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CHICKEN DINNERS: A STOCK-UP PLAN

Leftovers? Not quite. It's a new twist on our popular investment-cooking plan. By
Tamara Holt

How many times has it happened to you? It's the end of the day, you're dog tired, and
the last thing you want to think about is dinner. If only there were something you could
just pop in the oven...

That's what investment cooking is all about. You spend a few hours in the kitchen (four
hours tops) and make six main-dish recipes--one to eat the night you cook and the
others to freeze or refrigerate. Altogether, that's 46 servings at $1.33 each. Nothing could
be simpler--or make more sense.

Some extra effort now can save you hours in the days and weeks to come. The stock-up
instructions are easy to follow, and the rewards--well, they're almost too good to be true.

1. Get Set

* Read the schedule and recipes all the way through.
* Assemble ingredients and equipment for each dish.
* Clean up as you go.

2. Shopping List

Meat
* 62 chicken thighs (about 20 pounds)
* 20 chicken drumsticks (about 5 1/2 pounds)
* Thick-cut bacon (4 slices)

Produce
* 20 ounces white mushrooms
* 18 large carrots (about 4 1/2 pounds)
* 9 medium-size onions
* 6 ribs celery (from 1 bunch)
* 5 medium-size zucchini (about 2 1/2 pounds)
* 6 medium-size red bell peppers (about 2 1/2 pounds)
* 4 medium-size green bell peppers (about 2 pounds)
* 3 medium-size jalapeno peppers
* 3 large baking potatoes 
* 1 navel orange
* 1 bulb fresh garlic

Grocery
* 10 burrito-size flour tortillas
* 4 boxes (about 8 1/2-ounces each) corn-bread mix 
* Long-grain white rice (1 cup)
* Chicken bouillon cubes (8) 
* Packaged plain bread crumbs (3/4 cup)
* Olive oil
* Vegetable oil
* All-purpose flour (2 tablespoons)

Cans/Jars
* 2 cans (28 ounces each) whole plum tomatoes in puree 
* 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
* 2 cans (16 ounces each) refried beans

Freezer
* 16-ounce bag frozen green peas
* 16-ounce bag frozen pearl onions

Dairy
* Butter or margarine (1 stick) 
* Eggs (4 for corn-bread mix)
* 8 ounces Cheddar cheese
* Grated Parmesan cheese (2 tablespoons)
* Milk (2 cups plus amount needed for corn-bread mix)

Herbs and Seasonings
* 1 bunch fresh dill (you need 1/2 cup chopped)
* 1 bunch fresh rosemary or 3 teaspoons dried
* Bay leaves (2)
* Black peppercorns
* Chili powder
* Dried oregano
* Ground cloves
* Ground black pepper
* Italian seasoning
* Salt

Liquor
* Dry red wine (3 cups)

3. Equipment
* Chef's knife with 6- or 8-inch blade
* Sturdy cutting board
* Vegetable peeler
* Two 8-quart or larger pots with lids
* One wide 5-quart Dutch oven 
* One 6-quart or larger pot
* Two large skillets (10 inches across bottom) 
* 1 metal or heavy-duty foil jelly-roll pan 
* Three 13x9-inch metal or glass baking pans or heavy-duty foil pans 
* 3 deep, round or oval 2-quart baking dishes
* One 3-quart saucepan
* One 3-quart or larger bowl
* Wire whisk
* Slotted spoon
* Cheese shredder
* Colander
* Measuring spoons
* Glass cup measure (1 cup or larger)
* Nested measuring cups
* Waxed paper, heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap
* Assorted freezer containers or heavy-duty zipper-type freezer bags

To begin:
* Place 1 oven rack in middle of oven, the other in lowest position.
* Heat oven to 400 F. Remove frozen peas and pearl onions from freezer to thaw. 
* Put 12 chicken thighs in a jelly-roll pan and roast on middle rack 30 minutes. (They
will be used in the burritos.)
* Remove skin from 30 raw thighs. Divide between two 8-quart soup pots. To each pot
add 8 cups water, 4 bouillon cubes, 1 bay leaf and 6 peppercorns. Bring to a boil over high
heat, removing foamy scum as it rises. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer
45 minutes. Uncover, and simmer about 30 minutes longer until chicken is very tender.
Remove chicken immediately with a slotted spoon. 
* Meanwhile cut tops off celery. Divide tops and whole ribs between both soup pots.
* Cut 3 onions in quarters. Put half in each soup pot. Slice remaining 6 onions and set
aside.
* Peel carrots. Put 6 whole ones in each soup pot. Cut remaining 6 carrots in half
lengthwise. Cover and reserve for tonight's meal of Oven-Fried Chicken and
Vegetables.
* Halve 3 zucchini lengthwise, then slice crosswise (will be added to soup later). Quarter
remaining zucchini lengthwise, then cut in half crosswise. Cover and reserve for
tonight's meal.
* Seed red and green bell peppers and cut in thin strips. Seed and thinly slice jalapeno
peppers. (Don't touch eyes and wash hands well after cutting jalapenos.)
* Mince 6 cloves garlic. Wrap and reserve 2 minced cloves for tonight's meal.
* Heat 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in each of two 10-inch or larger skillets. 
* To each, add half the sliced onions, bell peppers and jalapenos, minced garlic and 1/2
teaspoon each salt and pepper. Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, 20 minutes
or until vegetables are tender.
* Meanwhile remove skin from raw drumsticks and remaining raw thighs and scrub
potatoes. Reserve for tonight's meal.

* Important Note to the Cook
For the maximum efficiency, prepare the recipes in the order given. However, if you're
going to start cooking long before you want to serve tonight's dinner (Oven-Fried
Chicken and Vegetables), read the note at the beginning of that recipe and finish making
all the other dishes (including the Chicken Potpie filling) before cooking tonight's
dinner.

CHICKEN CACCIATORE
Serve with pasta or crusty Italian bread, a tossed green salad, and perhaps, a glass of
robust red wine.
* Have ready 2 deep 2-quart baking dishes. 
* To each, add half the cooked onion-pepper mixture from 1 skillet (wipe clean for next
recipe), 1 cup broth from soup pot, one 28-ounce-can plum tomatoes in puree, 1
teaspoon Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper, two 3-inch-long strips
orange peel (removed with vegetable peeler), 1 bay leaf and 4 (uncooked) thighs and 4
drumsticks. 
* Bake on middle oven rack (the thighs that you put in to roast earlier should be out by
now) in 400 F oven 1 hour 10 minutes, stirring 3 or 4 times, or until chicken is opaque
near bone. 
* Cool and cover dishes with foil and refrigerate up to 3 days. Or freeze in airtight
containers up to 3 months. (Thaw in refrigerator or microwave before reheating.)
* To reheat, bake in foil-covered pan in 350 F oven 25 to 30 minutes until hot. 
* Makes 2 pans, 4 servings each. Per serving: 345 cal, 35 g pro, 35 g car, 8 g fat, 121 mg
chol, 1,023 mg sod. Exchanges: 2 vegetable, 3 lean meat

COQ AU VIN  (Chicken in Wine)
It's a French classic, good with roast or mashed potatoes and a simple,
vinaigrette-dressed salad.
* Have ready two 13x9-inch baking pans. Drain thawed pearl onions.
* Cut 4 slices thick-cut bacon in 1-inch pieces. Fry in a 10-inch or larger skillet over
medium heat until most of the fat is cooked out.
* Meanwhile trim mushrooms and cut in quarters. 
* Remove bacon from skillet with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Pour off all but
1 tablespoon drippings.
* In batches brown 8 uncooked thighs and 8 drumsticks in drippings about 2 minutes
per side.
* To each baking pan add half the cooked bacon and 4 browned drumsticks and thighs.
* Cook half the thawed pearl onions in the skillet (save remainder for the potpie) over
high heat 5 minutes, stirring often, until browned. Add half to each baking pan.
* Cook mushrooms, in 2 batches, in same skillet over high heat 6 to 8 minutes, stirring
often, until golden. Add half to each pan.
* To each pan add 1 1/2 cups red wine, 1/2 cup broth from soup pot, 2 sprigs fresh
rosemary or 1 teaspoon dried, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Stir to mix.
* Bake on lower rack in 400 F oven 40 minutes or until chicken is opaque near bone. 
* Cool, cover pans with foil and refrigerate up to 3 days. Or freeze in airtight containers
up to 2 weeks. (Thaw in refrigerator before reheating.)
* To reheat, bake in foil-covered pan in 350 F oven 20 to 25 minutes until hot.
* Makes 2 pans, 4 servings each. Per serving: 257 cal, 34 g pro, 7 g car, 10 g fat, 127 mg
chol, 509 mg sod. Exchanges: 1 1/2 vegetable, 4 lean meat

CHICKEN BURRITOS
Serve these topped with salsa (spicy if you dare) and sour cream (to temper the heat),
and chopped fresh cilantro or scallions.
* Have ready a wide 5-quart Dutch oven. Bring 10 burrito-size flour tortillas to room
temperature. 
* Add one 28-ounce-can crushed tomatoes, 1 tablespoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon
dried oregano, 1/4 teaspoon salt and a pinch of ground cloves. Stir to mix. Bring to a
gentle boil, reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 20 minutes
until thickened.
* Meanwhile shred 8 ounces Cheddar cheese and remove skin from roasted chicken
thighs. Pull meat off bones. Tear in bite-size pieces. 
* Add chicken to Dutch oven and simmer 5 minutes longer or until mixture is very
thick.
* Place tortillas on countertop. Spread 1/4 cup refried beans in center of each. Top with
1/2 cup chicken mixture, 1/4 cup cooked onion-pepper mixture and 1/4 cup shredded
cheese. Fold bottoms of tortillas over filling, fold in sides and roll up.
* Wrap burritos individually in foil for oven heating; in waxed paper for microwave.
Place in zipper-type plastic bags. Seal.
* Refrigerate up to 3 days. Or freeze up to 3 months. (Thaw in refrigerator or microwave
before reheating.)
* To heat, put foil-wrapped burritos in 350 F oven 10 to 15 minutes, or microwave each
waxed-paper-wrapped burrito on high 2 to 3 minutes. 
* Serves 10. Per serving: 627 cal, 39 g pro, 68 g car, 23 g fat, 96 mg chol, 1,180 mg sod.
Exchanges: 3 1/2 starch/bread, 3 vegetable, 3 lean meat, 2 1/2 fat

CHICKEN-VEGETABLE SOUP 
* Place a colander or large sieve over a 3-quart or larger bowl.
* Strain soup from both pots through colander. Reserve chicken thighs and carrots.
Discard remaining solids. 
* Reserve 2 cups broth for the potpie. Wipe 1 pot clean. Return broth to pot.
* Bring broth to a boil. Add 1 cup long-grain white rice and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Reduce
heat and simmer uncovered 15 minutes until rice is almost tender. Meanwhile pull
chicken off bones and tear in bite-size pieces. Slice cooked carrots. Chop dill.
* Add sliced zucchini and 1 1/2 cups green peas to pot. Cook 5 minutes. Remove from
heat. Add half the chicken (about 5 cups), half the sliced carrots and all the dill.
* Cool soup quickly by putting the pot in sink of cold water.
* Refrigerate, covered, up to 4 days. Or freeze in airtight containers up to 3 months.
* Thaw in a covered saucepan over low heat, then increase heat and cook until hot.
* Makes 18 cups, 8 servings. Per serving: 367 cal, 39 g pro, 36 g car, 9 g fat, 130 mg chol,
1,242 mg sod. Exchanges: 1 1/2 starch/bread, 2 1/2 vegetable, 4 lean meat

Tonight's Dinner
OVEN-FRIED CHICKEN AND VEGETABLES
NOTE If you started early in the day, refrigerate the uncooked chicken for this recipe and
cover the pan of oiled potatoes and carrots, until ready to assemble tonight's dinner.
* Lightly grease a jelly-roll pan. Have a 13x9-inch baking pan ready.
* Mix reserved minced garlic with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Brush on remaining 4
uncooked chicken thighs and drumsticks. 
* Mix in a food-storage bag: 3/4 cup packaged, plain bread crumbs, 2 tablespoons grated
Parmesan cheese, 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon
pepper. 
* Add chicken, seal bag and shake to coat evenly. Arrange on prepared pan.
* Bake on lower oven rack in 400 F oven 40 minutes, turning chicken every 10 minutes.
* Cut 2 pounds scrubbed baking potatoes in 6 wedges each. Put in baking dish. Add
reserved cut-up carrots and 1 tablespoon olive oil. Stir vegetables to coat. Sprinkle with
1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper.
* Put pan on middle oven rack. After 15 minutes, add reserved cut-up zucchini.
* Bake 15 minutes longer until chicken is opaque near the bone and vegetables are
tender.
* Serves 4. Per serving: 677 cal, 54 g pro, 75 g car, 18 g fat, 175 mg chol, 1,030 mg sod.
Exchanges: 4 starch/bread, 3 vegetable, 5 lean meat, 1/2 fat

CHICKEN POTPIE
Instead of corn bread, the filling can be topped with a pastry crust.
* Melt 1 stick butter or margarine in a 3-quart saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in
1/2 cup all-purpose flour until blended. Gradually whisk in 2 cups milk until smooth.
Add reserved 2 cups chicken broth, 2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary or 1/2 teaspoon
dried, and 1/2 teaspoon 1/3 each salt and pepper.
* Bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered 5 minutes or
until slightly thickened.
* Add reserved 5 cups chicken (from the Chicken-Vegetable Soup recipe), sliced carrots,
green peas and pearl onions. Simmer 8 to 10 minutes longer until thickened. 
* Cool, divide potpie filling evenly between 2 containers.
* Refrigerate up to 3 days. Or freeze up to 3 months.
* To serve, thaw potpie filling in refrigerator or microwave. Heat oven to 400 F. 
* Spoon filling into a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Bake 20 minutes or until hot.
* Meanwhile, for each pie, prepare 2 packages corn-bread mix as directed on package.
Spoon on filling.
* Bake 20 minutes until golden brown and a pick inserted in corn bread comes out clean.
* Makes 2 pies, 4 servings each. Per serving: 990 cal, 50 g pro, 113 g car, 37 g fat, 281 mg
chol with butter, 266 mg chol with margarine, 1,548 mg sod. Exchanges: 6 1/2
starch/bread, 1 vegetable, 3 1/2 lean meat, 1/2 dairy/skim milk, 5 fat

Freezer Smarts
* For best results, don't overcook foods.
* Freeze in individual 2- or 4-serving batches so you can pull out only as much as you
need.
* Press as much air as you can from freezer bags before sealing.
* Square containers and zipper-type bags make the most efficient use of freezer space.
For speedy thawing, put foods in small zipper-type bags and lay them flat in the freezer.
* Label packages with name of dish, date and amount.
* Plan to use food within 3 months.





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