How to Cook a Chicken When You Don’t Know How to Cook

By Joel Horst

At age 26, I am a member of the Millennial generation. Like many other Millennials, I am busy. I don’t have a lot of cooking skills. I do want to eat healthy, and I don’t just want a TV dinner or a frozen pizza.

Fortunately, most of the time, I don’t have to cook. The three ladies of our home do a very excellent job of making hearty, healthy meals for our family. However, when Dad, Mom and the girls took a trip and left us guys to fend for ourselves in the kitchen, I got the job of seeing that my brothers had something to eat. Luckily, Mom left a menu with cooking directions for me to follow. Most of it was pretty simple, like wrapping egg burritos in parchment paper and tinfoil and sticking them in the oven. (Except that, after wrapping the burritos, I discovered that I needed another 35-45 minutes to heat them in the oven, so I stuck the burritos in the fridge till the next day.)

When Sunday rolled around, it would be my job to make a big Sunday dinner for four guys. Saturday night, I looked at my menu:

Get chicken out of freezer to thaw overnight.

The next morning, after caring for the laying hens, I prepared to make Sunday lunch. The menu stated:

Put 2 cups rice in deep casserole dish.

I finally managed to find a dish that would hold the 4 1/2 lb chicken and the rice, and added 2 cups of rice.

Add 4 cups water. Sprinkle with Lawry’s salt.


Take stuff out of inside of chicken. Cut off leg tuck flap.


Sprinkle chicken with Lawry’s, onion powder, garlic powder and paprika.

I discovered that the onion powder had disappeared (it had gone on vacation with the rest of the family). I substituted minced onion, but I probably should have just skipped it altogether. Oh, well.

Place on rice.

Oops. The chicken was already in the dish. (Moral of the story: read all directions carefully before proceeding.)

Cover dish. Heat at 325o for 3 hours.

I turned the oven on and slid the casserole dish into the oven. Done! Only about 30 minutes (including 10 minutes spent trying to track down the dish, plus 5 minutes trying to find a photographer).

At lunchtime, I heated up a jar of homegrown green beans and pulled the chicken out of the oven.

It was, if I may say so myself, delicious. Without a whole lot of time in the kitchen, we enjoyed a hearty Sunday dinner, and had leftover chicken and rice to enjoy at a later date. Despite having raised chickens for 15 years, it was the first time I can remember roasting a chicken myself, and I was amazed at how easy it was. If I can do it, anyone can!

Want to try the recipe yourself? Here it is:

Chicken and Rice

Put 2 cups of brown rice in a deep casserole dish. Add 4 cups of water and sprinkle on Lawry’s salt.

Take heart, liver and neck out of the chicken. Cut off the flap of skin holding the legs of the chicken. Sprinkle the chicken with Lawry’s salt, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika. (If you have other spices you would like to use, feel free to add or substitute them.)

Place chicken on rice. Cover dish. Bake at 325oF for three hours.

Enjoy!

Meet Your Farmers

Each of the next number of months we will tell you a little bit about two members of our family and their role on the farm, their interests, and the talents that they contribute. This month we will introduce the two people that you will likely meet when you come to the farm to pick up chickens or if you call on the phone.

Cathy

Cathy grew up near Hutchinson, Kansas. Her father was a dwarf and passed away from skin cancer when she was 20. She also had a severely mentally handicapped brother and sister who have also passed away. The challenges of helping care for her handicapped brother, developed character and strength in her.

We met in Bible college while we were singing on the college chorale on a 12,000 mile tour through the US and Canada. Cathy is a talented musician and can sing soprano, alto, and tenor. Her favorite instrument is the piano/keyboard, but she can also play the guitar, accordion, and autoharp.

Cathy with her beloved cookbooks.

It is said that an army marches on its stomach (its food). In the same way on our farm, we do our farm work on our stomachs. Good nutrition is important to Cathy and she keeps us well fed with a wide variety of foods and ways of preparing them. She likes to garden, not for gardening’s sake, but to produce the most nutritious food for her family that she can. Cathy cooks almost exclusively from scratch using whole foods from our garden and farm, with only a small part being purchased. Bread, cookies, and other baked goods are made from whole wheat that she freshly grinds into flour just before making the item. Cathy and the girls can or freeze over 1,000 quarts of fruits and vegetables each summer.

If you have a question about how to prepare chicken, turkey or lamb, she is the one to ask. She loves to talk about cooking and also loves to hear about good ways of preparing and seasoning food that you have found. She loves it when people stop by between chicken processing dates to purchase products and chat. Cathy also has a strong interest in heath and how to help people to be healthy.

Kara

Kara is our oldest daughter and is 20 years old. She works full time on the farm as cook and gardener. She also helps with chicken processing, and processing eggs. Kara enjoys gardening and is in charge of our greenhouse where she raises plants for our gardens and flower beds.

Kara, like her mom, is a good cook. The guys say that they can’t tell a difference between her cooking and her mom’s. So if you have cooking questions, she can probably answer them too.

She enjoys singing and can sing soprano and alto. Kara also plays the flute.

Kara also has an interest in health and herbal healing. This past winter she completed a herbal healing course from Dr. John Christopher’s School of Natural Healing and is certified as a Family Herbalist. Kara is the one who makes the Everyday Miracles Salve that has been so helpful to us.

Life on the Farm In Pictures


Sheep shearing several weeks ago. The sheep were getting hot with their three or four inch thick wool coats still on.


New kittens and their mother on the porch of Melody’s log cabin playhouse.


Sheep grazing in the silvopasture demonstration plot.

What is the Difference?

Jehovah-Jireh Farm Chicken Grocery Store Free-range Organic Chicken
True free-range, pasture raised Large confinement factory farm chicken house with limited or no access to the out of doors.
Fed fresh ground organic feed with added vitamins Fed organic feed
Practically no ammonia smell in shelter Lots of ammonia vapor in the chicken house
Normal day lighting Artificial lighting 23 hours a day
Small groups (350 or less) Huge groups (10,000 or more
Low stress in small groups High stress in large groups
Clean air Air hazy with manure particles and ammonia
Fresh air and sunshine Limited or no access to sunshine
Plenty of exercise Limited exercise
Fresh daily salad bar (pasture) Basically no greens
Promotes family farming Promotes large corporations
Rural revitalization Promotes urban expansion
Consumer/producer relationship Consumer/producer alienation
Environmentally friendly Same environmental impact as conventional confinement chicken houses

The difference between the two is much more than the “free-range” grocery store label implies. The “free-range” organic grocery store chicken is not much different from conventional chicken, except it receives organic feed and does not receive antibiotics, or arsenic (fed as a growth stimulator!). A door may be open to let a few chickens out to scratch in the dirt.

Meat is much more than a combination of nutrients that we eat. All meat is not the same. We have been conditioned to believe that all meat is the same and that the main difference is the price. That is not true. Even though the nutrients in a downed cow and the nutrients in a healthy beef may analyze in the lab basically the same, the true nutrition is NOT the same! The same is true in the way chickens are raised. Just as we need sunshine, sunshine is important for chickens too. Just as fresh green vegetables are important in our diet, so fresh green vegetables (grass, clover, etc.) are important in a chicken’s diet. It is important that we get exercise to be healthy. So it is important that the meat we eat had the proper amount of exercise to be healthy as well. It is important that we get plenty of fresh air. In the same way it is important that the chicken meat we eat was not raised in an environment where the air was hazy with with manure dust and ammonia. We are what we eat. The way that the meat we eat was raised is important. It has an effect on our bodies. That is why we, at Jehovah-Jireh Farm, go to the extra work to produce a product that is raised in the best way possible.

The Frederick News Post had an article this week about reduction of antibiotic use in food animals. Our farm was one of the featured farms. You might find it interesting. http://www.fredericknewspost.com/news/economy_and_business/agriculture/concern-for-proper-antibiotics-usage-in-food-animals-prompts-groups/article_3d4a1279-938c-5488-a6a6-562e1b55e992.html

Cathy’s Cooking Corner

In the last newsletter I wrote, “If you know of something to wrap the burritos in other than foil to heat them to go, I’d love to hear from you. I like to use as little foil as possible because of aluminum’s implication in Alzheimer’s.” I received several replies suggesting I use parchment paper. Thank you! I thought maybe the rest of you would like to know, too.

Speaking of those wonderful eggs, I decided to put my basic quiche recipe in this newsletter. I would say it is probably our family’s favorite way to eat eggs. It is a never-fail recipe with its silky texture and savory flavor. This is also a great way to use leftovers. It is a great main dish for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Quiche

1/2 pound sausage, bacon, hamburger or meat of your choice, fried
1 cup shredded cheese (or more)
Your choice of veggies: sauteed onions, mushrooms, tomato slices, steamed broccoli, olives, wilted spinach or kale, eggplant, zucchini slices, sauteed garlic, etc.
4 eggs, beaten
2 cups light cream
1 Tbsp. mustard
3/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. black pepper
Unbaked 9-inch pie crust

In the bottom of the pie crust, layer the meat, then the veggies of your choice and top with the shredded cheese. In a mixing bowl mix together the eggs, mustard, salt and pepper. Add the cream and mix. (A stick blender works beautifully.) Pour into the pie crust over all. Bake 15 minutes at 425 degrees. Then reduce oven temperature to 300 degrees and bake 30-35 minutes more until knife comes out clean when inserted in center. Let stand 10 minutes before cutting. Serves 6. Enjoy!

Maybe you have a favorite egg recipe you’d like to share. I’d love to hear from you!

Farm Red Cross


When you are up to your eyeballs in work is often when disaster strikes. We were in the middle of processing dog food when we received a call from Phil Freeman at House in the Woods Farm, about three miles from us. The wind had ripped the plastic off of their greenhouse, and he wondered if we could help him put new plastic on. From one end of the 100′ greenhouse to the other were rows of flats of very young seedlings. These seedlings represented most of the income for their farm for the entire year. We went over that evening and helped Phil remove the rest of the old plastic and get ready to put the new plastic on. But it was too windy to put the plastic on the 28’x100′ greenhouse, but fortunately it was warm. The next morning the wind had died down some so we went over and worked in the rain and got the greenhouse covered. The plants were saved! In this picture you can see all the human “paper weights” keeping the plastic from blowing off again before it could be fastened down.


We were all very happy when the plastic was on. And you know, even with the emergency, we were able to get all our work done at home. The dog food even got packaged quicker than normal!
http://www.houseinthewoods.com/index.html

Time to Put Eggs Back on the Menu

The nation’s top nutrition advisory panel has decided to drop its caution about eating cholesterol-laden food after many years of warning people not to eat high cholesterol foods. It has been discovered that for healthy adults, eating high cholesterol foods does not significantly increase the level of cholesterol in the blood or increase the risk of heart disease. This is something that has been known for a number of years, but has just now been acknowledged by the government. (Why didn’t scientists and doctors know that dietary cholesterol didn’t significantly increase blood cholesterol years ago?)

So now you can eat your Jehovah-Jireh pasture-raised eggs without any guilt. We do recommend that you do not eat an excessive amount of eggs at one time – definitely not more than one dozen eggs at one time. I say that in jest, eggs naturally tell you to stop eating after you have eaten several eggs. They are not like some foods where you want to keep on eating.

To read more about the amazing reversal in scientific opinion on dietary cholesterol, you can check out this Washington Post article.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2015/02/10/feds-poised-to-withdraw-longstanding-warnings-about-dietary-cholesterol/

All of this makes me wonder how many other “scientifically” proven “facts” are error, and we will look back years from now with amazement of how naive and unscientific we were.