Wednesday, March 07, 2012
I like to get 10 lb bags of chicken leg quarters at Walmart. I used to get them for 4.90, but now they're usually 6.90. But still a pretty good deal.
I start by eating the skin, as I talked aboug in my post yesterday. I usually eat it all in one meal, but there's enough for a couple of meals if you have something with it like a vegetable.
Then I have the meat. I usually cook all of the legs at once, either in the crockpot without the skin or in the oven with the skin on. I find that I usually get 10 leg quarters per bag, and that I get an average of about a cup of meat from each leg. So about 10 cups of meat per bag, plus the skin. I freeze most of the meat in 1 cup containers. 1 cup is just about right for a salad, which is how I usually eat the meat. Casseroles usually call for 2 to 4 cups of cooked chicken. It's a convenient size portion to have one hand. (I live alone. I'd put it in bigger containers if I were cooking for more than one.) A few legs I leave on the bone to have just as chicken for supper or lunch.
Taking the chicken off the bone is usually a meal in itself, as I nibble on the meat as I take it off the bone. So there's really more than just 10 cups.
After I have the meat off the bones, I put the bones in my 8 qt. crockpot and cook them on low (or warm for the newer crockpots - it shouldn't boil but shouldn't be below 150 degrees, either) for about 24 hours. I add a tablespoon or so of vinegar to help leach the calcium and such from the bones. I usually add some or all of the following: onion, celery, carrot, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, pepper (whole or ground), cloves. But sometimes I just leave it plain. I usually don't salt it but add salt later, when I use the broth.
After the broth has cooked for 24 hours or so, I pour it through a collander to separate the broth from the bones. I usually pick over the bones again, which makes another meal from the chicken. Then I put the broth in pint jars (preferrably widemouth so it comes out more easily) and freeze it to use in soup and such. I could use just half the bones at a time and still end up with good broth. If I don't feel like making broth right then, I freeze the bones and use them later.
If you freeze in glass jars, be sure to leave at least 1/2 inch at the top that's empty to allow for expansion. You don't want it to break the glass. I usually put the lids on loosely, just in case, then tighten them after they are frozen. I put the jar of frozen broth in a pan of hot water to melt it enough to get the broth out when I want to use it. Be sure the lid is on tight first, though! I have forgotten to do so and most of the broth leaked out.
So, from a 6.90 bag of legs, I get 1 or 2 meals from the skin, 10 meals from the meat I take from the bones, a meal from taking the meat from the bones, and another meal from the bones after I've boiled them for broth. And 8 pints or more of broth. That's 13 meals from the chicken, or 53 cents per meal, plus 8 pints of broth that would cost at least 4.00 if I bought the broth in cans. Quite a bargain as far as I'm concerned.
The problem with this is that I eat lots of salads in the summer and lots of soup in the winter so they don't match up. I either keep adding meat to the freezer to get the broth, or I have a freezer full of bones and/or broth to get the meat. But there's usually a point in the spring and in the fall when they match up just right.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
You may have noticed that my protein source for some meals is chicken skin. It’s not as bad nutritionally as you might think. One ounce of raw chicken skin, when cooked, has 90 calories, 8 grams of fat, 4 grams of protein, and no carbs. And don’t forget that fat is your friend!
The skin almost always comes from a 10 pound bag of leg quarters that I get at Walmart. They’re cheap and I prefer the dark meat anyway. They were $5.90 for 10 pounds here in Idaho last month. They’ve generally been $6.90 for 10 pounds back in Indiana lately.
I cook the skins (and the legs, too) in one of two ways. The first, and easiest, is to just bake the legs, skin on, preferably but not necessarily on racks. The skin will get golden brown and separate from the meat and puff up and get nice and crisp. When the chicken is done, I pull off the skin, salt it and eat it. The meat I save for other uses.
The second way I cook them is to pull the skin off before I cook the meat. Then I spread the meat out on my boiler pan and bake it at 400 until nice and crisp. I usually put the legs themselves in the crockpot. I prefer the meat done this way, but the skin tends to stick to the broiler pan. I prefer the skins cooked the other way.
Whichever way you cook it, the skin is crisp and delicious! And I figure it’s free, really, because it doesn’t change how many pieces of meat I get from the 10 pound bag of leg quarters.
And don't forget to save the drippings! Put them in a large measuring cup and refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top and the bottom will be nice strong chicken broth. Use it in soup. Use the fat instead of butter or oil for frying things.
I’ll talk more about what I do with the leg quarters another day.
Tuesday, March 06, 2012
The ones from January of 2010, that is, when I was doing the Food Stamp Challenge for real. It doesn't include what I bought or how much I paid, but it does tell what I ate. I do remember that one of the reasons it worked so easily was that all the right stuff went on sale the first week of January so I really stocked up then. I was going to post them all as December meals on the tracker here, but that's too much work. Instead I'll just post them here in the blog. I will add recipes to my SP Recipe Box, though.
So here's what I ate on January 1, 2010:
B – Tea with 1 T cream
L – 4 eggs, 1 T cream, 1 T butter
D – skin from 8 chicken thighs
S – tea with 1 T cream
1030 calories, 88 grams of fat, 50 grams of protein, 3 carbs, no fiber
Clearly not a healthy way to eat for any sustained period!
Monday, March 05, 2012
That's MIM or OMM in low carb speak.
Don't know why I didn't think of including these earlier. Maybe because I haven't tried them myself? They're low cast, low carb, easy, nutritious and delicious! At least the one I had this morning for breakfast (for real!) was.
There are many variations, but here's the recipe I used. I'll get to the variations in a bit.
MUFFIN IN A MINUTE/ONE MINUTE MUFFIN
1/4 c flax meal (ground flax)
1/2 t baking powder
2 packets Splenda
1 T cinnamon
1 T butter
1 large egg
Mix the dry ingredients in a large cup. (I used a big flat cup/mug/bowl that we usually use for soup.)
In a separate bowl, melt the butter as quickly as possible. You want it melted but not hot. Add the egg and beat well. Add to the dry ingredients and mix well.
Nuke on high for one minute. It should puff up beautifully. Slather with butter and serve.
Use more or less sweetner.
Use a tablespoon or so of sugar free syrup (like DaVinci or Torani) instead of the splenda. You may need to add a few more seconds to the cooking time because of the extra liquid.
Add 1/4 c canned pumpkin. Not canned pumpkin pie filling, but plain canned pumpkin. Use pumpkin pie spice instead of or in addition to the cinnamon.
Use just a bit of sweetner (it still needs some) and, I assume less or no cinnamon, for a savory version. Cut it in half to make two slices, top with cheese, and run under the broiler for a minute.
Add some plain, unsweetened cocoa. I assume they mean the plain stuff you used to use to make a chocolate cake and not the stuff you add water to to make hot chocolate. Though that might be good, too.
The sugar free syrups are expensive. (I used to get them at Cash and Carry, a wholesale grocery place that was associated with some grocery chain that I can't remember. They were much cheaper there. I haven't been able to find them at Sam's or Costco.) It seems like you should be able to get a similar result by using a drop or two of flavored extracts and the splenda instead. Extracts come in all sorts of flavors - vanilla, almond, chocolate, pineapple, lemon, strawberry, raspberry, pecan, black walnut, orange, banana, etc. They usually do have some sugar in them, but it shouldn't be enough to worry about when you are only using a drop or two.
There used to be a sticky thread for these in the Recipe Forum here, but it seems to have been de-stickied. Here's a link to one thread about them
and here's a link to another thread
This morning's muffin, slathered with a tablespoon of butter, had 417 calories, 36 grams of fat, 11 grams of protein, 6 net carbs, and 10 grams of fiber. It cost less than 50 cents.
Anyone out there a MIM/OMM fan? Or not? What are your experiences, your favorite variations, etc.?
Get An Email Alert Each Time BUDGETMAW Posts