It can be difficult to eat well when time is tight. That’s what we tell ourselves as we hit the drive-through or carry out yet again, or pop a pre-fab phantom of real food type of meal into the microwave. Great tasting, healthier, real food meals are easier than you may think, even on a weeknight. A healthy diet is the foundation of good health, and has been proven to help protect against many disorders and diseases. Reducing the use of processed foods is one of the most important things that can be done to improve and protect health.
Chicken In A Pot
Plenty to serve 4 to 6 people and, with a few extra potatoes in the pot, a table of 8 could eat well. It is hard to beat this dish for ease. Delicious, nutritious, and cost-efficient, this can be set up or fully prepared ahead of time, if desired, to be put on the stove upon arrival. Many large grocery stores sell 10 pound bags of chicken leg quarters for less than $10, often at about $7.00. Potatoes are usually pretty low cost, even those nice little red ones when in season. With a one pound bag of carrots, an onion, and a bit of spice, it is almost a one pot meal. Prepare a green vegetable, like the always affordable cabbage, to have on the side for a well balanced meal.
Wash chicken and place in 4 to 6 quart pot with a lid. If using small red potatoes, add those whole. If using regular potatoes, just cut into halves or quarters, depending on size. Leave skins on. No need to waste that nutrition. Add carrots, cut in thirds, with or without peels, according to preference. Slice an onion and add it to the pot. Add about a tablespoon of fresh rosemary or one teaspoon of dried. If no rosemary, use some parsley with a pinch of thyme or oregano. Add salt and pepper to taste. Fill pot about two-thirds full of water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 1 ½ hours. Be sure to save the broth and other leftovers, as they can be used in other dishes.
One Pot Chicken And Rice With Black Beans
This dish requires 2 or 3 cups long grain white rice, depending on the number of people to be served.If planning for 4 people use, 2 cups of rice, unless you’d like some leftovers for a quick lunch. If that is the case, or if expecting more than four at the table, use the 3 cups. You’ll also need an onion, a bit of olive oil, some Spanish olives, 2 15 or 16 ounce cans black beans, Adobo spice mix, some leftover chicken, and a cup or two of chicken broth, depending on the amount of rice used.
A handful of fresh cilantro, a couple of fresh plum tomatoes, a lime, and a bit of sour cream make nice additions, but aren’t necessary. Plan for a deep green vegetable and a yellow or orange vegetable to make a complete meal. Steamed or sauteed cabbage and some sweet potatoes go well with this dish.
Add a few tablespoons of olive oil to a heavy bottomed 4 quart pot with a tight fitting lid, enough to cover the bottom. Chop the onion fine and saute in the olive oil with two teaspoons of Adobo. Chop a handful of Spanish olives fine and add to pot. While they saute, open and drain black beans, rinsing the liquid in the can off. Add the rice to the pot, and stir for 3 or 4 minutes. Add the beans and some chopped leftover chicken.
If you used 2 cups rice, you’ll need 4 cups liquid. If you’ve used 3 cups rice, then 6 cups liquid. Use chicken broth and water to total the right amount of liquid for rice used, add to pot. Stir well and bring to a boil. Stir again and cover tightly. If the top doesn’t fit tightly, then use a piece of foil underneath it. Simmer 30 to 35 minutes, or rice is tender and grains are dry and separate. Serve, if desired, with a sprinkle of chopped cilantro and diced tomato, a squeeze of lime, and a dollop of sour cream.
Using leftovers well is an important part of domestic economy. The Chicken in the Pot is a great starting point for a rich pot of chicken soup, even after a bit of chicken and broth is removed for Chicken and Rice with Black Beans. With a loaf of French Bread or some type of crusty artisan bread, a good pot of homemade soup makes an excellent meal. Any part or all of this can be done ahead, at convenient moments, so that it just has to be heated and served at the desired time.
Put the leftovers from the Chicken in the Pot in a 4 quart pot. If running low on broth, add water, enough to fill pot half to three-quarters full, depending on how much soup you’d like to make. Simmer for an hour to strengthen the broth, cocking the top a bit to allow steam to escape. That will help to concentrate flavor. After simmering, take out remaining chicken and debone, setting aside the meat. Break larger leg and thigh bones in half to release the marrow and drop back into the pot to simmer out into the broth, along with chicken skin. Let simmer another hour, more if there is time, and then remove and discard skin and bones.
Put the chicken meat back the pot. Break up potatoes and carrots still in pot into smaller, bite size pieces with a spoon. Add whatever leftover vegetables remain from other meals that work in soup, like peas, corn, and green beans. Some diced tomato is a good addition. Add a handful or two of rice, salt and pepper to taste, cover and simmer until rice is tender.