Over the years I have discovered several small things that I consider a “must-have” in my kitchen.
For example, I “must have” a good sharp knife, real butter, kosher salt, a veggie peeler, and of course ketchup.
But my biggest “must-have” in the kitchen is a whole chicken.
That sounds crazy, I know, but a chicken is one of the most useful items to have on hand in the kitchen. I usually keep two or three in my freezer at all times. Why?
Pop a chicken in your crock pot with some BBQ sauce, slices of lemon, onion, salt and pepper. Let it simmer all day, whip up some mashed potatoes and a salad for an easy dinner on a busy day.
Cut up your chicken, dip in buttermilk then flour and fry it up for a vintage taste of fried chicken.
Or you can cut it up, batter in corn flake crumbs and bake in the oven for a juicy and healthier alternative to fried chicken.
Cook it whole on the grill over a can of beer, or slice it up and baste with BBQ sauce or a homemade honey-mustard glaze.
Stuff it with herbs, shove a little butter between the skin and meat, salt and pepper the bird and roast it in the oven.
You can also stuff it with a peach stuffing and glaze before roasting.
Looking for a lunch or appetizer? Boil your chicken and remove it from the bones, making it into a fabulous chicken salad.
I guess my favorite way to fix a chicken is in chicken noodle soup.
Audley’s pop just recently had heart surgery and pneumonia so it seemed only fitting to make up a pot for Granny & Pop’s supper. I’ve always heard that chicken noodle soup has healing powers! My recipe is so easy!
All you need is a whole chicken, two stalks of celery, two whole carrots, green onion tops, noodle of your choice, about a tablespoon of fresh parsley, salt and pepper.
Boil your chicken covered in water in a large stock pot until done. Remove chicken to cool so that you can pull the meat off the bones.
While your chicken is cooling, drain the fat off of your broth. I have this great tool for doing this by OXO called a fat separator. It takes a little time to do this, but is so worth the effort in the end!
Pour your broth into the separator and watch the fat rise to the top while the good juices settle on the bottom. The resistant strainer catches skin and other parts of the chicken to help keep your broth clear, and the stopper keeps fat from rising to the top of the spout. Once your broth has settled, remove the stopper and pour out lean broth. I just set it upright before the fat reaches the spout. It also works well to measure how much liquid you have.
Pour your broth back into the pot, making sure you have about seven or eight quarts. It you have less, add water to it. Chop up your veggies and add to broth, simmering on low while your remove the chicken from the bones.
Add the chicken, parsley, and desired amounts of salt and pepper to pot. Simmer until veggie are fork tender, but not mushy.
Add your noodles and cook another five to eight minutes.
Serve it up in your favorite soup mug and enjoy!
Now we don’t want to be wasteful, so I have something you can do with your veggie and chicken scraps.
Add them to another pot, season with a little salt and pepper, even add an onion, and fill with water.
Cover and let simmer for about an hour. Skim fat and the veggies pouring your broth into freezer safe storage containers for a later use
Can you see why chicken is my kitchen must have?
So how do you like you chicken?