A blog about food
Planning a Week of Food
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My immediate dilemna is solving the current trend with my grocery budget. It is either feast or famine. Literally. But since I am a Master at looking in my bare and empty fridge and creating a 5-course meal, yet frugal enough when the living is large to know to double recipes and freeze, this has never bothered me.
But this weekend as I rushed around eating on-the-go, I realized that I have not been planning ahead and it is costing me time, money, and healthy meals—all things I like to have. So, I decided to give myself a slight challenge this May: To plan a ‘pay-it-forward’ dinner every week. Grab one big ingredient (something as a base to many meals) and cook it, then spend the week enjoying a twist on the leftovers. Hopefully this will stretch my grocery budget a bit (saving some cash for my summer plans), turn my hurried lunch hour of making food into enjoying my meal, and be a healthy way to stock my fridge.
I noticed that the whole chickens at Atkinson's were on sale (as are pork ribs). I grabbed a medium fryer – and this was my week:
Roasted chicken is easy, good, and pretty quick. Rub down the chicken and cover with salt and pepper if ingredients are sparse or flavor it up for a little more kick.
3-pound farm-raised chicken
Cajun spices, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper
2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
4 celery stalks
1 green pepper, quartered
Preheat the oven to 450°F. Rinse the chicken, then dry it well. Salt and pepper the cavity and then stuff with onion, pepper and celery. Truss the bird, which ensures more even cooking and makes a more beautiful roasted bird. Spice the chicken—I like to rain the spices over the bird so that it has a nice uniform coating that will result in a crisp, salty, flavorful skin (about 1 tablespoon). Place the chicken in a sauté pan or roasting pan and, when the oven is up to temperature, put the chicken in the oven. Roast it until it's done, 50 to 60 minutes. Remove it from the oven. Baste the chicken with the juices and let it rest for 15 minutes on a cutting board. Remove the twine. Remove the legs and thighs and wings. And use that for your dinner. Slather the meat with fresh butter and serve with a simple green vegetable or salad.
When the chicken is cool, get all of the meat off the bones and reserve. Use the chicken carcass to make a really good homemade stock for future recipes or soups.
You have so many options with chicken meat. You could top green salads, make a soup, enjoy wraps, make chicken salad, chicken fajitas, chicken pizza, chicken and rice, chicken stir-fry, etc. etc. etc. Here are two ideas that I tried this week:
(click next for what to do with the chicken meat)