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I guess you could call this episode 2 of my survival experience in Holmes County, OH…haha. *Weird food alert.* I’ve been basically working a job and a half and I’m living in a basement with limited cooking amenities, so I’ve had to get a little creative with what I eat. Add to that the fact that I like to save money and eat weird foods, and you’ll understand that I come up with some interesting concoctions. You can read more about some of my other concoctions and what I’ve been eating while working over here in this post.
So I had gone to a grocery store the other day and there were chicken leg quarters on sale: a 10 pound bag for only $5-6. “Great price!” I thought. Not really knowing what chicken leg quarters were, I grabbed a bag and stuffed it in the freezer back in my basement until I could find time to put these things in the crockpot. When I thought I would soon have time to cook these things up, I started thawing them in my fridge. One day when I had an hour or two off of work, I got them out and prepared to crockpot them – only when I opened the bag I realized that there were SIX chicken leg quarters in my 10-pound bag. Meaning: these things were huge, and only 4 of them would actually fit in the crockpot! Uh, plan B. I put the extra 2 chicken leg quarters in freezer bags, and they’re still sitting in my freezer. I added seasonings to the other 4 and cooked them in the crockpot. Yum! The meat was really tender. One chicken leg quarter with a side of celery and natural peanut butter was all I needed for lunch for a few days in a row.
So then I decided to do something with the leftover broth. I just left it in the crockpot, scraped the fat off of it, and added some sliced veggies – a whole crockpot-ful, in fact. I also added a pack of chopped up hot dogs for protein. Don’t give me grief about my hot dogs, folks. They were good hot dogs, and they were on sale! Use another meat if you want to. The resulting ghoulash I got when everything was cooked together was actually really good! Yet again, it made up my lunches for about a week. Thankfully I don’t very quickly get tired of eating the same thing. So you see, healthy eating can be cheap and easy if you’re willing to not be picky. THM can be as easy or as hard as you want to make it.
Wanna know what else I’ve been experimenting with? Well, I’ve got this thing with trying to ferment stuff. Lactofermentation, you know (you can find out more about it here). I recently made some lactofermented peaches, which turned out to be the best lactofermented things I’ve ever made, and this gave me the incentive to try my hand at fermenting a few other things in my basement. I had some cucumbers that my aunt had given me, so I threw together some lactofermented dill pickles. Also, I’ve fallen in love with pickled red beets while I’m here in OH (all the salad bars in all the Amish country cooking restaurants around here stock them)…you know, the kind that are preserved in a vinegar/spice/sugar brine. They’re amazing. So I tried to lactoferment some. Well, my experiments sorta worked and sorta didn’t.
I was expecting the lactofermentation process to produce more of a vinegary taste than it did. Without any vinegar, the pickles and beets tasted a little…flat. Not pickle-y enough. Also, I found out that red beets need to be cooked to soften up. Just fermenting them in a jar does not make them soften up enough to be tasty.
I managed to salvage my experiments though! I added some vinegar to the pickles and they taste good and pickle-y. I threw the whole beet mixture into the crockpot long enough to soften them up a little and then added some vinegar and more sweetener. Now they taste great! I’m hoping to be able to have time to tweak both of these recipes and come up with an actual sharable recipe for you guys. Because everyone needs pickled red beets in his life.
A quick hack I’m going to share with y’all: mix natural peanut butter, cocoa powder, and sweetener into a container of cottage cheese and keep it in the fridge for a quick snack/dessert.
Question of the day: got any tips for me while I’m eating healthy and working at the same time?
- 4 chicken leg quarters, skin and all, at least partially thawed
- Garlic salt
- Crushed red pepper
- Dill weed
- A little cinnamon, ginger, and paprika
- A few glugs of Worcestershire sauce (or an allergy friendly alternative)
- A few dashes of Louisiana style hot sauce
- Put the chicken leg quarters in a large crockpot and add the assorted seasonings to taste. Cook on high for two hours, then turn the crockpot down to low until the chicken is cooked through and the juices run clear (mine took about 2½ - 3 hours on low). Enjoy immediately, or chill and enjoy for lunch for the next couple of days. A chicken leg quarter (they're huge) and some celery and natural peanut butter made up my lunches at work for a couple of days.
- To use the leftovers: reserve the broth, skim most of the fat off of it, then add the following to make a nice stew/veggie ghoulash: ½ a head of cabbage (sliced thinly), one large onion (sliced/chopped), one large zucchini (sliced), any leftover chicken, and a pack of good-quality hot dogs (chopped). Cook in the crockpot until the vegetables are tender and the hot dogs are cooked through (if not pre-cooked). This veggie ghoulash made up my lunches for about a week.