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Stretching a bag of legs

Wednesday, March 07, 2012

I like to get 10 lb bags of chicken leg quarters at Walmart. I used to get them for 4.90, but now they're usually 6.90. But still a pretty good deal.

I start by eating the skin, as I talked aboug in my post yesterday. I usually eat it all in one meal, but there's enough for a couple of meals if you have something with it like a vegetable.

Then I have the meat. I usually cook all of the legs at once, either in the crockpot without the skin or in the oven with the skin on. I find that I usually get 10 leg quarters per bag, and that I get an average of about a cup of meat from each leg. So about 10 cups of meat per bag, plus the skin. I freeze most of the meat in 1 cup containers. 1 cup is just about right for a salad, which is how I usually eat the meat. Casseroles usually call for 2 to 4 cups of cooked chicken. It's a convenient size portion to have one hand. (I live alone. I'd put it in bigger containers if I were cooking for more than one.) A few legs I leave on the bone to have just as chicken for supper or lunch.

Taking the chicken off the bone is usually a meal in itself, as I nibble on the meat as I take it off the bone. So there's really more than just 10 cups.

After I have the meat off the bones, I put the bones in my 8 qt. crockpot and cook them on low (or warm for the newer crockpots - it shouldn't boil but shouldn't be below 150 degrees, either) for about 24 hours. I add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to help leach the calcium and such from the bones. I usually add some or all of the following: onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, pepper (whole or ground), cloves. But sometimes I just leave it plain. I usually don't salt it but add salt later, when I use the broth.

After the broth has cooked for 24 hours or so, I pour it through a collander to separate the broth from the bones. I usually pick over the bones again, which makes another meal from the chicken. Then I put the broth in pint jars (preferrably widemouth so it comes out more easily) and freeze it to use in soup and such. I could use just half the bones at a time and still end up with good broth. If I don't feel like making broth right then, I freeze the bones and use them later.

If you freeze in glass jars, be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch at the top that's empty to allow for expansion. You don't want it to break the glass. I usually put the lids on loosely, just in case, then tighten them after they are frozen. I put the jar of frozen broth in a pan of hot water to melt it enough to get the broth out when I want to use it. Be sure the lid is on tight first, though! I have forgotten to do so and most of the broth leaked out.

So, from a 6.90 bag of legs, I get 1 or 2 meals from the skin, 10 meals from the meat I take from the bones, a meal from taking the meat from the bones, and another meal from the bones after I've boiled them for broth. And 8 pints or more of broth. That's 13 meals from the chicken, or 53 cents per meal, plus 8 pints of broth that would cost at least 4.00 if I bought the broth in cans. Quite a bargain as far as I'm concerned.

The problem with this is that I eat lots of salads in the summer and lots of soup in the winter so they don't match up. I either keep adding meat to the freezer to get the broth, or I have a freezer full of bones and/or broth to get the meat. But there's usually a point in the spring and in the fall when they match up just right.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

NAYPOOIE 3/7/2012 2:14PM

    I love chicken skin, but I tend to take my chicken straight with the skin still on it.

Now I'm hungry.

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EXOTEC 3/7/2012 12:41PM

    mmmmmm I have a sudden craving for chicken soup. Maybe I'll even simmer it down and stir in some of my nice pastured whole milk with the big chunks of butterfat floating around!

Now if I can just reach my crockpot! It's H*LL being short! lol

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Chicken skins

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

You may have noticed that my protein source for some meals is chicken skin. It’s not as bad nutritionally as you might think. One ounce of raw chicken skin, when cooked, has 90 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and no carbs. And don’t forget that fat is your friend!

The skin almost always comes from a 10 pound bag of leg quarters that I get at Walmart. They’re cheap and I prefer the dark meat anyway. They were $5.90 for 10 pounds here in Idaho last month. They’ve generally been $6.90 for 10 pounds back in Indiana lately.

I cook the skins (and the legs, too) in one of two ways. The first, and easiest, is to just bake the legs, skin on, preferably but not necessarily on racks. The skin will get golden brown and separate from the meat and puff up and get nice and crisp. When the chicken is done, I pull off the skin, salt it and eat it. The meat I save for other uses.

The second way I cook them is to pull the skin off before I cook the meat. Then I spread the meat out on my boiler pan and bake it at 400 until nice and crisp. I usually put the legs themselves in the crockpot. I prefer the meat done this way, but the skin tends to stick to the broiler pan. I prefer the skins cooked the other way.

Whichever way you cook it, the skin is crisp and delicious! And I figure it’s free, really, because it doesn’t change how many pieces of meat I get from the 10 pound bag of leg quarters.

And don't forget to save the drippings! Put them in a large measuring cup and refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and the bottom will be nice strong chicken broth. Use it in soup. Use the fat instead of butter or oil for frying things.

I’ll talk more about what I do with the leg quarters another day.

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

GOPINTOS 3/6/2012 6:45PM

    Well bust my buttons. I had heard something briefly on a cooking show about leaving skins on, but wasn't really paying attention. Do you know how much time and aggravation this will save me? Not to mention no more frost bitten fingers from trying to pry the skin off partially frozen chicken! emoticon

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BUDGETMAW 3/6/2012 6:31PM

  I'm glad I'm not the only one who likes the skins. But I still don't think I'll admit to it outside of the lc world!

I have no idea what happens to the skins. I was wondering the same thing myself today. Maybe I'll ask the farmer who raises pastured (literally - they live in a pasture, not a barn or coop or house or anything) chickens.

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EXOTEC 3/6/2012 6:08PM

    Oh. Yum. I love chicken skin! My favorite recipe provides the most scrumptiously crispy skin ... I could just leave the chicken and eat the skin! ... sometimes I do! LOL

What I REALLY want (need!) to know is, where do all the skins go from the processors who provide all these boneless-skinless things??? This is a vital piece of information! I want the skins! Please! I can't find a processing house that will talk to me about it. Please don't tell me it's all going into fertilizer and pet food! aaarrrrgh!!! I will pay money for it!

okay, okay. Calm down.
I do want it though. Anybody know a source? I live in an apartment. I can't raise my own!

BTW -- there's a company making chicken cracklins now. The only ones I've ever seen. They're delectable. Company is called "Murray's".



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WOUBBIE 3/6/2012 5:52PM

    Mmmm. Chicken skins = good! I buy a roasted chicken most weeks, and the skin is so good - crispy and seasoned. Most people don't stop to consider that they actually do have a good bit of protein.

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I found my old menus!

Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The ones from January of 2010, that is, when I was doing the Food Stamp Challenge for real. It doesn't include what I bought or how much I paid, but it does tell what I ate. I do remember that one of the reasons it worked so easily was that all the right stuff went on sale the first week of January so I really stocked up then. I was going to post them all as December meals on the tracker here, but that's too much work. Instead I'll just post them here in the blog. I will add recipes to my SP Recipe Box, though.

So here's what I ate on January 1, 2010:

B – Tea with 1 T cream
L – 4 eggs, 1 T cream, 1 T butter
D – skin from 8 chicken thighs
S – tea with 1 T cream

1030 calories, 88 grams of fat, 50 grams of protein, 3 carbs, no fiber

Clearly not a healthy way to eat for any sustained period!

  


Muffin in a MInute or One Minute Muffin

Monday, March 05, 2012

That's MIM or OMM in low carb speak.

Don't know why I didn't think of including these earlier. Maybe because I haven't tried them myself? They're low cast, low carb, easy, nutritious and delicious! At least the one I had this morning for breakfast (for real!) was.

There are many variations, but here's the recipe I used. I'll get to the variations in a bit.

MUFFIN IN A MINUTE/ONE MINUTE MUFFIN

1/4 c flax meal (ground flax)
1/2 t baking powder
2 packets Splenda
1 T cinnamon
1 T butter
1 large egg

Mix the dry ingredients in a large cup. (I used a big flat cup/mug/bowl that we usually use for soup.)
In a separate bowl, melt the butter as quickly as possible. You want it melted but not hot. Add the egg and beat well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Nuke on high for one minute. It should puff up beautifully. Slather with butter and serve.

VARIATIONS:
Use more or less sweetner.
Use a tablespoon or so of sugar free syrup (like DaVinci or Torani) instead of the splenda. You may need to add a few more seconds to the cooking time because of the extra liquid.
Add 1/4 c canned pumpkin. Not canned pumpkin pie filling, but plain canned pumpkin. Use pumpkin pie spice instead of or in addition to the cinnamon.
Use just a bit of sweetner (it still needs some) and, I assume less or no cinnamon, for a savory version. Cut it in half to make two slices, top with cheese, and run under the broiler for a minute.
Add some plain, unsweetened cocoa. I assume they mean the plain stuff you used to use to make a chocolate cake and not the stuff you add water to to make hot chocolate. Though that might be good, too.

The sugar free syrups are expensive. (I used to get them at Cash and Carry, a wholesale grocery place that was associated with some grocery chain that I can't remember. They were much cheaper there. I haven't been able to find them at Sam's or Costco.) It seems like you should be able to get a similar result by using a drop or two of flavored extracts and the splenda instead. Extracts come in all sorts of flavors - vanilla, almond, chocolate, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, pecan, black walnut, orange, banana, etc. They usually do have some sugar in them, but it shouldn't be enough to worry about when you are only using a drop or two.

There used to be a sticky thread for these in the Recipe Forum here, but it seems to have been de-stickied. Here's a link to one thread about them

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
sageboard_thread.asp?board=79x482x4578
4912


and here's a link to another thread

www.sparkpeople.com/myspark/team_mes
sageboard_thread.asp?board=79x482x4341
4742


This morning's muffin, slathered with a tablespoon of butter, had 417 calories, 36 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 6 net carbs, and 10 grams of fiber. It cost less than 50 cents.

Anyone out there a MIM/OMM fan? Or not? What are your experiences, your favorite variations, etc.?

  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

ADDERGALS 6/14/2012 1:12PM

  I'm doing low carb, so MIMs are a huge part of my life, and I have done my fair share of experimenting with the recipe. I'm obsessed with coconut so right now my favorite way to make these is to replace the butter with 1 TBS of olive oil, use one splenda, a few drops of vanilla extract, a few drops of coconut extract, and about 2 TBS of unsweetened coconut shavings. Then I microwave for 1:20 take it out, slice it in half and just toast it in the toaster. Then butter it like toast. It's great...


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ADZY86 3/8/2012 4:40AM

    I absolutely LOVE these. I had one this morning actually! Don't know what I would do without it, for that 'bread' fix. I use 1 tsp of Splenda and 1/2 tsp of vanilla essence and mix it all up in a mug. I slice it in half horizontally and sometimes top it with cheese and melt it under the grill (YUM) or, I've sliced them into 4 parts and made 2 mini bacon sandwiches! These are literally the quickest, easiest, tastiest things ever.

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LIVINMYDREAMS 3/7/2012 2:18PM

    This is really good that you shared this, Maw. By the way, I ususally don't melt the butter ahead of time. I usually just put all the ingredients together and nuke. It seems to come out just fine. I like mine also with cream cheese on it. I think you could also make it like a cereal by putting cream on it. I personally have found that I get diarrhea even from one of these. I think my system is just sensitive. If I need to though I will eat one of these to help out in case of constipation.

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Food costs in January and what I have "left"

Sunday, March 04, 2012

Here's what I (hypothetically) bought in January and what I (hypothetically) had left at the end of the month. They're not perfect, but should be pretty close. Most of the prices are either ones I actually saw in the stores or saw in the ads. A few are wild guesses - especially the splenda. Most are everyday prices, a few are sale prices. The prices are from February, not January.

JANUARY PURCHASES

DAIRY
2 lbs butter @ 2.00/lb
2 lbs cheddar @3.00/lb
1 pint heavy whipping cream @2.00/pint
8 oz cream cheese @1.25/8oz

MEAT & EGGS
9 dozen eggs @1.20/dozen
8 cans tuna @.50/can
2 10-lb bags chicken leg quarters @6.00/bag
5 lbs hamburger @2.00/lb
2 lbs pork chops @2.00/lb

VEGETABLES
4 heads celery @.75/head
2 2-lb bags frozen broccoli @1.50/bag
4 heads lettuce @1.00/head
4 cans green beans @.70/can
2 cans tomato sauce @.25/can
2 2-lb bags frozen spinach @2.50/bag
3 onions (8 oz each) @.50/lb
2 heads cabbage (2 lb each) @.50/lb
2 cans tomatoes @.50/can
1 1-lb bag frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix @1.25/bag
2 green peppers @1.00 each
1 lb mushrooms @4.00/lb
1 can collards @.10/can

PANTRY STAPLES
1 box splenda
1 jar parsley flakes @ .50
1 jar onion powder @.50
1 jar chili powder @.50
1 jar garlic powder @.50
1 bottle lemon juice @2.00
1 qt mayo @2.50/qt
1 bottle ranch dressing @1.00
˝ c freshly ground peanut butter @1.40/cup
4 oz sunflower seeds @2.00/lb

Total spent $97.90


REMAINING AT END OF JANUARY

DAIRY
30 T butter
2 oz cheddar
3 T cream

EGGS & MEAT
6 eggs
6 lbs chicken leg quarters/6 quarters/6 c cooked chicken

VEGETABLES
12 oz frozen broccoli
2 c lettuce
20 oz frozen spinach
3 oz onion
5 c cabbage
1 c canned tomatoes
8 oz frozen broccoli/cauliflower mix
6 oz mushrooms

PANTRY STAPLES
39 T mayo
4 oz cream cheese

PREPARED FOODS
2 servings Atkins meatloaf


  
  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

WOUBBIE 3/4/2012 5:09PM

    *high fives*

On plan and on budget! Excellent accomplishments, both!

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