The Happy Little Chickens… (that made happy little tummies)

Over the past few months I have been getting some free range/GMO free chickens from a local farm, I really can’t say enough wonderful things about it- I’m helping support a family that is doing something they love, the chicken tastes SO much better than what you get at the grocery (even if it is ‘free range/organic’),  I know that it is healthier for my family, the list goes on and on…

Oh, and did I mention how easy it is to get several meals out of one chicken in less than an hour (not including cooking time) ?!

FIRST OFF:

Slice up an onion (I used a sweet onion) and lay it on the bottom of your crockpot- Don’t bother adding any water or anything…

I used the seasonings I had in my cabinets and kind of threw them all together in a small container- this is what I used (kind of from most to least… maybe… just get it all in there it will be fine…promise!)
Paprika
Garlic powder
Oregano
Tony’s
Thyme
Cayenne pepper
Black pepper/Salt
Mix it all up and spread it on the skin- if you’re up to it get it up under the skin too, and for good measure, stuff some butter in there too…

Into the crock pot it goes… I don’t know if this is standard procedure or not, I always turn it on HIGH for the first hour, then turn it to LOW for the rest of the time. I determine done-ness  by the whole house smelling delicious, the chicken falling apart when you touch it with a fork, and if you still aren’t satisfied  a meat thermometer (this particular chicken was in for about 8 hours on low- you can’t see it but we lost a wing on the trip to the plate…).

NEXT STEP:

Once you have de-potted the chicken (is that a term?) let it cool down enough to handle, or just be tough and use forks to do it. Don’t throw out the juiciness left in the pot, you’ll need that to make chicken broth- that’s right,  I said you’ll make chicken broth… Play it cool, it really isn’t as bad as you may think.  SO. Onward. Pick all that yummy meat off the chicken and put it on a plate or in a container, it’s up to you, just get it off the bird and somewhere else (away from dogs, that’s probably a pretty smart thing to do with juicy freshly cooked chicken…).
Once you have just the carcass and the skin remaining put it back in the pot (I would think you could use cheesecloth or something to keep the bones tidy and easy to remove, but haven’t tried it yet). Chop up whatever stewing veggies you may have- I added garlic, carrots, celery, and a red onion.  Once you get all your veggies in, start adding water (filtered water would be ideal- for flavor and health aspects… but that’s a whole other story!)
I added enough water so there was only a small portion of the carcass showing, it kind of looked like the headless chicken was soaking in a tub.
Leave your crock pot on LOW for another 6-8 hours, then pour everything through a strainer and into a container for storage.
I personally didn’t save the veggies, they were overly mushy cooked, now that I’m thinking about it they probably would have been perfect not-so-baby food… Crap… Next time.

NEXT NEXT STEP:
Make you meals of choice! I made some green beans that we ate with the chicken right away (we’ve been avoiding potatoes or they would have been included!).

Later that night, I threw a can of rinsed black beans into a skillet with a little olive oil, more of the seasoning mix that was rubbed on the chicken(but added some chili powder and cumin), shredded up a big handful of chicken, mixed it in with the beans and add a little of  the broth to keep everything from sticking- and to give it that nice sauciness. Serve it with rice and cheese, you can add some corn if you like (I like), make burritos, put it on a salad, eat it with chips, the possibilities are endless- and it’s hard to mess it up (I follow a similar method to make red beans and rice, I think I use different seasonings every time, but it’s always good!)

This is such an easy, go to left over and has so much flavor thanks to that happy little chicken and it’s broth.

And I still have plenty of chicken left to make a few more meals out of, and I have broth that’s going to last a while- Despite the fact that Ethan climbed into the refrigerator and dumped half a container on himself… He and the dogs were elated when they realized it was food and not just something cold and goopy!

Want to know a little more about where I got my chickens at? Full of Graze is the name of the farm located in Xenia, Ohio. If you’re in the area I highly recommend you check them out! They offer chicken, eggs, pork, and turkeys.  See their blog to learn more about them!

Out of the area and interested in finding a local farm to buy from? Check out Local Harvest, you can search for local farms, restaurants, grocery stores, and farmers markets that sell local produce and meats. You’d be surprised how many there are!

Foodie Pen Pal Reveal! (August)

Well it’s been busy around here- which caused a little delay in getting my Foodie Pen Pal reveal post together, but here it is all the same!

This month I was lucky enough to receive my package from Ashley, it had some really great stuff in it that I’m going to have to keep around my house now, luckily I have a Trader Joe’s nearby- which I obviously don’t frequent enough!

The first thing to greet me when I opened the box was a little note from Ashley describing the goodies she sent to me (I didn’t get a picture of the card but it was pretty!)

I am in love with this Valencia peanut butter with roasted flaxseed which is perfect to satisfy that sweet/salty craving when you put it on banana, or even on a sandwich with blueberry jelly. Not enough yum to describe it! And those little roasted flaxseeds give it an extra factor of deliciousness!

20120908-012840.jpg

Of course one of my favorite parts of the box was the virgin coconut oil, I seriously use this stuff in pretty much everything, the secret is after you use the spoonful for cooking wipe off the rest and use it on your skin- smells amazing and no chemicals or anything that you find in lotion, skin can’t get any softer. Another favorite way to use it- put a little in a pan to stove pop popcorn, it turns out sweet like kettle corn with a tiny hint of coconut flavor… Mmmm…

20120908-013008.jpg

There was some whole wheat pasta and cheesy tortellini which I cooked up with some butter, olive oil, and parmesan then topped it with zucchini and mushrooms- amazing!

I was excited to get the Trader Joe’s Spiced Chai mix- it is delicious, I don’t know what it’s called when you mix chai with coffee and almond milk but it’s amazing 🙂

I got to send my package to Jennifer who has a blog of her own, so I won’t post any spoilers here about what I sent her. Other than the fact that I am getting a post card sent out to her this week for her classroom!

So what is Foodie Pen Pals?
Lindsay over at  The Lean Green Bean has taken the time to put together an amazing program where bloggers and blog readers get paired with someone different each month to send a $15 box of foodie goodies to, and you get paired with someone different to receive a box from  For a more detailed explanation of the program check out the Foodie Pen Pal page at The Lean Green Bean