Thursday, March 6, 2008

Rubber Chicken- 3 dinners for $9.71 average $3.23/dinner!

Here is one my very favorite shoestring recipe. Rubber Chicken. I added the cost breakdown to each day in parentheses.

  • Chicken, washed and patted dry
  • 1/2 celery rib, cut in pieces
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, cut in 2-inch pieces
  • Salt, pepper, garlic powder to

Day 1: Make a roasted chicken. (4.99 chicken COSTCO, .80 instant potatoes, $1 frozen veggies=$6.79)

If you don't know how, don't fret, I'll
help you.

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and place your clean chicken in a
roasting pan, breast side up, with all the veggies placed in the cavity. Season
liberally and cook. Baste it if you like. Depending on the size, it will take an
hour or two to roast.

While the chicken is cooking, throw the neck in some water
to make additional stock for the gravy. Cook it on low.

When the chicken is done, the leg should move easily in the socket. Before you make gravy, remove chicken to a cutting board and pour all the cooking juice out from the roaster into a bowl to cool. Put it in the fridge or freezer to encourage the fat to glob up on to the top. Then you can skim off that nasty fat and throw it away. Return the juice — without the fat — to the same pan and deglaze your pan by scraping up the browned bits on the bottom of the pan.

(My note: A rotisserie at Costco is 4.99. I realize that I could buy a 5 lb whole chicken at .69 for 3.45. But I figure, once I get the spices, and the butter...a half a stick at least, (.50) a lemon (.50) and the cost to cook it for an hour. ( .16 cents per hour...yup, I really have calculated some of my most used items to find out the cost)

So my homemade chicken will cost $4.61 and it doesn't taste anything like the juicy rotisserie chicken that Costco makes! The benefit of making it at home is that on a cold day, running the oven would warm up the house, saving on the heating bill.

Anyways, all in all, this is one of the few purchases that I am willing to let someone else make. I will not however justify paying 6.99 at Albertsons, or close to 10.00 at Boston Market!)

In a small mixing bowl, take a tablespoon of flour, about 3/4 cup of cool water and make a smooth paste. Heat the cooking juice, add the neck broth (this is really starting to sound gross!) and then add your paste. Using your wire whisk, whisk like a crazy lady over a fairly high heat till your gravy starts to look like gravy. Remove from heat and serve with mashed potatoes and lots of vegetables. Remember, you want leftovers.

Day 2: On the menu tonight is — Chicken and Bean Burritos! (tortillas, beans, cheese, sour cream, salsa, chips=$1.57)

To make, pick every scrap of chicken off the bones and toss it together in a pan
with a can of black beans (or equivalent homemade). Add about a teaspoon each of garlic powder and cumin and warm it up. In the meantime, get out your fixin's:
shredded cheese, salsa, chopped cilantro, sour cream, whatever you like. Warm
your tortillas and serve buffet style.

Day 3: Take the skeletal remains and toss it in a pot with a stick of celery, a carrot or two and a big onion. You don't even need to cut the veggies up. Throw a quart or more of cold water over the top and bring it to a boil. Let it simmer for an hour or so until the veggies are mushy. Strain the whole thing (now you can throw out that chicken with a good conscience!) and make whatever soup your heart desires. (1 carrot, 1 celery stalk, 1 onion 1 bag of egg noodles?=1.26)

Of course, the menu here could be anything that you are in the mood for. I have made chicken enchiladas, chicken pasta primavera, chicken salad...the possibilities are endless!

Actually, I think there are even cookbooks devoted to rotisserie chickens! This is every starving college students dream come true.....and if you really really want to, out of loyalty to the cherished & trusty go to food, you could add chicken to your ramen noodles too!
You could make this cost even about chicken quesadillas, or a big green salad with chicken tossed in some BBQ sauce, corn, black beans, salsa, ranch dressing, and crushed tortilla chips on top. Or maybe some good old fashion chicken nachos. Did you buy this Knorr Lipton sides for .33 cents during the Ralphs sale a few weeks ago? Add some chicken to it with some frozen veggies and it makes an awesome main dish! Pair it with some crunchy bread. bon appetite!

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