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Old 11-16-2009, 03:51 PM   #1
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In a chicken rut...help me out

I have found that I favor cooking chicken dishes. All the time. Sometimes, I'll crock pot a pork roast, and once in a while I'll fry some fish...but I typically almost always have chicken on the menu.

I live in an apartment, have a small but decent oven/stove, and have a very tight budget along with a very limited pantry.

I have NO IDEA on how to expand my menu without breaking the bank, and without ruining a dish due to lack of experience.

What are some dishes/suggestions you can throw at me?

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Old 11-16-2009, 04:08 PM   #2
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I have been making this when I want to cook chicken, but don't feel like the same old chicken dish. It is very quick and inexpensive, but quite tasty.

I cook up some ground chicken with whatever spices I feel like. I then make some couscous and add in scallions and dried cranberries and pine nuts and some frozen veggies (edemame usually). To serve I put the chicken on top of the couscous and drizzle with a little bit of good extra virgin olive oil.
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:25 PM   #3
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Dice/Cube the Chicken....Saute in a little oil..add thick slices of onion, slices of zucchini squash, and mushrooms...Continue to saute until just done..no more. Season with Curry powder....

Check out Chicken Curry recipes....

Careful with the Curry Powder you buy...Some can be very HOT!

Enjoy!
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Old 11-16-2009, 04:40 PM   #4
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Chicken skillet meals are great and easy.

Cube chicken, saute with onions, garlic and mushrooms.

Add:
Rotel tomatoes
jalapeno pepper(s)
cumin

Simmer until the chicken is cooked through and serve over cooked rice.

OR

Add rice and chicken broth to the chicken and rotel, cover and simmer until the rice is done.

You can make variations on this theme by replace the things you add to the chicken.

Go for an Italian flavor by adding canned tomato, oregano and basil. Try for an Asian flavor by flavoring with ginger, garlic, oyster sauce and soy sauce.

Or add marsala wine and heavy cream to the sauteed meat and veggies.

Instead of rice serve these on noodles.
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Old 11-16-2009, 05:03 PM   #5
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Beans & lentils are an amazing source of nutrition and they are cheap as well. Here's a list of ideas from my blog:

Recipes with Beans:
Recipes with Lentils:
Recipes with Chickpeas:
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:18 PM   #6
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for beef & pork: generally the 'higher priced' meats are the more tender cuts - cooked by dry methods / grilling - they retain the tenderness. less expensive cuts need to be cooked longer / slower / wetter to make them tender.

with the crockpot, you're well equipped to do the long/slow/wet thing. it's pretty difficult to mess things up with a slow cooker - different than a high heat fast right-now saute - if you breathe twice in a row, it's burnt type of thing.

things to try:

a beef "pot roast" - chuck is the usual candidate but any cut 'cheap' done in a crock pot will work

ribs - don't go for the expensive 'baby back' - no too much meat, high price - look for 'country style'

fish - frying is not the only way - poaching with a flavorful liquid works very well; baked / broiled also works well - dress it up with other flavors.

fish chowders - usually employ inexpensive fish sorts and are veddy tasty

pork tenderloin - don't faint! per pound it's on the expensive side - watch for sales (it freezes well) I often get it 'buy one get one free' - that makes for reasonable - typically, comes in a package of two tenderloins which is four meals for a two people crowd. (wrap them separate if freezing...)

smoked ham hocks (+ beans / lentils) - another excellent slow cooker candidate - I'd mention it's cousin "shanks" (ossabucco) but that's gotten so trendy you have to make a reservation at the butcher just to get some.....

stews - typically inexpensive cuts + vegetables. good dish for slow cookers _but_ for good taste you need to brown the meats before they go in the slow cooker. works well with 'sausage' cuts.

I'll second the motion on the beans / legumes suggestion. neat thing about them is a little bit of meat for flavoring goes a long way. I like a lamb / lentil pseudo stew dish - _one_ lamb chop - diced - browned add to lentils with onion / celery / seasoning.
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Old 11-16-2009, 06:26 PM   #7
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This recipe I found in a magazine la cucina italiana, it was basically a lamb dish but I modified it into a chicken dish (I don't eat lamb!), also added some pancetta (or bacon) for a flavour kick. It carries a fresh and unique taste, and of course very pleasant. Pretty easy and straightforward to make. IMO definitely worth a try.

Chicken with un "tocco di Marocco" (touch of Morocco)
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:18 PM   #8
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The only thing that would be cheapper than chicken would be vegies. Have you though about venturing in more vegetarian cooking? Do you like the vegies? How about vegie Lasgna?
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Old 11-16-2009, 07:24 PM   #9
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oven baked chicken..

you will need butter and fresh garlic for this one..

melt some butter and add some minced garlic....dredge your chicken parts in the butter/garlic goo and then dip the parts in a combo of bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper..you can add some herbs to this too....place coated parts in a casserole dish, pour over any remaining butter and sprinkle on any remaining bread crumbs. Bake in oven at 350*F for one hour or more.
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Old 11-16-2009, 11:17 PM   #10
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Best way to stretch your budget, jennifer, is to start with a whole chicken. On the up side to it also is that different chicken parts will lend themselves to different preparations. You'll easily find yourself out of the chicken rut.

Since you don't mind frying, try de-boning a thigh, trimming the meat of fat and connective tissue, and fry in panko for a chicken cutlet. Tonkatsu (a plum/fruit base) sauce goes well, as does a Worchestershire based one. Serve with rice & veggies.
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