I have to profess my love. I love our chickens. We started raising chickens when my oldest daughter, now thirty-one, was in the fourth grade. She brought home her class project and we didn’t have a place to put it. So we built a small chicken house. A one thousand dollar chicken house for a $1.50 chicken. That turned out to be a rooster. I’m not kidding.
That rooster needed hens in the hen house. I recommend chicks from the Murray McMurray Hatchery. You can get so many different kinds of chickens from them. My girls and I would pore over the chicken catalog every winter, planning our flock. I remember the time we ordered a box of 25 chicks in the spring to be delivered by the end of the week. Several died during transit. When the girls opened the box, their excitement turned to tears and we had to keep the surviving chicks in a box in the laundry room a few days until we could tell they were going to survive.
And survive they did! We like to keep our chickens until they pass to the great chicken coop in the sky. One time my husband went to the vet to get something to put into the chicken water as a few weren’t doing so well. The vet asked how old the chickens were. My husband replied, “I think they are around thirteen years old.” The vet shook his head in disbelief.
It’s January. A cold time for everyone. Especially chickens. How do they stay warm? Body heat and feathers. Lots of bedding to keep them warm. We don’t use heat lamps. We don’t want a fire. The well-built and insulated chicken house is positioned next to another building out of the wind. We have yet to lose a chicken to the cold.
Have you ever worn a down jacket or vest? Inside your coat is goose down. Keeps you warm. Chicken down keeps our chickens warm too! Chickens also huddle together and keep each other warm. Not such a bad idea for humans.
The BEST Chicken and Rice
Speaking of warm, Chicken Rice Roger is a warm chicken and rice dish! It’s so 1960’s! This recipe is from the Peg Bracken book I Hate to Cook Book, pages 20 and 21. I promise your children will ask for seconds. I’ve made some changes. I double (in parenthesis) the rice, onions, bouillon cubes, water and mushrooms. If you need more chicken to feed everyone in the family, there should be enough room to squeeze in some more.
I’m a sneaky girl. The more vegetables you can sneak in, the better! If you have a vegetable-adverse child and they ask you if that’s a mushroom, squint at their fork and think out loud that it’s a piece of chicken. It’s worth a try!
I also don’t believe in making too little when everyone will ask for seconds and you’ll stick your head in the oven hoping there’s another pan of this recipe inside. So just double it. You don’t need another pan. The doubled recipe fits a 9X13 Pyrex baking dish just fine. It makes great leftovers for lunch the next day. Chicken and rice is sooo nice!
Chicken Rice Roger-(Easy enough to double!)
Tools you’ll need:
9X13 baking dish
Bowl to dredge chicken
Pan to brown chicken in oil
2.5 pound fryer, 4 chicken breasts or chicken thighs (I use thighs and increase to 3.5 pounds)
Flour to brown chicken (You can also use Italian bread crumbs)
A bit of oil to brown chicken
¾ Cup uncooked rice (1 ½ C)
1 Tablespoon chopped onion (I use ½ an onion)
2 chicken bouillon cubes dissolved in 1 ¾ cups hot water (4 bouillon & 3 ½ C hot water)
Salt and Pepper
3 oz can of mushrooms with juice (I use 2)
¼ cup butter cut into pieces- (I don’t double)
Flour and then brown the chicken in a little oil. While it browns, put the rice, salt and pepper in a greased casserole and sprinkle with chopped onion. Put in the mushrooms, juice and all. Arrange chicken on top. Pour bouillon water over it, and dot with butter. Cover and bake it at 350 for an hour. (Try it without covering for a crisp texture.)