Category Archives: Cooking Poor

Cooking Poor #2 — Indoor “BBQ” Whole Chicken

Whole chickens are a great option for cooking on a budget.   I got mine on sale this week for a little over five bucks, and even at regular price it is a much better value than buying pre-cut pieces.  Plus, since I’m only cooking for my husband and I, there are lots of yummy leftovers which can be used later for soups, casseroles, pizza, or (what usually happens) midnight snacks.

We usually love to grill on the weekends, even in the winter months, although today I was a bit wary.  Grilling whole chickens certainly can (and should) be done, but it requires close monitoring to ensure that all parts cook evenly without drying out.  However, I wanted lots of crispy, sticky, caramelized skin.

This recipe achieved a nice, evenly cooked, moist chicken with a smoky-sweet crust.  Success!

Ingredients:

1 whole roaster chicken

1/4 cup sesame oil

1/2 cup soy sauce

1/2 cup dark molasses

1 tblsp  mild fish sauce (optional)

2 tsp turmeric

1 tblsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground mustard

1 tsp dried chili flakes

2 tsp sesame seeds

1 tsp ground cardamom

1 tsp cayenne pepper

salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:

Remove giblet package from chicken, if included.  Turn chicken breast side down and cut down either side of the back bone to remove.

Whisk together remaining ingredients and pour into a 1-gallon plastic bag.  Place chicken in bag and marinate for 1 hour, turning to coat every 15 minutes.

Heat oven to 425F.  Cover a 1/2 sheet pan with aluminum foil and place a baking or broiling rack on top.  Spray with non-stick cooking spray. Remove chicken from bag and lay flat on baking rack.  Place remaining marinade in a small sauce pan.

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Roast at 425 for 10-15 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 and cover with foil.  Continue to bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until chicken reaches 160F.

Bring reserved marinade to a boil, then remove from heat. Baste chicken with marinade before serving.

The resulting crispy, sticky, caramelized skin:

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Dinner, under 10 bucks total:

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Cooking Poor #1 — Tuna Burgers

Screw cooking light.  The economy sucks, so here’s to making a tasty dinner on the cheap.

Oh, and this one is kind of light, too.  Bonus!

This recipe is also highly substitutable — I used what I had in the cupboards at the time, which included using crushed Honey Nut Cheerio’s as the binder.   If you’re normal, and have bread crumbs or crackers to crush up, use those.  The cereal worked surprisingly well, though and added a touch of sweetness to the burgers.

Tuna Burgers

Makes 4 burgers

Ingredients:

2 pouches hickory smoked tuna

1 egg, beaten

1/2 cup crushed honey nut O’s cereal

1/2 small onion, diced

1 tblsp olive oil

4 slices American cheese (optional)

4 small sandwich buns

Salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and Old Bay seasoning to taste

Directions:

Crush cereal (or crackers, if using) in a blender or food processor.

Combine egg, cereal, tuna, onion, and seasonings in a small bowl.  Mix with hands and form into four equal sized patties.   Shoo cats away.

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Heat large saute pan over medium heat, add olive oil.  Shoo cats away again.

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Add burgers to pan and cook about 5-6 minutes per side, flipping once.  Avoid excessive handling, the burgers will be slightly fragile.   Lock cats up in basement.

Place cheese on top of burgers, if using, and top with bun half.  Cook until melted, then place burgers on bottom bun halves and serve.