Saturday, July 14, 2012

Guest Blogger - April's Country Life

Hello!  I'm April and I am soooo excited and honored that Michelle has given me the opportunity to do my first ever guest post.  I started my blog just a few months ago and Michelle has been such an encouragement and inspiration from the beginning - I can see why you all love her so much.  I am mom of two awesomely funny, brilliant and loving kids (I know we all say that, right? OK, so while that is true they love animals, hockey, crafts, rough-housing with their dad and currently, smart-mouthing).  My daughter is my mini-me and my son is a small total guy already.  My husband and I are your not-so-typical-anymore high-school sweethearts and he is my perfect balance and compliment.  We have two handfuls of critters running around the mix and we both work full-time.  I'm probably a contradiction to myself most of the time because I like a little bit of everything and while I am a total Type-A, I usually have way too much going on to stop running in circles.  I started my blog to meet friends like you and I hope you'll become a regular visiting with me there!

Frugal, cheap, penny-pincher...whatever you like...I'm not offended.  When times were good those were bad words and everyone steered clear of them.  Since the crash of the housing market and the recessions began, those words and things like re-purposing and up-cycling have become all the rage.

Growing up in a small farming community, we always did things the frugal way.  My great-grandparents lived through the Great Depression and never lived in excess.  My grandparents got married and had babies young and bought their farm and saw up years and down years and never knew what kind of year it would be.  They had 5 girls to provide for.  Food was precious - much of it was grown right there.  My mom was the oldest of her sisters so she had the job of making most of the meals while Grandma and Grandpa were out in the fields and had learned how to stretch basic ingredients to satisfy growing kids.

My parents also met and married young, and although they waited a couple of years before I entered the picture, they also lived paycheck to paycheck, worked extra jobs to be able to buy their house and put food on the table.  My mom worked long nights at a second job to allow my dad the freedom to start his own business - both put in long hours and I learned how to put together salads and casseroles at an early age.  By the time I was 10, I pretty much had my younger brother and I home from school, snacks and homework done, and dinner on the table when my parents got home every night.  Doing this gave me the freedom to be creative though - nobody could tell me I wasn't following the recipe right and I had to learn the hard way what things went well together and what didn't.  I also started to enjoy taking leftovers and turning them into something else the next day - and I still do now as I feed my two growing kids and handsome hubster.  So I'm sharing with you a series of meals that you can make from a single roasted chicken and a handful of pantry staples.  This would be possibly the world's longest blog post if it were all done in one post so I hope you'll come back to see the rest!

First, I start with a lovely roasted chicken.  In this case, I'm starting with a roast deli chicken.  I can get these for about $8 already seasoned, injected, and cooked perfectly at my local grocery store.  Or I could buy one that I have to clean, season, and roast for hours for $6.  For weeknight meals I totally find the extra $2 worth it - remember that you are getting multiple meals out of this one chicken.  This one has been cooled.

I start by removing the string used to tie the drums, then pulling off the drums, thighs and wings.  Most deli chickens are so moist you can just pull these sections off with your hands but you may need to slice them off at the joints.  Then I slice the breast thinly and this is what I am left with.

Meal #1 - Bruschetta Chicken

Take a loaf of nice bread - I used rye here - and slice.

Lay on a baking sheet.  Sprinkle with olive oil, garlic salt, pepper and oregano.  Bake at 425 about 5 minutes or until the bottom is starting to dry out and get firm.

Lay a slice of chicken breast on each piece of bread and top generously with shredded cheese - I use Colby Jack but Mozzarella or Italian blend would be great too.
Pop it back in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the chicken is warmed through and the cheese is melted.  Top with a generous spoon or two of your favorite marinara or serve it on the side as dipping sauce.  Serve with salad.  I made 8 bruschetta.

Meal #2 - Lunch

Pack the drums and any leftover breast slices with a large salad for a husband-pleasing lunch the next day.

Meal #3 - Quesadillas

While your bruschetta is cooking, strip the remaining meat off your carcass and the thighs and wings.  Keep the bones, skin and any dry pieces of meat and set aside separately.  Finely shred the chicken.

Add 1 diced tomato, 1/2 an onion finely diced, a few banana pepper sliced finely diced, and a finely diced green pepper - in this case I used a mildly spicy pepper from my garden that I can't remember the name, lol.

Mix together well.  Now this mixture can sit in the fridge covered for a couple of days just fine.  When you are ready to use it, all you need is flour tortillas, shredded cheese and sour cream.

Fill your tortillas with a handful of the chicken mixture and a handful of your cheese mixture and fold in half.  Heat in a skillet until each side is crispy and lightly browned.  Open and spread a little sour cream inside.  Close and slice into 3 wedges.  I made 6 quesadillas.

Meal #4 - Lunch

Use the rest of the chicken mix over lettuce with shredded cheese and ranch dressing for a great cold salad
lunch.  Serve with tortilla chips.

Meal #5 - That's right! Remember your carcass and scraps? You are not done yet?  Visit me at April's Country Life tomorrow to see the final recipe!


  1. Great ideas!! I just cooked a whole chicken in my Crock-Pot today, so this is perfect timing :)

  2. It was good to have you here today! :D

  3. Thank you for linking up this great post at A Little R & R. I love this! We get deli chicken here, too - and it's also less expensive that purchasing an uncooked fryer. Crazy as it may seem. I love the idea of getting these and making many meals out of them. I am going to start doing that! Blessings from Croatia: A Little R & R:


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