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Let’s wrap this up, shall we. Do I have all the essentials handy? Coffee, check. Music, check (streaming Xploding Plastix). Cosmo snoring right by my feet, check. Leftover pieces of chicken from our Organic Chicken Cook-out, check!

When I began this mini series, ORGANIC FOR PENNIES, a few days ago, in PART 1 I suggested breaking an entire chicken into several useful elements, all to be later utilized in separate dinner meals. We started with making the ORGANIC CHICKEN STOCK, that was later transformed into this luscious ENGLISH ONION SOUP a’la Jamie Oliver. Moreover, all the meaty parts of the bird–the boobies and legs–got a ROASTING TREATMENT for that extra tan and flavor. Today, I want you to take all the meat you scraped off the chicken carcass, wings, and its neck after cooking them in your stock, and make a brand new dish from the same $12 chicken.

There’s plenty you could do. Mix it with cooked rice, spice it up and use as a filling for STUFFED CABBAGE, or yummy CROQUETTES, or simply mix with your MARINARA SAUCE and serve over a bowl of pasta.

Or not. Want something Asian accented? Here are a few tricks I’ve been using following the idea: FAKE IT TILL YOU MAKE IT. I make a somewhat cheated version of PINEAPPLE CHICKEN FRIED RICE.

Cook yourself a pot of rice, whatever amount makes you happy, but use common sense when building your dish later on. Set a large skillet on the stove, heat about 1 tbsp of coconut oil, add 2-4 dried chili peppers (just tear them with your fingers over the skillet), 3-4 garlic cloves (finely chopped), and stir together for 30 seconds. Add the rice and toss it with the flavors in your pan. Give it a few minutes, and empty a can of pineapple (chunks) along with its juices into the same skillet. Season with soy sauce. Stir about allowing all the flavors to get marry. Let it cook ¬†for another 5 minutes or so, until all juices are absorbed by the rice. If you’re feeling shrimp, too, toss a bunch onto the pile. Be my guest. Finish the dish with a handful of chopped green onions and fresh cilantro. That’s All Folks! Easy, right?

I made this dish for one of my clients, when catering LUNCH to all his employees, and it was a hit. I served it to my friends another time, and they were asking for seconds. Jason puts in his request for this entree for dinner on a semi-regular basis. It’s all about the comfort of this rice and chicken combo, where sweet mixes with salty, followed by a mild heating sensation in the back of your throat.

Me likey.

In conclusion, eating ORGANIC FOR PENNIES is doable. We spent about 12 smackers on the bird, plus an extra $10 on veggies for the stock and the soup, and maybe 2 more bucks for the bag of rice that accompanied two other dinner meals. Each time, we were able to feed at least 4 people, or serve the dish more than once in a week. Over all, for about $25 total we fed an army for a week, we ate organic, and we LOVED IT!

Go ahead, be inspired to eat better, live better, and feel the power of CREATION!

Monday-shmonday. Someone once told me, and this could just as easily be one of those Polish superstitions that stalk me all the way across the Big Pond, that… like Monday like the Rest of the Week. So far, I’ve cleaned the house, passed a few words of wisdom to my less than 2-years old niece in Poland via Skype, got cranky due to caffeine deficit, made lunch for Jason and sent him off to work, treated myself to Peet’s Americano with a side of Cappuccino Muffin, and struggled settling down at last in order to work.

The biggest challenge was finding a place for my office for the day. While Cosmo got himself comfortable in front of his Doggy TV and started flipping the channels…

… I finally landed back on the bed, laptop tucked right beneath my armpit and Jamie Oliver’s cook book in hand.

Last week, I left off writing about utilizing your organic chicken to the last bit. One of such “byproducts” was an organic chicken broth that we can now turn into a satisfying, delectable, rustic, and very cheap to make soup.

I love soups and cook them ALL THE TIME, which I have mentioned plenty a time before. From velvety BEET SOUP, to hearty MUSHROOM/BARLEY SOUP, to elegant CARROT/GINGER SOUP, to my Polish sentiment of SAUERKRAUT SOUP, to Italian RIBOLLITA, to refreshing HONEY-DEW MELON SOUP W/MASCARPONE (recipe from my business partner Alina that I made for the LA Food Bloggers’ meeting last week), to nutritious LENTIL SOUP, to Mexican classic–chilled GAZPACHO. The list seems never-ending, and that’s why SOUPS play such an important role on our LUNCH MENU.

Since the theme of the cooking today is ORGANIC FOR PENNIES, I chose Jamie Oliver’s ENGLISH ONION SOUP to share with you. All you need to enhance your already made stock are:

- about 2 lbs of onions variety (leeks, shallots, sweet onions, red onions, scallions, etc.)

- fresh sage

- a handful of garlic cloves

- a few slices of rustic bread, ideally 2-3 days old

- Cheddar cheese, freshly grated

- sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

- 1-2 tbsp of butter

- olive oil

See, nothing expensive. Add those extra few bucks to your skinny budget, and you come out with a giant pot of filing and yummy soup. People you’ll feed with it will fall to their knees and kiss your ankles in gratitude. That’s granted.

Making the soup itself is somewhat emotional, if not dramatic. Think about it–all those onions must be peeled and chopped. If you can go through the task without uttering a single tear, I say you’re not a human.

The rest is a piece of cake. Melt the butter in a hot heavy-bottomed, non-stick pan, add a bit of olive oil, chopped garlic and a few sage leaves. Let the guys saute for a minute (and no longer, so the garlic does not burn) and toss all your onions into the pot. Season with salt and pepper, stir, cover with a lid (90% closed), and let it all cook very slowly for about an hour. Next, remove the lid and now you have another 20 minutes or so to add color to your veg. Cooking the onions slowly is the key to achieving that irresistible sweetness that onions offer.

Time to add your organic chicken stock. Bring everything to a quick boil and reduce the heat, allowing the soup to simmer for another quarter of an hour. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning to your liking.

In the meantime, turn the oven on a full whack. Toast your bread on both sides and set aside. When the soup is ready, pour some into individual heatproof bowls and cover with your toasts, as tight as possible. Sprinkle your grated cheddar all over the bread, garnish with an extra sage leaf, drizzle with a touch of olive oil, and set the bowls on a baking sheet. Such arranged, place the sheet in the hot oven for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and serve immediately.

Jamie also suggests planting a few drops of Worcestershire Sauce (pause… let me untangle my tongue) over the servings, but you follow your own instincts.

Eating Organic, delicious, homemade food on a budget? Totally doable! So… let’s eat better, everybody.

Bon Appetit!

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