Happy Sunday folks, and welcome to this weeks edition of the Depressed Kitchen. I have been disconcerted to see some Kossacks schadenfreude delight over family's losing their homes; especially when I am 2 paychecks away from being one of those families. While I still have a kitchen I plan to use it to promote love and contentment within my family and save money to boot. This week I found chicken on sale for $.59 a pound. This was obviously a deal too good to pass up. I bought 2 whole chicken's for the freezer and 10lbs of leg quarters. The leg quarters had already been frozen and had started to defrost so it had to be dealt with right away. What would you do faced with a similar situation? Well here is what we at the Kettle household did.

I have found that it saves time and energy to make a weekly menu. I post it by the coffeemaker so I can look to see what needs to be taken out and defrosted in the morning. I try to take into account all of the activities of the week ahead, how tired I will be on those extra long days, and try to schedule meals accordingly. It takes only about 1/2 and hour or so, and it lets me work into the weekly menu foods that may be languishing in my freezer. Chicken was so cheap this week that I was able to put something into my freezer for a change, rather than deplete it's stores. Does anyone else do the menu thing I wonder?

The whole chicken went into the freezer right away. They will be used at some future date. The leg quarters were split into two piles by the scientific method of eyeballing them. One half went into the stock pot skin and all with a few bay leaves, peppercorns, thyme, and sea salt. They simmered on the stove for most of Saturday afternoon giving the house a comfy, chickeny smell that said somebody knows how to cook. Later last evening the chicken was scooped out of the pot and picked free from the bones and skin. The Kettle dog Jane Doe happily ate the skin while the stock was defatted and poured into a baggie for soup at some later date. We came away with about 4 cups of moist dark meat which brings me to my first recipe:

Quick Chicken and Mushrooms

1/2 bag of egg noodles
1 1/2-2 cups cooked chicken
sliced (or canned) mushrooms
4 strips of bacon
1/2 or a whole onion
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp pepper
1/2tsp thyme
1tsp cornstarch
1 cup wine, chicken broth, or water

Boil the egg noodles following package directions. In a large saute pan fry the bacon untill crisp and remove. In the remaining fat saute mushrooms and onions untill tender. Throw in the chicken and seasonings. In a small bowl mix liquid and cornstarch and pour over chicken mixture. Simmer on a lower flame for a couple of minutes. Serve over egg noodles with bacon sprinkled on top.

I frequently find fresh mushrooms on markdown 1/4 pound for $.50, so to me this is not an extravagance. If it is for you then use canned, dried, or omit them altogether.

So, you may be asking yourself what happened to the other pile of chicken. I cut the pieces into legs and thighs and threw that chicken into a marinade, which has been sitting overnight. I plan to grill, (or roast if it rains again), today. Here is Ma's chicken marinade:

Ma's Chicken Marinade
1/2cup brown sugar
1 cup apple cider
4 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup soy sauce
2tbsp dijon mustard
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp pepper

Add anything you like to this marinade. Consider it a guideline, all we want to do is add flavor, just make sure those flavors are complimentary. This has been sitting in the fridge since about 2pm yesterday. Since I am grilling 5lbs roughly of chicken parts, I should have plenty for tonight and some leftovers for hungry fridge robbers during the week. I will serve this with a salad made of chopped iceberg and the miner's lettuce that is blooming in the backyard right now, homemade potato salad, and corn bread.

Finally, I would like to turn our attention to the past and think about some wisdom from the kitchens of days gone by.  This week my blast from depressed kitchens of the past recipe comes to us from a 1918 edition of Collier's, and is an example of how cooks from that time dealt with wheat shortages:

Salmi of Chicken
Bread crumbs
cooked chicken chopped small
celery salt
lemon juice
tomato sauce

In a 9 inch pan layer bread crumbs, chicken, seasonings, and dot with butter and sprinkle with lemon juice. Continue layering until you reach the top of the pan. Tope with crumbs and butter. Cover and bake at 325 for 25 minutes, uncover and bake for another 10. Serve with tomato sauce.

I would probably top this with a white sauce instead of tomato, but that's just me.

So what is the big dessert this week? Today I am making cookies; some for today and the rest of the dough goes into the fridge for quick batches during the week. However, those who know me would say that cookies are a constant in the Kettle house. So I am also making another recipe from the depression era:

Mrs. Knox's Applesauce Cake
1 1/2 cups applesauce
1 cup sugar (decrease or substitute as you will)
1/2 cup butter or shortening
2 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda dissolved in a little warm water
1 cup raisins, craisins, or what have you
1/2 tsp each of cinnamon, clove, and ginger or mace

Mix gently, about 20 strokes, and pour into a greased 8x8 or so pan. Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes clean. When cool ice with either a cream cheese frosting or a powdered sugar frosting.

So, did anyone else find some can't pass up bargains this week?

Originally posted to makettle on Sun Mar 01, 2009 at 10:27 AM PST.

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