Chicken Night (Save the Chickenbodies!)
But in our household Thursday nights are beyond insane–I direct a choir that goes till 4:30, then I have to pick up the kids, and my husband has to come home from work, and my daughter has to get into leotard and tights, and somehow by 5:45 we have to be out the door again to take her to dance class, having already eaten dinner.
I get through most of life without resorting to many pre-prepared foods, but given all this and the fact that Thursday nights at Whole Foods the rotisserie chickens are only $5.99, it’s a pretty good deal all around. While I get the kids and the table set and the bread and veggies–usually raw carrots or cucumbers at the moment–on the table, in between yelling at my daughter to get her dance clothes on and yelling at my son to put down the wii and finish his homework, my husband stops at WF and grabs a chicken. He walks in at about 5:20, and we have a leisurely 25 minute dinner. Or something like that.
Not really blog-worthy, I know–so big deal, we pick up a rotisserie bird once a week. I’ve done that occasionally for years. But the cool part–what I discovered recently as we made this a regular thing is that I can take the carcass (which otherwise would stink up my garbage can till Tuesday when we take it out) and freeze it, and then once a month when I’ve collected 4-5 chicken-bodies I can toss them into the crockpot, fill it with water, turn it on low, and promptly forget about it till dawn. And then I have several quarts of beautifully seasoned chicken stock, since the chickens were usually herb-and-garlic, or lemon-roasted, or some combination of treatments. Enough salt that I don’t have to add any, but–well–not so little that I have to add any.
(Maybe I’m the only one who didn’t know about this little trick. Save and freeze the chickenbodies, avoid buying bland and tasteless chicken broth in difficult-to-recycle-tetrapaks. News to me.)
Friday is my day off. I can strain the stock and make soup for dinner that night, or freeze it in quart containers, or cook it down to a really strong concentrate and freeze it in ice cubes to reconstitute later, or do any of the dozens of things one can do with good stock. If I had any veggies-on-the-verge in my crisper drawer I’d toss them into the pot too–why not, right?
So, for about $24 (4 chickens, one a week) we have 4 total meals for 4, at least 4 extra lunches worth of what didn’t get eaten at dinner, and some good soup makings.
Not a bad deal for the Chicago burbs. I highly recommend it. Don’t throw out your chickenbodies. Save them and make pasta fazool for dinner tomorrow night.