Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Year's Food Resolution: More Veg, Less Meat

One of my New Year's resolutions is to eat less meat and make the meat we do use go farther. I want us to eat healthier; and I want to spend less money on groceries. So this week I spent $10 on bone-in chicken breasts at Lowes Foods ($.97/lb) and in about an hour (not including cook time) turned 12 bone-in breasts into 24 medium boneless chicken breasts, 12 chicken strips, 1 gallon of chicken broth and 4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. Here's how I did it:

Each bone-in breast will give you one large boneless breast and one chicken strip or two medium breasts and a strip. Start by pulling back the skin. Use your knife to separate any membrane from the meat that you can't loosen with your fingers.

You'll need a sharp, thin knife to knock these out quickly. Turn the breast so the skin is flopped over the left-hand side and the meat is on top. You'll feel a hard, flexible line of cartilage on the right. If the breast isn't already pulled away from the cartilage use your knife to cut it away.  You should be able to see where the breast is now separating from the bone and there's a small, separate strip of meat underneath. Cut away the breast. It will be oblong and tear shaped, thicker at the top and thin at the bottom.

 Now that the breast is gone you'll see a small, long strip of meat separately underneath the breast. Use your knife to gently cut the strip away from the bone/cartilage. Cut away any ligament or bone.
 You should now have one large breast, a strip, and the remaining bone/skin/meat. Using a mallet gently pound the thickest part of the chicken breast to an even thickness. Cut the breast into two pieces and set aside. Cut the skin from the remaining bone and discard the skin; save the bones for making broth.
Place the remaining bones with meat in a 6-quart pot. I use a pot that comes with a built-in strainer. Fill the pot with cold water just so the bones are covered. Add three stalks of celery, washed and snapped into three-inch pieces. Peel a yellow onion,cut it into four chunks and add to the water. Add 4 or 5 Tbs of sea salt and 8 to 10 black peppercorns. Bring the pot to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer another hour. Remove from heat, lifting the straining pot with all the vegetables and meat, leaving only the broth in the pan. Place the broth in the fridge or freezer until you're ready to use it. I skim any of the fat off the top before freezing. Discard the vegetables and using your fingers, pluck any remaining cooked meat from the bone and set aside the meat. Discard the bones.

Cutting back on meat will take some dedication. Stretching $10 of chicken is one part of the process. We'll also need to actually eat less meat and replace it with healthier proteins, fruits, veg, grains etc. My goal is not to deprive us by any means, but to make more conscious decisions about what we're eating and where we're spending our money in 2011. In some future posts I'll update you on how we're doing and share meal recipes that either 1.) stretch a little bit of meat to feed four heartily or 2.) skip the meat altogether. I'll also be posting lots of baking recipes. I love to bake when it's cold like this, and what's life without balance?

1 comment:

  1. You always make me think. This is a great way to save money. Although touching raw chicken is not my favorite thing I can tolerate it to save money.

    Also, I wanted to talke with you about doing a guest post on my blog to point people to your blog while I am out on ML. Are you interested? Let me know!!


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