Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Frugal Meals from One Fine Chicken; Meal One

Today's post comes from Carey at Frugal Fulfillment. Thanks, Carey!

Three Frugal Meals from One Fine Chicken

About a year ago, I discovered Leanne Ely and Saving Dinner, and her Rubber Chicken recipe, and was inspired. If you haven’t visited Saving Dinner, I highly suggest it! Leanne calls her recipe Rubber Chicken because of how far it stretches – into three meals! On day one, she roasts a whole chicken – which is so much less expensive than buying individual cuts (especially boneless, skinless breasts) – and with the leftover meat she makes two additional healthy and frugal meals. There are endless possibilities for using the leftover meat.

Here is a version of Rubber Chicken that I used this past week. Whole chickens were on sale for $0.99/lb at Winn Dixie, and I bought a 4 ½ lb. bird. My meals were prepared for just my daughter, Twelve, and me, but should still give you ideas to inspire your menu for a larger family.
Day One: Roasted Chicken with Baby Carrots and Au Gratin Potatoes

On day one, I simply roasted the chicken. After removing the bag of ‘parts’ from inside the cavity, I rinsed and patted the chicken dry. I do absolutely nothing fancy when I roast chicken! I don’t stuff anything in it and I don’t truss it. This makes a chicken that is not quite photo-quality (thus, no photo), but it tastes great! I only drop it in a glass baking dish, rub it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with seasonings. A while back, I got roped into attending my sister-in-law’s Princess House party and bought their Miracle Chicken Blend, which I use, but you can use any seasonings you wish. Some suggestions are rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon. I throw the chicken in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes (20 minutes per pound). That’s it!

For this meal, after about 45 minutes, I tossed some baby carrots in olive oil and parsley and put them in the pan with the chicken for the remainder of the baking time, and I basted the chicken once. The carrots were $0.99 at Aldi, and I used about a quarter of the bag. Betty Crocker boxed potatoes had been on sale at Publix recently, and with coupon match-ups I got them for $0.50/box. I divided the contents of the box and only made half. I find this works better for me than having leftovers to commit to. Here’s the finished result!

1/3 of whole chicken: $1.49
2 servings of baby carrots $0.25
½ box Au Gratin potatoes: $0.25

TOTAL meal cost for two: $1.99

You can throw in a quarter or two for additional ingredients, like spices and oil and a little milk for the potatoes, but it’s still quite a bargain!

After dinner, I then took a little time to remove all of the remaining meat from the chicken. For two of us, this leaves a lot to work with! I divided the leftover meat in half, bagged them in freezer bags and threw them in the freezer for the next two meals.

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