If you are a regular reader you know this:
- I am thrifty
- I love to cook, but
- I have limited time
In the past, I have shared several recipe ideas that were easy to make, inexpensive to cook, and saved some time in the kitchen for the following week. I’ve been doing some experimenting in the kitchen lately so I can share some of these with my working mothers. This week’s three dinner meal: roasted chicken, spicy chicken soup and tortillas.
First of all, I’ve said this before and I will say it again: If full chicken breasts (full breasts, not just skinless) go on sale in your market, gobble them up! I get mine for 79 cents per pound and it is enough meat to make a variety of dinners.
I’ve also found that for many recipes, an entire breast with legs actually works better and is much cheaper. (I spend about $2 per pound on skinless, boneless chicken breasts, and while roasting a chicken does require some work once it is cooked – taking the meat off of the bones – it certainly is cheaper!)
First, purchase two roasting chickens when on sale. On Sunday, roast them with a tiny bit of butter on top in a 350 degree oven for an hour and a half, breast up (don’t forget to empty out the heart and all the goodies from the inside first!) If you like, toss on some lemon pepper seasoning or some other type of seasoning before baking.
Serve this with mashed potatoes and green beans as your big Sunday meal.
If you have cooked two of them for four people you should have plenty to go around from the first chicken, and the second chicken is for the next two meals. (By the way, it doesn’t really take that much more time to cook two of these chickens than it does to cook one – and then you don’t have to cook as much during the week).
Roasted chicken, mashed potatoes (or mac and cheese or something similar) and green beans
Spicy chicken and rice soup
To do this, while your chickens are cooling, saute in a pan with some butter and olive oil spray some onions, a little green pepper, and some jalapeno, along with garlic and herbs of choice.
Once this has cooked and the onions are translucent, dump in the broth of the chickens that you cooked, add some water, a can of diced tomatoes, and a package of yellow rice with seasoning. Cook until the rice is tender and then throw in chicken from one of the breasts. Viola! Meal number two and probably three – spicy chicken and rice soup.
Serve with a few sandwiches and you have a meal! (This is also a great lunch to pack for yourself- quick and easy to heat up, and the spice sticks with you during the day!) I typically make a pot of soup each Sunday and eat that for lunch at least three days out of the week.
So, as you are cooking up your onions and peppers for the soup, chop up even more of these veggies. Keep half in the pan for the soup, and then refrigerate the other half. One day during the week when you have limited time, toss the veggies and the already cooked chicken leftovers into a pan with some fajita seasoning mix. Heat up tortillas and serve with sour cream and salsa. You are done!
There you have three meals – and probably some chicken left over with which you can make chicken salad for lunch – for about $12 dollars, and you can pretty much do it all on a Sunday night while making just one dinner. It does NOT get any easier than that!
- You may not want to eat chicken every single night of the week – so what! This all freezes! If you eat a chicken meal one night and then you have chicken soup another night, save the second chicken (tear the meat off of the bones and freeze) for week number two – just one more thing you do not have to cook.
- To limit salt and keep it healthier, use diced tomatoes that do not include salt and don’t season the chicken until after it is cooked.
- I use dark meat for soups, breast meat for fajitas, but the dark meat is oilier and can really work well mixed with white meat in the fajitas as it keeps it a bit juicier.