Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Iron Chef Moms Challenge: Day Three

When midweek gets busy, I fight the temptation to eat out! I planned tonight's menu to satisfy a favorite fast food flavor: Backyard Burger's Blackened Chicken.
Imitating your favorite order is so easy with sites like Top Secret Recipes--and it's almost always cheaper.

For this recipe, I'll cook the last 4 leg quarters. Yesterday's half cabbage becomes cole slaw to balance the chicken's spicy crust. I'll also roast half a bag of frozen cauliflower while the chicken cooks. Substitute potatoes for an even cheaper side.

You can use bottled Cajun seasoning to blacken the chicken, or make your own with this blackening spice mix.

I remove the skin, rubbing the spice blend in every nook and cranny. I like to use my Le Creuset skillet from Goodwill, but any ovenproof pan/dish combo will work.

  • Thinly coat the pan oil and heat well.
  • Sear the chicken until each side develops a blackened crust of spice.
  • Then, pop the whole skillet in a 375 degree oven until the juices run clear, between 20-30 minutes, depending on thickness.

While the chicken cooks, I roast half a bag of cauliflower. A few cumin seeds in the cauliflower's teaspoon of oil gives the florets a nutty, toasted flavor.

Make the cole slaw the night before for best results--a vinegar base is cheaper than creamy.

  • 4 chicken leg quarters, $1

  • 1/2 head cabbage, .50

  • 1/2 of a 16 oz. bag cauliflower, .50 *save remainder for later

  • 1 carrot, .10

  • Since it's so much spice, let's include half a bottle of Encore Cajun seasoning, .25

  • vinegar and spices for side dishes fall under our staples exception.

Total estimated cost: $2.35, or 59 cents per person.

When my rival did the math yesterday, I was slightly ahead of The Aldi Queen! Whoo-hoo, Sale Shoppers! With only two more dinners left in the cook-off, every dime counts.

Click here to see ALL the posts in the Iron Chef, Aldi vs. Sale Challenge!


TheNormalMiddle said...

This is so fun. I'm enjoying both of your blogs (never saw Aldi Queen's until this challenge!).

Keep up the good work.

Anonymous said...

Meredith, do you ever have trouble getting your son to eat meals like this? (spicy, more adult tastes). Just wondering...

Christi said...

Wow Meredith! This meal sounds great... and your others do too.

Thanks for the inspiration!

Maggie said...

Yum. Chicken looks really good. Nice price as well.

cdorsey said...

Looks like a great recipe. I'll have to give a whirl as my family loves it spicy!


Diane said...

Wow - I'm having such a good time watching both sides of the competition! I can't figure out who to root for - I use both shopping strategies interchangeably.

No matter who "wins", everyone comes out ahead! Thanks you so much for your dedication to Godly, frugal living!

Amy said...

Awesome job, Meredith! You really did well today. I think that is the lowest day yet!

3boysmama said...

A few questions for you:
Do you have a Trader Joes near you? They have good everyday low prices (they don't have sales) on dairy and snack foods. Just wondering if you had compared prices there.

2nd--this may sound really dumb, but I'm always looking for good cauliflower recipes. (the psudo mashed potato didn't go over well) Do you roast the cauliflower in the oven with the chicken?

3rd--is there any organic produce or meat that you insist on buying? Do you find that the "sugar-free" substitutes like jam and syrup add much to your grocery bill?

Anonymous said...

I've got a question too: For this challenge, if you stumbled on a grocery store markdown, as opposed to a sale-flier special, would you buy it and use it as part of the challenge?

For example, yesterday, chicken was advertised in the flier, but I found pork roast, spare ribs, and spicy pork in marinade marked down. I bought them all -- and changed my menu.


Anonymous said...

I too would like to know more about how you roast cauliflower. It sounds good! Yesterday when you mentioned squeezing some orange juice over the stawberries before putting them in the refrigerator that was new to me too! Thanks!! It is so fun and helpful to get out of our cooking ruts and give our families something new. Sounds like you have lots of great recipes!!

Anonymous said...

Meredith, this looks delicious! I know all of my kids, including the youngsters, would gobble this down.

Meredith said...

Thanks! I'm glad y'all are enjoying this cookoff as much as I am.

First of all, I do make modifications for my overly-picky son. I don't think children should have different meals, but I understand there are tastes they don't like, too. For this meal, I left one chicken quarter unspiced for him.

Next--I find that everyone loves cauliflower when it is not mushy. Frozen cauliflower especially so. I heated an additional oven skillet with 1 teaspoon oil and a few cumin seeds, then dumped frozen cauliflower in it while the chicken was in the oven. Just roast as you would any other vegetable.

Jora, I was planning to use reduced-for-quick-sale items if I stumbled upon any during my shopping for this challenge. Strangely, I did not--which is why I have two days of chicken quarters and two days of ground beef. I stay flexible and cooks with what presents itself in the grocery. Otherwise, I buy it and freeze it for later.

2boysmama, I wish we had a Trader Joes here. I've heard they are great! I don't insist on buying any organics, but I do buy them whenever I can get them for the same price as regular.

mama k said...

Thanks for that link! I'm enjoying the cook-off.

Candy said...

Oh wow that looks SO good!!!