Gourmet for $2? Really?
by L.A. O’Neil
Growing up, we didn’t have tons of money – we were an average, run-of-the- mills group and we had it instilled in us from an early age that ‘money didn’t grow on trees.’ My mom could whisk food off the table in nothing flat and have it in the freezer in individually wrapped portions faster than you may think humanly possible. Her hands moved at lightning speed as she scooped, packaged and froze the best part of the meal, her movements a blur to the average eye. ‘Seconds’ were reserved for the more inexpensive items, such as potatoes, veggies, rice and bread – after all, one small chuck roast would have to feed us for at least two meals of four servings.
So, here I am on the downhill slide to 58 years old, and I’ve come to grips with the fact that I truly am my mother’s daughter – I shop sales, use coupons and I consistently feed my family for under $10. (Yes, I save tinfoil, too!) It’s a standing joke with my kids that when we sit down to dinner, I make it a point to announce that our meal cost a whopping $2.50 per person. Even though my two boys are 22 and 24, they still roll their eyes to the heavens when I tell them how cheaply they can eat a home-cooked meal instead of going out (I’m convinced that kids will always roll their eyes, no matter how old they are!)
Instead of going out? I’m not sure they get it.
The Target flyer arrived on schedule this week, and you can imagine my delight when I saw chicken breasts and grapes on sale – at the same time! Two of my faves, because I can make a gourmet meal for pennies (you can, too) – and, when served on stylish plates from the Target home goods department, you’ll wonder why you even consider going out to a restaurant!
Ready? Get ready to have your family lovin’ you and lovin’ life . . .
Grilled Chicken Breasts with Grilled Grapes
1 package boneless, Gold ‘n Plump skinless chicken breasts (this week, $3.99/lb)
1 lb red grapes ($1.69/lb)
4 russet potatoes ($.79/lb fresh bulk)
1 12 oz. package baby carrots ($1.49/ package – Green Giant Fresh Baby Supremes)
Cooking oil (canola or olive oil) for brushing on the chicken
Indoor or outdoor grill – it doesn’t matter.
- Preheat your grill to medium (if you’re using charcoal, the briquettes should be grey with a little black on them.)
- Preheat the oven to 350°. Place carrots in a medium bowl, drizzle with some oil, and season with salt and pepper. (If you happen to have to fresh thyme hanging around, chop some of it and add to the bowl.) Toss gently and spread the carrots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Roast for about 25 min. Remove them from the oven when you take the chicken and grapes off of the grill.
- While the carrots are in the oven, wash each chicken breast, pat dry, brush with oil and place on the grill for about 6 minutes. (Don’t mess with it – let the chicken get those gorgeous grill marks!)
- Wash the grapes and pat dry. You can prepare the grapes two ways – in small bunches or skewer them on a wet bamboo skewer (make sure you soak the skewers in water – otherwise, they’ll catch fire!) If you’re going the skewer route, about 8 grapes per skewer should do the trick. FYI – they look really cool if you serve them on the skewer . . .
- Flip the chicken, place the grapes on the grill, and grill for another 5 or 6 minutes, turning the grapes after 3 minutes.
- Wash the potatoes and pierce them with a fork (don’t forget this step, because if you don’t pierce the skins, beware of exploding potatoes!) Pop the spuds in the microwave and cook according to your microwave’s specifications.
- Remove the chicken and grapes from the grill and let the chicken stand for 4 or 5 minutes to allow the juices to redistribute.
- Yay! You’re ready to serve! Slice the chicken breast crosswise into 1-inch medallions (it looks classy that way) and plate with the grapes, carrots and potatoes. This is a boatload of food, so you’ll probably have some leftovers for the following day.
So, what did this meal cost? A whopping $8.17 for 4 people– that breaks down to $2.04 per meal! There’s even money left over for dessert – if you have room!
I mean, really. Does it get much better than that?
This article was contributed by Kitchen Blender Reviews, a site focused on helping you buy the best kitchen blender for your needs. You will also find many healthy and delicious recipes for meals, smoothies and desserts. Bon appetit!