Friday, September 24, 2010

Roast Chicken

One of our families favorite meals is roast chicken. This is by far one of the most economical, healthy and delicious meals I have been able to figure out. On average a chicken is about $3.50 and the vegetables are inexpensive as are the seasonings. Here is how we cook it:

1 whole chicken
1t salt
1/2t pepper
1/2t each herb assortment whatever you have on hand I tend to use summer savory, thyme, oregano, parsley
extra virgin olive oil
(any other root veggie you have around)

Make sure your chicken is good and thawed. Clean it out in the sink and discard the innards and bags of stuff. I haven't figured out how to use the insides yet, if you know please tell me so I can squeeze a few more pennies out of this bird. Once the bird is clean put it in a good sized roasting pan. I really like to use a stoneware pan or cast iron for this dish. Start by pouring olive oil on the bird and spreading it everywhere (about 2-4T). Make sure to get the cavity. Then mix your herbs and seasonings together and scrub all over the bird. Be generous with the seasonings and herbs if you run out of mixed herbs and think the bird is not covered well, make more! Stuff the inside of the bird with aromatics such as an orange, lemon, onion or shallot cut in quarters. These help to keep the bird moist from the inside. Cut up your veggies and mix with salt, pepper, olive oil and thyme. Spread around bird. Bake 425 degrees for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the bird is 170 degrees.

Take the juices and put in a saucepan to make gravy. Mix the juice with a bit of water maybe 1c and boil. Mix 2T of arrowroot powder or cornstarch with enough cold water to make a paste. Whisk into boiling juice and continue to whisk until it is thick. You probably won't need any additional seasonings, but try it first. If needed add some salt and pepper.

Once your meal has been devoured take all the leftover meat off the bones and use for chicken quesodilla's tomorrow at lunch. Or cut up the leftover veggies and chicken, mix with the gravy and make a pot pie. Better yet, you can take the broth that you'll make out of the bones and make soup.

To make broth: Put the bones in a crock pot. You can add an onion, carrot and celery with a bay leaf or just do the bones and cover with water. Leave on low overnight or for at least 12 hours. Strain and freeze or refrigerate.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Our Children Love School!

We are in the first of our 3 weeks of school break. I asked the children what they wanted to do this morning and everyone wanted to stay home and play. What a blessing! As I am sitting here typing my oldest daughter is "teaching" her sisters. Of all the things they could do with a free morning they decided to play school! I hear my words coming out of my eldest daughters mouth and my younger ones are listening. What a joy to hear my girls playing together.

Most days school is not a huge chore and we all get along well. But, there are the other days that make me question my ability to teach the girls and their ability to learn from me. My utmost desire in schooling them is to prepare them for whatever God has in store for their lives. I want them to have a love of learning not so they can be master academics rather, that they love to learn about our Lord and Saviour. It's moments like these that I lift up my hands in praise to the Lord that He has decided to show me some fruit in the lives of these little girls. Yippee, they like school!!!

So what have I done to get to this moment? Nothing, if I have done anything it has probably been hindering the children from enjoyment and delight in learning. The only thing that can be known from this is that God is faithful when we ask him to be the Principal and source of all our knowledge whether in school or otherwise. I must continue to lift up each day of our learning and school and leave it in the only capable hands, His hands.

As we enjoy this break in our schooling I will remember to praise God for these glimpses of fruit and ask that he be in each part of our day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Spaghetti Squash

I love this time of year. We are able to eat fresh from the garden and enjoy the fruits of our labor. My father gardens much more than we do here, and we often get to enjoy the fruits of his garden too. This year he had an abundance of spaghetti squash. In the past our family has tried to eat spaghetti squash but we just never enjoyed the taste of it. This year we tried it a couple of new ways and found that we love it prepared these ways. Here are the recipes.

Marinara Baked Spaghetti Squash
This is super easy and tasty. I baked the squash at 400 degrees until it was soft (about a hour). In the meantime I browned a lb of hamburger and added a jar of natural spaghetti sauce, some Italian seasonings (oregano, basil, a little garlic powder etc.). Let this simmer while the squash bakes. Remove the squash from oven and cut in half carefully it's HOT. Remove the seeds. Now you should have 2 hollowed out pieces of squash. Put the sauce in, top with cheese parmesan or mozzarella or both. Bake until bubbly. Pete and I both agree that we prefer this over regular spaghetti noodles. It was a hit with our children too.

Stir Fry and squash noodles
here we just made a traditional stir fry. We baked the squash and shred it into "noodles". Then we served the stir fry over the plain noodles. Another hit.

The think I like most about these recipes is that they are so healthy. They are a great way to get several servings of vegetables into our diet.