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I think that everyone should know how to confidently roast a chicken!  It’s inexpensive, there’s crispy skin and juicy meat, it’s perfect for company and often leaves good leftovers.  And who doesn’t love the Norman Rockwell-esque image of roast poultry on the dinner table?

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Roast chicken seemed to just fall into place for dinner for me this week.  I wanted to make a nice meal for my soon-to-be-in-laws, as they were visiting.  Also, I got a big helping hand from my local Raley’s; they had a ‘Buy-one-get-one-free’ sale on whole chickens and I got some other free things because I’m in their membership card club!

If you have a larger grocery store close by, or shop at one frequently, it pays to be a member of their club card program.  I’ve gotten countless free things just because I keep tabs on all my club card accounts at my local grocery stores, most even have a website that allows you to load coupons and deals onto your card.  Combining the great promotions at larger grocery stores with the treasure hunt deals at a discount grocery store is what allows me to keep my budget in check.

I really love how Raley’s is having their ‘Something Extra’ deals for card-holders.  A few weeks ago I got some de-lish coffee and a nice mug mailed to my doorstep for FREE, and I’ve got another package of goodies on the way.  If you’ve got a Raley’s near by, go check it out.  Make the system work for you!

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This week I got to try some of their new healthy products that they are promoting for free on an online coupon that I loaded to my card.  I was most excited about the flavored broth, I picked the chili and lime flavored chicken broth because it seemed like I could use it in either a Latin American dish or an Asian dish.  I thought the chili and lime flavors came through stronger than the chicken did, so it was the perfect ingredient for making some rice pilaf.

Free things just taste better!

Free things just taste better!

Spice Roasted Chicken – with roasted carrots

Serves 4-6 – cost approx $1.19 per serving, including the rice and carrots!

Ingredients

  • 4-5 lb whole chicken – don’t buy chicken for over $1 per lb, I got mine for about $.60 per lb overall! ($4.45)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • cayenne pepper – to taste, I used about 1/4 tsp
  • 1/2 lemon – optional ($.15)
  • 5 carrots, peeled and cut in large dice ($.52)

Preheat the oven to 375 F and take the chicken out of the fridge to come up to room temperature.  Make sure you take out the exciting little bits out of the chicken: livers are great for pate and to mix into meatloaf and meatballs, the neck and gizzard is great for making stock.  I cut off my wing tips and tail and combine them with neck to make stock.

Mix up the dry spices and rub the chicken with them inside and out.  Stuff the lemon inside the cavity.  Roast until the bird is fully cooked (the juices are clear, the joints are loose and it’s all firm to the touch), this took me just over an hour at 375 F in a convection oven.  Baste the bird with it’s own fat and drippings every 15 minutes or so.  About 15 minutes after you put the bird in, take it out again for it’s first basting and push it off to one side of the pan and put the carrots underneath to cook in all the yummy chicken juices.

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Any other root veggies would be delicious cooked in the roasting pan with the chicken too, I just picked carrots because they were located conveniently in my fridge.  🙂  The same goes for what you put inside the bird, any citrus would be lovely!

Cilantro Lime Rice Pilaf – yes, I too love the stuff at Chipotle so much I wanted to make my own!

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbs butter
  • 1/2 small onion, small dice ($.10)
  • 2 cups long grain white rice ($.46)
  • 3 cups chili and lime flavored chicken broth – any type of broth would be nice here too (free!)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, minced
  • salt – to taste

Melt the butter in a pot that has a lid.  Saute the onion in the butter for 3-5 minutes.  Next, add the rice and saute for 2-3 minutes.  Add in the broth and bring to a simmer, toss in the bay leaf too.  Cover and leave to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  When the rice is all cooked and all the liquid is absorbed, fluff the rice up and mix in the cilantro and some salt to taste.  Simple and tasty!

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