So I am trying to make him all kinds of delicious, grain-free (or at least grain-restricted; we still eat rice sometimes) dinners...without breaking the bank. Let's face it, large chunks of good quality meat cost money. Soups are fantastic ways to stretch meat into satisfying, cost-effective dinners, without resorting to using grains as cheap fillers. But soups generally only rate about a 6 on my husband's 1 to 10 scale of dinner deliciousness, and that is when they are accompanied by something light, fluffy, and wheaty.
Enter the meat salad. It can pass itself off as a large serving of meat, but it has so many vegetables in it that it's much more economical. Also, the delicious dressing can contain enough fat to make the meal filling and satisfying. So hungry husband feels like he is getting a ton of hearty meat, and I know that I have stretched that meat within an inch of its life.
An added bonus here: chicken salad is a fantastic use for leftover meat from a whole roast chicken. Or for less-desirable chicken parts. In this case, I had a bunch of chicken thighs in the freezer (they are so much cheaper than chicken breasts that I can buy organic for about the same cost as a conventional chicken breast), but the hubster is not a huge fan of thigh meat on the bone, either. When it's cooked and chunked or shredded, however, it ceases to be chicken thigh and becomes just...chicken.
Southwest Chicken Salad in Avocado Bowls
Oil for cooking chicken
1/2 to 1 lb chicken, cut into chunks
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp paprika
salt to taste
pepper to taste
1 egg yolk
1/4 c. olive oil (or mayo-making oil of your choice)
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
2 bell peppers, chopped
1 tomato, chopped
2 large avocados
sour cream (optional)
fresh cilantro (optional)
- Cook chicken in oil of choice (I used refined coconut) until it is no longer pink. Add spices (onion powder through paprika), and salt and pepper.
- Meanwhile, in medium bowl, whisk egg yolk, mustard, apple cider vinegar very thoroughly. Then, starting with one drop at a time and gradually adding, whisk in olive oil very thoroughly. This sauce mixture should become frothy and creamy-looking. When chicken is done, whisk the oil and spices from the cooking pan into the mixture as well.
- Stir cooked chicken, bell pepper, and tomato into sauce mixture. Adjust salt/pepper as necessary. Perhaps make the chicken salad a bit saltier than you'd usually like, since it will be eaten with unseasoned avocado.
- Slice avocados in half, remove pits, and spoon chicken salad into them. (If desired, avocados may be sliced up or removed from their skins before serving. We enjoyed just heaping the salad on top and eating with a spoon.)
- Garnish with sour cream and fresh cilantro, if desired.
What are your favorite dollar-stretching meals? What is your favorite way to save a little money and still eat the way you want to?
Posted at Pennywise Platter, Simple Lives Thursday, Fat Tuesday, WFMW, Fight Back Friday, Food on Fridays and Monday Mania, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways,