Thursday, June 30, 2011

Freezer way! Part 1

When you think of roasted turkey you probably think of Thanksgiving or Christmas. So this recipe kind of comes at an odd time of year. But there is so much more to roasted turkey than paring it with mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce. This healthy food item is crucial to a lot of really good recipes and let me explain why! So you have a 10 lb bird or a smaller chicken OR a BIGGER turkey. You flavor it while it's roasting, which is something that you're not going to get from a can or a bag package of just plain chicken breasts. When it's done, freeze the meat in nice and tidy 1lb packages and you have a lotta meat to use for awesome the ones I'll be sharing with you (just scroll down to the bottom of this post to take a look). Plus you can freeze all the yummy turkey or chicken juices in 1 cup servings and pull it out whenever you need some broth. Again, the canned stuff can't touch this! So give it a chance. You won't be sorry that you did! It may take a little time, but it is super easy. I couldn't keep my kids mouths fed fast enough while I was working with this flavorful meat!
WARNING: Do NOT try if you like tasteless dry meat!

little birdies waiting for another bite!

So tender and juicy it just falls off the bone!

Roasted Turkey or Chicken

1 whole Turkey or Chicken (any size)
1 white or yellow onion (1/2 if roasting a chicken)
2 celery stalks, cut into 3 or 4" pieces
1 garlic bulb, 1/2" of the end cut off
2 bay leaves
1 Reynolds Oven bag (found near the foil in the grocery store)
Quart sized freezer bags

Heat the oven to 350. Open the oven bag and set it in a large roasting pan. Set the turkey or chicken in the bag, in the pan with the open end of the bird (it's bottom) facing the opening of the bag. Now stuff the onion, celery, garlic and bay leaves inside the bird. Close the bag up with the tie enclosed in the oven bag package.  Follow roasting directions, also included in the package, according to the size bird, but generally speaking it's 20 min per lb.

When your turkey or chicken is done, remove it from the oven and set it on the counter for about an hour, still in the bag. After an hour it should be cool enough to work with. Now I get 4 large bowls out, one for white meat, one for dark meat, one for the broth and one for discarded pieces. You do what works best for you.

For the Broth: Ok, this is how I get my broth, it works great for me but you should be careful and do what works for you. Untie the bag and bring the bag opening to the corner end of the pan, pulling it over the edge a little bit. Lift the pan over the bowl for the broth and carefully pour all the good juices in the bowl. Like I said, you do what works for you. But you really want this broth I promise! I've got up to 6 cups of broth before! You can use it for soup, rice, casseroles, my tamales...the possibilities are endless! Measure out 1 cup portions of the broth into freezer bags and freeze!

For the Meat: Bring your 3 bowls close to you in your work space and either remove the bird from the bag or cut open the bag to expose the whole turkey. I choose the later because this beast is so tender that it completely falls apart when you touch it (that's why I haven't found it beneficial to remove the meat to retrieve the broth). I usually just use my fingers and remove both of the entire breasts first and slice or dice on a cutting board and put them in separate freezer bags. Then I put the white meat in one bowl and the dark meat in a separate bowl because I use different pieces for different recipes, but if you don't care, you can put all the meat in one bowl. Continue to work, removing all the meat, discarding all skin, bones, fat, and other junk, until you have removed all the meat. Now separate into freezer bags and label. I do 1 lb bags. But you could do 1 cup or whatever works for your family. 

Taste a little bit...or a lotta bit...go's good huh?! Okay, since it's already made, you might as well have some for dinner!

Use it in Turkey Pot Pie...

...or Creamy Chicken Soup

...or Southwest Chicken Roll-Ups

...or Carnitas

...or Chicken Pot Pie

...or Tamales...

...or Buffalo Chicken Pizza

...or Chicken Enchiladas...

All these recipes to use up this meat is soon to come! But you can start with these two...replace the pork in the Carnitas Here and for the Tamales Here with your poultry choice! Enjoy!


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