of these methods. They are listed in the safest order.
- Put the frozen food item in the refrigerator until completely thawed. Allow approximately five hours per pound thawing time.
- Use the microwave. The microwave can be set on the defrost setting, or 30% power, and set for the weight of the meat
- Place it in a pan or sink of cold water. Leave the meat in the wrapper. Change the water every half hour so that it remains cold. Warm or hot water should not be used to speed along the process because the outer thawed layers remain at a warm temperature, which promotes microorganism growth.
Regardless of the method of thawing you use, the chicken should be cooked immediately after thawing to avoid further bacteria growth or contamination.
The websites of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), U.S. Department of Agriculture Food Safety and inspection Service (USDA FSIS), and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have fact sheets, podcasts and information on food safety. The federal government also runs the Meat and Poultry hotline (1-888-674-6854), which will answer your specific questions about safety issues concerning meat and poultry.
Want chicken pieces rather than a whole bird? Cut it up yourself! Visit www.allrecipes.com and place how to cut a whole chicken in the search engine for a step-by-step tutorial. Both written instructions and a video are available.
Cooking the Whole Bird
- Heat the oven to 425°F and arrange a rack in the middle.
- Boil 4 cups of water.
- Place the chicken on a work surface or cutting board and pat it dry with paper towels. Cut off and discard any extra fat hanging around the body cavity. Wrap and place in the freezer until trash day to avoid foul odors in the trash.
- Season generously inside and out with salt, pepper and/or herbs such as parsley, rosemary, or thyme. Place a half stalk of celery and half of an onion quartered in the cavity.
- Place bird breast side up on the rack of a roasting pan. Slide on the oven rack. Pour 1 ½ cups of the boiling water on the bird to seal the juices. Turn over; pour remaining water on the bird (pan should only be ½ full). The broth generated from the cooking time may be used for gravy or the foundation of chicken soup.
- Roast the chicken in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the temperature to 375°F and turn it breast side up. Continue roasting until the juices run clear and a thermometer inserted into the inner thigh (but not touching the bone) registers 165°F (an additional 50 minutes to 1 hour or more depending on size of the bird).
- Remove the chicken from the oven and place on a cutting board. Let it rest about 15 to 20 minutes before carving. Remove the remaining chicken from its carcass and use for another meal. Orange Chicken Salad is a great summer choice.
Orange Chicken Salad
6 cups cooked chicken cut in small pieces
¾ cup mayonnaise
3 tablespoons orange marmalade
1 ½ tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 ½ tablespoons pickle relish (optional)
1 cup toasted almonds
1 cup drained mandarin oranges
- Roast or stew chicken until tender (165° F).
- Place almonds on a cookie sheet. Preheat oven to 375°. Place cookie sheet on top oven rack. Roast until golden brown, stirring frequently (3-5 minutes).
- Mix orange marmalade, onion, ¾ cup almonds, and pickle relish.
- Add to chicken pieces (the flavors will blend better if the chicken is slightly warm).
- Gently stir in mandarin oranges.
- Cover tightly, refrigerate immediately. Salad is most flavorable if allow to marinate overnight.
- Serve on dark green lettuce placed on chilled salad plates or a lettuce-lined salad bowl.
- Garnish with remaining toasted almonds.
THE EVERYDAY HOMEMAKER’S MONTHLY MEDITATION THOUGHT
God has said, “All things work together for good to those who love me, and to those whom I have called” (Romans 8:28).
Therefore I may boldly say, “God is aware of every situation I encounter and can fit it all into the master plan He has for my life.”
The February post provides the introductory description of the monthly homemaking hints if you wish to place this post in context.
Visit The Everyday Homemaker next week as we pose the question, is modesty obsolete?
If you would like a sample chapter of The Christian Homemaker’s Handbook simply click on “Contact Pat” and request your copy.
Blessings on your week as you focus on making your house a home!