chicken roasted with tater tots

Chicken, My Favorite Protein

Chicken, My Favorite Protein

Chicken is my favorite protein and is included in many of my favorite dishes. Many of my early cooking attempts were with chicken dishes. I would say fish would be in second place. Do not get me wrong, I love a steak now and then or cooking burgers on the grill. It is now and then.

Years ago, I was taking care of my grandmother. One day I received a call from my mother, telling me grandmother was complaining about me always cooking chicken and fish, sometimes pork but no beef. So, I went to the store, bought a chuck roast. I cooked it in a dutch oven, and it turned out perfectly. At dinner, Grandmother just picked at it. When I asked her why she wasn’t eating she said it tasted good, but she did not eat beef.

White Meat Or Dark

For decades nutritionists told you to stay away from dark meat it was unhealthy for us, stay with the white meat. However, now they believe differently. Sure white meat is healthier, but dark meat is not all that bad. It is definitely better than red meat, Chicken Farmers of Canada website had an article on this that also show the nutritional value of different cuts of chicken

Check out our nutrition cheat sheet for your favorite cuts.

Most of the time I rather have dark meat. It develops a deeper taste.

Chicken The Budget Saver

Like other meat sources, the cut of the meat or poultry varies. The breast is the most expensive part of a chicken. However, still less than pork or beef. While thighs and leg quarters are the least expensive. Whole chickens are just slightly more than the leg quarters.

Know-Your-Cuts

I normally buy leg quarters or thighs in a family pack that is about 4.5 pounds (ca. 2 kg), The cost is about $1 a pound. This is 6 pieces. Thighs might be slightly cheaper. Recently, one of the grocery stores I shop had a 10 pound (4.54 kilogram) bag of a branded chicken for $5.95. When you buy your’s check the use by or freeze date.

chicken on a budget, cookingWhen I get home from shopping, I need to have an idea of how I will use my chicken. Most of my meals are solo meals but not all. Also, I plan on leftovers on many dishes. Chicken leg quarters are a drumstick and thigh together. So one option is to separate them and have the choice of cooking them. Generally, I keep them together.

The family pack will give me three meals, either for two people or one person with lunch as leftovers.
I separate the chicken into three portions. One meal will be planned for the day I purchase the chicken. Another will be for two or three days later. The third I normally freeze for the following week.

Chicken Adobe
Slowly Simmer Chicken Adobo

Get Cooking

As an example, I may plan on cooking adobo the day I purchase the chicken. It is a simple dish that once you start it does not need much attention. Adobo is a Filipino dish that is cooked in vinegar and soy sauce. It is similar to some Mexican dishes, but maybe it is the other way around. This is one of my comfort foods, and I generally make it two or three times a month.

Chicken the budget stretcher cooking to impress
Baking Chicken

If I plan on baking/roasting some chicken as the next meal, I put it in a gallon ziplock bag. I add a marinade and put it in the refrigerator. The third portion goes in a freezer bag and into the freezer. A day or two before I plan on using it, I move to the refrigerator to thaw. When ready to cook, just preheat the oven. When the over is ready, place the chicken in a dish and let it cook.

Roast Chicken Dinner
A Roast Chicken Dinner

Chicken often finds its way into my crock pot. Slow-cooked BBQ chicken is a great dish when you are busy. Match it with rice or potatoes. You can also cook it down until it is pulled chicken great as a sandwich.

Cooking to impress on a budget? a Crock pot or slow cooker is your friend
A slow cooker or crock pot can help you Cook to Impress

I often do both at the same time. I will cook two leg quarters in the crookpot. When it is fully cooked but not falling off the bone, I will remove one for dinner. I will leave the other one in the crockpot set on the warm setting until it falls from the bone. That is cooled and refrigerated for sandwiches.

One family pack of chicken provides me three dinners for two, or three solo dinners and three or four lunches/snacks. Depending on the sides, It means I can bring a meal in for under $2.

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