We have found it economical to buy 10 pounds of chicken leg quarters at a time. They come in a bag at Walmart for $4.70. Since there are only two of us, we get a lot of use out of one bag. Usually we can use it up in the two weeks between shopping days. I wash it and re-package it into three zipper bags of two leg quarters each, and freeze those. There are usually 2-3 leg quarters left, and I start with those.
First, I make roasted chicken. The following is one of our favorites:
Chicken Marinated With Lemon, Garlic And Basil
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (bottled works in a pinch)
- 1/3 cup chopped basil
- 2-3 chicken leg quarters cut into drumsticks and thighs (skinned if you wish)
- 2 tablespoons (that's right!) coarsely chopped garlic
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- freshly ground black pepper
Put the marinade ingredients in a Pyrex baking dish and add the chicken. Turn the meat so it is evenly moistened. Let it stand in the refrigerator for four hours or all day. Then sprinkle it with more salt and pepper, turn the meat once more, and cover tightly. Foil is okay if you don't have a good lid. Bake at 350 degrees F, basting every 15 minutes, for 1 1/2 hours. You can do it in less time if you like it less done. We like it falling off the bones. Serve with brown rice and a salad of your choice. Any leftover meat makes good sandwiches the next day. We like whole wheat bread and Dijon mustard (from the dollar store, of course) on ours, and lettuce if we have any.
When we are ready for a Hawaiian dinner, I make this:
Start in the morning, or the morning before, by mixing soy sauce, brown sugar, powdered ginger and crushed garlic to your taste. I make mine fairly sweet, which is probably not authentic. I use equal amounts of soy sauce and brown sugar, but there again, this is one of those negotiable recipes. Soak cut up chicken pieces in this mixture at least 12 hours. Twenty-four hours is at least as good, and maybe better. Now bake it for 1 1/2 hours or put it in a slow cooker while you go to work. We have this with brown rice with soy sauce and usually baked winter squash. Sweet potatoes would be more authentic, but in the north we don't have them over winter.
When we get into an Asian mood, we have tempura. When I was in high school we had a neighbor who ran her own Japanese restaurant. Miyoko would make a big platter of tempura on her day off and bring it to Clara and Phil's house, next door to our house. The entire neighborhood would converge and devour!
Stir together 1 cup all-purpose flour, 2 tablespoons corn starch, a cup of very cold or ice water, and an egg yolk. Now beat two egg whites stiff and gently fold them in. Heat an inch of lard or cooking oil in a Dutch oven to 400 degrees (watch it closely!) Add a tsp. of salt to help prevent spatters. While it's heating, cut up the chicken in bite-sized pieces. Also cut up some vegetables. Carrots are incredible this way! So is broccoli, but lots of them are. I usually have celery on hand and maybe a bell pepper. I always have winter squash, and the sweetness goes really well with the soy sauce dip. Don't use any watery veggies like cherry tomatoes, stick with the dry stuff. When the fat is hot enough, start dipping pieces of vegetables and meat in the batter and carefully place them in the hot fat. Cook until the batter is a fairly deep brown, and then drain them on newspapers or paper towels while you cook some more. Dip these in the following:
In a small pan mix a cup of water, 1/4 tsp. of dry sherry, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 1 tsp. sugar and 1 chicken-flavored bouillon cube or a tsp. or the granules. Bring to a boil and you're done. This makes enough for two hearty eaters. I don't make any side dishes except a cup of tea, because when we eat tempura we don't want anything else!
When we're feeling really THRIFTY, I make:
Wash off your chicken pieces and dry them well. Dip in milk, then in bread crumbs (made from leftover biscuits, crackers, stale bread, etc) that are seasoned with salt and pepper. To 1 cup of crumbs, I usually add 1 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. You can also add a Tbsp. of dried parsley if you have lots. Brown in hot fat for about 5-7 minutes or until lightly browned. Then lay them on a greased baking sheet and bake at 325 degrees F until done the way you like it. If you bake it until quite tender, it's a lot like KFC.
Our neighbor, Leota, who was born about 1905, used to make big batches of this even when she lived alone. Then she could quickly reheat one piece for dinner. The leftovers are also good chopped and mixed with mayonnaise or salad dressing and chopped celery for a sandwich filling. I know these recipes mostly take a lot of cooking time, and you may not have that much time. So make these recipes up on your day off and reheat them during the week. They're every bit as good.
Altogether, that ten-pound bag makes generous main dish servings for about 20 hearty eaters, or .23 per serving plus extras. We buy soy sauce at Costco in the half-gallon, which saves a bit. I hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we do.
By Coreen from Rupert, ID
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