Don’t confuse Good Food Fast with Fast Food….Does Healthy Fast Food Exist?
We are a just about a quarter of the way through 2013 and from what I can tell form my twitter feed, blogs and main stream media that the current big trend is that people are more interested than even in not just eating healthy but also where their food comes from. Though I say interested perhaps concerned would be more apt given the Horsemeat Scandal swept across Europe earlier in year and continues to do so. I would say that most of us have at least heard of the 2004 film Super Size Me by Morgan Spurlock
‘While examining the influence of the fast food industry, Morgan Spurlock personally explores the consequences on his health of a diet of solely McDonald’s food for one month.’
It pretty much confirms all of the bad stuff you would think most educated people would know about fast food. It would not be a huge stretch to say that the issues raised in the film carry over to the quality of lots of the processed foods that have made their way into our weekly grocery shop. What is concerning is that some of these processed foods being marketed to us as being a healthy option and perfect for our families.
‘The whole family are sure to love them. Yum’
As I’ve said before I’m no nutritional expert so I’m not going to try lecture you or anyone about what the ingredients in a pack of Frozen Chicken Nuggets are, but I am sure there is stuff there you won’t find on the shelf in the average family home. The horse meat scandal has shown us that even we have reason to suspect if all of the contents of the processed food are listed on the package.
During the horse meat scandal there was a certain smugness by some along the lines you get what you pay for and if people don’t spend X amount on meat they can’t expect any sort of quality. This was in response it being reported in the media that people found fresh food too expensive and them having no option but to buy this poorer quality processed food.
At the weekend we were just flicking through Netflix and came across this film Food Inc, it’s set in the America and how a small few corporations control how Americans get their food. Lots of it isn’t relevant to Ireland but the part where the poorer sections of society are trapped into having little choice but to eat fast food / processed food. We’re not quiet at that stage in Ireland but we are slowly getting there.
The thing is in Ireland there is no magic or complicated solution needed to redress the imbalance of reliance on processed food. Maggie Griffin someone I follow on Twitter did a very good blog post about how to save some money by buying whole chicken. Now I’ve to hold my hands up here even though I cook most of our food from scratch but I would be a regular buyer of packets of chicken breasts. So when doing our grocery shopping this week I was picking up a three packet of chicken breasts for dinner that night and I just happen to glance at the price per KG vs that of a whole chicken. At a very loose average to buy breasts on their own they cost 350% more expensive than to buy a whole chicken.
That is an epic difference in price! I decided to give the whole chicken approach a go this week. I know people will say you are paying for convince and loads of people seam to have some issues about touching meat. The touching meat phobia is something I don’t understand but maybe give this a go once and you might see it is not near as bad as you think. So from our whole chicken we planned to get enough for.
- Kick ass Chicken Goujons
- Chicken Chasseur
- Stock from the carcass
Now I know I started this post going with the intention of talking about good food fast, and in all honesty you do what I did in about 20 mins.
I’m not going to to a set by step guide how to butcher a chicken as Maggie already did a good one of those. There is just a glance of a few brief steps.
I will use the legs, thighs and wings for chicken chasseur later in the week so they are bagged and frozen until needed. I also took the skin off the breasts as I didn’t want to for my goujons.
All you need is a sharp knife and a tiny amount of know how, takes less than five minutes to get this far. I reckon I’ve done a good job but it is not my first time butchering an animal but with a bit of practice you will be tidy in no time. Like all well meaning want to be cooks I had intended on making chicken stock but got lazy and binned the carcass.
To make the goujons is pretty simple all you need extra are bread crumbs, flour and some egg wash. I always have bread crumbs since I back so much we always have left over bread and I stick the ends in food processor. You can buy yours , I certainly won’t judge.
- Slice your breasts into what ever size goujons you have.
- Put some flour on a plate and season with salt, pepper, paprika or what ever you like.
- Coat the meat in the flour.
- Soak the floured chicken in the egg wash ( I use two of our own eggs with a splash of milk)
- Once well soaked roll them in the bread crumbs until well covered and place on a tray.
- Put he try in the fridge to chill before cooking, this helps the bread crumbs stick.
If you like you can either deep fry these or shallow fry until brown and then finish them in the oven. I deep fried these , I know I was on about being healthy but not all frying is bad and as these are made from scratch you can negate some of the deep fry badness.
There you have it just one way to make a quick, tasty, affordable dish for the family. Out of that medium size chicken we got enough for two adults and two kids with some left over. These also freeze really well so you can make a large batch and then save them for another day. If doing this freeze flat and then bag them, defrost before cooking for best results.
I know I have meandered more than a little in this blog post but I guess what I am trying to get at is that we have allowed ourselves to become disconnected as to where our food comes from. We all need to take some responsibility to educate ourselves and put in a tiny bit of effort. The results are worth it in cash saving, taste, health and knowing where what you are eating. Not to forget that smug feeling you can get when you Tweet / Instagram / Facebook your ‘From Scratch Food’.
Seriously don’t just take my word for it give it a go, lord knows if I can manage it you certainly can. I’m just the average 33 year old from a construction background man who plays a bit of rugby and enjoys riding my bike the odd time. I’m also partial to a Sausage & Egg Mc Muffin but hey no one is perfect.
I’d love to hear your thoughts on this in the comments below or on twitter.