We are all busy and looking for ways to maximize our time. I have such high hopes for meal planning and prep, but it never comes to fruition. Once the weather starts to turn chilly we start stock piling freezer meals for days where there just isn’t enough time or energy to cook from scratch.
Today I’m going to share one of our go-to easy recipes that can easily make multiple meals from cooking only once! It starts by making a batch of chicken broth and the rest is history! We then use this base to create chicken and dumpling soup, chicken pot pie and even chicken tacos. The last time we did this I used 2 whole chickens, but depending on your family size, you can go up or down from there. I usually use one pot per chicken. All recipes are below!
2 whole chickens cut up. (Most grocery stores will cut them for you at no additional charge) Season liberally with salt and pepper on both sides of the pieces.
3 stalks of celery, cut into 2” pieces
3 carrots, peeled and cut in half, then cut into 1” pieces
2-3 onions, quartered
4 garlic cloves, peeled
1-2 heads of fennel, frawns removed and bulb cut into quarters to remove the core.
Parsnips and turnips, peeled and cut into 1” chunks.
In a Dutch oven over medium-high heat, heat a few tablespoons of olive oil. Add the chicken, skin side down. Cook until browned and flip. Once both sides are browned, remove from pan and set aside.
Add enough white wine to the pan to cover the bottom. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the brown bits off the bottom of the pan and add the vegetables. Let them cook, stirring occassionally until starting to get soft.
Add the chicken back to the pot and cover all ingredients with water. Once the pot comes to a boil, turn the heat down and cover. Let everything cook for 2-3 hours checking once in a while to make sure the pot is just simmering. Adjust salt as needed.
After everything has cooked together I will set a collander over a large bowl and drain the pot-SLOWLY. I let this sit for an hour or so until all the liquid drains. From here, you can distribute the broth into freezer safe containers, label them (a huge issue in our house), and freeze them to drink or use in other recipes. Oooorrrrrrr…
Make Chicken and Dumpling Soup!
If you decide to make chicken and dumpling soup, follow the instructions above. Shred the chicken and cut the vegetables into smaller pieces. Return broth, chicken and vegetables to Dutch oven. For the dumplings:
1 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup all-purpose flour
Bring the milk and butter to a boil, add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat and immediately add flour stirring until dough leaves the sides of the pan. Incorporate the eggs, 1 at a time, forming a sticky dough.
Add spoon sized balls of dumpling dough and simmer until dumplings rise.
Another favorite of ours is Chicken Pot Pie.
1 cup of chicken and approximately 2 cups of vegetables from making broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
Salt, to taste
1 teaspoon of butter
2 teaspoons of flour
2 cups of milk, plus more if needed
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
Follow the same instructions for the broth. Either freeze the broth or use it for soup. Shred the chicken and cut the vegetables into bite sized pieces.
1. I cheat here and use a pack of store bought pie crusts (there are usually 2 in a pack). Follow the instructions to cook 1 of the pie shells.
2. Add butter to the pan. Once melted, stir in the flour and coat the vegetables. Cook until the flour begins to toast. Slowly stir in the milk, making sure it does not get lumpy as it mixes with the flour. Add the grated nutmeg. Bring sauce to a simmer, stirring constantly. The sauce should have the consistency of heavy cream. If it becomes too thick add a little more milk.
3. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
4. While the oven is heating, add the shreeded chicken to the pan. Stir and cook for a few minutes. Add the frozen peas. Cook a minute more. Taste for salt. Pour the chicken mixture into the pie shell.
5. Lay the second pie shell over the chicken and tuck it in the dish so it fits snugly. Cut a few slits on the top of the dough. Place the pie dish on a baking sheet lined with foil — this is to catch any drips of sauce as the pie cooks. Bake for 35 minutes or until the pastry is well browned. Let the pie sit for 10 minutes. Serve.