Hello again from sunny South Carolina … I’m out of the hospital and now receiving in-house therapy four days a week. My husband has been so helpful. He has become the No. 1 sous chef in our beach house. He is doing a great job; as I sit in a chair or lay on the sofa, I shout out menu ideas to him. He then reaches for veggies, herbs, eggs, meats, cheeses and spicesand puts them all in place, ready to be assembled into a wonderful homemade dinner.  Speaking of “put in place,” it is from a French kitchen term, “mise en place,” which means "putting in place." It means get everything you need before cooking, organizing and having all the ingredients ready. I learned that in home economics in high school but it was all in English; get all your supplies and food out and ready before you start … that was drilled into us every day in class. So now I’m shouting it from the sofa… LOL! We are sheltering in place here on this small island, practicing social distancing, so we are cooking and eating foods we have already in the kitchen cupboards, pantry and freezer. As Phil was “mise en place” our dinner earlier this week, he brought to my attention that the organic chicken we defrosted in the fridge was the last of the protein we had in the house. Since we are not going shopping unless it is an emergency, I told him we could make it last for five different meals. “Please Join Our Table” as we multiply one lovely organic chicken into five meals! Perhaps very soon I will be the head cook in the kitchen again!

Whole Roasted Organic Chicken
(Like the H-E-B chicken from the deli department)

1 2 1/2- to 3-pound whole organic chicken, gizzard removed and saved

1-2 tablespoons mixed herb seasoning of your choice (I like Herbs de Provence*, homemade or store-bought) 

1 teaspoon garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon onion powder

1 teaspoon Greek oregano

2 teaspoons sea salt

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil (I like Greek extra-virgin olive oil, EVOO)

1 onion, quartered

2 celery stalks, chopped in half

4 baby carrots

1/2 cup white wine, any that you have on hand

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a roasting pan, place the chicken breast side up. Cut and remove the wing flaps and set aside. Sprinkle the EVOO all over the chicken, then generously sprinkle over all the remaining ingredients. Place in the preheated oven on the center rack. Bake uncovered for one hour and 30 minutes. Check for doneness; if skin is getting too dark, tent it with foil. Continue cooking until internal temperature reaches 155 degrees or when legs wiggle really loosely and juices run clear. Remove from oven and let sit 10 minutes. Serve with any starch and veggie you have in the fridge, freezer or pantry. NOTE:  Save all the bones, yes, all the bones.

 

*Homemade Herbs de Provence

2 tablespoons dried rosemary 

2 teaspoons fennel seed

1 tablespoon dried coriander or savory

2 tablespoons dried thyme

2 tablespoons dried basil

2 tablespoons dried marjoram

 

Seasoned Chicken Bone Broth

Bones, neck and gizzard (saved from earlier; do not use the liver)

1 onion, quartered

2 carrots or 6 baby carrots

1/2 head of garlic

2 stalks of celery, cut in half

1 1/2-2 quarts water

Place all ingredients in a large crockpot and add water to cover. Place top on pot and cook on low 24-30 hours. Turn off pot and strain vegetables, gizzard and bones, saving as much meat as possible to use later in soup. Discard bones, gizzard and vegetables. Cool broth and store in fridge up to 3 days or freeze up to 1 month. 

 

Chicken, Farro and Kale Vegetable Soup

1 tablespoon EVOO

1 1/2 quarts chicken bone broth

3 celery stalks, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

1/2 cup chopped white onion 

3 cups chopped kale

1 teaspoon pepper

1 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons Greek seasoning or any you prefer

1/2 teaspoon red pepper

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken from dinner earlier in the week

1/2 cup white wine, optional

2 cups cooked farro, rice or pasta (I used farro from dinner the night before)

Garnish: grated cheese, chopped green onion, chopped jalapeno, parsley, etc.

Place the EVOO in a 3-4 quart stove-top pot, add all the vegetables except kale and saute on medium high until semi-soft. Add the broth and simmer 1 hour. Add all remaining ingredients and simmer until kale is cooked to desired tenderness (I like mine with a little bite to it). Pour into bowls, top with garnishes desired and drizzle with EVOO.

 

Chicken Salad with Spinach and Peppers

1 cup cooked chicken

1-2 cups fresh baby spinach or a mix with arugula

1/2 sweet red pepper, seeded and sliced

1/2 cucumber or zucchini, sliced into discs

1/4 cup red onions, sliced

1/3 cup pine nuts or any chopped nuts

Italian or Greek salad dressing (store-bought or homemade)

Goat cheese or feta crumbles

Dried Greek oregano

Olives, any variety 

Mix everything except the chicken, cheese and nuts together in a large bowl. Divide into 4 servings and place on plates. Heat the cooked chicken in the microwave for a couple minutes. Evenly divide and place the chicken onto the salads. Top with the nuts and cheese. Serve with great crusty bread. 

 

Red Pepper Chicken with Rigatoni

1 1/2 cups cooked chicken, or all you have left

Chopped kale or whole baby spinach

Sweet red bell pepper (or green if you don’t have red)

3-4 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and pepper to taste

 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning

 1/2 cup red or white onion, coarse chopped

 EVOO

 2 cups cooked rigatoni

 1/2 cup pasta broth 

 1/2 cup white wine or chicken broth

 1/2 cup grated Parmesan or any cheese

Place the EVOO in a large skillet over med-high heat and add the chopped kale or whole baby spinach, sweet red bell pepper, garlic and onion. Saute 2-3 minutes, then add the spices, chicken, wine and saute 2 more minutes. Add cheese and pasta water until desired sauce thickness is reached. Serve over the pasta and top with a drizzle of EVOO and more cheese.

 

Karen Boughton
Author: Karen BoughtonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
I grew up in a big, Greek, cooking family. I married my high school sweetheart and soon had three daughters. My husband and I worked in the family’s Greek restaurant, “Zorba’s,” for several years before moving to Baton Rouge and eventually Corpus Christi. There I taught microwave cooking classes for Amana.in studio and on television for three years before moving to Kingwood in the late '80s. I reached out to learn more about regional and international foods, spending 16 years in management in private athletic/dining/country clubs for ClubCorp, where I embraced health and cooking. In 2008 I joined the Tribune Newspapers as food editor, the same time that I became a nutrition advisor and USANA Health Sciences Associate. These two passions have given me better health and the freedom to live life my way.

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