Thursday, May 29, 2014

Chicken Salad, and the Weekly Specials with Mary Anne

Chicken Salad with Grapes and Walnuts

Not much in the way of good specials this week. I’m starting to sound like a broken record that way, aren’t I? Don’t blame me; blame the stores. Or the drought. Take your pick. Anyway, here’s what I found.

Kroger has milk on sale, four half-gallons for $5.00, or $1.25 each, or $2.50 per gallon. Chicken of the Sea Chunk Light Tuna is two cans for $1.00, or 50 cents a can. Cheese is $2.99 for twelve to sixteen ounce packages, which at $2.99 a pound is a good price for the 16-ounce packages, and okay at $2.99 for 12 ounces, or $4.00 a pound. Chicken drumsticks and thighs are 99 cents a pound, which is more than the leg quarters at Walmart, but a good price if you specifically want only drumsticks or only thighs. You’ll end up with more meat per pound with the thighs than you do with the leg quarters, so the price per pound of cooked meat may not be all that much different. Green beans and red potatoes are both 99 cents a pound. Do you know whether they are available at the Farmers Market yet? Don’t forget you pay half price at the Farmers Market if you have food stamps. Red seedless grapes are 97 cents a pound. Seedless cucumbers are 99 cents each. Prices are good through Wednesday, June 4.

Marsh has boneless skinless chicken breasts in the family packs for $1.99 a pound. 12-ounce bags of Iceberg Garden Salad are 68 cents each, but you have to buy at least $30.00 of other stuff to get it at this price, and you’re limited to two. Some barbecue sauces are 49 cents for 18 ounces, after $1.00 off if you buy five of various things. Prices are good through next Wednesday, June 4.

IGA has corn on the cob three ears for $1.00, or 33 cents each. This price is good through next Sunday, June 1.

Aldi has pineapples for 89 cents each again, and cantaloupe and one-pound boxes of strawberries for $1.49 each. Mangos are 49 cents each. Kiwis are 69 cents for a 3-pack, or 23 cents each. Organic baby carrots are $1.29 per pound and organic grape tomatoes are $1.49 for a ten ounce box. These are both pretty good prices for conventional-raised produce. Boneless skinless chicken thighs are $1.49 per pound. Nonfat plain or vanilla yogurt is $1.79 a quart and assorted varieties of 6-ounce cartons of nonfat yogurt are 39 cents each. Pollack (a basic white fish) fillets are $4.49 for two pounds, or $2.25 per pound. Prices are good through Tuesday, June 3.

The weather this past week has made me really ready for summer! And that means, among other things, lots of salads. It’s just too hot during the summer to do much cooking. And no, it’s not that hot yet, but I still feel like salads. So that’s what I’m going to be talking about today. Main dish chicken salads. I scanned the ads before I started working on the recipes, but I missed the boneless skinless chicken thighs at Aldi for $1.49 a pound, and instead used the boneless skinless chicken breasts at Marsh for $1.99 a pound. You can use the thighs instead of the chicken breasts. It won’t hurt anything.

Chicken salads start out with cooked chicken, usually chicken breasts. You can cook up a bunch ahead of time so you don’t have to cook it when you make the salad, like in BASIC GRILLED OR ROASTED CHICKEN BREASTS. After all, the idea is to avoid cooking when it’s hot, and cooking the chicken at the last minute sort of defeats the purpose. Or, if you don’t have any pre-cooked, you can make some POACHED CHICKEN FOR SALADS. Of course, you can use other cooked chicken, too. Like ROASTED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS or STEWED CHICKEN LEG QUARTERS or GRILLED CHICKEN. Or leftovers from cooking a whole chicken, either roasted or THE BEST WHOLE CHICKEN IN A CROCK POT. Or whatever other cooked chicken you have on hand, including canned chicken, though it tends to be pretty expensive, especially compared to chicken you cooked yourself.

However you choose to cook it, you can figure on two cups of cooked chicken from a pound of boneless skinless chicken breasts or boneless skinless chicken thighs, one cup of cooked chicken from a pound of whole or split chicken breasts with skin and bones, one cup of cooked chicken from a pound of chicken leg quarters, and about a cup and a quarter from a pound of chicken thighs with skin and bone.

The first recipe is a simple CHICKEN AND SESAME SALAD. You can use either the whole chicken breasts, which you cook and then take off the bone, or boneless skinless chicken breasts. Since it’s the boneless skinless ones that are on sale, let’s use them. See my earlier post comparing the two options. Using the boneless skinless chicken breasts, a batch of this will cost about $4.40; using the boneless skinless thighs it will cost about $3.90. You have a couple of options for finishing off the meal. Some fruit is always good with salad (or just about anything else!) and there are several kinds on sale. Take your pick. Or you could add some CRISPY WON TON STRIPS to the salad. In fact, you could do both, if you chose one of the cheaper fruit options.

Don’t tell the guys, but variations on the next salad, CHICKEN SALAD WITH GRAPES AND WALNUTS, was a classic at ladies’ luncheons, back in the days when ladies had luncheons. You can still serve it for that, in which case a batch will serve eight. You should figure on it serving four, though, for a family supper. It comes to about $6.00 by itself, because of the grapes and walnuts, so there’s no room in the budget for anything else. I’m not sure what else I’d serve with it anyway. You don’t want fruit again for dessert. The original recipe called for serving it with crackers, bread, bagels, etc. and without the lettuce. You could do that if you wanted to, and keep it under $1.50 per person, if you’re ok with serving cracker, bread, bagels, etc. If you use the boneless skinless thighs, it will cost about 75 cents less.

Or you could make your chicken salad the way I usually do. I love looking at cookbooks and finding recipes on the internet. I have literally thousands of recipes that I have copied and stored on my computer, plus at least 12” of recipes that I have printed off the internet, and well over a hundred cookbooks. And that’s after I gave away seven or eight big boxes of cookbooks. But, in spite of all those recipes, I seldom cook with recipes. I usually keep things really simple. Like in this recipe for CHICKEN SALAD A LA MAW. Well, I had to call it something, didn’t I? I can’t give a cost for this since there’s no recipe and no set list of ingredients or quantities. But I figure it’s pretty cheap, unless you use a lot of nuts.

For other ideas for chicken salads, check out the SALAD UN-RECIPES and LEFTOVER CHICKEN SANTA FE SALAD. And don’t forget about chicken taco salads, too.

No comments:

Post a Comment