Floor 39: Roast a Chicken

After a long cooking hiatus, during which I was essentially useless in the kitchen (see here) I returned tonight to making Sunday dinner.  A good Sunday dinner is a good start to the work week.  In the summer, I usually make pizza, but it’s not really pizza-making season.

A great option is roasting a chicken.  I learned during graduate school that this is actually an very frugal option.  Take tonight’s dinner menu:

  • One small whole chicken
  • Two russet potatoes
  • One head red-leaf lettuce

Total cost: $9.

Roast the chicken and the potatoes in olive oil and herbs, and don’t roast the lettuce.  Instead, make it into a salad with salt, olive oil, and vinegar.  A rule of thumb I learned from my dad is that small chickens are much tastier than big ones (and of course, they’re also less expensive!)

It was delicious.  We all love this, including Dog DebtFreeJD, who was so excited about being fed chicken fat that she couldn’t remember the difference between “sit” and “down,” and tried to do both at once.  Mr. DebtFreeJD particularly enjoyed his post-dinner private feast of leftover potatoes and a glass of wine (after doing the clean-up) and I have to say the post-Sunday night dinner snooze on the couch while someone else did the clean-up was excellent too.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that for $9, you get both dinner and entertainment for two.  Not too shabby.

But wait, ladies and gentlemen, there’s more!

Not only in this delicious and easy, but roast chicken night is always followed around here by chicken hash night.  To achieve this, you take the leftover meat off the the chicken, and fry it up with some potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic cut up very small, and pour Worcestershire sauce over the whole thing.  Yum.  I’m not actually sure if chicken hash night is what first made Mr. DebtFreeJD decide he wanted to get married to me, but I remember it playing an important role pretty early on in our relationship.

If you are feeling particularly virtuous, you can also make chicken soup out of the leftover bones — which we are planning for Tuesday night.  In sum, three dinners, one chicken, and it’s pretty easy on the wallet.

If anyone else has suggestions for dinners that stretch (without having to eat the same thing three nights in a row) would love to hear them!

6 thoughts on “Floor 39: Roast a Chicken

  1. ARBM

    The roasted chicken sounds delicious! And impressively cheap! I don’t think I’ve ever cooked a full chicken myself… I typically just buy pieces of a chicken. Might have to give this it a try!

  2. Judi

    I see you are keeping your posts in line with food themes 😉 roasted chicken is a staple for us as well I like the versatility of the second meal (I’m totally going to try your chicken hash!) for second meals I will often make pancit bihon, shredded chicken enchiladas or tacos, or if there are entire limbs adobo.

  3. Casey

    Chicken thighs tend to be pretty inexpensive; back when I still ate meat I would cook them on the first night in a simple lemon dressing. Then I could transform the leftovers with stronger flavors (adobo chiles + green and yellow peppers = fajitas; curry + coconut milk + rice noodles = deliciousness). You could do the same with a whole chicken, of course…

    I also get frozen salmon from Costco (it’s not particularly inexpensive, but it’s healthy and nice to have on hand) and usually roast it the first night with salad, veggies and a sweet potato. I’ll turn the leftovers into either salmon salad (with mayo, onion, celery) for a sandwich or shred them and add them to a big salad while they’re still cold. Both great lunches the next day.

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