First – we deconstruct the chicken.
I learned to do this while working on the farm of a sweet family in Ohio, the father showed me how to ‘cut up’ a chicken very tidily in just a few minutes.
Viola. The chicken in pieces – ten to be exact, in less than five minutes. It’s really not that hard but it’s one of those things most home chefs feel intimidated by. *Someday I want to do a short video of how to do this and post it. What thinkest thou? I wish I could get Mr. Schlatter to do a guest post/video….*
Two breasts, two drumsticks, two thighs, two wings, a back and a breast bone, and guts. Our plump frigid-aire guest is now ready to be Utilized. For this meal, I used half of one of the breasts, about four ounces worth, skinned and boned.
Meal: Chicken Caesar Salad
Cooking Time: 30 minutes
Calories per serving: 270 (figured out using a very reliable calorie-counting app)
Price Per Serving: Well, here’s the deal. I can’t find the shopping receipt which means, for this meal, I am estimating for everything but the chicken. I know, right? Lame. The chicken, per serving, was about 10 cents. Yup. Ten cents. The rest of the ingredients – all things I have purchased enough to have a good idea of what they cost, even if I don’t have the receipt – interestingly and roughly estimated, come to less than a dollar a serving. Wow.
Let’s do the restaurant comparison, can we? Just for fun? A popular restaurant offers this meal in its lunch menu for $10.50 with a calorie count of 610. Uh huh. Kinda gives me the same feeling I get when I bring my recycling to the center on Tuesdays…
Unfortunately, I was in a bit of a hurry, so pictures are lacking until the final product – but I’m trying – there is a picture, and it does have chicken in it! The breast was sliced thinly and then sauteed in a splash of olive oil. I used an herby-lemon-like seasoning that was hidden in the back corner of my spice cupboard to adorn the chicken slices with flavor. While those were sizzling away in their frying pan, I chopped one head of washed romaine lettuce, a half cup of sweet red pepper, a grasp of black olives (about four large olives) and three artichoke hearts.
These got tossed together in a large bowl with four tablespoons of Newman’s Own Caesar Dressing, one tablespoon of parmesan cheese and some fresh ground black pepper. Just about the time all of these things were mixed up, the chicken was done and ready to be taken off the heat. I placed the slices on a plate to cool while I sliced four thins of baguette and placed them in the same frying pan the chicken was in. These cooked on each side about two minutes, or until crispy and brown (not burnt, Andi, not burnt) and I felt incredibly clever about reusing the heat, oil and flavor of the chicken to make the croutons… they were going to be croutons at that point, but ended up being little crispy toasts – just because I was tired. Alex and I went on an 8 mile bike ride up hills and down vales, in snow flurries. Yup. Springtime in Vermont. It took all my energy for crouton making. This simply seemed much easier at the time.
The last step was to mix in the now not-so-hot chicken and decorate with the almost croutons….
Chicken Dinner Number One was a success. We ate all of it.