Saturday, July 28, 2012

Easiest Dinner for Cheap!

Earlier this year I wanted to start eating healthier and honestly cheaper too.  Getting take out is way too expensive (and calories…WOW!) and you only get 1 meal out of it.  I found this site called 100 Days of Real Food where she and her family eat NO PROCESSED FOODS!  That kind of got me thinking about all of the money I’m buying on “chemicals” that come in the food I eat.  Yes, it is a little bit more time consuming and it can be expensive, but if you look around you can find some great deals.
Take this recipe for example, it literally cost me $4! And I will get 3-4 meals out of 1 chicken.
Chicken from Fresh & Easy. I bargain shop pretty much everything else, but I get my meat from F&E. It is all natural, no hormones and the serving sizes you get are enormous.  Plus with their coupons and my Friends card I can and have saved $20 on 1 shopping trip without buying a shopping cart full of things.
And the seasonings I already had in my cupboard (so…free!)
Oh and 1 thing you will always find in my kitchen is a Crock Pot.  If you do not have one of these…you need one!  It is the easiest way to cook, and honestly, if you don’t know how to cook, it does it for you Smile
Whole Chicken in a Crock Pot – courtesy of 100 Days of Real Food
If you can, rub down the chicken either the night before or a few hours prior to cooking.  It allows the meat to “marinate” in the seasonings…yummy!


  • 2 teaspoons paprika
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cayenne (red) pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 onion
  • 1 large chicken


  1. Combine the dried spices in a small bowl.
  2. Loosely chop the onion and place it in the bottom of the slow cooker.
  3. Remove any giblets from the chicken and then rub the spice mixture all over. You can even put some of the spices inside the cavity and under the skin covering the breasts.
  4. Put prepared chicken on top of the onions in the slow cooker, cover it, and turn it on to high. There is no need to add any liquid.
  5. Cook for 4 – 5 hours (for a 3 or 4 pound chicken), on low for 8 hours or until the chicken is falling off the bone.
Seriously it tastes BETTER than the store bought rotisserie chickens but you know exactly what is used instead of getting a chicken that was frozen, un frozen, rubbed with some sort of seasoning, cooked and then placed under a heat lamp until you grab it. Put this on before you go to work and come home to a great smelling house and make up some sides.  BOOM! Dinner is done!

Look at that! In 5 hours the house smells delicious and just to make sure that everything was juicy, I based the top with some of the juice (which you can't relly see, but it comes up 3/4 of the way of the thigh!) and the skin just fell off on the legs!

Overnight Chicken Stock – again from 100 Days of Real Food
Now, I have never made this before because I bought some Better Than Bullion Chicken stock that I love (thanks Holly) and I started using that before I found this chicken recipe, but I am working my way thru the BTB so I will be making the stock next time I make the chicken.


  • Leftover chicken bones or carcass roughly equivalent to one small or medium sized chicken
  • 1 onion, peeled and loosely chopped
  • 1 rib of celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 carrot, roughly chopped (no need to peel)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh parsley
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
    Note: If you are missing any of these ingredients I wouldn’t let that stop you from making it anyway.

Stock Directions

  1. After removing all edible meat from the chicken put/leave the bones, skin, cooking juices, etc. in the crock pot. If you are using the chicken carcass from the “The Best Whole Chicken in the Crock Pot” recipe just leave every single thing that’s leftover (except the good meat of course) in the crock pot including the original onion and spices you used when making the chicken.
  2. Add the onion, celery, carrot and spices on top of the bones and fill the crock pot almost to the top with tap water (leaving about 1/2” at the top).
  3. Turn the slow cooker onto “low” after dinner and cook all night long or alternatively you could start it in the morning and cook on “low” for 8 – 10 hours during the day.
  4. After the stock is done cooking turn off the heat and, using a soup ladle, pass the stock through a fine sieve to remove all herbs/bones/etc. Either refrigerate or freeze the stock for future use. I usually freeze some in both 1 and 2-cup portions, and I also sometimes freeze stock in ice cube trays just in case I just “need a little” for making sauce or rice.
  5. This stock is great in soups like chicken noodle soup and also in rice like risotto. Enjoy!

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