Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Free Soup for Cold and Colds

Cold temperatures and a family full of runny noses took me to the store in search of chicken soup. I wanted low sodium or salt-free broth. Horrors! Other shoppers had purchased all the broth except for one carton. I put that in my cart and pondered my possibilities. Was it worth a trip to any of the other grocery stores in my neighborhood? I had gone to the store that I knew had the largest supply of low salt products in the first place.

Bingo!  I remembered the bag of leftover roast chicken bones sitting in my freezer. I had tossed them in a couple of weeks ago when I didn't have time to make stock. Frozen chicken bones to the rescue! I put the bones with their clinging shards of meat into a 3-quart pot. Tossed in a couple of chopped carrots, a bit of onion, some celery and covered the ingredients with cold water.

A couple of slow-simmering hours later I drained off the broth. I'll pick the remaining bit of chicken off the bones.I may make it into a small bit of chicken salad, or put it back into the stock. Given the health of the family, I'm pretty sure this quart of soup won't last long.

But it is worth remembering that at the end of every meal we have an opportunity to look over what is left and consider how we can make the best use of our food resources. You never know when you might just need it to keep yourself healthy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Backyard Chicken

This summer our pear tree finally produced enough pears so that we got many more than the squirrels. Tim, the bee-keeper neighbor up the street, installed a new hive. His bees feasted on our garden blooms all summer long.

The pears ripened all at once, as pears usually do. I had plenty to make a few pints of my favorite Pear Salsa. Tim shared a couple of pints of neighborhood honey.

 Looking out at the snow-covered backyard this morning, I thought about making a dish to bring those "remembering summer" ingredients together. I marinated the chicken for about four hours in the salsa, baked it, and then finished it off with a light summer honey glaze. Even if you don't have a pear tree or a bee-keeper neighbor you could enjoy this dish. There are winter pears in the stores now. It wouldn't take too long to make a half batch of the salsa. It is delightful on chips, too.

Backyard Chicken

2 1/2 pounds boneless chicken parts, breasts and thighs
3/4 cup pear salsa (recipe follows)
1/4 cup honey

 Wash the chicken and combine with the pear salsa in a plastic freezer bag. Let the chicken marinate in the refrigerator for at least three hours, or overnight. Shake the bag every hour or so for the first three hours to distribute the marinade evenly. When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil. Pick one large enough to hold the chicken in a single layer without touching and with at least half-inch sides so the baking juices won't run into the oven. Put the chicken on the baking sheet. Bake until done, turning once. The amount of time will vary with the size of the pieces of chicken. Tenders will take about 15 minutes, full breasts much longer. When chicken is done remove pieces to a plate, put a baking rack on the foil and the put the chicken on the rack. Turn the oven to broil. Drizzle the chicken pieces lightly with honey and broil until golden, about five minutes.

Pear Salsa 

10 pears (good-sized and ripe, but still hard)
1 red pepper 1 green pepper
1 red onion
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 cup lime juice
1 jalapeno pepper (minced)
1 1/2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger root
1/4 cup white vinegar

Peel and core the pears, core the peppers, and peel the onion. Process in a food processor until chopped, do not over process. Put the mixture into a large pot, add the liquid ingredients and ginger. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, add the jalapeno. Cook for ten minutes or until pears just begin to turn transparent. Put into sterilized jars and store in refrigerator for about a month. Or you may seal in pint or half-pint canning jars by processing in boiling water bath for 10 minutes, following USDA recommendations.

Copyright 2013 Rae Katherine Eighmey All Rights Reserved