Archive for April, 2011

Five Meals, One Chicken- Money Saving Options

Wednesday, April 20th, 2011

In a recent issue of Renaissance Magazine, viewable at: www.njfoundationforaging.org/ren.html, we featured an article and recipe focusing on cooking in a tough economy. The article talked about how to be creative and how to get the most out of money you spend in the store. We thought we’d continue with this theme is our blog and share with you a way to not just get 2 meals out of one chicken, but 5 meals!

Meal #1 – Roast chicken, stuffing and oven roasted vegetables

Take advantage of the fact that the oven is already on to bake the stuffing and vegetables. For this first meal, if you are a two person household you could split one breast and each take a wing.

While you have the cutting board and knife out, dissect the uneaten part of the bird for easier future meals. Take the meat off the second breast, thighs and drumsticks and cube it up for use in upcoming recipes. The yield is several cups of chicken meat. Everything else: bones, cartilage, and skin goes into a storage bag for soup-making (coming up in another meal).

Meal #2 – Chicken pot pies

You can make extra gravy so you will be able to add it with some of the chicken, diced potatoes, peas and carrots to individual pie crusts.

Meal #3 – Chicken soup

Boil down all the bones with onions, garlic, carrots, celery and spices for a couple hours until all the meat that was left on the bones falls off and the bones have released their collagen (the gelatinous protein) and you’ve got homemade chicken stock. Strain it, pick out the chunks of chicken, add more ingredients like noodles or rice and new vegetables and you’ve got a pot of chicken whatever soup.

Meal #4 – Chicken Tetrazinni

This is a simple dish to prepare by stirring cubed chunks of chicken into cooked spaghetti noodles with a Parmesan cheese sauce, you can use a store bought jar and even opt for a tomato based sauce if cheese sauces aren’t your thing.

Meal #5 – Chicken quesadillas

Mix shredded chicken with a bit of salsa, spread over tortillas and sprinkle with Cheddar cheese. Fold over and heat on a griddle until the cheese melts.

There you have it: one chicken, five meals! It’s frugal in terms of money and it’s also frugal in terms of time. You cooked one “big” meal which gave you the ability to make four additional meals more easily than if you had to cook more chicken each time. By varying the types of dishes, it seems less like “leftovers” and more like a different meal each time. These are just some ideas for making the most of a whole chicken. Another great tip is to freeze your leftovers, if you will not be eating your Chicken Pot Pies right away, or want to save your left over chicken to do something with it a week or 2 weeks from now, throw it in a freezer safe container and freeze it until you are ready to use it!

What recipes would you use?

Affordable Care Act: Fact 4

Thursday, April 7th, 2011

Affordable Care Act (ACA) Facts: Follow this Series

This is part 4 of our ongoing series, so please see Fact # 1 in a post dated, Feb 8, 2011, Fact # 2 in the post dated 2/24/11 and Fact # 3 in a post dated 3/8/11.

There is a lot of speculation and discussion about what affect health care reform legislation, the Affordable Care Act (ACA), will have on seniors and their families.

Fact # 4: The law will improve care for older adults in other ways besides changes to Medicare.

There are improvements beyond Medicare that will help you and your family.  In a previous blog post we discussed the long term care changes that will improve for older adults such as changes to Medicaid that will allow people the choice of home and community based care and regulations that will prevent a spouse from becoming impoverished if their spouse is receiving home and community based care through the Medicaid Program.

There are also measures written in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that will help early retirees. To help offset the cost of employer-based retiree health plans, the new law creates a program to preserve those plans and help people who retire before age 65 get the affordable care they need. By providing financial relief to businesses that provide health coverage to early retirees, health reform will make it easier for early retirees to obtain health care coverage. Health insurance reform will guarantee that you will always have choices of quality, affordable health insurance even if you retire early and lose access to employer-sponsored insurance. It will create a health insurance exchange so you can compare prices and health plans and decide which quality affordable option is right for you.

The ACA also sets up protections for people with pre-existing conditions. The new law provides affordable health insurance through a transitional high-risk pool program for people without insurance due to a pre-existing condition. The Dept. of Banking and Insurance in NJ as already begun working on the high-risk pool program. Insurance companies will be prohibited from denying coverage due to a pre-existing condition for children starting in September, and for adults in 2014. Insurance companies will be banned from establishing lifetime limits on your coverage, and use of annual limits will be limited starting in September.

And if you are concerned for the young people in your life who may be struggling to find a job in this economy, the ACA didn’t forget them either. According to the Law, young people up to age 26 can remain on their parents’ health insurance policy starting in September of 2011.

Information in this blog was gathered from the Affordable Care Act, Centers for Medicaid and Medicare and the National Council on Aging.

Healthcare Reform information from

The White House:

http://www.whitehouse.gov/assets/documents/Pages_from_Health_Insurance_Reform_PDF-4.pdf

Medicare

http://www.medicare.gov/Publications/Pubs/pdf/11467.pdf

National Council on Aging

http://www.ncoa.org/public-policy/health-care-reform/straight-talk-for-seniors-on.html