Posts Tagged ‘chicken’

I like to cook, but there are some many days I come home from work tired and really just want to do no more than heat something up for dinner. My friend Jon recommended these frozen mini chicken tacos from Trader Joe’s and said that they make a quick meal for him and his wife. He pairs them with chipotle salsa, also from Trader Joe’s. We tried ours with pineapple salsa.

The tacos take 6-8 minutes to cook in a 425 degree oven. The salsa takes 10 seconds to throw in a bowl. If I were really feeling fancy I could have thrown some sour cream in a bowl too.

The tacos are pretty good, especially given that all I have to do is heat them up.  And the salsa is really good. Oh, and the best part: Charlie ate a couple of tacos. Miraculous!

The tally:
mini chicken tacos: $3.99 for a box
pineapple salsa: $.66 (we used about 1/3 of the $1.99 jar)

Grand total: $4.65
Cost per serving: $1.86
(I estimated 2.5 servings in a box — Charlie’s serving only counts as 0.5!)

Does anyone else have recommendations for inexpensive frozen meals? I mean, who can’t benefit from a go-to frozen dish from time to time?!

I just looked in our freezer and was reminded of two other meals we really like from Trader Joe’s: Vegetarian Biryani and Mandarin Orange Chicken. Come to think of it, we’ve also had some frozen pizza that was pretty good too.


Read Full Post »

I subscribe to a fun service from a website called You’ve Got Supper. Each week they email me a week’s worth of main course recipes from which they’ll automatically generate a shopping list for any of the recipes I choose.  This pasta piccata dish is inspired by a really yummy recipe from the You’ve Got Supper site for chicken piccata. The thing that I like about this chicken piccata recipe is the crunchy capers. Sautéing them really brings out a nice flavor and the crunchiness makes them extra delicious. I could eat just the crunchy capers and call it dinner.

Pasta Piccata
Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 lb fusilli pasta
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • 4 Tbsp capers, rinsed, drained, and patted dry
  • 1 cup cooked rotisserie chicken, cut into bite size pieces
  • 1 1/2 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • 2 Tbsp flour
  • juice of one lemon (plus a little zest, if you really like lemon)
  • 1 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • salt and pepper, to taste


Cook pasta in boiling, salted water according to package directions. Drain.

Meanwhile, heat the extra virgin olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat.  Add the capers and cook until the capers begin to brown (about 1 -2 mins; I like my capers really crunchy, so I leave them in a bit longer). Remove capers with a slotted spoon and set aside. Reduce heat to medium.

Melt 1 Tbsp butter in the pan with the olive oil. Add the onion and cook until just translucent, then add the garlic and cook one minute longer (be careful not to burn the garlic). Add the flour and stir to combine with the onions and garlic. Let cook for about 2 minutes. While whisking, slowly add half the chicken broth. Bring to boil, lower heat, and let the mixture reduce by half. Add a bit more chicken broth (about 1/4-1/2 cup), lemon juice (with some lemon zest if you’re feeling zingy), and honey.  Stir in the cooked chicken to heat through. Toss in the pasta, stir to combine, add 1 Tbsp butter, stir some more and add the remaining chicken broth (enough so that the sauce evenly and nicely coats the pasta). Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Serve in big bowls with the capers sprinkled on top.

I actually didn’t make this dish with the flat leaf parsley. I usually grow it in the yard but the deer have sadly eaten it right down to the ground. However, I highly recommend adding the parsley if you can.

Though I used chicken in this recipe, you could easily substitute shrimp or even a can of tuna (I’d use the tuna packed in oil rather than in water though).

The tally of the cost of this meal will be difficult because I don’t have the exact prices for many of these ingredients. However, I’ll give it a try.

The tally:

pasta: FREE to us — thanks, Posey — but would normally cost about $2
rotisserie chicken: $1.66 (1/3 of a $4.99 chicken)
chicken broth: hmm, not much since I made it. Let’s say $.25.
lemon: $.99
capers: $.57 (1/4 of a $2.29 jar)
onion & garlic: $.75? That’s probably high.
butter & olive oil: let’s call it $.50.
flour & honey: something negligible like $.10.

Grand total: $6.82
Cost per serving: $1.71

Read Full Post »

My friend Jon recently recommended this recipe for chicken tortilla soup.  Jon must feel the same way about recipes that I do — they’re more guidelines than rules — because he says the recipe is even better when you add a can of black beans (rinsed and drained), more cumin, and double the amount of chili powder called for.  He also says that adding cayenne pepper really gives it some extra zing.  I’ve made the recipe once before (adding spinach and lime juice), and since I had leftover mango salsa from the Superbowl which I thought might go well as a condiment, I decided to make the soup again Monday night.  Jon also mentioned that this is a great recipe to use with leftover rotisserie chicken, and since I’d bought another one this weekend, I was ready to go.  I just added bite-size bits of the chicken to the soup during the last 10 minutes of cooking.

The tally:

chicken: $1.66 (1/3 of the $4.99 rotisserie chicken)
chicken broth: $.78 (I used half of the chicken broth I make when I get a rotisserie chicken)
corn: $.55 (1/4 of a bag that cost $2.19)
onion: how about $.30?
salsa: $2.13 (2/3 of a $3.19 jar)
lemon juice: $.50
spices: hmm, something negligible like $.10

Grand total: $6.02
Cost per serving: $1.51

The recipe says that it makes four servings.  They’re pretty generous servings since we’ve had four bowls of it and there’s still quite a bit left.

To serve the soup, I put bite size pieces of tortilla chips in the bottom of each bowl, ladled the soup over them, and topped it with a dollop of sour cream, a spoonful of the mango salsa, and some fresh cilantro.  Delicioso!

Read Full Post »

The other night I made some yummy corn chowder mostly following this recipe from Paula Deen of the Food Network.  I’ve used this recipe in the past and the chowder was delicious, but I balked at the amount of butter the recipe calls for (1 cup–that’s two sticks!).  So, I modified it this time around.  I used 1/4 cup of butter and 2 Tbsp flour (instead of 1/2 cup).  Also, I added 2 Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and chopped into bite-size pieces.  I simmered the potatoes with the corn and chicken stock for about 10 minutes.  Finally, I cut up about 1 cup of cooked chicken and added it to the soup just before adding the half-and-half. I used chicken in this recipe simply because I had some in the fridge that needed eating (it represented the final bits of the rotisserie garlic roasted chicken that I bought a few nights ago and wrote about here, and here, and here.  Other than these changes, I followed the recipe closely.  The soup was delicious, easy, and inexpensive.

We paired it with spinach salad and big chunks of sourdough bread for dipping.  It was the perfect meal for a cold winter’s night.  The only drawback: Charlie wouldn’t touch it, but that was to be expected.  He ate a grilled cheese sandwich instead.

The tally:

1/4 cup butter: $.50
vegetables (carrot, celery, onion, garlic, potatoes, white corn): $3.00
flour, nutmeg, salt and pepper: negligible–let’s call it $.10
3 cups chicken stock: I used the broth I made the other night and calculated 3 cups to be $.59
2 cups half-and-half: $2.49

Total: $6.68
This makes 8 servings of soup, so the total per serving comes to just $.84.

And, doesn’t it look yummy?

Read Full Post »

Ok.  I may be cheap, but contrary to how it appears I am not really having chicken broth for dinner.  Instead, I’m making chicken broth to use in other recipes.  So, I told you how two days ago I bought a roasted garlic chicken from our local grocery store.  I’ve used it in different recipes for the past two nights.  Tonight, I took the remaining meat off the chicken and put it aside (I’ll be using it in one final recipe tomorrow).  When all the meat is off the chicken, it’s ready to be put into a big pot for chicken broth.  Though I’ve been making chicken broth for years, I don’t follow any real recipe.  Instead, I just use what I have on hand and go from there.  But, here’s what I did tonight:

Chicken Broth

1 cooked chicken, all the meat removed

1-2 carrots (with green tops, if you have them) or a handful of baby carrots

1-2 stalks of celery (if you have the inner pieces of celery with the leaves they’re the best ones to use)

1 yellow onion, cut in half with the skin left on (wash it to remove any dirt)

1 bay leaf

5-6 fresh sage leaves

1 6-8″ rosemary branch

salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients into a medium to large pan.  Cover with cold water.  Bring just to a boil, reduce heat, cover (allowing for a little steam to escape), and simmer about an hour.  Let cool slightly and pour broth into a large bowl, using a colander to catch the veggies and chicken.  Add salt and pepper to the broth, to taste (although I usually skip this step because I figure that I’ll be using salt and pepper in whatever recipe I add the chicken broth to).  Cool in the refrigerator and skim off any fat that accumulates at the surface.

I grow rosemary and sage in our yard, so that’s why I always use those herbs in the broth.  However, depending on the season, I also often have thyme and Italian parsley.  If I have those on hand, they go into the pot too.  I always use onion, carrot and celery, but I have also used the tough ends from asparagus too.

If I’m not planning on using the chicken broth in a recipe for the next few days then I pour it into containers and put it in the freezer.   Ice cube trays work great for this.  Our trays make about 1 oz ice cubes, so I know that if a recipe calls for 1 cup of chicken broth then I just need to use 8 ice cubes.

The tally:

I can’t really figure this one out accurately, but I’ll do my best.

The chicken was $4.99, but since I used (or will use) all the meat in other recipes, I’m not sure I really have to tally the chicken carcass.  But, I will nonetheless.  Let’s call it $.50.

Veggies (onion, carrot, celery): How about $1.00?  I think that’s being generous though.

1 bay leaf: $.05, again this is a total guess but the point is that it’s not much.

rosemary and thyme: FREE since I grow them in the garden.

salt and pepper: $.01, if that.

Grand total: $1.56

That’s pretty good considering this made about 64 oz of chicken broth.  At the grocery store the cost of a 32 oz box of chicken broth is $2.99.  And, the best thing about this is that chicken broth is an ingredient in so many inexpensive recipes (such as soups, pastas, and flavoring for rice) that it’s great to know I always have some ready and waiting in the freezer.

Ok, so I can’t claim that this is a Charlie-approved-recipe (I can’t think of a single thing he’ll eat that I make with chicken broth), but it turns out that Jake and Lucy, our beloved dogs, LOVE chicken broth ice cubes. They’re fantastic–and cheap–doggy treats!  And who could resist these two faces?

Read Full Post »

I have no recipe for the garlic roast chicken. Our local grocery store cooks and sells the chickens in the deli section. On Sundays they run a special: one roast chicken for $4.99. They offer both “plain” and “garlic” rotisserie roasted chickens.  The great thing about the pre-cooked chicken is it will take us several days to eat the entire chicken, so I’ll use it in recipes tomorrow night and Tuesday night. For tonight, we are just eating the chicken plain alongside the acorn squash (which I picked up for $2.29). So, if you figure that we’re eating 1/3 of the chicken tonight and all of the acorn squash, our total for tonight’s meal comes to about $3.95–call it $4.00 if you count the cost of the small amount of butter and maple syrup too. Charlie won’t eat any of this so the per person total comes to about $2.00.  Not too bad!

Maple Acorn Squash

1 Acorn squash

1 Tbsp butter

1 Tbsp maple syrup

salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

To make it easier to cut the squash in half, pierce the skin several times with a fork and microwave on high for 1 minute.  Cut in half and scoop out the seeds.  Place each half of the acorn squash on a baking pan, cut side up.  Rub the flesh with the butter and maple syrup.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast for 45-60 minutes, until tender.

Read Full Post »