Our nearest Aldi is twenty miles away, but since we don't leave the house a lot in winter, sometimes we just drive to Blue Springs with the idea it's a road trip we needed. That way I don't have to worry about money spent versus gasoline consumed, because it's, you know, for pleasure. This week, Aldi made me very happy: ten pounds of chicken leg quarters at 49 cents per pound. I hadn't bought one of those big old bags of chicken for years, not since we first began filling the freezers with beef several years ago. You see, my mindset is this: Don't buy meat in the store if you have a freezer full of meat. So we haven't been using a lot of chicken. But then the tragedy happened. I'm sure if you're a regular reader, you remember that while we were on a road trip, one of our two deep freezes quit working, and a lot of money went down the drain in meat, not to mention the cost of raising that steer and the fee paid the butcher shop. While I do wish it hadn't happened, I'll admit it's rather nice to know I can go ahead and buy chicken sometimes without feeling guilty that I'm not using what I have on hand.
I've blogged before about how I cook 10 pounds of chicken, debone and de-skin it, and freeze it in two-cup amounts for casseroles. That entry is HERE. For only five bucks, I went through this rather messy project yesterday and came up with seven two-cup freezer-bags of cubed chicken, five two-cup bags of broth, and two four-cup bags of broth. Many casseroles that call for cooked chicken also require chicken broth. Any time I see I'm not using the broth as fast as I need to (I like to keep it in the freezer no longer than a year), I add it to soup. Or make noodles.
I love casseroles. They are oftentimes quick and easy. With some of them, you simply mix a bunch of stuff and stick it in the oven. I surfed over to allrecipes.com, did a search of recipes using the words "casserole" and "chicken", and came up with more than you can imagine. Click HERE to see them, or just do the search for yourself at your leisure.
When we buy a cooked Costco chicken, I often freeze enough of the chicken for two or three casseroles after we've both eaten our share with a meal. I doubt if I'll be buying any of those for awhile, armed with all this prepared chicken.
A casserole can be the whole meal by itself, although I usually have green beans, broccoli, peas, carrots or a baked sweet potato with a casserole. I grew up with a mother who said, in her declining years, "I like to eat anything that grows in the ground." I guess that made an impression on me. I will find a way to add vegetables to the meal, unless soup is the main course. Even if we're having chicken salad sandwiches (another use for that chicken in the freezer), I cut up some carrot sticks and celery to have with them.
I use All-recipes like crazy lately. Unfortunately, I've used it for things Cliff and I don't need, like cookies and breads, but that's the story of our lives together, I suppose. I've found two of the best cookie recipes of my life in the last few months and need to force myself to quit making them or we will soon wind up being blimps... or corpses, you decide which... or you could wait and find out later.
I always choose the most highly rated recipes for whatever I'm looking for and haven't had any disappointments. I usually read some of the comments people leave on the recipes, but I won't make any of their suggested changes until I first try the recipe like it was meant to be. If that turns out well, next time I make it I'll read some comments and decide if any of the changes others have tried would be something I'd want to use. Usually, they're not.
I'll be posting the link to this entry on Facebook; I'm doing it especially for a young woman who asked for some recipes. We're having tenderloin today; and pancakes, sausage, and bacon after church tomorrow. But after that, I see many casseroles in our future.