Thursday 29 January 2009

Marie's Thrifty Thursdays

Welcome to my Thrifty Thursday post for this week, January 29th, 2009. We've almost finished the first month of a new year. I am sure that there are not too many of us that are not feeling the pinch of the credit crunch, as they are calling it. I know that groceries seem to have gone up radically over what they were costing me only a year ago at this time. For myself, I have been trying to shop for bargains wherever possible, and cheaper cuts of meat when ever I can. Today I want to talk about the thrift of buying a larger piece of meat or poultry and getting as much as you can from it.

Sometimes it is very tempting to balk at the price of say, a large chicken, or roast, or even turkey. For instance, earlier this week I purchased a large organic roast chicken, for which I paid almost £12. (I am sure I could have gotten a cheaper one had I gone for the every day battery chicken, but I made a decision quite some time ago to each chicken less often and only buy free range.) This was quite a hefty chicken and weighed in about 4 pounds, with a nice plump breast and meaty looking legs and thighs.

We had it the first day, roasted and stuffed, the recipe of which you can find here. My goodness, but it was delicious. You just can't beat a tasty roast chicken for a meal that will please everyone in the family. After we had eaten it that one time as a roast, I picked off all the meat from the bones and then froze the bones in a zip lock bag. I then divided the meat into amounts for two other meals. Because there are only two of us, the leftover meat will go a lot further than it would were there a passel of children to feed as well. But even with a houseful of children, you will find that a large roast chicken will yield at least two meals for the family, counting the roast day as the first, which really makes sense economically.

The second day we had it as a lovely Chicken and Dumpling Casserole.

*Crazy Chicken Dumplings*
Serves 4 to 6

This tasty casserole is baked in a 9 by 13 inch casserole. The dumplings kind of make themselves, with very little or no effort from you.

2 cups cooked chicken, cut into dice
1/4 cup butter, melted
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
1 cup milk
1 cup self rising flour
1 (10 1/2 ounce) tin of cream of chicken soup
salt and black pepper to taste
1/2 tsp summer savoury (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 200*C/400*F. Pour the melted butter into the bottom of a 9 by 13 inch baking dish. Cover with the chicken meat.

Whisk together the flour and the milk until smooth and pour this mixture over top of the chicken. Sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.

Stir together the summer savoury, chicken stock, chopped onion, cream of chicken soup and the mixed vegetables. Pour this mixture over top of the batter mixture. DO NOT STIR.

Place onto a baking sheet and slide the whole thing into your heated oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the top is browned and bubbly. Remove from the oven and let sit for a few minutes before spooning out to serve.

The next meal we had was a delicious one called Chicken Hash. You can make hash out of just about anything. Hash is pretty much a combination of cooked potato, onion and meat, all browned up together in a skillet. This is the way I like to make my chicken hash.

*Chicken Hash a la Marie*
Serves 4

Tasty chicken and caramelized onions and potatoes make for a delicious leftover meal. You could use leftover turkey for this as well if you liked.

4 large potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic, peeled and minced or crushed
2 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 small red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 tsp dried thyme leaves
1/2 tsp paprika
salt and black pepper to taste
3 TBS olive oil

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and once it begins to shimmer, add the potato, onions and garlic. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook and stir until the potatoes are done, about 15 minutes in time. I cover it with a lid and then stir it every five minutes.

Once the potatoes are tender, stir in the red pepper, thyme, paprika and chicken. Cook over medium heat, stirring from time to time, until the potatoes begin to brown and the peppers caramelize a bit, about 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

My final meal was a delicious homemade chicken soup made with the bones, which I had frozen. My mother was always making soup. She really didn't have a recipe for it. It was just something she did. If you have a roast, you have a delicious soup waiting to be made, be it ham, beef, pork or chicken. Here's my chicken version.

*Chicken Soup*
Serves 4

Got a chicken carcass? You have the makings of a delicious soup. They don't call this Jewish penicillin for nothing! I swear it has healing properties! Mostly for the soul, but shh . . . don't tell anyone!

the bones leftover from a roasted chicken
(Preferably with some meat clinging to them)
1 small onion, peeled and cut in half
the middle part of a stalk of celery, with the leaves
1 medium carrot, broken in half (no need to peel)
1 tsp peppercorns
1 bay leaf
1 tsp mixed herbs (parsley, thyme, sage, marjoram)
1 TBS salt
To finish:
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
(if you want a chicken with rice soup, add a handful of rice instead of the potato,
likewise noodles if you want a chicken noodle soup)
1 small onion, chopped
salt and black pepper to taste

Place the chicken carcass into a large pot. Cover with boiling water and add the middle stalk of celery, carrot, halved onion, peppercorns, mixed herbs and salt. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and allow to simmer away for an hour to an hour and a half. The longer that you simmer it, the more flavourful your broth will be.

At the end of that time strain the broth into a clean pot. Do not discard the bones. Allow them to cool and then strip off any meat that you can find on it and add that to the broth in the pot.

Bring to the boil and then add the celery, carrots, onion and potato. Cook and simmer until all the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken meat and taste for seasoning, and adjust as necessary. Sometimes it may be necessary to add a couple of chicken bullion cubes if your broth is not very flavourful.

Serve hot and ladled into heated bowls with crusty bread or crackers. Enjoy!

So there you have it. A small investment, a very delicious chicken, four tasty meals. Every body's happy.


  1. Wow, thank you - very good Thrifty Ideas. I am going to share these with the gals at work. They can't figure out how to make the food stretch and you just showed how it can be done. Excellent!
    Praying for your safe journey.
    I know Todd will be terribly happy for when you return.
    Love and hugs and great blessings,
    Ruthanne oxox

  2. It is nice to have a roast of any kind to have another meal or two from. Chicken seems the most economical one that I know of. You make your chicken and dumplings differently than I so I'm going to have to try that recipe. Sounds so very good. Thank you for your tips today. I'll be looking forward to more. 'On Ya'-ma

  3. Roast chicken is one of the few meals that makes everybody in my family happy.

    I often use the leftover chicken meat for tacos and rarely for chicken pot pie (both of which the kids won't eat), as well as stocking the carcass for soup which the kids also won't eat. :) But chicken soup is one of the standby items when a sinus infection is on the way -- it's so comforting when I'm miserable.

  4. I recently bought a package of "Cream of Rice" but found that I didn't care for it as cereal; it was just too bland. However, it's proven to be an excellent addition to soup. You don't need much (1/4 cup perhaps), and it thickens the soup marvelously! Makes even the simplest soups much more filling and nourishing, so they go further -- money wise and tummy wise!

  5. Absolutely delicious, you are helping me accomplish my plan to cook more from scratch this year. Roast chicken, dumplings, and soup are first on the list.

  6. Great chicken focus today, Marie! My hubby love chicken, so I appreciate all the excellent and very good recipes. The price of chicken filets is astonishing sometimes, so I'm thinking just getting a whole chicken and using it for multiple means makes much more sense. Love the Thrift Thursdays, my friend. Hope you're having a great day! LOVE YOU ((HUGS))

  7. I love chicken! i will be trying some of these. The chicken hash looks super!

  8. We have got to be kindred spirits. I have done this and have been teased that I "recycle" food. Even in though times you can eat good if you just think ahead. I've bought larger meats and better quality and it does stretch. The hardest part for me is cooking for two. I'm used to cooking for six or more so I make whatever and freeze the rest. Freezing pre-made meals comes in handy on Sundays we call it our smorgasboard days like leftovers. I love your recipes always looking forward to trying them out.

  9. Wow Marie! Thanks so much for the recipes. Everything looks so good! Thank you for sharing your tips!

    I hope things are going well as you get ready for your trip. I can't wait to meet you!


  10. Great ideas. I hope that you can get some rest today.

    8 days...WOW!!! Can't wait!!!

  11. Great savings Marie.I am not a lover of chicken but for those who are these recepies look delicious.The food bill goes up and up.I have been today as I always do Thursdays and I spend more each week.My daughter says how many live at your house MUM he-he.Nothing seems to come down at all.Take Care God Bless Kath xx

  12. I think you read my mind. I was just thinking about trying to roast a chicken. Is it hard? I'd like to try it but I'm so scared I'll screw it up..When do you leave? And don't worry about the LFB--have fun with your daughter! :)

  13. I agree with your principles about free range chicken but some of us cannot afford principles. I would like nothing better than to be able to afford a chicken costing almost L12, unfortunately living on a state pension that would be more than 50% of my weekly food budget.

  14. I think this is one reason why I love Christmas and Easter so much! I love having all those lovely leftovers for the months to come. It sure makes the winter, particularly a bit more bearable! Thanks for this, Marie, These are brilliant recipes.

  15. Very well done all that for twelve pounds ,now why didnt I know you could make hash with other than corned beef ! As my Mum used to say you are never to old to learn ,if your not too silly ,as for cutting back and being thrifty ,I think those of us who brought up big families have always had to be careful,so old habits die hard Jan xx

  16. Look at all these wonderful dishes. One is better than the next. What a lucky bird to be featured in your cooking :)

  17. Dear Marie, really look wonderful, hugggs!!!! Gloria

  18. Marie,
    All of your chicken dishes look sooo good!!:)
    Wish I could visit your kitchen and watch you cook - I'm sure it's amazing!

  19. Oh Marie:

    The Chicken and Dumplings dish looks fabulous. I have a family of five, two of them being very hungry teen boys. I wonder how far I could make a 4 pound chicken go? Most times, I feel like a short order cook. When I scramble eggs for my entire family, I have to scramble 18 eggs. Go figure...

    Garden Painter Art
    Musty Boxes Ephemera

  20. Great ideas Marie, everyone of your recipes are wonderful. Who could ever want to eat out and spend more money when they could have meals like this with a little planning and preparation. I love your Thrifty Thursdays!

  21. Once again, your meals make me drool! Yum.

  22. Four great meals from one chicken! I really like to use leftovers for completely new meals like this!

  23. wow..that's high for a chicken!! I can get a 6-7LB one for about $8 on base!!!

    but in general prices have gone up here too...

    have a blessed weekend!

  24. I love me some roasted chicken!!! I roasted a chicken on Monday night and then made chicken and noodles last night. Delicious!!!!


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