Curiously Crunchy

Asking crunchy questions for my family and yours.

Organize Recipes with Pepperplate

A huge key to being able to eat well is to eat and home and be able to prep. Wrestling with piles of paper recipes, juggling Pinterest boards, and searching through your bookmarks is no way to do it.

You know by now how much I adore Door to Door Organics. I have discovered that if I don’t meal plan based on what’s coming in my order, veggies and fruits get forgotten about and go bad. I was going crazy trying to organize what I have and search for new recipes so I can use new veggies I don’t usually cook with (like kale and eggplant).

But I have made a great discovery. Pepperplate. It  may have just saved my cooking sanity.

There is a website and an app for my iPad. The website has a bookmarklet that allows you to import recipes from other sites directly to your Pepperplate collection. You can also add some manually if you have hand-me-down recipes (like my great grandmother’s sugar cookie recipe).

My recipes sync throughout my devices and I can categorize them (so I can do a search for chicken or gluten-free or desserts or whatever other tags I decide to add), add them to menus for the week, and use them to make shopping lists. You can also adjust the recipe down to 1/4 of the original or up to 2x the original specifications.

It has been a cooking lifesaver.

What do you use to collect and organize your recipes? Have you gone digital?

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I Cooked a Chicken!

I love chicken. I could eat it every day, and some weeks I swear we do. The chicken I was feeding my family from the grocery store though really wasn’t all that high on the quality scale.

Door to Door Organics to the rescue! This last order I purchased a whole chicken from Gunthorp Farms in Lagrange, Indiana. (Can I just take a minute and say how much I love that Door to Door lists the farms their meat is coming from so I can look them up? I read about the farm and how the animals are raised, cared for, and even how they are slaughtered. I liked what I read so I picked this farm for my chicken. )

When it arrived on Monday, my husband realized it was still frozen solid and my master plan of coming home to a roast chicken dinner was squashed. So, we wrapped it in 2 layers of cellophane and put it inside 2 grocery bags to thaw in the fridge. Last night at about 8:30pm I realized I still hadn’t cooked it yet (2 days later), so I ran out to the kitchen during the Stanley Cup Playoffs to take care of it before it spoiled.

I preheated my oven to 450F so my it would be warm when I was ready.

When I pulled the bird out of the bags, I could see some blood leaking into the plastic wrap, so I bleached my sink real quick so I could open it up in the sink itself (and not have to try to wash blood off my counter or cutting board). I had the trash can right next to me and gently peeled away the plastic wrap, so the blood wouldn’t splatter, and threw the plastic pieces in the trash.

As I was rinsing the unwrapped bird with cold water, I realized I have never actually cooked a whole bird of any kind. My mom or my cousins always cooked Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners so this was my first experience. At first I got a little skittish about the raw-ness of it, but I reminded myself that this was once a living thing, and if I’m going to eat it I at least need to respect it; there was nothing to be afraid of (and although I opened up the cavity to check for a bag of innards, I still couldn’t bring myself to actually stick my hand up there… yet).

So anyway, I rinsed the chicken and placed it on a large cutting board. I patted the skin dry with paper towels and rubbed olive oil all over the skin. I then placed the bird in my roasting pan with about a cup of water, and sprinkled a bunch of seasonings all over it. When I felt like I had flavored it enough, I put the lid on my roasting pan and put it in my oven at 450 for approximately 40 mins (I had forgotten to set the timer! I checked when it started to smell good.) You always want to check internal temperature, check for clear juices (red means it’s not done yet), and do the “poke” test (if the fork goes in easy, the meat is probably done). After the first check, I dropped down the temp to 375F and put it in for another 60 minutes (checking it every 20 since I still had no real idea how long it would take).

After the last check, it passed my tests and I turned off the oven and set it on a cutting board to cool (and covered it so the cats didn’t think I left them a treat!). When it was cool (ish) I ripped into it and tore off every price of meat I could find; I put the meat in a clean bowl with a lid to eat as leftovers for tomorrow, saving all the skin and bones, and the liquid left over from the roasting pan, for broth.

After I was sure I had picked the bird clean of meat, I put all my saved skin and bones and leftover juices and the entire carcass into the crock pot with lots of water to cover everything, more seasonings like garlic salt, onion salt, a few cloves of garlic, thyme, oregano…(and if I had saved veggies like celery and carrots instead of eating them, I would have put them in there too…) and set it on high overnight.

I woke up to a house smelling like chicken soup heaven. I checked it to make sure the pot was still full of water (it was) and left it to cook the rest of the day. I’ll drain it when I get home and freeze it into useable portions.

I’m so stoked with how this whole experiment went, I want to buy a chicken every week! (Although that’s a little impractical on the budget. Every other week then…?)

I wish I had thought to take pictures of this thing I’m so incredibly proud of, but you’ll just have to try it for yourself to see it!

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