Apr 27 2012
In my mind, there is no better way to eat well and still save money than to cook a whole chicken. You can get whole roasters at the grocery store for $10-$12 or get a free-range organic bird from your butcher for $18-$20. Two adults can eat the roasted meat on Day 1 then pick the rest of meat and add to salads, wraps, quesadillas, burritos, sandwiches, pastas, soups or casseroles for at least 3-4 more meals for 2. That’s about $1-$2 per serving for lean protein, making it easy to generate 4-5 meals for 2 for $1-$3 per serving, once you add in veggies and other ingredients. If you pick mostly salads and sandwiches for your leftovers, you have the added benefit of only having to fire up the stove once for the whole week.
I used Cook’s Illustrated recipe for the perfect roast chicken on Sunday (served with that luscious strawberry salad and homemade rolls) then Greg picked the meat and we repurposed all week. I’ll share a Thai-style dinner salad next Monday but the first iteration of chicken leftovers took the form of curried chicken salad sandwiches.
There’s a cafe near us that makes a terrific curried chicken salad with cranberries and they serve it on croissants. Eager to replicate it, I used a recipe from Nicole at Prevention RD, tweaked the fruit to include cranberries and heaped the whole mixture onto flaky store-bought croissants. Not only did I get 2 dinners and 2 lunches out of it (we’re being frugal, remember!) but the flavor was just remarkable. That Cook’s Illustrated recipe (along with digital temperature probes) gave an amazingly moist and tender chicken, the cranberries added tartness while the apple gave a terrific crunch and that aromatic curry flavor running all the way through was just perfect. The dressing of this version is quite creamier than the cafe’s version but the croissant held up well against it. It was the kind of sandwich that was hearty enough for dinner but I was looking forward to it all for lunch as well.
And, since each one cost less than $2 compared to the $8 the cafe charges, I’d say we made out just as well on the budget as we did on the flavor.