Wednesday, 1 February 2012

BLT Club and Chicken Soup

Cooking for 1 or 2

BLT Club Sandwich and then a Chicken Soup

It’s more fun to talk with someone who doesn’t use long, difficult words but rather short, easy words like “what about lunch?” Winnie the Pooh

I hear it all the time.” I don’t like to bother with cooking since it’s just me”.

You still need to eat and rather than having another bowl of cereal  for dinner,  let me show you how to re- think cooking for 1 or 2 people.

Most people think about cutting a recipe in half or preparing 1 chicken breast with a few veggies when considering what to do for dinner.  I think about taking one main ingredient  (a roasted chicken ) and creating multiple meals. This way I can have meals prepared and ready  in the freezer, packaged individually so I can heat up just what I need (a single or double portion size) I like to have home prepared meals that I have in the freezer so that I don’t have to cook as often or when I don’t feel like it.

Let me show you how to take the cooked chicken you picked up on the way home and prepare a simple BLT Club Sandwich tonight and a hearty Chicken Soup for another day. Freezing the soup into individual portions makes it easy when you want a quick bowl of soup on a rainy day. This can be done with anything! You buy a small beef chuck roast & prepare a pot roast for one meal & a stir fry for another meal.

What you will need:

  •          a grocery store rotisserie cooked chicken
  •          some sliced bread- 3 slices for each sandwich
  •          tomatoes (at least one)
  •          lettuce
  •          bacon- 2 slices
  •          condiments like mayonnaise or mustard , salt & pepper 

This is your basic cooked chicken that can be picked up at almost any grocery store these days.

Step 1: remove the string or plastic that is normally holding the legs together. Separate the legs & wings from the beast meat. You can do this with a knife however, they usually can be just pulled apart easily with your hands (don’t be squeamish!)

Step 2: separate each of the individual breasts from the bone- it’s nice if you can try to do this in nice pieces so you can slice your breast for the sandwiches.  If you use your hands to remove the meat from the bone and it does not come off nicely in one piece.... no problem, its sandwich!

Step 3: remove any remaining meat on the breast bone and put aside. Remove all ( or most) skin from the chicken and discard. Take all bones and put into a pot for the soup. You can move the pot somewhere for the time being and we will get back to making our BLT.

This is the meat from the entire chicken. I have the two breasts on the right & all the meat that I pulled off of the legs, wings & breast bones on the left. Put the pieces in the pot and the breast is used for the BLT. 

Step 4: Start preparing your bacon. When I buy bacon I remove all of it from the package. I take a large sheet of wax paper and separate 2 slices of bacon, roll over the wax paper and place another 2 slices of bacon down. I do this until the whole package is separated onto the wax paper. I roll it up & place in a Ziploc bag and then store in the freezer. This was I always have bacon in small amounts if I need it. You can freeze the entire package of bacon however, if you just want 2 slices you have to thaw out the entire package & then you must use it within a few days since the package is now open. Storing it in the freezer allows you to keep the bacon for a long time without wasting anything.

Step 5: Remove 2 slices (more if you like) from the freezer and cut into smaller slices. Place in fry pan on medium heat.

Once the pan starts to heat up you can separate the slices that were frozen in order to cook properly. I like to turn down the bacon to low once the bacon gets going. It cooks the bacon more evenly and keeps down the amount of grease that splatters. The closer it gets to becoming crispy I turn it every minute or so to prevent burning. I like crispy bacon, not burnt bacon.

Step 6: once bacon is cooked to your satisfaction remove from heat and blot on paper towels. I pour off the fat and keep it in a container in the freezer. It’s great  to use as a flavourful fat for frying onions etc...If you don’t want it then take the paper towel you used for your slices and once done use it to soak up the rest of the fat and discard with your compostables.

Step 7: slice up your chicken breast  &  tomatoes. Get your lettuce and any condiments ready.
Step 8: Toast 3 slices of bread for each sandwich.

Step 9: put mayonnaise or mustard on bread, then assemble toppings. Don’t forget salt & pepper and build your club sandwich. I put 4 toothpicks on the corners of the bread then slice with a serrated knife.

Now EAT IT!!!

After you eat this sandwich you then make the soup which can be stored in the fridge for the next night or it can be frozen in individual portions and frozen for later on.

Chicken Soup

I love Chicken Soup. I love it with warm bread and butter. I love it with noodles. I love it with rice. Chicken soup on a blustery day will set the world right again. Everyone should know how to make a good chicken soup.

What you need:

  •    chicken bones
  •          peppercorns
  •         carrots
  •         celery
  •         water
  •         parsley or thyme
  •         garlic
  •         salt

  •         chicken stock
  •         2-3 carrots
  •         1-2 celery stalks
  •         ½ onion
  •         1 clove garlic
  •         chicken pieces (whatever you had left after your sandwichs)
  •         thyme or parsley– a handful
  •         Italian seasoning – 1 tsp
  •         1 Potato
  •         Salt & Pepper to taste
  •         ¼ cup Noodles or rice (or both)

Step 1: the first thing you make is the stock. The stock is made by cooking the bones along with some flavourings like peppercorns, onion, garlic, celery and carrot.
 Go get that  8 inch pot of bones you put aside! Chop the onion into quarters, rough chop garlic, peel & chop carrot into a few pieces, chop celery into big chunks and dump it all into the pot with the bones and some thyme or parsley.

Step 2: Fill the pot with cold water and put on the stove to cook. The stock should come to almost a boil then turn it down to low to simmer slowly for 2 hours. It should quietly simmer and not get to a rough boil. Slowly cooking it makes a clear broth once the soup is done.

Step 3: After 2 hours remove from the heat and strain out the bones and vegetables. I just pour it through a strainer into another pot.

Step 4: Chop ½ onion into fine dice, along with some chopped garlic & ½ tsp Italian seasonings and fry for a few minutes in a bit of olive oil. I do this until the onions just begin to get slightly brown. Add to the stock.

Step 5: Chop potato, carrots and celery into chunks and add to stock.

Step 6: Add chopped chicken and some fresh basil or parsley to pot.

Step 7: Add ¼ cup of small noodles or rice (or both)

Cook for 20 minutes and serve or let cool, pack into containers and freeze.

If you want to freeze soup put into individual portion containers, this way when you want to defrost a soup for one you can do it very easily.

1 comment:

  1. This is so good with warm bread on a rainy night!