Yeah, yeah, I've heard all the jokes about Whole Paycheck Market, and how pricey their products are, blah, blah, blah. And, I admit to having some sentimental old time feeling about what is now a huge company - I started shopping at Whole Foods Market over 15 years ago, when they opened their first small store in my town. I was new in town at the time, and the first friend I made was the wife of the guy who had been moved here to scout a location and open the store. Our families still get together several times a year to cook and eat fabulous food. So, I'm kind of a "heritage shopper" there, someone who mostly buys fresh food and bulk, and actually cooks it, instead of heading straight for the prepared foods section.
But the point is that there are some really tasty, real bargains to be had at WFM. So, one shouldn't allow other people's jokes and prejudices take precedence over real good food and good deals. One of my favorite great buys at Whole Foods is the roasted chickens. These cost $7.99 each, and I always check for a nice big one (go ahead, pull them out and look to find the one that takes up the most room in the container - that's what I do). They come in a number of flavors, my favorites, for reasons I'll go into later are the lemon herb and french herbs versions.
I buy one of these, take it home and serve it with salad, a starch (mashed potatoes or rice), and some green vegetable. Then I cut the meat off it, and use some of it to make a casserole of some kind, and some of it to make some pot pies, which I usually freeze for a busy night when I don't want to cook. Then I take the carcass, and boil it for stock. When that's done, I pick the rest of the meat off it, before discarding the bones, and make soup. The bottom of the container will have some great tasting juice in it, which I rinse into my stock with hot water, so it's not wasted. I also put in the skin, because if you get a good tasting version, like the lemon or herb I mentioned earlier, this also adds to the flavor of your stock.I'll include a stock and soup recipe another day.
Doing this, my $7.99 chicken makes 4 complete and tasty meals for my family. And the first one, I didn't even have to cook! That's a great deal!
CHICKEN POT PIES (makes 3 - increase for more)
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 + 2 TB shortening (you can get a good transfat free shortening from Spectrum)
1/2 cup ice water
salt to taste
In a small mixing bowl, cut the shortening into the flour and salt with a fork. Add the ice water and stir and little as possible with a fork. Be sure to use icewater, and dribble it in a little at a time until the dough is moist through, but not too wet and sticky. Put it out on a floured counter top, pastry marble, Silpat sheet of whatever you prefer. separate into three balls and roll out to fit the ceramic dishes that you will put the pot pies in. You can also buy disposable aluminum ones, but I use a variety of single serving ceramic dishes of whatever shape. Handles, flat, small tart shape, etc.
2 heaping TB flour
2 generous TB butter
1 tsp chicken bouillon powder
2 cups milk or chicken stock
1- 1 1/2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup frozen peas
chopped carrots (fresh and parboiled or frozen from the bag) if you like them too
Melt the butter in a sauce pan over LOW heat, and add the flour. Cook the flour and chicken bouillon powder in the butter for a few minutes, stirring continuously so it doesn't burn. Add the milk or chicken stock (you can use some of both too) and stir frequently, until it thickens. Start with 1 cup, and add it until the thickness is medium - not runny, but not so thick you can't stir things into it. Add , salt and pepper to taste. Then stir in the chicken and vegetables.
Lay crust in the dishes, then add filling, and cover with more crust. I usually roll mine out in one piece and fold it over to close the pie, but you can make two pieces. You can cook immediately in a 400F over for about 20-25 minutes, or freeze them for later use. When I do this, I put the pot pie in the oven while it's cold, set for 400F, and figure on 30-40 minutes to cook. Placing a baking sheet under the pies is a good idea, since they may bubble over with goodness, and leave a mess on the bottom of the oven.
Emjoy with a green salad and smile when you eat and think about this meal costing you about $1.50 per person!