There are more ways to cook a chicken breast than days to cook them. When split breasts go on sale at the local HEB for $5.00/5 lbs, all you really need is a large shopping cart and a freezer. When you see deals like this, always buy more than one package at a time. Separate and wrap each breast individually when you get home, to put in the freezer. Put the frozen pieces in a larger bag that you can date. Cook them within a couple of months. They will thaw faster wrapped individually and you can take out only as few or as many as you need for any particular recipe. Always try to get chicken on the bone with the skin, it results in a much tastier and juicier end product. The skin and bones are easily removed after you’ve cooked them. Russet potatoes are also on sale this week for .47/lb, grab a couple of pounds along with the chicken.
Wash, peel and boil the potatoes in heavily salted water until fork tender (all potatoes can be easily pierced with a knife so that’s not a good test) Drain and set back on the heat, shaking the pan back and forth to thoroughly dry the outside of the potatoes. Mash them with a large knob of butter and mix in some milk until it’s the consistency you like. Lots of salt and pepper bring out the flavor of the potatoes and a little trick is to add a dash of nutmeg, it adds a little something special to the flavor at the back of the mashed potatoes, not enough to taste specifically but enough to make you realize this is a really good batch.
Mashed potatoes can be transferred to a bowl and placed over simmering water to keep warm for a surprising length of time, cover with plastic wrap with a small vent and they can wait for you.
The rest of this skinny wallet meal is the chicken. Chicken breasts dry out easily and don’t do well in any sort of long, slow cook, in my opinion. They are happiest when hit with high heat to crisp up the outside and leave the inside juicy and tender and cooked just long enough to remove the last tinge of pink. Leaving them to sit for 15-20 minutes after roasting will ensure the juices are redistributed through the meat. The result will be a ridiculously easy, tender, juicy piece of meat and this week, budget friendly too!
Lay chicken breasts out on a sheet pan, bone side down, spread the skin across the flesh to protect it as much as possible. Rub each piece with 1 Tblsp of oil and a generous sprinkle of salt and pepper. Roast in a 400 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, check that the juices run clear. Remove from the roasting tray and cover with foil. Leave to rest 15 minutes, the chicken will continue cooking and the juices will settle into the meat.
Add a few drops of wine or stock or starchy potato cooking liquid to the sheet pan over medium high heat, scrape up any of the bits and make a light “au jus” to pour over the chicken. It’s summer in Texas and no one wants a heavy gravy but a light flavorful sauce is the way to go for the illusion of winter meal.
Nuke some frozen peas in a covered glass measuring cup for 2 minutes with a tablespoon of water and a mint leave as the official “mother pleasing” green on the dinner plate and there you have it, your meal fit for a king.
Mound the potatoes on the plate, slice the meat from the breast and pile the minty peas on the side, drizzle with some of the juice and dinner is served for under $7