Crest Cottage Creations

Food, Family, and Fun in our little cottage…


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Revisiting the Roasted Whole Chicken

Since my last post on the crockpot roast chicken, I have adapted my technique a bit.  Check it out, complete with new pictures.
To start, I stack the whole chicken on top of some veggies.  Onions are my favorite, but carrots are good, too.  Potatoes and celery also fit the bill.
I season the chicken with salt, pepper, and whatever other flavors I am in the mood for.  This one was paprika.  I cook it on low for about 8 hours.  Once it is done, I now crisp up the skin.  To do that, I place it on a roasting rack and broil it in the oven for a few minutes.
That is it!  Easy and it tastes great.  Now, I like to stretch out a chicken as much as possible.  The first night, we eat the legs (most recently, with onions and hyssop salad).
Then, I save the breasts for something else.  I usually use it on salads or in leftover cooking.
Then, I pick apart the rest of the chicken for scraps.  There is typically about a pint, sometimes more.  That is best suited for stir fries, soups, salads, or leftover cooking.
Now, I put the bones, skin that wasn’t eaten, and other scraps into the crockpot with all the veggie scraps I have saved in the freezer for this very occasion.
I fill it with water and apple cider vinegar and let it soak.  It is said that doing this extra step helps the nutrients in the bones become more available.  I’m not sure if it is true, but I figure it can’t hurt.  After it has soaked for a while, I cook it on high for a long time (usually until I have time to strain it).
Once it is cooked, I pour it through a mesh strainer into a big bowl and stick it in the fridge.  If a thick layer of fat forms, I skim it off.  Not because I don’t want it, but because I can then cook with it.  Free cooking fat!!
I typically end up with more than a half gallon of stock!
All in all, I get a dinner for 2 the first night, a dinner for 2 and lunch for 2 with the breasts, lunch or dinner for 2 with the scraps, cooking fat for a meal or two, and broth for a while!  Not too bad for one chicken, huh!This post was shared on Make Your Own Monday and  Simple Lives Thursday!


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More Hyssop Fun!

After the success of the last hyssop recipe, I decided to try and experiment a little.  We received radishes and asparagus in our CSA, and I saw a recipe for a cool salad using both. 
First, I chopped and steamed a bunch of asparagus.
While that was cooking, I mixed up the dressing.  It was rice wine vinegar, olive oil, nama shoyu (which is like soy sauce), salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, and a splash of sesame oil.  Sesame oil is strong!  
Once the asparagus was done and chilled, I mixed it into the dressing along with lots of scallions, leftover chicken, and chopped up radishes.  Then I thought about the hyssop.  It is kinda like anise, which is the flavor of the Lebanese liquor Arak.  Arak is often enjoyed with radishes, so I thought the hyssop might work well in the salad. 
It did!  It was so light and perfect for a hot day.

This post was shared with Real Food Wednesday and Fight Back Friday!


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Black Bean, Chicken, and Cilantro Soup

While summer has officially started, the weather here has been weird.  We had a few scorchers (when the frozen yogurt pops came in handy!) followed by crazy thunderstorms.  Some of them were warm, but there were some unseasonably cool days, too.  I had cilantro from our produce delivery and wasn’t quite sure what to make with it.  When I stumbled upon this recipe, it seemed perfect.  Of course, i was missing some of the ingredients, so I improvised.
I used dry beans to make this soup, so I started the prep well in advance.  I make a whole bag when I cook beans and freeze the rest for later.   Once the beans were cooked, I started on the soup itself.  After browning  onions in oil and butter, I seasoned them with cumin, garlic powder, celery salt, and red pepper flakes.  Then, I added in a pint of leftover crushed tomatoes, a pint of concentrated chicken stock and some water.
It cooked down for quite a while.  Once it was pretty thick, I added in 3 cups of black beans and 2 cups of leftover crockpot roasted chicken.
I let that cook for a little while, and then added lots of cilantro on top.
Once it was cooked up, I served it with a copious amount of shredded cheese on top.  That was my favorite part!
This post was shared with Make Your Own Monday and The Hearth and Soul Hop!


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Balsamic Chicken with Arugula Salad

This was so easy that I am almost embarrassed to share it.  It was a great thing to have on a night that I work late, but still, hardly worth sharing.  The only reason that I am is because it was incredibly tasty.  
The magic part, in my opinion, was the marinade/dressing.  It starts with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
 The only other ingredients are smashed garlic and salt!
I mixed it all together and put 1/4 cup of it in a bag with chicken thighs to marinate.
When John got home from work, he baked it at 350* until it was done.  I had already made up a quick salad of arugula, cherry tomatoes, and shaved Parmesan Cheese.  I tossed it with the rest of the dressing right before we ate.
The chicken (shown here with John’s hummus and baba ghanoush) did not photograph very well, but it tasted great!  Next time I will probably slice the chicken and serve it over the salad.
This post was shared with Simple Lives Thursday!


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Macaroni Monday: Chicken and Broccoli Fettuccine Alfredo

One of John’s favorite meals is Fettuccine Alfredo.  I never really made it in the past, because that much dairy rarely agreed with my stomach.  Once we switched over to raw, grassfed dairy, my belly stopped having temper tantrums, but I forgot all about poor John’s favorite.  Until… I ordered cream and decided to take the plunge.  I used this recipe for the sauce, mostly. 
First, I melted down tons of butter.
Then, I smushed up lots of garlic and added it to the butter.
When it smelled delicious, I added in the raw milk cream and warmed it up.
While this was going in, I cut up some chicken thighs.  Usually, I buy whole chickens because they are more cost effective, but sometimes the thighs are a good price so I grab them for a special dinner.  The can be used the same way breasts are used, but are much, much juicier.
Back to the meal.  I melted down some chicken fat that I skimmed off of the top of stock in a separate pan from the sauce.
When it was nice and hot, I added the chicken to the pan.
 After the chicken was cooked, I added in some frozen broccoli.
At this point, the macaroni was cooked, the sauce was cooked, and the chicken/broccoli mixture was cooked.  The only thing left to do was mix it together!
I left the heat on low for a few minutes to help the sauce marry the other ingredients. 
I served it up with tons of parmesean cheese and a kale/tomato salad.  Mmmmm!


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Stir Fry with an Unexpected Side

Hey, that title kind of rhymes!  A nice change from my love of alliteration.  Anyway, the stir-fry is pretty boring, the real star is the side dish.  
The stir fry is just:
Chicken
Red Pepper
Mushrooms
Bok Choy
… All cooked up together in nama shoyu, rice wine vinegar, and ginger.
The REAL star of this meal was the side dish.  Roasted sweet potatoes and pineapple!!
The were cut into bite-sized pieces, tossed with salt and olive oil, and roasted at 425* until they were lightly browned.
They were a delicious complement to the main dish. 


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Lemon-Creamy Chicken and Macaroni… with a salad!

Monday Macaroni this week featured some leftover chicken… How delish!
The first thing I did was saute some onions and leek in olive oil.  I bet you thought I was going to say onion and garlic in butter.  Hah!  I tricked you!  Really, I used olive oil because we were out of butter.  
When it was smelling good, I added in 1/2 cup of chicken broth. 
I let it come to a boil and then added in 3/4 cup of the cream from the top of the milk, some thyme, salt, and a few splashes of lemon juice. 
When it was all nice and warm, I added in leftover roasted chicken
I turned the heat up a bit, and let the chicken warm up.
It was perfect served over macaroni!
Although it had some onions in it, this dish really needed a salad with it.  What kind… hmm….  Dandelion Greens!
I whipped up a quick dressing by chopping up some garlic and leeks…
… and mixed it with a 1:1 ratio of olive oil and rice wine vinegar and a bit of salt.
Topped with dried cranberries, it was a good mix of bitter and sweet.
This post was shared with the Hearth and Soul Bloghop and Fat Tuesday!