Growing up, fried chicken was a staple on Sunday’s kitchen table. There were seven in our family, and frying enough for everyone took a lot of time for my mother.
Besides, in those days, chicken was usually bought as a whole fryer or, for a higher price, you could get it cut up — but it was not sold by chicken pieces like in today’s market.
Since most of my family preferred the “white meat”, it was a fight to get one of the two breasts on the platter. To save money, my mother always bought whole chickens, and since she taught me everything she knew, I am really good at cutting up a chicken.
In fact, I prefer to cut up my own as I cut it up without getting slivers of bone in the pieces like the ones in the market today that have been cut on a bandsaw.
Now that I am cooking for just two, it is much easier to just buy it by single pieces. Depending on the recipe, I use both boneless as well as bone-in.
When whole chickens are on sale, I buy a small one and cut it into pieces. I cook the two breasts either by frying or baking them and then “stew” the remainder so that I can make chicken and noodles or another recipe for later.
Now, I know some of you are wondering what does she mean by “stew”. No I am not making chicken stew!
To stew means to cook in water slowly. I place the chicken pieces in a large saucepan, add two 16 oz. cans of chicken broth along with salt to taste. Cover the pan and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook very slowly for about 45 minutes or until chicken pulls away from the bone. Remove from heat and cool until warm.
I then separate the chicken from the bone and place it in a container with a lid. Place chicken broth in a separate bowl with a lid. This can be used within three days for a second meal.
Using this way of buying chicken I can get two meals for one price (usually about $4 per meal).
Now, what are you going to do with this cooked chicken and broth? Let me give you a couple of ideas of what to do with the cooked chicken.
HOMEMADE CHICKEN SALAD
This is my favorite chicken salad recipe. The salad dressing is from my mother and is very old. It is sweet and fluffy and is wonderful on top of Jell-O salads for a real treat.
In medium bowl, mix shredded chicken, salt, pepper, chopped celery, chopped pecans, sliced grapes, and crushed/drained pineapple. Mix with the following salad dressing. Chill and serve on leaves of lettuce or on croissants..
1/3 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup sugar
2 egg yolks, well beaten
¼ teaspoon paprika
¼ teaspoon dry mustard.
1 ½ tablespoon vinegar
In small saucepan, beat together butter and sugar and then add egg yolks and spices, mix completely. Gradually add vinegar, stirring in one direction ONLY. Place on low heat and cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens to consistency of pudding. Remove and place in refrigerator. Beat whipping cream. Gradually fold into dressing mixture. Can be kept in refrigerator for up to two days. Note: Since this salad is best when freshly made, I suggest that you make ahead of time so that it will be ready when you prepare the salad.
CHICKEN AND RICE BAKE
This is a great casserole but should not be prepared until you are ready to bake as the rice will absorb the broth and the casserole will be dry.
2 ½ cup cooked chicken, cut in small pieces
2 cup chicken broth
Salt and Pepper
¾ cup long grained rice, uncooked (not minute or converted rice)
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup cream of chicken soup
¾ cup mayonnaise
Potato Chips, crushed
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In medium saucepan, bring broth, salt and pepper to a boil. Add rice, celery and cook on medium for 12 minutes. Stir in chicken, soup and mayonnaise. Place in greased 7 x 11 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove and cover with crushed potato chips. Return to oven and bake for 12-15 more minutes until chips are golden brown and chicken bubbly.
Have a great week! — Sheryl.
Sheryl Sollars, a Clinton County native, is an accomplished cook and homemaker. She contributes her column “Welcome to My Kitchen” out of her love of homemaking and of sharing her thoughts with her readers. If you have cooking questions or a recipe you want to share, please contact Sheryl at [email protected]