I love whole organic, free range, local chickens. If you are still purchasing factory farmed chickens, you really must try a real chicken. A happy chicken really can make all the difference. To find a local organic, free range chicken visit eatwild.com and find a nice farmer near you to make friends with and buy one or twenty from them. I know some of you may be vegans or vegetarians and I totally respect that~we eat several meals a week without any meat.
One chicken makes several meals for us...We're at about 4 meals for 4-5 people right now. I say 4-5 because John only eats dinner with us and three of the five of us are kids. It all starts in my favorite appliance for a tiny RV kitchen, the slow cooker...
I placed the little lady into the cooker for several hours. The golden broth she gave off was the start of some really delicious stock. After getting every bit of meat off the bones, I place the bones, fat and other bits back into my slow cooker along with some organic carrots, celery, onions, garlic and black peppercorns and water. All of these flavors meld into a really, really lovely thing. Using a slow cooker in an RV saves money because most stovetops operate off of propane. When parked at a campground electricity is included in the rate for our spot.
If my second meal wasn't going to be homemade chicken noodle soup then I would allow the broth to cool, strain it and freeze it for future use. The RV does have a little freezer and I am always amazed at what I can fit in there.
Our first meal from the chicken was some of the meat topping some really great all organic local portobello mushroom raviolis that we picked up at the Franklin Farmers Market in Franklin, TN and a nice mushroom cream sauce that I made and topped with a bit of chopped walnuts.
So day two, I place the chicken stock into my stock pot. I love my IKEA 365+ stock pot and seriously use it almost every day. Next I add, chopped carrots, celery, onions, frozen peas, and some whole wheat organic rotini for the noodles and a some of the chicken meat that's waiting for me in the fridge. It's fall and one pot meals, soups and stews are practical and easy for our lifestyle. Last night the kids and I returned from their art club class at Wichita's City Art and within 20 minutes or so we had warm, delicious homemade chicken soup.
Day 3, We had chicken noodle soup for lunch again today...even tastier. Along with a big salad with the most amazing organic apples I have ever had, honey crisp apples, toasted walnuts, organic dried cranberries and a homemade dressing that consisted of:
Easy Homemade Salad Dressing
2 T. organic canola oil
2 T. organic apple cider vinegar
1 small clove of organic garlic minced
1/4 t. of salt
1 T. of local organic honey
A dash of pepper
Place all ingredients in a jar with a lid, shake thoroughly and toss with salad greens.
Making your own salad dressings while cooking/living full-time in a RV is a space saver because you only make as much as you need for the meal and you don't have salad dressing containers taking up space in your tiny refrigerator~also a green tip because you aren't purchasing the packaging!
I still have enough chicken left for another meal.
There is something about homemade, handmade food that nutures our souls. Not only the intent and energy behind the preparation but the thought, intent and energy that goes into organic sustainable ingredients. It all comes together to nourish much more than our bodies. The only rule for cooking for me is love. I'm always making up recipes and combinations, changing one ingredient or another. Cooking is kind of like life, you use the resources you have to make something wonderful and end up loving it.