Saturday, January 9, 2010

Sometimes? A chicken is just a chicken

If you read my introductory post about this blog, then you know that I was *inspired* to start my *food blog* in the middle of dinner. A dinner which I prepared during the normal course of my normal everyday life and had not painstakingly documented and photographed. Also? Wherein *inspired* = My husband: "OMG NOT ANOTHER ONE OF YOUR BLOG IDEAS" and *food blog* = a possible insult to Ree and Nie Nie and any other number of legitimate food bloggers who, like, always have fresh produce on-hand and do not use already cooked ingredients as the mainstay of their recipes.

I never have fresh produce "on-hand," just waiting around to be prepared. If I buy something on a whim in the store, thinking, ooooh, this will be so good in whatever, it ends up going bad. And I hate nothing more than throwing out produce that was allowed to rot by my lazy and disorganized self. So I tend to buy what I need, when I need it, and then use it. Which means I go to the grocery store multiple times in the week, unlike those of you who are all organized and such and go once a week and "stock up." I never have stock. It's how I roll.

My "need it, buy it, use it" approach is awesome if I would actually, you know, *make menu plans* and then *implement* said menu plans. Which, in theory, sounds like a fabulous way to live your life but which, in reality, is always too much of a pain in the ass for me.

But, I digress...

I decided to start my chicken odyssey in the middle of eating an unphotographed chicken dinner. So I went back to the grocery store and purchased another $5 ($5!) chicken and prepared yet another chicken dinner today.

And though it was not a very auspicious start to the process of repurposing the store-bought roasted chicken, it was quite tasty. And it will serve as our benchmark chicken dinner by which all future chicken creations will be judged. The deciding factor of whether or not a repurposed chicken recipe was a success will be, "Was it better than just having a plain, old chicken dinner?"

So, you see, this chicken dinner has meaning. It's not a lazy start to this blog. It was planned.

And now, behold, the goodness of WEEK ONE:

Roasted chicken ($5!), mashed potatoes and beet salad.

The ingredients:
One store-bought roasted chicken, one bag of frozen Ore Ida diced potatoes, sun dried tomatoes, sour cream, cream cheese, blue cheese, three Cutie mandarin oranges, one jar of beets, sunflower kernels. And butter. I forgot the butter. But here it is.
Chicken - Cut up, reheated and served as is. Reheating tip: microwave at HALF power x 2-3 minutes, versus full power, keeps it from drying. We said a fond farewell to this tasty chicken as it traveled down our gullets, knowing that next time we shall meet with our feathered friend, he will be wearing a new recipe.

Beet Salad - this is a white trash/mom in a hurry variation, when you (a) don't have fresh beets in your bin and (b) don't have time to roast them, even if you had 'em! Combine one can of beets, three "Cutie" oranges (or a can of mandarin oranges), sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese (or feta, or goat, or any of the *stinky* cheeses) and sprinkle with sunflower seeds (cheese and seeds to taste).

Mashed Potatoes - You can boil up your own russet potatoes, but today I didn't have any potatoes, but I did have a bag of frozen "steamable" Ore Ida potatoes. These are THE BEST. There's nothing in the bag but potatoes. They're just already cut up and boiled. Seriously simple. Take your bowl of diced, cooked potatoes (however you get there), and start to mash them with the hand masher. Add in 2 tablespoons sour cream, 2 tablespoons cream cheese and 2 tablespoons of butter. Salt and pepper to taste. Mash to desired consistency. For a creamier mash, mix in a little milk. Final step to give your mashed 'tots a kick in the pants: dice and stir in a scant bit of sun dried tomatoes. Note, I did not dice and stir in my scant bit of sun dried tomatoes because Carlie hates tomatoes. So mine are added on a per-plate basis.
The verdict:
Tim - I give this meal an overall 4.5.
Carlie - I hate beets. And we had chicken last night. Can I have a Top Ramen?
Shana - Quick, easy and tasty = my dinner trifecta. And, really, can you ever go wrong with beets and potatoes?
Tune in again next week for chicken enchiladas, featuring homemade enchie sauce.

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