In October my local supermarket had chicken leg quarters on sale for $.69/pound, so I picked up a few packages and put them in the freezer.
On Saturday, I decided to cook up some chicken, but wasn’t sure what to do with it. Wouldn’t you know the inspiration and ingredients I needed were right there in my refrigerator pantry. I found some Tuscan Italian, Red Wine and Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinaigrette salad dressings along with some hot sauce and lemon juice (I use these little bottles found in the seafood department in a pinch when I don’t have fresh lemons). The Herb-Ox packet I use to make chicken broth, came from my dry pantry. Tip: I prefer to use these no-sodium packets to make chicken broth when I’m cooking. This way I control the amount of salt in my food. So, I mixed the salad dressings, hot sauce and lemon juice, a few shakes of chili powder, and a pinch of sugar to create my marinade. Taste the marinade. Add Salt and pepper and adjust flavors if necessary. (The chicken broth will be used later).
I seasoned the chicken with Adobo all-purpose seasoning, pepper and paprika on both sides. Then I layered the chicken in a glass bowl (two leg quarters at a time) and poured some of the marinade over them, repeating with the remaining two leg quarters. I covered the bowl with plastic wrap (make sure to create at tight seal) and put it in the refrigerator for an hour. Tip: If you’re pressed for time, prepare the chicken up to this step and it will be ready to grill or cook the next day.
While my chicken is marinating, I prepared my pan for roasting. (This is a fantastic recipe for the grill. However, since it’s December and I live in New Jersey, I opted to stay toasty warm indoors and roast the chicken in the oven.) I covered the bottom of the pan with heavy duty aluminum foil (for easy cleanup) and I found some celery and onions in the fridge. I cut four celery stalks into pieces and quartered two onions and spread them onto of the foil lined pan. Tip: This is a good way to use vegetables that may be beyond their prime. If I had carrots or squash, I’d have thrown them in the pan. Don’t be afraid to experiment! I removed the chicken from the fridge, laying the leg quarters on top of the celery and onions. I poured the marinade left in the bowl over the chicken. I then poured the chicken broth in the pan. (If you have a little white wine, mix it with the chicken broth. As the meat steams, the liquid helps flavor the meat). Tip: It’s easier and less messy to cook the leg quarters whole and cut them up after cooking.
Cover tightly with heavy duty aluminum foil. Bake in a 350 oven for an hour. After an hour, remove the foil and baste the chicken with the liquid every 15 minutes for the next 30 minutes, or until the leg moves freely up and down and the meat is no longer pink. Remove from the oven. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes before serving.
The skin will be crispy and the meat tender. The finished product should look like this:
The great thing about this meal is you won’t have to cook the next day. That is unless you have a large family, or don’t like eating chicken several days in a row. In my house, this is not a problem. Either way, this meal cost me $9.44 to make using the ingredients found in my pantry along with the items I paired with the chicken ($2.67 for the package) to create a meal. To complete the meal I baked sweet potatoes (I got a box on sale at my local supermarket for $1.99), made a box of Goya Low-Sodium Yellow Rice (normally $1.79 at my local supermarket), and fresh baby spinach sauteed in garlic and olive oil (I buy the baby spinach in the plastic container in the produce aisle for $2.99).
To recap, here is what I used to cook the chicken. These are rough estimates, since I eye more than measure.
- 1 package of chicken leg quarters, four in a package (could also use chicken pieces, wings/legs/thighs or turkey legs/thighs)
- Approximately a 1/4 cup of each kind of salad dressing (the vinaigrette kind containing red wine, oil or balsamic)
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce, more to taste
- 1 packet sodium free chicken bouillon, prepared according to package instructions to make 8 ounces of chicken broth
- Seasonings – Adobo, salt, pepper, paprika, chili powder (or whatever you have on hand)
- Pinch of sugar
- Juice of half a lemon or equivalent if using lemon juice
- 4 stalks of celery and 2 medium-sized onions, quartered (or other root vegetables in your fridge)
I’d love to know how you adapted the recipe using your pantry. Send me an email at: firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out to me on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter.