Monday, April 2, 2012

Dinner in A Bucket Chicken & Greens: Saving Money & Time

Chicken & Greens- I added the tomatoes for color for the photo

If you've been following my blog, you know what a fan I am of what I call "dinner in a bucket".  This is one of those.  Very fast to throw together, easy, nutritious, and can be cheap!  Mine feeds 3 for $8.50 and is humanely raised meat and organic veggies.  (After adding organic cherry tomatoes, it goes up to $10.50 for 3 people).  I got the chicken from Whole Foods on sale, 10 legs for $2.37, and is level 2 on their scale.  I subscribe to their Facebook page and keep up with the specials.  I bought a bag of organic mixed "braising" greens from the farmer's market locally for $3.  Alternatively, you could buy a bag of mixed greens at the supermarket, or even just collect greens from the garden.  Mine contain beet greens, swiss chard, dandelion greens, and some yummy asian greens I forgot the name of.  I also bought this very strange garlic that looks like leeks, which was also $3 but you could get by with about .75 worth of organic garlic.  And, my pastured lard was practically free, since I collected it from our pastured bacon.  It is healthier to use a stable oil for cooking,  which is why I list 3 healthy saturated fats.  Poly-unsaturated fats are unstable and break down, causing free radicles almost immediately after made.  Mono-unsaturated oils are more suited for pouring on top of already cooked foods or using in a salad.  They are best un-heated.

This is my weird garlic.  Cool, huh? I used the white and saved the green for stock.

Anyway, this dinner took me 10 minutes to throw together. I turned on oven, sliced the garlic, threw it in the bottom of the pan with some pastured lard, washed the greens in my salad spinner, then threw them on top.  Then I washed the chicken legs, patted them dry, placed them on top, and salt and peppered everything.  I turned the legs over and s&p'ed them again.  Then I added a little more lard. Then, maybe I added a little more, heh heh.  You could use high quality coconut oil or butter alternatively.  Then I threw it in the oven and went about my business of cleaning up after my 10 month old - he had a very busy day!

The greens cook down A LOT.  My picture of just chicken & greens, though delicious, needed color so I added whole cherry tomatoes.  But, that is totally optional.

Quick Chicken & Greens
Feeds 3, adjust for your family size

2.5 lbs chicken on the bone, I used legs.
3-4 cloves of garlic, sliced
1 large bag of store bought greens, or collected garden greens, washed and dried
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, whole (optional)
4-6+ Tablespoons of a healthy saturated fat such as pastured lard, high quality coconut oil, 
or organic butter
Fresh herbs such as oregano (optional)
salt & pepper
large baking dish
oven mitts
meat thermometer, optional but recommended

Preheat oven to 350˚F.  Wash chicken and pat dry.

In a large baking dish, place garlic and 2-3 Tablespoons oil.  Add the greens on top. Place chicken on top.  Add a few lumps of oil or drizzle on top, if possible.  Sprinkle fresh herbs, if using. Salt & pepper everything, then turn the legs over and s&p the other side.  Place in pre-heated oven and set the timer for 15 minutes.

After 15 minutes, remove chicken and either shake the dish or stir it to make sure everything in the dish is coated in oil.  Place back in oven and check every 15 minutes for doneness, you want to see juices running clear (no pink/red) and the meat is cooked without any pink inside - check the biggest one.  OR you can use a meat thermometer - you want the inside cooked to 165˚F, which you need to check in the biggest piece, at the fattest part, near the bone.  I cooked mine for 45 minutes.

before cooking

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I love to hear from you! Please let me know how you changed a recipe, and how it came out. I don't do nutritional information anymore, sorry! I just provide the *free* recipes. I try to reply to comments but don't have much time these days. I hope to revamp this site eventually.... but for now I am still a working Mom and this is my hobby.
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