This week's post and recipe comes to you from the fabulous dietitians over on the NourishRDs blog. Check out Lisa and McKenzie's blog for more fantastic recipes, non-diet advice, and stories.
How can we make it more affordable to buy locally- and sustainably-raised poultry, meat, eggs and dairy for those who value eating local? We can do it if we are creative about how we think about building a meal, making grains and vegetables the center of the plate, instead of the meat. And not only is that good for the pocketbook, it’s good for our bodies!
I bought a local chicken (which also happened to be organic) for about $20. It was a little less than 5 pounds. This cost would probably be prohibitive for many people – That’s $20 without any side dishes.
But, how many meals for a family of four do you think we can make out of this chicken? One, two, three, four? Let’s see how creative we can be.
I cooked the chicken very simply with just 2 tablespoons of olive oil and salt and pepper. When I pulled all of the meat off of the bones of the chicken, I had 30 ounces of meat, or almost 2 pounds of meat. I also had the bones of the chicken which makes incredible stock. If I portion 2.5 ounces of chicken per serving (which is plenty of meat when it’s paired with vegetables and grains and beans, and maybe nuts and seeds) then I can get 12 servings out of that one chicken! So, I can turn 30 ounces of meat into 3 different meals with 4 servings for each meal PLUS I can make about 12 cups of stock from those bones.
Let’s look at some examples of how to turn this one chicken into four different meals.
The first meal I made was a roasted potato and chicken hash (make with leftover roasted vegetables and kale) topped with a soft-boiled organic egg and a broccoli stalk salsa verde. I’m sharing this recipe with you, below. This meal came to only about $3 per serving, and it’s a hearty meal! If I had all of those ingredients prepped ahead, all I need to do was boil the egg. And I could even do that ahead of time!
For the second meal, I made homemade corn tortillas, which come to about $0.08 a piece! Way less than you can buy packaged corn tortillas. I combined some of the cooked black beans with the prepared chicken, slaw, and some homemade ricotta cheese. These tacos come to about $2.25 for TWO tacos! And if you wanted vegetarian all-bean tacos, it would be about $0.50 for two tacos!
The third meal is my all-time favorite One-Pot Pasta recipe. You just put all of the ingredients in a pot and boil it together for about 10 – 15 minutes and you have dinner on the table. If you can boil water, you can make this recipe. Even with whole wheat organic pasta, fresh tomatoes, fresh kale and chicken, this pasta comes to $3.75 per serving. If you left out the chicken it would still be a complete meal, and I would only cost about $2 per serving.
Lastly, I made chicken stock, which can be turned into soups, stews or used in any number of dishes. I consider the chicken stock free, because it’s made up of “compost.” It’s made from the leftover bones of the roasted chicken, which gives it great flavor, and adds nutrition to the broth. And then all of the other vegetables and herbs are from scraps that were in my freezer. Every time I’m cooking, I take the bits and pieces of onion, carrot, celery, fennel, leeks, garlic that don’t get used and I put them in a plastic bag and store them in my freezer for the next time I’m making stock. If I have herbs that are going bad, I freeze those too.
Free broth! Do you know how much people are paying for a cup of bone broth in trendy restaurants right now? A lot. Take this stock and either make soup out of it or freeze it to use when you need it.
Of course, you could take that same chicken and make a million different recipes. Those meals I shared are just four ideas to get you thinking creatively about how to make eating local more affordable.
What are your best budget-friendly tips for eating local foods?
- 1 onion, cut in large dice
- 1 red bell pepper, cut in large dice
- 1 poblano pepper, cut in large dice
- 1 pound baby purple potatoes, halved
- 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
- Sea salt, to taste
- Pinch of red pepper flakes
- ¼ teaspoon cumin, toasted and ground
- ¼ teaspoon coriander, toasted and ground
- 1 clove garlic, sliced
- 1 bunch kale, removed from stem and thinly sliced
- 8 ounces shredded chicken, from cooked roasted chicken
- 4 soft-boiled eggs
- 2 tablespoons broccoli salsa verde (see link to recipe, above)
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper (for easy clean-up). Place the onion, red bell pepper, poblano pepper, and purple potatoes on the parchment paper. Drizzle with the 2 tablespoons of olive oil and then season with salt, red pepper flakes, cumin and coriander. Toss together to coat the vegetables with the oil and spices. Place in the oven and roast for 20 – 25 minutes or until the vegetables are caramelized. Remove from the oven and let cool. You can do this part up to three days ahead. Just store the roasted vegetables in the refrigerator in a covered container.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the additional 1 teaspoon olive oil and the garlic clove, sliced kale and shredded chicken. Sauté a few minutes until the kale is wilted and the chicken is heated through. Add the reserved roasted potatoes and vegetables and stir together to combine. If the roasted vegetables were make previously and refrigerated, add a splash of water and cook for about 5 more minutes until warmed through.
- Divide the vegetables between three shallow bowls and top each with one soft-boiled egg and two tablespoons of the broccoli salsa verde.
- To make a soft-boiled (6-minute) egg, bring a pot of water to a boil. One at a time, use a spoon to slowly lower each egg into the boiling water. Set a timer for 6 minutes. After 6 minutes, remove the eggs from the water and place briefly in a bowl of cold water. Remove the eggs from the water, peel and serve warm.