Wednesday, January 19, 2022

Chicken. Eggs. Veggies.

Wednesday! I thought it was Tuesday for much of the morning, so yay? If you are here over the past two years you're basically getting a weekend post, Thursday Thoughts, a list of some sort, or random food talk. Today is random food talk.

I've been thinking about protein and veggies lately and how to get more of both, so this post is a meandering marriage all of those things. What came first, the chicken or the egg? Right, stop and get on with it.

Making good use of eggs
Aside from frying, boiling, poaching, and scrambling eggs, you can make a delicious crustless vegetarian quiche (like this spinach and mushroom one from Budget Bytes) or zucchini pie to get a good dose of protein and veggies in the morning. Both options require almost no preparation (well, aside from the zucchini prep) with most of the time going to the 40-45 minutes that it takes to cook it in the oven.

Adding Veggies
To breakfast, as above. To chili, last weekend. In veggie meat sauce, always. Leaning heavily on salads and roasted veggies with sheet pan dinners and raw veggies as snacks. How are you getting your veggies in?

Roast a whole chicken
I think chicken eaters avoid whole chickens a lot, and I'm not sure why. They are great and a good way to really use everything. I hate food waste in general, and if I'm eating an animal even more so. Don't toss away even a scrap. Roast it whole or carve it up and use all the pieces, anything you don’t have for dinner or prep to be used in the future can be put in the fridge for sandwiches the next day. As for the bones, you can use them to flavor a stew, making sure that you’re really using every single scrap of the bird.

Don't be afraid of thighs
The best chicken to cook with in my opinion is the delicious and flavorful thighs. They are one of the cheapest, too. I actually hate chicken breasts. I eat thighs most often by just making them solo or putting them in dishes as ingredients like in an instant pot kadai chicken, which my friend Kelly has been raving about. This loaded instant pot recipe also uses tomatoes and ginger, so good for you, and makes enough to feed the family for at least two days on it. My goal when making dinner is to always have an easy-reheat meal for lunch or dinner the next day.

Pick it all
Once the “best” cuts of meat are gone, you’re still going to have a lot of meat on that bird. Go over it with a carving knife or your clean hands, slicing and picking away what bits of  meat you can and shred them. This shredded chicken can then be used in foods like filling chicken enchiladas, which can be topped up with other filling ingredients such as spinach and tomatoes. You can also use shredded chicken in salads to get your veggies in and amp up the proteins.

Wing man
Freeze the wings from multiple birds until you have enough to make wings as an app for a Sunday afternoon. I love batch cooking them in the air fryer and then some can be plain, some can be korean BBQ style, some mildly spicy, and some hot buffalo. 

Use it all 
The rest of the meat left on the chicken, the cartilage, soft wobbly bits, and little shreds of dark meat is still worth keeping around. This makes chicken stock or broth with a depth of flavor you absolutely cannot get from a box or can. This can then be used as the base of future soups or to add plenty of that rich chicken flavor to other meals, as well as adding a punch of protein to meals that you might not be having any meat with otherwise.

I'm cooking off old recipes, which you can find here. What's your best use of chicken right now?

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