Hello! We’ve got a great time-saving edition of Tuesday Tips for you. This week we’ll be eating well with some Chicken Soup and Chicken Salad.
Chicken Soup. It’s not just for when you’re sick. It’s great for everyday meals, it’s simple, and delicious. Chicken Salad is easy to make, nutritious, and delicious too. That’s just how we roll.
I know what it’s like not to have time to cook. I know what it’s like to work 11-hour days, come home, and not have an ounce of energy left to think about eating well for my good health. All of that catches up to you, though, and that’s when I began to make a change for myself.
Here’s what I did: I began to spend Sunday afternoons prepping meals for the week ahead. Having stuff ready to go meant I didn’t have to worry about every meal. I learned that I could use similar ingredients to make very different dishes, so that I could eat well and enjoy a delicious variety during the week. Today I’ll share with you a practical, time-saving, and money-saving method for preparing chicken.
Chicken is an incredibly versatile ingredient. What we’re going to do today is look at how we can use the same main ingredient – Chicken – and turn it into two fabulous meals for the week: Chicken Soup and Chicken Salad.
What you’ll need is to have a few ingredients ready to go and these ingredients will work to make two completely different meals, saving you time while giving you some variety to your food.
So, let’s get to it!
The first thing you’re going to do is to prepare the chicken by cleaning it and cooking it. If you’re unfamiliar with cooking meat, check out my post on Beef Stew for some tips.
Bro-Tip: Chicken from your local butcher will taste better. I mean waaay better. If that’s not an option, try going for a family pack when they are on sale. Freeze into smaller portions for future use. I’ve done a lot of my shopping like this and can vouch for how much it actually pays off.
- You’re going to skin the chicken. A helpful way to do this is to use a compostable paper towel to grab hold of the skin and pull it off.
- I usually don’t include the chicken breast in the Chicken Soup/Chicken Salad preparation. The bones give the broth all of its flavour. I find chicken breast works much better grilled, broiled, or fried. So I recommend cutting out the breast and saving it for another meal.
- Get a large pot, fill it halfway with water, and put it on the stove. You’re going to want to heat the water to a boil and then drop the temperature a little while everything’s cooking.
- Using your sharp knife, cut through the joints of the chicken, or put in whole pieces if you’d like. There are no rules.
- Next, put in your cloves of garlic and chunks of onion. Experiment with taste here… how much garlic do you like? Try it out. I normally use the white onion for cooking and the red onion for the chicken salad.
- Add your salt and pepper. I like to keep it simple. If you have other spices and tastes you’d like to try out here, go for it.
- After a few hours (try about 2-3), when all that delicious flavour and nutrition from the bones has permeated the broth, go ahead and remove pot from the heat.
- Once it’s cooled down a little, begin to separate the meat from the bones with your hands, setting the bones aside, and setting some chicken aside for your chicken salad, leaving the rest of the chicken back in the soup.
Bro-Tip: You can do this step while you’re watching an episode or listening to a podcast! It’s a Sunday… enjoy this process.
- Put the pot back on the heat and toss in your carrots celery, and rice. Here’s the perfect arena to use up stuff that might go bad. I like to add Broccoli and Cauliflower. Do you have some cabbage that’s just going to go to waste? Chop it up and toss it in! Everything will pick up the delicious broth flavour, and nothing will go to waste.
Now the pot of soup will be cooking for a few more minutes until the veggies are at the desired texture. In the meanwhile…
…You’re making some Chicken Salad. You’ll have all that delicious flavour in the chicken mixed with the goodness of crisp veggies, plus the savoury tang of your very own Artisan Mayo.
- Use the chicken that you separated out of the soup. Make sure most of the water is drained, you don’t want your end product to be watery. If you want to use the breast in your salad, go ahead and grill it or broil it. Then chop it up into bite size bits.
- Chop some Red Onions, Red, Yellow or Orange Peppers, Jalapenos – if you want that delightful flavour and heat.
Bro-Tip: Here’s the easiest way to cut peppers: Chop off ends. Eat them right then, they’re tasty. Stand the pepper upright and cut vertically down the middle. Place it on its side and roll it out while you cut away the core. Slice into 2 pieces. Next, slice into strips. Finally, slice across your strips to dice. Finally, save the seeds for your garden.
- Don’t be afraid to include other veggies for texture. Finely chopped celery and carrots from your soup can work great, just remember to drain them well.
- Add salt and black pepper to taste. You can get adventurous and add other herbs or spices. Paprika, is good. I like basil, but it’s not for everyone. Add your mayo. Give it all a good mix and it’s ready to be served or portioned out for the week.
Well hey, I hope you enjoy the simplicity of these time-saving prep methods that I’m so happy to share with you here. Give them a try and I’m sure they’ll result in delicious, healthy, low-stress meals for you, plus that touch of variety that we all need to stay excited about eating well.