My friend over at …my burning kitchen… told me about a new grocer here in town that was a cross between Whole Foods, Trader Joe's and Vons called Fresh & Easy. She mentioned that she checks out their weekly specials then builds her week's menu from them and winds up saving money in the process.
Well, my budget is getting tighter and tighter as the months of furloughs at my job has succeeded in drastically cutting into my bank account. So this weekend, I got up, went online and checked out the specials. To my delight, family packs of skinless boneless chicken breasts where $1.97lb. And there were several choices for vegetable and fruit pre-bagged options for .98¢. .98¢! Onions, Lime & Lemon mix, nectarines, peaches, tomatoes. Wow. With shopping list in hand, I went, shopped and wound up spending about $35 less for my week's worth of groceries than I did on my last trip to my local Vons. I even splurged and got two things not on my list: a 2lb bag of San Francisco Fogchaser coffee beans (never had 'em but thought I'd give it a whirl) and a bottle of Barefoot Pinot Grigio (to go with the chicken!).
Since I picked up the lime/lemon bag mix, a bag of onions and the family pack of chicken, I decided to make pollo asada tacos for dinner tonight. And since the family pack was 3.5lbs (5 good sized chicken breasts), I'll be able to grill it all up and then have my main protein for the week that I can finish differently every night (i.e. pita sandwiches, chicken salad, stir fry, chicken quesadillas, etc).
I'll definitely be keeping my eye on Fresh & Easy's weekly specials. $20, $25, $30 a week savings can really add up come the end of the month!
Pollo Asada Tacos with Pico de Gallo
5 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cp olive oil
2 TBS white vinegar
1/2 finely chopped spanish onion
5 crushed garlic cloves
juice of 2 limes (about 1/4 cp)
1 TSP ground cumin
1 and 1/2 TSP Mexican oregano
1 TSP sea salt
1/2 TSP ground black pepper
Place one chicken breast at a time into a large ziplock bag and use a smooth mallet or rolling pin to pound out so that the thickest part of the breast is the same thickness as the thinest. This helps to insure that the breast cooks more evenly on the grill. Place the pounded out chicken breasts into a big ziplock or a deep dish that can be sealed well.
Place the remaining ingredients in a shallow bowl and whisk together well. Pour the marinade over the chicken and let stand in the refrigerator from 2 to 24 hrs.
When the chicken has marinated for at least 2 hours, place on a hot grill and cook for about 5 minutes on each side or until desired doneness. Remove from grill and let stand 3 to 5 minutes before slicing.
For the pico de gallo (enough for about 1 1/2 cps)
1/2 spanish onion, chopped
1/4 cp fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 to 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely minced (I'm not one for heat so I only use half of one for the flavor. If you love heat, use a whole pepper and if you LOVE heat, keep the seeds)
juice of 1/2 a lemon
pinch of granulated garlic
pinch of sea salt to taste
pinch of freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Mix all ingredients well in a bowl. Serve as a condiment in tacos, over steak, for chips, on scrambled eggs
Arroz (Spanish Rice)
2 CPS chicken stock
2 TBS unsalted butter
2 TBS finely chopped onions
1/4 TSP ground cumin
1/4 TSP sea salt
1/4 TSP granulated garlic
1/4 TSP paprika
1/2 frozen mixed vegetables
1 CP long grain white rice
Place first six ingredients into a 2 qrt pot, cover and bring to a rapid boil over high heat. Add vegetables and rice and bring back to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low. Set timer for 15 minutes. DO NOT LIFT LID. At the 15 minute mark, turn off heat and DO NOT LIFT LID. Set timer again for 5 minutes to finish steaming. Once the timer goes off, lift lid and fluff rice with fork.