The Chicken and the Egg

Last night, I blew through my daily budget. Luckily, it was only by $0.12 and I think I charged myself too much for the bread (we’ll see if I actually go through all of the dough I made by the end of the week or not). I’m pretty sure it was because of the parsnips from last weekend’s farmer’s market. But, it was well worth it. Here’s what I had for dinner:

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Roasted chicken with a herby-salt rub ($1.09 for free range drumsticks), parsnips ($0.75) and creamy polenta ($0.71) with a smidgen of Parmigiano-Reggiano. It wouldn’t be a lie to say that I licked the plate clean, and although it would have nice if there were something green on there, I think it was quite a lovely dinner for $2.55. It is also crazy easy to make… rinse and dry the chicken well, then dust with the herbed salt. I have a little tin of it that I keep by the stove whenever I need a little sprinkle, and it only comes to $0.07 per teaspoon (I used less than that on these two drumsticks). The parsnips just get thrown into the pan you use for the chicken along with a tiny drizzle of oil (I used grapeseed this time, but usually would use olive oil). Start roasting the parsnips at 400F about 15 minutes before you add the chicken to the dish. Then, add the chicken (sitting on top of the parsnips is fine) and roast until the juices run clear, about 30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken pieces. This is basically the same technique I use for roasting a whole chicken which I would have done this time too except I’m eating on my own this week. The benefit of the whole chicken (beyond being a bit cheaper) is that I also can just turn the carcass into stock.

For lunch today, I decided on an egg salad sandwich… a simple one with a vinaigrette instead of a mayo based dressing. In fact, it’s pretty much the same dressing that I had on yesterday’s salad… a bit of shallot, grapeseed oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. But this time I also added about 1/16th teaspoon of dried mustard and a few chili threads. Chili threads, if you haven’t seen them before, are amazing. They look quite a bit like saffron and pack a tiny little punch. A whole bag of them is only around $1, and that contains some crazy number of threads (somewhere around 2000 I’m guessing). I used about 5 in my egg salad.

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The other thing you’ll probably notice here is the punch. I LOVE this punch and it’s one of the cheapest and simplest things you can make. It’s simply steeped dried hibiscus. You can set out a pitcher with the hibiscus petals in water and let it steep like you would sun tea (or, you can put the kettle on and start it off with hot water). If you like it sweetened, you can add a bit of sugar and lime like Matt does, but also I like it just as it is. It reminds me a bit of cranberry juice and is a lovely way to take a break from water.

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My dinner plans tonight are still up in the air… but I did manage to find a lovely piece of Tilapia for a little less than $2 and I’m thinking about that with a simple risotto.

For those curious, here’s my running total so far:

Monday $7.12 Total
Macchiato $0.19
Bread (for the day) $0.72
Salad $2.19
Dressing $0.73
Apple $0.75
Polenta $0.71
Parsnips $0.75
Roast Chicken $1.08

Tuesday $2.44 Total
Macchiato $0.19
Bread (for the day) $0.72
Egg salad $1.23
Hibiscus Punch $0.30