Rubber Chicken

(or how to make one chicken into three great meals)
Serves for 3 Days

Chicken, washed and patted dry
1/2 celery rib, cut in pieces
1 onion, quartered
1 carrot, cut in 2-inch pieces
Salt, pepper, garlic powder to taste

Day 1: Make a roasted chicken. If you don’t know how, don’t fret, I’ll help you. Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place your clean chicken in a roasting pan, breast side up, with all the veggies placed in the cavity. Season liberally and cook. Baste it if you like. Depending on the size, it will take an hour or two to roast. While the chicken is cooking,throw the neck in some water to make additional stock for the gravy. Cook it on low.

When the chicken is done, the leg should move easily in the socket. Before you make gravy, remove chicken to a cutting board and pour all the cooking juice out from the roaster into a bowl to cool. Put it in the fridge or freezer to encourage the fat to glob up on to the top. Then you can skim off that nasty fat and throw it away. Return the juice — without the fat — to the same pan and deglaze your pan by scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

In a small mixing bowl, take a tablespoon of flour, about 3/4 cup of cool water and make a smooth paste. Heat the cooking juice, add the neck broth (this is really starting to sound gross!) and then add your paste. Using your wire whisk, whisk like a crazy lady over a fairly high heat till your gravy starts to look like gravy. Remove from heat and serve with mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables. Remember, you want leftovers.

Day 2: On the menu tonight is — Chicken and Bean Burritos! To make, pick every scrap of chicken off the bones and toss it together in a pan with a can of black beans (or equivalent homemade). Add about a teaspoon each of garlic powder and cumin and warm it up. In the meantime, get out your fixin’s: shredded cheese, salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, whatever you like. Warm your tortillas and serve buffet style.

Day 3: Take the skeletal remains and toss it in a pot with a stick of celery, a carrot or two and a big onion. You don’t even need to cut the veggies up. Throw a quart or more of cold water over the top and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for an hour or so until the veggies are mushy. Strain the whole thing (now you can throw out that chicken with a good conscience!) and make whatever soup your heart desires.

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