Sunday, 21 July 2013

3 Meals...One Chicken!....

One of the main concerns with meat based meals is the cost. We really do need to get value for money, and cooking up a whole roast chicken and using the leftovers is a cost effective way of minimising on waste. As this blog is cooking for one I had a lot of meat leftover, enough for 2 more meals, however couples or families probably wont have much left over....You could always buy a bigger chicken! I wouldn't want you to miss out on the leftover chicken recipes as these are just as tasty!

Obviously the first thing to have with a Roast chicken is a Roast dinner! I've limited the amount of side dishes to have with this meal to keep the cost down, but also tried to have a variety of flavours to keep it interesting for you. However you can add as many extra veg as you like as long as its in your budget and you can chop and change as and when you have a surpluss of different veg.

What I recommend is a Roasted Chicken with a gravy made from its own juices and roasted vegetables, Honey Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion, and Garlic Sauteed Spinach.

This makes a delicious sunday lunch treat! 

In the next to updates I will be showing you how to make a Lovely leftovers Chicken Curry and a super Chicken soup!

Roast Chicken

1 serving (1 breast)

Preperation Time 10 mins
Cooking Time 1hr 20 mins 

(varies on size of chicken if in doubt follow the cooking instructions on the packaging)

1 x Whole Chicken (1.4 kg)

2 medium onions
2 carrots
1/2 bulb garlic
1 lemon
1 small bunch fresh thyme, rosemary, bay or sage, or a mixture

(If you don't have any fresh herbs then used dried herbs and sprinkle them over the veg and  inside the chicken)

1.Take your chicken out of the fridge half an hour before it goes into the oven. Preheat your oven to 240°C/475°F/gas 9.

2. Prepare the vegetables, no need to peel them, just wash under the tap and roughly chop them. Break the garlic bulb into cloves, leaving them unpeeled.

3. Pile all the veg and garlic into the middle of a large roasting tray and drizzle with olive oil. Drizzle the chicken with olive oil and season well with salt and pepper, rubbing it all over the bird. Carefully prick the lemon all over, using the tip of a sharp knife (if you have a microwave, you could pop the lemon in these for 40 seconds at this point as this will really bring out the flavour). Put the lemon inside the chicken's cavity, with the bunch of herbs.

4. Place the chicken on top of the vegetables in the roasting tray and put it into the preheated oven. Turn the heat down immediately to 200°C/400°F/gas 6 and cook the chicken for 1 hour and 20 minutes.

5. Baste the chicken halfway through cooking. When cooked, take the tray out of the oven and transfer the chicken to a board to rest for 15 minutes or so. Cover it with a layer of tinfoil.

6. During the resting period you can get on with the gravy.

Amazing Gravy

There are two things that make a good gravy: a vegetable trivet, which is the layer of vegetables in the bottom of your roasting tray that your meat sits on.

cooking time 15 to 20 mins

roasted vegetables
1x heaped dessertspoon plain flour
1x wineglass red or white wine, or cider, or a good splash of port or sherry
1x litre chicken or vegetable stock

1.When you come to make your gravy, your chicken will be covered and resting and you'll have your tray of chicken juices and vegetable trivet in front of you. Using a spoon, carefully remove 90 per cent of the hot fat from the tray by angling it away from yourself and scooping off the fatty layer that settles on top.

2.Put the tray back on the hob over a high heat. Add the flour, stir it around and, holding the tray steady (use gloves!), use a potato masher to mash all the veg to a pulp – don't worry if it's lumpy. You can rip the wings off the chicken and break them up into the tray to add more flavour now if you wish.

3. Add the wine/cider let it simmer for a minute before you add your stock.
Keep it over the heat and let it boil for a few minutes. Pour the stock into the tray. Bring everything in the pan to the boil, Using your spoon scrape all the goodness from the bottom of the pan to release the lovely roasted flavours. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes, or until you've achieved the gravy consistency you're looking for.

Honey Roasted Sweet Potato and Red Onion

Preparation time 10 mins

Cooking time 20 mins

100g sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 4-5cm cubes
1/2 red onions, peeled and cut into thick wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/2tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
20ml orange juice
1/2 tbsp honey

1. heat the oven to 190C/fan 170C/gas 5.

2. Put the sweet potatoes and onions in a single layer in a roasting tin.

3.Mix together the olive oil, ginger, cumin, chilli flakes, orange juice and honey 
Then pour this mixture over the vegetables and coat them well.

4. Season with salt (if you have any add some coriander leaves its really nice!)

Garlic Sauteed Spinach

Preparation time 5 minutes
cooking times 5 minutes

170g Spinach
1 tbsp of olive oil
1 garlic clove(chopped)
salt and pepper

1.Heat the butter in a frying pan over medium heat.
2. Stir in the garlic; cook and stir until the garlic is fragrant, about 2 minutes.

3.Add the spinach a few handfuls at a time, stirring until wilted before adding more, about 5 minutes.

4. season with Salt and pepper.

Extra Veggies for Roast Dinner

There are so many delicious vegetables out there, try mixing it up to go with your roast dinners.

Here are some idea's

  • Honey glazed parsnips/carrots
  • Roasted Potatoes with Garlic 
  • Cauliflower Cheese or Cheesy Leeks
  • Wholegrain Mustard Mashed Potato
  • Sprouts/Cabbage/spring greens
  • Swede/parsnips

also don't forget you can also try non vegetable sides

  • Yorkshire Puddings
  • Sausages wrapped in bacon
  • Stuffing


So the chicken is obviously quite expensive on its own but because we are using it for 3 meals it really works out to be quite reasonable.

For the Chicken recipe

  • I bought a whole 1.4 kg chicken for £3.40 from LIDL. I found that amount of chicken to be just the right amount to split into 3 meals. That's £1.13 for the amount we need.
  • Onions from LIDL were 63p for a bag of 8 that works out around 8p each. That's 16p
  • Garlic was 25p per bulb and we used 2 cloves, that's about 5p
  • LIDL do a 1kg bag of carrots for 79p, 1 carrot works out at 8p
  • Lemons where 8p each in LIDL
For the Sweet Potato

  • The Sweet potato was 58p for 450g (LIDL) We needed 100g which works out as 12p
  • Red onion was 8p (ASDA) We used half so thats 4p
  • Orange juice is 60p we used a very small amount 20ml from 1l works out around 2p
  • I found a jar of honey in Sainsbury's for 99p (340g). If I used 8g of honey - that's 2p.
For the gravy
  • The Cider is £2 for a two litre bottle  that's for the gravy 12p
  • The Chicken Stock is 15p for 10 in Sainsburys that's 3p for 1L
For the Spinach
  • The Spinach is £1 for 250g we use 25p worth. approx
  • and Garlic 1 clove works out about 2p
If you bought all the ingredients from scratch that would work out as £10.57.
The meal cost works out as £2.12

We already had most of the ingredients from previous meals so we saved a lot of money on this one and it was a lovely treat to have a Sunday Roast on a Sunday!

Stay tuned for the next instalment with what we can do with a Roast Chicken.
Its Home made Chicken soup... yum!