This first came about when I heard the school bus arriving, realized I'd been writing all day, everything was still frozen solid, the microwave was on the fritz and dinner was expected in only a couple of hours. Think, Jude! Think!
Chicken Catch-a-tori (so named because it wasn't Chicken Cacciatore)
One bag of frozen solid chicken legs and thighs.
I large pot of water
1 large can tomatoes
1/2 c. diced celery
1 c. diced onion
1T dried oregano leaves
1T dried thyme leaves
1T dried basil leaves or 12 fresh basil leaves, chopped Set fresh basil aside
2 cloves garlic, squished or chopped fine
2 large carrots, cut into coins
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 c flour
enough broad egg noodles for family of 4,
enough boiled potatoes for same
enough cooked rice for same.
Keep close ear on highway for the school bus alert (the sound of air-brakes or something similar)
Rush downstairs, grab package of chicken, open, toss into pot, add cold water to cover, turn on heat, keep big fork handy to separate chicken pieces as they thaw/cook
Meanwhile, dice celery & onions, stir-fry with cooking oil in large, oven-proof skillet with lid. When tender, add the herbs (except for fresh basil. If using dried basil, you can add it now.)
Add crushed garlic. Don't let it get brown or it will go bitter
Slice carrots and slide into pan, stir fry another minute
Heat oven to 350 F.
When all chicken pieces are separated, remove from water, set into skillet atop veggies.
Pour broth through sieve into bowl, skim fat from top, take out about 1 cup and set in refrigerator to cool.
Pour enough hot broth over chicken and vegetables to just cover. Put lid on pan and stick it in the oven.
Just before dinner, while the pasta, potatoes, rice or whatever is cooking, add the fresh basil (if using), mix the flour with one cup of cooled broth and use it to thicken the sauce.
When the family says "Hey, this is good! What is it?" tell them it's Chicken-catch-a-tori. Trust me, they're not going to run to a cookbook to check it out, or Google it or anything like that. They're just going to ask for it again. DO NOT DO IT UNLESS PRESSED FOR TIME AND HAVE EVERYTHING FROZEN AGAIN.*
*This also works with chicken breasts, ground beef or lean steak (except don't thaw beef in water, just in the skillet). If you use beef, call it something else.