(If you're bored by boring cooking tales, pass on by.)
Two huge packets of organic chicken came out of the freezer (10 big chicken breast halves). Roasted at 400 with s&P and a little vegetable oil for 35/40. I took them out when thermometer was at 170 not 165, since I really didn't want to think about how long they had been in the freezer, and they were slightly overdone. Then I took a good hour, after they were cooled, to cut them up. I hate Bits (cartilage, fat, skin, veins, sinew), so I ruthlessly pruned every bit away, as well as a few over-cooked hard parts, then shredded as well as cut the remaining meat (didn't want to be flossing for years), ending up with cups and cups worth.
I ended up making 3 dishes out of the chicken. I shoulda gone for 4, for obviating boredom and managing storage better, but this is what I made -
* Chicken salad with tons of celery, a little rice wine vinegar, mayo, mustard, poppy seeds, on thin slices of buttered sourdough toast. Yum.
* Fake-out shredded BBQ chicken. I heated together a huge squoze of Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, apple cider vinegar, chicken stock, lots of pepper, dry mustard until mixed, then added tons of chicken and heated for a while until they looked like they belonged together. Pulled BBQ chicken kinda!
* The biggest effort? Chicken chili with barley, not one of my more graceful cooking experiences (ate up much of my morning), but turned out fine. I sauteed the spices of a Carroll Shelby's chili seasoning kit in some oil, adding lots of my own chili powder, cumin, oregano, thyme, etc. When I could smell them, I added two 28 oz cans of tomato puree (the kind that's just tomatoes and salt) and about a quart of organic chicken stock. Then I put in all the rest of the chicken. Then I decided it was too watery, but that I didn't want to reduce heavily (I was cooking in a paper-thin aluminum stock pot with an uneven bottom that I set in a Le Crueset pan to regulate the temp) at risk of burning. So I put on some barley in a separate pot with chicken stock and water, only when it was supposed to be done I had way too much water (package directions were whack!). I just put the whole thing--slightly underdone barley + stock - in the chili, and once it was combined, 2 packets of masa harina that come in the chili kit to thicken. Then I spotted some chicken sausages in the back of the freezer and thought - what the heck. So I started cooking them in the Le Creuset pan, after moving chili to the side, but I was getting really sick of minute-by-minute babysitting so the sausages basically burned (I cut off the burned bits and added the remainder - a handful - to the chili). I had thought about doing lentils too, but I just was getting sick of messy pots and worrying about burning and whatever so I let chili cool after spooning some out in bowls for...breakfast! Over whole wheat toast, natch (delish). After 2-3 hours cooling (truly takes forever) it was beautifully thickened and the barley much bigger still. So I have tons ...sigh..in the freezer, and a big container in the fridge to use up, as well as some yummy Greek yoghurt to put on top. I think that one could have been a little more graceful, for sure, with a little more decision making.
There's MORE chicken in the freezer, but I can't bear to think about it. I will attack everything else first, including a rolled flank steak of indeterminate age. I really do love turning things into other things. And now I'm off for my first real corn of the summer!