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Sunday, January 25, 2015

1 Chicken, 2 People, 3 Days, 4 Meals

After a week of excess in NYC, it's been time to tighten our belts and start living in our means again. The idea of meal planning is actually kind of fun and exciting to me, unless it's actually Sunday and time to get down to it. Then I have to go through recipes and ideas and make a list and then go to the store and find other things and veer from the list and then go home and realize I forgot stuff and then I get frustrated. 

So a compromise: I'll plan a little, and leave room for meal creativity as the week goes by. One cannot choose a wardrobe for the week ahead of time and same goes for food. You just have to have the right items in your closet in case it snows or rains or something. 

To do this effectively, Sunday should be an easy prep day. Maybe a little grocery shopping. Then you make a bunch of rice or quinoa for the week, maybe boil a couple eggs for salads or ramen, but most definitely you gotta roast a whole chicken.

Meal One: Roasted Chicken with Fennel

Stuff the chicken with:
1 head of garlic

Slice up:

Rub the chicken with oil or butter, salt, pepper, paprika. Place in a cast iron pan over a bed of veggies. Roast for about an hour at 425 degrees. 

Slice off the legs and serve with the veggies and whatever grain you cooked up. Save the breast meat for other stuff later in the week. 

Meal Two: Chicken Soup

The same night you roast the chicken, start the chicken stock. Add the bones, chicken carcass with onions, carrot, celery and parsley to a crockpot and cover with water. Let it simmer on low until the next day. Skim the fat off the top. 

We made a simple ramen type soup with the stock, some shredded dark meat, the leftover roasted veggies and fresh Chinese noodles. I would not recommend getting the flour-y kind of noodles like we did because it made the soup way too thick. I think rice sticks would work better. Also fresh veggies would work better too if you have time to simmer them. Add a hard boiled (or soft boiled) egg to make it ramen-y. 

Meal Three: Chicken Salad

Shred about 1/4 of the breast meat. Add enough mayo and plain Greek yogurt to moisten. Chop up some celery and add salt, pepper, and whatever spices you like. I added almonds too. Mom swears by Bells seasoning but I don't have that stuff so I just used some Penzey's stuff and it worked out just fine. 

Make chicken salad sandwiches with spinach and avocado, or add a scoop to a spinach salad with some mozzarella, a quick chickpea salad (just drain and rinse a can of chickpeas and dress with lemon, olive oil and parsley) and avocado. Tastes like the buffet lunches I used to get in midtown NY, only it doesn't cost $10/lb.

Meal Four: Chicken Tacos

This one comes together quick and works best for a gym night. Heat up some shredded chicken with a chipotle and some adobo sauce. Add to a tortilla and top with cabbage, cheese, Greek yogurt and avocado.

Shopping List
There's room for lots of variation here, but if I needed to build an important Sunday grocery list it would look like this:

  • Fennel
  • Onion 
  • Carrot
  • Garlic
  • Celery
  • Parsley & Thyme
  • Avocado

  • Greek Yogurt
  • Cheddar cheese
  • Mozzarella
  • Eggs
  • Chipotle in adobo sauce
  • Chickpeas
We just used the rest of the chicken stock to cook a bunch of boneless pork ribs. We'll see where this week of shredded pork will take us.

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