Friday, September 27, 2013

Frugal Food Friday

Summer has been a little wild on the spending front. Trips, dinners out, concerts...all fun but it's time to tighten the purse strings around here.

It's also Fall and soup season is upon us!

I figured I'd kill two birds with one stone today.

Many of my favorite/quick recipes call for cooked chicken. (Enchiladas, sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes)
Even though I prefer to use boneless, skinless chicken breast, it's pricey. I've found that chicken leg quarters (1 thigh, 1 drumstick) work perfectly well as a substitute. Yes, they have more fat and calories but it's really not all that bad and I'm trying to be frugal here.
Actually, many top chefs prefer brown meat because it is more flavorful and moist.

Before I go any further, please note that I live in Seattle and the prices I'm quoting reflect what we pay for groceries over here.

5 chicken leg quarters (4.41lb) on sale for $0.79/lb = $3.48

I just season these with salt, pepper, and poultry seasoning which I discovered in the spice drawer during my move.
Bake them uncovered in the oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for about 1hr & 15 minutes or until the juices run clear.
At this point I transfer them to another dish pretty quickly to get them out of the fat that baked out in the oven.
Let them cool down a bit.

Now you will need
a cutting board,
a knife
a bowl for the chicken
somewhere to put the bones (we're keeping these)
and somewhere for the skins (we're NOT keeping these).

Remove the skin and discard.
Remove the chicken from the bones. I only keep the "good" meat. The rest stays on the bones or go on the "skin" pile. If you want to use the bones for stock, don't strip them completely naked!
Chop the chicken into fairly small pieces - think enchiladas, chicken salad.

I freeze my chicken in one cup containers. Actually, they're 1 3/16th cup containers, which suits me because you cannot actually fit a cup of anything into a 1 cup container and get the lid on.

I love these:
They're Glad LockWare containers with screw-top lids. A little more pricey but those really thin ones get very fragile when frozen and break at the drop of a hat - no pun intended.

For my $3.48, I got 4 cups of chicken - $0.87 a serving!
As for the bones, I use them to make chicken stock for soup. If you're short on time, put them in a baggie and freeze them for later. 
I don't have a recipe for chicken stock. I mostly wing it, but there are many recipes online.

I use:
the saved chicken bones from above
celery - I hate celery but it's crucial for chicken stock
garlic - I used 5 cloves today
dried basil, oregano, and parsley
salt & pepper
and this time I added some fresh cilantro because it was going to go bad and I love cilantro.

I cook it for anywhere between 2 and 4 hours. It just depends on how much of a hurry I'm in.
Strain all the goodies out and discard. Freeze and use in soup recipes.  I use it mostly for, wait for it...chicken soup!

If you've read all the way to here, I commend you.  I certainly did not intend for this post to be quite this wordy!
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1 comment:

  1. This sounds so easy and I bet it tastes better than the canned chicken. Thanks for the inspiration.