The Chicken Zone….

Disclaimer:  I thought I would have this posted about two weeks ago.  Unfortunately, life took over and, alas, I did not.

Another Hatchett Job, review of Zaycon chicken, frugal life, thrifty, make ahead meals
http://www.zayconfoods.com

As I teased earlier this week on Facebook, yesterday, I drove over to a neighboring town to receive an order of 120 pounds of very cold, bagged, chicken breasts.  People, that is A LOT of chicken!  Three waxed, cardboard cartons worth, sitting on plastic in the back seat, to be exact.

So, why on Earth did I have 12o pounds of said chicken pieces in the car with me?  Because, according to Zaycon Foods, they are, “100 % natural chicken with no added hormones, additives or artificial ingredients.”  It was also only $1.99 a pound and that is a really good deal for my area.  I can occasionally get chicken breasts at this price, but it is the cheapo, frozen, injected with salt water stuff in the bags at a big box store.  Certainly not hormone and additive free.

Plus, I love seeing my shelves and freezer full of good, healthy meals ready to be eaten!  Real food is a good thing.

I first learned about Zaycon and their wonderful chicken from the blog One Hundred Dollars a Month.  I used her referral code to sign in and set up a free account.  I read her articles on how she dealt with a huge box of chicken breasts when she got them home.  And, then, I, quite tentatively, ordered a 40 pound case of chicken.

Another Hatchett Job, review of Zaycon chicken, frugal life, freezer cooking, crock pot cooking, making meals ahead
http://www.zayconfoods.com

Wow!  Was I even impressed!  Each breast is about twice the size of the anemic looking ones we got at the local grocers, so we promptly cut them in half and put them in labelled ziplock bags with 6 portions (worked out to 3 whole breasts) in each bag and froze them.  Hubby cut the breasts in half and pulled off a few remnants of skin, but the chicken was clean and nice.  I think we got 19 meals worth frozen from that original case (plus the meal we ate that night) that we ate over the next few months.  We enjoyed it grilled, fried, baked, in soups, casseroles, you name it.

The price was right and it was better quality than we could get locally.

Problem was, we ran out before they ran their next sale in our area.  So, this time, we were fortunate enough to have been able to put back some money in anticipation of the sale that was this week, so we decided to order…more than one case.  We finally decided that two cases would, in all likelihood allow us to make it to the next planned sale in our area.  Plus, I like to pressure can foods to use later, so a case to can up would be handy.  Ultimately, we purchased 3 cases, for an unprecedented (to our family, anyway) 120 pounds of meat to all be picked up on a single day.

In preparation, hubby and I asked the kids what their favorite chicken meals were, looked up a few new ones that looked worth trying, and pulled out some tried and true recipes.  As we have gotten into a bit of a cooking rut of repeating meals lately, I decided that instead of plain chicken in bags, we would try and make as many as possible into “freezer meals” or packets with everything needed to get to cooking a particular dish.

At this point, we ate one delicious meal of a balsamic chicken that my Mom made last night and put up 29 other meals into the freezer.  I won’t post recipes here, because until we try them all, I don’t want to accidentally recommend something that doesn’t work out quite as planned.  We also poached 15 breasts and put them into the fridge to shred tonight when they weren’t boiling hot.  We also gleaned off 6 quarts of chicken stock to use in soups later.  That looks like about 35 meals total (with a generous serving of chicken per person) for 6 large apetites out of 120 pounds of chicken.

We started off wondering if we would have enough recipes for variety.  We ended up with no more than 2 of any one recipe, a few singles, and none left over for canning.  You could have knocked me over with a feather to not have any left to can up!

For the record, I didn’t take enough pictures of the process this time.  And not everything packet is a complete meal, but we did manage the following:

1 packet of chunks for chicken fried rice

2 packets of chunks for chicken teriyaki

1 packet of chunks for chicken korma

Shredded chicken for

Taco meals

Enchiladas with green sauce

Tamale pie

2  Baked chicken parmigiana

Serving size pieces packaged for

Fried chicken

BBQ chicken sandwiches

Buffalo chicken sandwiches

Lemon Pepper chicken salads

2 Southwest Chicken Dinner ( 1 pot meal)

Chicken Fajita wraps

Quick Chicken Posole

Greek Chicken in Yogurt marinade

Chicken Marengo (1 pot meal)

Chicken Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Italian Chicken in marinade.

After we verify that everything turned out great for this freezer meal, chicken edition, we will share recipes either here or in an inexpensive e-book.  Most are available online to try if you really can’t wait.

I encourage everyone to try Zaycon Foods.  Here is my referral code.  I will receive exactly $1 off of a future order if you set up an account and make your first purchase.  At that point, you will get your own referral code to use to share with others.  If you use my code, thank you.  If not, I still really want you to try some of this great chicken!  It’s easier on the budget than you think and it ‘s good quality.

Edited to add:  we have been using these meals for about two weeks now and they have all been fantastic!  It’s been nice not to think about dinner other than to thaw it in advance and toss it in the crockpot!

Have you ever put up large quantities of meats?  What are YOUR tips?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Technical Colleges: A Solid Choice For Higher Education

Another Hatchett Job blog, Creative Commons, alphabet, homeschool

As a homeschooling mama, my long range view is ever toward my children’s futures. I want to make decisions to allow my sons to utilize their potential and achieve their goals and dreams. But, as the years creep closer to the day when I will no longer be my children’s primary educator, I am faced with deciding what avenues of later education I should encourage my son’s to pursue (knowing all the while that the ultimate decision is really not mine).

The choices were easier in centuries past. Poorer families could continue on with subsistence farming on their Lord’s property or perhaps be lucky enough to be sold into an apprenticeship to learn a trade. There were no wages during the time of apprenticeship, but a solid career awaited at the end of training. Richer families became scientists, poets, or just rich hangers on at various Courts. They could also manage their lands and go hunting, perhaps taking some of the poorer subsistence farmers along as guides for the day. There were no middle classes to speak of.

It would have been much easier to choose a path in those days, but the options were (especially for the poorer families) somewhat grim. Now, we have a plethora of options available to our youth, but we tend to only recognize one, the four year college education.

Please go to Molly Green Magazine to read the entire article.

Does your community have a Technical College?  Do you plan to utilize it?

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett

Log Cabin Lessons

Another Hatchett Job blog, log cabin, log cabins, log homes, homestead, dovetail corners
The Purdy Cabin, circa 1984. Photo by Eddie Hatchett

Summer of 1984 was a busy time for our family.  My parents, John and Judy Purdy, had purchased land about an hour outside of Atlanta, and were breaking ground on their dream home.  I had just finished my Junior year in high school and we were making our big transition over the summer.

Visit Molly Green Magazine to discover more of our family adventure.

Till next time,

Another Hatchett Job blog, signature, Jan Hatchett