20 Dollar Dilemma

There comes a time in every Hepster’s dinner time when their hectic life merges with a strong desire for food.

In the modern age, we have a multitude of choices on how to acquire the food we crave. However through the many choices of flavor emerges two categories that encompass the whole.

Delivery or Drive*?

The question is simple and reflects a crossroad of choice. Do you have the energy or will for a trip to the grocery store or would you rather have someone else drive to your door? While the question may invoke lazy regrets, both options are perfectly reasonable.

The option of delivery is a simple no stress, no mess solution. You can pick up the phone, call up your local restaurant of choice, and gladly tip the delivery driver for his time.

The option of drive is a bit more active and takes up more of your time. However the added amount of activity upon your part is shown through a lower cost to your budget and more objects placed into your pantry.

While a trip to the supermarket can easily total hundreds of dollars, in the constraints of this article we shall keep the example drive option relative to the cost of delivery. We estimate the cost of most delivery to be about 20 dollars for a household of 2 or fewer.

Below we will explore a couple of recipes than can result from a trip to the supermarket for about $20 worth of groceries.

As a mini-disclaimer, the area which I live has some of the highest grocery prices in the county and the numbers are estimated from my own Hollywood experience. Keep this in mind as you may be shocked at the price difference from your own region.

Grocery List

1 Whole Chicken – $7 pre-cooked $6 cooked
1 Bag of Baby Carrots – $2
1 Bulb of Garlic- $ .50
1 Onion – $1
2 Bags of Frozen Vegetables (mix of corn, peas, or whatever your preference) $3 for both
1 Package of Bay Leaf $2
1 Box of Dry Noodle Soup Mix $2
3 Potatoes $1.5
1 Bottle of Italian Dressing $2
1 Roasting bag $2
Total -$23

While our shopping list is not an end all be all, it does assumes a couple things about your pantry. I assume that you may have a semi-filled spice rack, with at least salt, pepper, maybe even some Thyme.

There is also no room for drinks in our example budget. However the cost of liquidation amounts to no more than $2. While this brings our total to $25, the extra $5 is about what you might pay in tip to the delivery driver.

With our grocery list from above, we will now show two recipes that can be accomplished from our choice of drive. The first is a roasted chicken, that I like as it leads to our second recipe. Chicken Soup for our Rockin’ soul, where we will turn leftovers into an all-day meal.

In our grocery list, there was two prices for the different chicken choices. Many supermarkets sell both a roasted chicken in their deli section and an uncooked whole chicken in the meat section. Why the cooked chicken is cheaper than the uncooked version, is beyond me.

If you chose to get a cooked chicken than forgo the onions and carrots. Bake a potato, simmer a bag of vegetables and you are good to go. If you enjoy cooking then follow along with us.

Roasted Chicken

1 Whole Chicken
2 Cups Chopped Carrots
1 Cups Chopped Onions
4 or 5 Chopped Cloves of Garlic
1 or 2 Potatoes
¼ Cup Flower
1 Roasting Bag
1 Bottle of Italian Dressing
1 Bag frozen Vegetables

Step 1: Preheat Oven

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Step 2: Mix the Vegetables

In a bowl mix the Carrots, Onions, and Garlic. Then shake the bottle of Italian dressing and pour over the mixture of vegetables to your own preference. I use anywhere from a ½ cup to a cup. This will be used to stuff the chicken.

Step 3: Stuff that Chicken

First unwrap the chicken and be sure to pull out all the innards, commonly found inside the bird in a plastic bag. Then use cool faucet water to wash off the outside and inside. Now spoon the vegetable mixture inside the bird until the cavity is full.

Extra bonus if you run a stick of butter over the outside of the bird and add a liberal dash of salt and pepper to the skin.

Step 4: Flour the Bag

Open the Roasting bag and add the ¼ cup of flour. Then close the bag and shake to coat the inside with flour. Then place the bird, stuffed from step 3, into the bag and put it all on a baking sheet. Use a knife to poke a couple holes into the top of the bag to release steam. Now you are ready to cook.

Step 5: Make the Chicken Roast

Place your ready to go chicken into the oven and let it go for 20 minuets at 425. After the 20 minutes, reduce the heat to 350, and let it cook for the remainder of the time noted on the cooking instructions that came with the chicken. Normally this is about an 1½ hours.

Step 6: Make the Sides

When you have about 40 minuets left until the chicken is done, grab a potato or two. Use a fork to stab into the potato three times on each side. Coat the outside with a bit of olive oil, with salt and pepper to taste, then place the potato into your oven. Next to or on a rack below your cooking chicken.

Also start the water to boil or simmer the 1 bag of frozen vegetables. Then follow the instructions on the bag to completion.

Step 7: Golden Brown Chicken Skin

When you check the chicken and the skin has turned a nice golden brown, you are ready to pull it from the oven. Let it sit for 5 minutes, carve, and enjoy with sides of Vegetables and Potato.

Leftover Chicken Soup

Leftover Chicken Carcass
1 bag of Frozen Vegetables
Remaining Garlic Cloves
Remaining Onions
Remaining Carrots
Remaining Potatoes
2 Package Noodle Soup Mix
3 or 4 Bay Leaves

Our second recipe is a nice next-day follow up for the leftovers from our roasted chicken. The soup takes hours to cook but the many hours are far from labor intensive as most of the time the boiling pot will do the work for you.

Step One: Fill the Pot

Place the remaining Chicken Carcass into a pot and fill with water. Add half the bag of Frozen Vegetables, half of your remaining Garlic Cloves, some onion, and Carrots to the pot of water. Place the pot on your burner at medium heat. Cover and let cook for about 2 hours.

Step Two: Strain the Bones

There are a couple ways you can do this. I have a stainer that I place on top of another pot and pour one pot into the other, letting the bones and stewed vegetables stay in the strainer. Place the pot, full of chicken broth, back onto the stove at medium heat. You may also season to taste, I even add a healthy dose of chili powder to give my soup a kick.

Step Three: Let it Cool, Daddio

Let the strainer, full of the chicken carcass and vegetables, cool. Now you can add the remaining ingredients to the recipe into the pot. Be sure to cut the potatoes into cubes. Once the strainer is cool, you can remove the bones from the chicken and toss that into the simmering pot as well. Cover and cook for another hour or two.

Step Four: Please Sir, May I have Some More?

There you go and ready to go. Fill up a couple of bowl and be pleased as you took one night’s meal and made it into two. Do you feel like Jesus? We know we sure do.

*Drive as in the inner core ability to commit acts and not a trip by car. We at ANF promote the use of Green technologies to propel us in this world.