Friday, October 25, 2013

Turkey Breast, and the Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

No one has much in the way of specials this week except Marsh. Marsh has “family packs” (about 5 pounds each) of ground beef for $1.99 a pound, and Perdue split chicken breasts (with the skin and bone) for 99 cents a pound. I’m not positive, but I’m pretty sure that boneless skinless chicken breasts are cheaper if you bone and skin them yourself than if you buy them already boned and skinned. And you get the skin to make Chicken Chips out, and the bones to make chicken broth out of. Boning and skinning them is really easy. Assorted pork chops are $1.79 a pound and, Saturday and Sunday only, they have bone-in turkey breast for 99 cents a pound. Nothing special when it comes to veggies, but that’s a nice assortment of meats on sale.

Aldi has milk for $1.69 a gallon, and Kroger has pork loin for $1.99 a pound, but that’s about all in the way of advertised specials. I did find eggs for $1.29 again at Aldi, and pie pumpkins for $1.98 each at Walmart.

Turkey is new here, so let’s go with that. I’ll start by giving a couple of different ways to cook the whole breast, and then a couple of recipes for using the leftovers. Of course, you can use cooked turkey in most recipes that call for cooked chicken.

A turkey breast is a great alternative to a whole turkey if you’ll just be feeding a few people. Figure on about 8 to 10 ounces of turkey, before cooking, per person, if you don’t want any leftovers. Figure about a pound of turkey per person if you’re cooking a whole bird. And don’t limit it to just the holidays. Turkey is good year round.

If you’re looking for a traditional roasted turkey, like for the holidays, try ROAST TURKEY BREAST WITH GRAVY, though of course you don’t need to make the gravy.

Assuming you use homemade chicken broth that you made from chicken bones and carcasses, this should cost about $6.60, and, again, should make about 10 servings. If you don’t want to make gravy, save the vegetables and de-fatted drippings for soup. Save the fat from the drippings to cook with.

The easiest way to cook a turkey breast is in the slow cooker. It doesn’t look as nice as if you roast it in the oven, but it’s easy and usually gives moist meat. SLOW COOKER TURKEY BREAST makes good leftovers for salads, sandwiches, soups, and casseroles. In fact, if you’re like me, you’ll be cooking the turkey more for the leftovers than for the first time around. To make the most of the leftovers, start by cutting off the two big chunks of meat on either side of the breast bone. Try to keep it in two pieces (one from each side) as much as you can. Slice one half across the grain for recipes that call for sliced turkey. Dice the other half in 1/2” to 1” pieces to use in salads and other recipes that call for diced or cubed turkey.

The turkey itself will cost about $6.00, and the soup mix, if you make it yourself, will cost about 25 cents, for a total of about $6.25. It should yield about 10 cups of diced cooked turkey, or about 62 cents per cup, plus some great turkey broth.

So, one way or another, you’ve got the turkey breast cooked. Now what are you going to do with the leftovers? The easiest thing, and something I do quite often, is to make a salad out of it. It can be as basic as TURKEY AND CELERY SALAD or as fancy as TURKEY WALDORF SALAD. Or you could make a Cobb-type salad with it, or a chef-type salad. Or whatever else you can come up with!

This makes four servings, and, to be honest, have no idea how much it costs because I haven’t priced walnuts or raisins lately. Or apples, for that matter. I’m pretty sure, though, that it’s under $6.00, or $1.50 per serving.

One more recipe, for a supper dish this time. I don’t know where I got the recipe that evolved into BROCCOLI, SPINACH AND CHICKEN CASSEROLE, but I do know it’s good and easy. And, of course, it works just as well with turkey as with chicken. In fact, I think it started as a turkey recipe.

This casserole costs about $5.60, and makes 4 servings, at $1.40 each. It’s a good meal by itself, or you could add some carrot and celery sticks for another 25 cents or so. You can make a good soup by thinning leftovers with some chicken broth, or with turkey stock from cooking the turkey breast.

Stay tuned for more recipes using leftover turkey as we get closer to Thanksgiving and Christmas!

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