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Healthy, Recession-Friendly Dinner

vegI love eating healthy, but let’s face it.  Buying all of your groceries at a health foods store can add up pretty quickly.  There are definitely some items worth purchasing organic, and others that don’t make that much of a difference.  Don’t have time or garden space to grow your own vegetables?  Don’t fret.  There are a few cost-saving tips to healthy eating that will allow you to do the organic thing and stretch out your food budget.

YOU CAN DO IT!

Have a baked potato night near the end of the week.  Use leftovers (chili, veggies, even thickened soups) as toppings!

Chili or bean soups and stews are inexpensive.  They stick to the ribs to fill you up and can really stretch out for quite a few meals for minimal work.

Make your own chicken stock/broth from the remains of a rotisserie/baked chicken.

  • It’s NOT difficult, and you really can stretch out a meal with this method
  • If there’s a place near you that sells hormone-free and free-range hens on the rotisserie, your prep time for a few meals is greatly reduced
  • First, have your family eat dinner and possibly even a next day’s lunch from the chicken.
  • Next, de-bone the chicken.  I like to pull off the remaining meat with my fingers.  Depending on how much is leftover (not enough for just one person), you could stretch it into a chicken salad for 1 person’s sandwich…if not, save the meat for chicken soup to accompany the chicken stock.

TO MAKE CHICKEN or TURKEY STOCK:

1. Once de-boned, cover one-half  to three-fourths of the remaining chicken bones and cartilage with water.

2. Add olive oil or expressed canola oil, salt, coarsely chopped garlic, and whatever other seasonings you may prefer (we also like thyme, ginger, and celery salt).

3. Bring to boil, then reduce to simmer for 3-4 hours.  Really cook the flavor out of those bones and into the stock.

4. Let cool, then store in airtight container and either freeze or store in fridge.  If refrigerated, use within 7 days.

USES FOR CHICKEN or TURKEY STOCK:

Any recipe that call for chicken broth: casseroles, chicken noodle soup, chicken marsala, etc.

EASY CHICKEN SOUP RECIPE

Soups are a great way to use up leftovers from throughout the week.  Add water/broth, leftovers, cook on the crock pot or simmer on the stove.  Voila! You’ve stretched out some food and made a creative and delicious new main attraction.

Ingredients:

  • 2-3 cups of chicken stock
  • 1 pound of hormone-free chicken (I prefer dark meat)…if you have less than 1 pound, it’s okay, use what you have!
  • 1-2 cloves of crushed garlic
  • 2 large carrots sliced
  • 4 stalks of celery
  • Use whatever veggie leftovers you may have (corn, peas, mushrooms are all fabulous in chicken soup!)
  • Sea salt, 1-2T
  • Celery salt, 1 tsp.
  • Thyme, few dashes
  • Black pepper, dash
  • Optional: whole-wheat noodles or brown rice for more substance and as a slight thickener

Preparation:

In a 4-5 qt slow cooker, pour in 2-3 cups of chicken stock.  Add chopped chicken and vegetables.  Then, add more water until everything is covered.  I add enough so there’s just one-half inch clearance from the top of the slow cooker.  Add spices and seasonings.  Heat on high for about 3 hours, and then it’s ready to eat!

This soup is delicious at the first serving, but it definitely tastes better after it sits for one day.

By Dr. Dolly

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