Monday, May 23, 2011

Move Over Campell's

Okay, so I really need to get better about posting on a regular basis - I miss out on a lot of good stuff.

If you have never cooked a chicken in a crockpot - do it!  It's comes out so moist and tender.  Since I'm about to start working full time, I'm searching for ways to make good tasting and healthy food even when I'm inbetween jobs and exhausted.  Cooking a chicken in the crockpot is definitely something I'll stick with, because I can get several meals out of it.  Here's the recipe I used (not really a recipe, but just some tips):

1 4pd chicken
Rinse and pat dry.  Line bottom of crockpot with cut up carrots and onions.  Pour in some chicken broth - about 1 cup - just eyeball it.  Rub chicken with a mixture of garlic powder, paprika, poultry seasoning, salt and pepper.  Cook on high for 1 to 1 1/2 hours.  Turn to low and cook an additional 4-5 hours.
When you take it out it will fall apart, so you kind of have to scoop it out.

Here's my meal plan:
Day 1:  Cook the chicken  - nibble on some if you're hungry!
Day 2:  Use 2-3 cups of the cut up chicken for Catherine's Chicken and Biscuits (I'll post the recipe soon) or Chicken Enchiladas from the "The Diet Rebel's Cookbook" ( I love their red enchilada sauce).
Day 3: Use leftovers to make amazing chicken noodle soup.

Okay, so now about the soup.  I had never made chicken noodle soup from scratch before because I was intimidated.  I mean, if you mess up chicken noodle soup, you're pretty lame right?  And can you really claim it's from scratch if you don't make the stock or the noodles?  Well, I am.  I was so pleased with my super easy soup that I think it will become a regular in my household (during the winter and spring).

Here's my "recipe":
2-3 cups shredded chicken (from crock-pot chicken)
3 or more cups chicken broth (eyeball it)
1-2 cups water
2 beef bouillon cubes (I know  it sounds crazy, but it's good! You can skip this if you want, but you'll probably need to cut back on the water then and add more chicken broth.)
Carrots and onion (from crock-pot chicken), sliced or chunky chopped
Peas (frozen) or chopped celery
Half a bag of egg noodles - or more if you want
Parsley (fresh if you have it)
Poultry seasoning
Touch of Pepper

I basically just eyeballed everything until it looked good.  I put it on the stove to simmer (covered) while I taught two lessons (so about an hour).  You could probably cook it shorter or longer without any problem - or use the crock pot - always a good choice.  It made 4-6 servings.  And let me tell you, it was dang good!  That's right, you heard me:  "Move over, Campbell's!  You're not needed anymore!"

Where's the Sting?

    I have one final word on stinging nettles:  fresh is always better.  After making my own tea and trying packaged tea, I can tell you that tea you brew yourself both tastes better and seems to have stronger effects.  However, when I was out of fresh stinging nettle and desperate for allergy relief, I still found a good amount of help in the packaged tea.  I just MUCH prefer the fresh tea.  I think it's out of season now - so sad.  I'll still keep my eye out for it.
   Glad you're all sharing the little tidbits I share - that's what this is for!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Farmer's Market! Oh, How I Love Thee!

  I had one of the best mornings of my life yesterday and it wasn't because I won a million dollars, but because I finally got to go to the farmer's market.  I screamed with joy (literally) in my car when I saw it.  Thanks to my dear friend Dawn who came with me and supported my silliness.  It's asparagus season, and now that I know how labor intensive growing asparagus is and how short the season is, it is just even more precious to me.   I was happy to get asparagus, stinging nettles, farm fresh eggs from free range chickens, bread, rhubarb jam, Ohio maple syrup, and two beautiful hanging plants.
   Now, you might be saying, "What the heck are stinging nettles?  Well, they are a plant that has great medicinal properties.  I heard about how they help with sinuses/allergies because they contain natural antihistamines.  I had even bought some packaged tea last year, but let me tell you, the fresh tea is so much better.  I could hardly stand the packaged tea and I have to say that I sort of like the fresh tea I am sipping right now.  Disclaimer:  I am often teased for liking things that taste like grass.  However, you could add some local honey, which can also help with allergies.  I'm just drinking it plain.    The crazy thing is that I can honestly feel my sinuses opening slightly  - and I didn't even know I was congested right now!  It's easy to make the tea: just boil water, pour it over the leaves in a glass bowl and steep for several minutes.  Then strain and enjoy!  Make sure you use tongs or something as you don't want to touch the leaves and get "stung."   Thanks to the wonderful young Amish farmer who gave me the recipes and so much of the wonderful food.  
    Here's a picture of my loot from the market (the stinging nettles are in the ziploc bag):  Can't wait to go back again!