Cook's Corner

Published 3:14 am Thursday, August 7, 2008

By Staff
There have been times in my married life that I have told my husband that he was going to turn into a chicken. He pretty much will eat any part of the chicken, except the part that goes over the fence last.
I never really mind preparing chicken at my house with the exception of the times I'd like a little change. However, these days chicken is looking better and better. It's truly amazing how many different ways you can prepare chicken and with the cost of everything at the grocery stores going up, chicken seems to be a pretty good option for meal choices.
If you're looking for a few good ideas with chicken, I've got a few ideas that may be something you can consider.
First of all, if you're looking to cut corners and stretch your dollars, buying a whole chicken is always going to be more economical than purchasing individual pieces or pre-cut portions.
My family usually only eats the white meat of the chicken, but there are dishes you can prepare that allow for use of a little dark and a little white without much notice from the family.
Not only will buying a whole chicken save you a couple of dollars, it will also give you an opportunity to prepare the main portion of a couple of meals at one time.
For instance, I have roasted a whole chicken and served it for dinner and used the leftover meat to prepare chicken salad and chicken tacos.
If you're interested in those ideas, the following recipes may be just what you need to get you going in that direction.
The first recipe I'll share is one that was sent in from a reader, Heather Ray. She has a recipe for cooking chicken that I've never tried before but it sounds wonderful. If you've ever cooked chicken using cornflakes as a crust, you'll probably like this one. The mayonnaise part of the recipe is the most interesting part for me. Heather says the generic brand of rice cereal works just fine for this recipe.
Moist and Crispy Chicken
3 cups Rice Krispie Cereal
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp, salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 chicken, cut up
Place cereal, paprika, salt and pepper in a gallon Ziploc bag. Finely crush with a rolling pin and shake to blend. Brush chicken with mayonnaise then place one or two pieces at a time in the bag and shake to coat. Place on rack in broiler pan and bake at 425 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes.
This next recipe is one for roasted chicken. You can season the chicken with pretty much anything you like, but as far as I'm concerned, nothing seasons a chicken better than Rosemary.
Rosemary Chicken
1 (3 pound) whole chicken, rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1 small onion, quartered
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season chicken with salt and pepper to taste. Stuff with the onion and rosemary. Place chicken in a 9×13 inch baking dish or roasting dish. Roast in the preheated oven for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, or until chicken is cooked through and juices run clear. Cooking time will vary a bit depending on the size of the bird.
If Rosemary isn't your cup of tea, then maybe something a little simpler may be more of what your family would enjoy.
Simple Roasted Chicken
1 (6 pound) roasting chicken
1 teaspoon onion salt
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon dried savory
1/4 teaspoon grated orange peel
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon canola oil
Place chicken on a rack in a shallow roasting pan. Carefully loosen the skin above the breast meat. Combine the onion salt, thyme, savory, orange peel and pepper; rub half of the herb mixture under the loosened skin. Rub chicken skin with oil; sprinkle with remaining herb mixture. Bake at 375 degrees for 1-1/2 to 2 hours or until a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees. Let stand for 10-15 minutes. Remove skin before carving. Skim fat and thicken pan juices for gravy if desired.
Now on to the chicken salad idea. Again, you can add or delete ingredients to fit your family's tastes. Remember, a recipe is just a guide to help you with your own cooking methods.
BLT Chicken Salad
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 tablespoons barbecue sauce
2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon pepper
8 cups torn salad greens
2 large tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
10 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled
2 hard-cooked eggs, sliced
In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients; mix well. Cover and refrigerate until serving. Place salad greens on a large serving platter. Sprinkle with tomatoes, chicken and bacon; garnish with eggs. Drizzle with dressing.
If you're into more basic chicken salad, you can't get more basic than this next recipe.
Basic Chicken Salad
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups chopped, cooked chicken meat
1/2 cup blanched slivered almonds
1 stalk celery, chopped
Place almonds in a frying pan. Toast over medium-high heat, shaking frequently. Watch carefully, as they burn easily. In a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, lemon juice, and pepper. Toss with chicken, almonds, and celery.
If you still have some roasted chicken left over, this next idea may help you use up what you have to give your chicken a completely different taste.
Simply take left over chicken and shred it by pulling the pieces into little bits. Place two cups of shredded chicken into a medium sized skillet over medium high heat. Add one package taco seasoning mix and one cup hot water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until liquid is absorbed stirring frequently to distribute seasoning onto chicken. Serve chicken in soft or crunchy taco shells adding chopped tomato, lettuce and salsa. Serve with Spanish rice and refried beans.
I hope that whole chickens become good friends at your house. It's amazing how much you can do with a chicken. Besides being a budget-stretcher, chicken can also help you get a head start in other meals for a busy week.
If you have any budget-friendly ideas you'd like to share, please send them on to me and I'll be glad to give you credit for your submission. You can give me a call at 867-4876 or drop me a line by email at lisa.tindell@brewtonstandard.com
Until next week, happy cooking!