Thursday, August 16, 2007

Meal Planning

Normally when I go to the grocery store, I just walk around and find whatever is on sale and looks good. Then when I get home, I have a bunch of food but no meals. I'm spending way too much time and money with this method, so I've started meal planning. This week Riverside Market had split chicken breasts on sale for $0.99/lb. so we are having an all chicken week. You could definitely make your dollar go further by having a meatless night, but my husband is a meat and potatoes kind of guy- no beans and rice are going to appease him (but I'm working on that, so we'll see muahahaha).

Tonights recipe is from

Hot Pepper Garlic Chicken
  • 3 lbs chicken legs &/or thighs, skin and visible fat removed (leg quarters are fine for this recipe)

  • 2 tablespoon olive oil OR vegetable oil
  • 6 cloves minced garlic (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon dry hot pepper flakes
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 cup of water

Get out a nice big skillet, preferably one with a tight lid. Heat the oil in the skillet. Add the chicken and brown on both sides. Add the garlic, hot pepper flakes and salt. Stir the seasonings around in the pan for a moment or two. Add 1/2-cup of water. Cover the pan and simmer for 45 minutes. Add more water as necessary, to keep the chicken from scorching. The water should evaporate down to a glaze like consistency. Serve over boiled spaghetti or egg noodles, with a bit of the pan juices spooned over top. This is a spicy dish. It tastes delicious when you need a change of pace, and is very cheap to make besides, especially with chicken leg-quarters. Cooked beets, and raw broccoli pieces make a very healthy, and tasty meal.

I changed it up a bit- I added more water at the end, about 1.5cups in addition to the 1/2 the recipe called for. I took the chicken out of the water when it was done cooking and set it aside. During the last 5 minutes of the chicken cook time, I made a rue- a couple tablespoons of butter/margarine melted and a couple of tablespoons of flour cooked until slightly toasty brown. Then I whisked the rue into the chicken water (sans chicken at this point) and brought it to a boil. I boiled it for a few minutes and then let it simmer. This thickened the broth so it was between a broth and a gravy. The way the recipe has it, it's yummy- but too thin for our liking.

There was enough there for two pieces of chicken for my husband, 1 piece for me, and 2 pieces for him to take to work for lunch. We're on midnights, so we eat breakfast at 4:30 pm, "dinner" at 8pm, and "lunch" sometime during his work shift. I served this with spaghetti noodles and it was delish!

Cost for the meal:

3lbs. split chicken breasts $3.00
Spaghetti noodles $0.99
garlic & hot pepper flakes- had on hand
Total- $3.99

I figure this meal could definitely serve more than just us two, but my husband's a big guy and therefore eats a big portion.