Wish Upon A Dish: Extreme Budget, Day Twenty - Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

December 9, 2012

Extreme Budget, Day Twenty - Roasted Chicken with Mashed Potatoes

I found a roaster for under $5.00. A manager's special, I love those orange labels.
Why is that such a big deal? Me and The Nudge have this deal that we would not buy a chicken unless it is priced under $5.00. Two reasons - two people really don't need that much cooked leftover chicken and unless you make your own stock constantly, it really isn't saving you all that much money. As long as I can still get leg quarters for under $1 per pound and boned breasts for $1.29 a pound, it makes more sense for you to buy the pieces we will actually eat. For example: if I did not like dark meat, I would never buy a whole chicken.

After tonight's meal, I am the proud owner of a leg, a thigh and half a breast. What to do with all that cooked chicken? Since I have half a package of Jack cheese and flour tortillas, I think quesadillas are on next weeks menu.

Tonight's chicken was split down the middle (spatchcocked), injected with a Cajun marinade and roasted very simply on a half sheet pan. I also made a double batch of mashed potatoes that half of, will be used in a Squam Scallop Pie.

I don't eat potatoes much anymore. Part of making healthy changes in my diet these last two years has been the elimination of rice and potatoes, but when I do make them, I love the steaming method that Cook's Illustrated taught me. They do not get water logged, you can add a few garlic cloves (which sweeten while steaming) and you only need a small amount of milk, cream, butter.

A side of these carrots, the chicken au jus and dinner is served!

I have been feeling under the weather this week and finally felt good enough to come down to cook The Nudge a proper dinner. Although he doesn't mind a pizza now and then, I know he hates eating alone.

Cutting the backbone out of a whole chicken really is not all that hard. Since I have to assume everyone has a good pair of kitchen shears we shall use them. When dealing with spatchcocking  I always use my shears to ensure a good grip. Just cut up one side of the tail (you know that pointy little hard piece of chicken skin where the stuffing usually goes), and then the other side. You may have to really use some power to cut through the bones that attach the thighs to the carcass but after that, it's smooth cutting.

Spread the chicken open and using a knife, cut down the center of the bone at the neck of the bird. Don't be afraid, it will take a small amount of pressure but it will cut. You need to do this in order to get the chicken to lay flat and have good contact with the pan.

Drain the juice from the pan, whisk in some flour, add salt & pepper, a little white wine and simmer until it thickens slightly.

Cost for this meal: $4.61
Running total for 20 days: $67.86 ($3.39 a serving) and $7.00 under my allotted budget.

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