Tuesday, October 28, 2008

CHEAP AND EASY!!!!!!!!!

With the economy being what it is these days, it only makes sense to take advantage of all those coupons and sales papers so many of us may have been ignoring.... Until lately, that is. Now, I have always looked thru my grocery stores' ads because I'm curious and funny that way. I've have kept quite a collection of the coupon inserts that conveniently arrive with my Sunday paper. Yep, my collection went as far back as January 2008. Guess I must have purged them at least once last year. So, I got busy and grabbed the scissors. Not only did I end up with a whole empty drawer available for whatever I need one for, I also ended up saving quite a few bucks on a big shopping trip. You see, I had been a "closet clipper" so I know how to organize and play the coupon game, I had just gotten slack since my shopping routine is more erratic now that the boys are out of the house and it's just Geraldo and me. We tend to buy differently and more on impulse than planning. So much for that. It's time to get back on the $$$$avings train and polish off my savvy, shopping skills!!
So what do we start with? CHICKEN!!! There's always a deal on chicken somewhere and to my delight, my little neighborhood store had fryers on sale for $.88 a pound. Well now I can get at least 3 meals out of a 4 pound bird, so I scooped a up a few and put 'em in the freezer. I have to admit that a store-bought, deli-style Rotisserie chicken for 5 bucks is awfully hard to beat...and quite frankly, you can't beat it for a great last minute meal. What a healthy, inexpensive time saver! But if you've got the time and a little kitchen know how, you can get alot of bang for your buck cooking your own bird. This goes for turkey, too. With the holidays coming up, they're going to practically be giving turkeys and hens away! This is a great time to stock up for the months ahead. You can always, ALWAYS, make something from chicken or turkey, even cover all your favorite ethnic food groups. No ingredient is probably more universal than fowl.
Alright, I feel like I've made my point so I'll move on. Make the time to roast your own chicken. After you get the sweet meaty goodness for meal #1, take the not so pretty leftover parts and simmer them with some water and aromatics (onions, celery, carrots, maybe a little garlic) and after cooling, skim off the fat and you have a great base for a rich soup or stock when a recipe calls for some. I freeze small stock filled baggies, and store them flat in the freezer for those last minute recipes that call for a cup or two of chicken stock. I always have chicken stock on hand. If you're a cooker, there is absolutely no excuse for not having some.
Below is a recipe I tried last night and it was really good. Simple, easy and goes with anything. Roast Chicken. You can always oomph-up the ingredients with a spicy rub or different herbs or aromatics, but this is basically a naked version so you can do more with it afterwards. A blank "chicken pallet," if you will. I had chicken fajitas tonight for meal #2 and my stock is ready for the freezer. I'm also including a good site to pick up some coupon deals. Remember your Sunday paper probably has the best selection, and now that gas has gotten more reasonable again, it makes cents to check out all the local grocer's ads and throw a cooler in the trunk and go get those deals! For most of the summer and up till this past week, I was limiting my shopping to one destination as best I could. I spent more on some items than I'd have liked, but when you figure in the cost for a gallon or two of gas, you end up saving overall even if you do have to pay a few dollars more for certain items. Deals are out there and it's time we all started living a lot more frugal. We can still eat well and cheap...save the $$ for other necessities we don't have so many options for. Eat some chicken and be creative with your shopping!!
comfortcook@gmail.com
www.coupons.com Great Coupon Deals!!!
Comfort Cook Catering
615-525-8336

ROASTED CHICKEN
1 4-5 pound roasting chicken
1/2 medium onion (halved)
1 stalk celery, cut in thirds
1/2 Cup butter (softened)
3 Garlic cloves (optional)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme (and a couple whole sprigs for inside)
1 teaspoon fresh chopped oregano (and a couple sprigs for inside)
1-2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
FOR GRAVY:
1 Cup chicken broth
1/2 Cup dry white wine ( or dry vermouth)
2 Tablespoons all purpose flour
PREPARE CHICKEN :
1. Preheat oven to 450. Remove giblets from cavity of chicken. Wash chicken under cool water, removing any pin feathers. Pat dry and sprinkle cavitiy with 1 teaspoon salt and half the pepper.
2. Mix together the butter and chopped herbs. Starting at the neck cavity, loosen the skin from the breast and drumsticks by inserting fingers and gently pushing between skin and meat. (Do not totally detach skin)
3. Rub half the butter mixture under the skin on each breast and leg.
4. Lift the chicken and place the onion, celery, garlic and sprigs of herbs in the cavity.
5. Rub the outside of the chicken with the remaining butter and herb mixture.
Sprinkle body of bird with remaining salt and pepper.
6. Place the chicken, breast side up, on a lightly greased rack in a shallow roasting pan.
7. Bake at 450 for 30 minutes. Reduce heat to 400 and bake for an additional 55 to 60 minutes or until meat thermometer inserted into thigh registers 180.
TO MAKE GRAVY:
Add broth to drippings, stir to loosen bits. Wisk together broth mixture, wine and flour in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring often until thickened. Serve with chicken.

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