Rubber Chicken (5) – Chicken & Onion Pasta Bake 42p

Edit

In the end, I didn’t have this Rubber Chicken dish at all yesterday. Late in the afternoon, I checked my diary for something else, and realised that we were due to go out that evening. Good job I checked, had no memory of it at all!

We went to see a performance of Haywire by the local Am-Dram group, at Mayfield, a village 4 miles away. It was extremely good, they were brilliant. And there was an added entertainment of a really loud and raucous table behind us. They were enjoying the performance in an enthusiastic and loudly vocal manner 😯 It was all good humoured, but my goodness were they ever LOUD.

I have just had some of the bake for my lunch, so I could take a picture and write up the verdict

rubber chicken

I’m having this Pasta Bake for dinner today. One of the Rubber Chicken recipes, where I calculated that I could get 28 portions from 1 x £4.99 free range chicken.

I reckoned that I could  make
Roast chicken, with stuffing, 2 portions
Jacket potato using 60g meat in mustardy white sauce, with onion, 2 portions
Risotto, 90g chicken, onion, some of the stock, some of the gravy, lemon juice, peas, or maybe leek from the garden, 2 portions
Pizza, 60g chicken, roast onion and carrot, tomato sauce, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Pasta, white sauce, 60g chicken, peas or AP green beans, onion, maybe some stuffing, 2 portions
Tart, 70g chicken, peas, carrots, onions, couple of eggs, no cheese, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Pie, 100g chicken, some of the gravy, onion, maybe some sweetcorn or mushrooms, maybe some stuffing, 4 portions
Fritters using the tiny bits of chicken scavanged from the simmered stock carcass, onion, cabbage, maybe some stuffing, 2 portions
make stock with the skin and bones etc, make soup with the stock, 6 portions

the recipe

I made it just for me, but if it was for 2, as usual, I would have used
60g chicken, 45p
400ml milk, Asda 2.27litres/89p, 16p
4 tbslps flour, value 1.5kg/45p, 1p
100g onion, 5p
mustard, 2p

50g stuffing mix, 1/3 value pack/15p, 4p
200g pasta, 500g/29p, 12p

Total cost 85p, 42p a portion. Could serve 4 (see Verdict)

Nutrition per serving (for 2) 622 calories, 32g protein, 107g carbs, 7g fat

I used spring greens, carrots and peas to serve

Chop the onion and saute in a little oil until soft. Put the flour and milk in a cold saucepan and heat gently, whisking, until it thickens. Season with salt and pepper and a generous dollop of any mustard, The mustard, strangely, makes it taste creamier, and cheesey, even tho there is none in it.

Cook the pasta in salted water until al dente, we don’t want the pasta too cooked or the bake will be soggy.

Mix  the onion and the drained pasta into the sauce, add the chicken. Stir it all up and put in an ovenproof dish.

Make up the stuffing as per the instructions on the pack. Form into balls with roughed up edges for more crispy bits and drizzle with a little oil.

When you are ready to eat, bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes, along with the stuffing balls, until the top browns, or microwave for a few minutes until piping hot all the way through. This will freeze well, so can be stashed away as a lovely home made ready meal

I am having mine with some lovely springy Spring greens I got recently, some carrot and a handful of peas

the verdict

To be as fair as I could in the pricing of the chicken, I took the 454g of meat after we had had our roast lunch (from the original post)  and added an estimated 200g of meat for that. So a total of 654g of chicken meat divided by the £4.99 cost, disregarding anything from the stock completely

I used some pasta I got from Approved Foods as that is what I had, value pasta would be fine.

The stuffing provided a delicious crunch and I ended up crushing them up and scattering them over the bake on my plate which worked beautifully.

The bake itself tasted very nice, surprisingly chickeny considering how little there is in there, although I wouldn’t say it tasted mainly of chicken.  Possibly because I had a lot of veg with it, I only actually wanted half of my portion, so this could actually feed 4.

So you could either halve everything and add the same amount of chicken, or double the chicken and divide the mix into 4 portions instead of 2.

the variations

Any meat could be used in place of the chicken, so pork, beef or lamb. If you have any lovely home made gravy using the meat juices left from when you had the chicken roast, that would add delicious flavour stirred into the bake.

Any veg could be used to go with it, plain or roasted.

The mustard could be varied to give a different flavour; it could be served with a few fine chopped rings of onion, soak it in milk first to take off that very raw flavour; if you have any herbs available, they would work well, finely chopped, scattered over, or mixed in; you could flavour the sauce with some curry spices or a bit of paste; fry off some mushrooms and stir those through the uncooked bake; flavour the sauce with some tomato purée ; scatter over a few flaked almonds or chopped nuts, or top with some fried peanuts after it has come out of the oven

I still have to do the other couple of recipes for the Rubber Chicken feature. Hope to get round to at least one of them during this week. I’ve just made a batch of chapatti for the week. Shall I do the recipe for those? 

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Lesley

    The chicken tart variation sounds lovely, I shall have to try that.

    As for the puddings, what a trip down memory lane they were for me. We had many a pudding like that when I was growing up. One of mums favourites was a dessert type suet pud, served with butter and brown sugar. She worked the calories out once!

  2. LOLA DAVIS

    I’ve never done Chinese dumplings at all and don’t know how these would go down with my conservative eater. The dumpling idea has reminded me of another favourite dish ( war-time and post war-time.)This was a kind of light suet roll,filled with chopped bacon,onions and lots of herbs (particularly sage,I think.)I think it was boiled in a cloth like a suet pudding .A bit stodgy but very tasty and liked in our family with gravy and green vegetables.I wonder if a mix of chicken and bacon would do the trick. We also used to eat boiled suet pudding as a dessert with dried fruit or jam or golden syrup. We definitely did not go hungry even during periods of rationing.Once rationing ended and we could buy beef skirt for stewing my mother made the most delicious steak and kidney puddings. They took hours of stewing and boiling but the end result was a very fine dish,which is up there with the very best of British dishes.We are all so weight conscious now that most of us are afraid to eat such puddings but there are plenty of lucky slim types who could have such dishes occasionally without too much harm.
    I am still on my frugal mission,inspired by your blog and a couple of others, and feeling very pleased with myself for keeping to my aim of buying little each week ( mainly fresh vegetables and fruit)and using up what is in the freezer and cupboards. Today we had another roast from the remaining breast from my “rubber chicken”,with a couple of frozen sausages and leftover vegetables which I had frozen last week.The veg. were spruced up with a little cheese sauce.It was a nice meal. I adapted your chicken tart,by the way.With some chopped peppers,a couple of sliced potatoes and an onion,it made four very substantial meals with some salad.I’ve still got two little bags of chicken,probably to use with pasta.

  3. Lesley

    Those rissole examples sound interesting. Maybe I should do a feature on rissoles!

    No pasta or pastry makes it harder to stretch things. Does he do pastry in the form of Chinese type dumplings? They can stretch tiny amounts of meat too. When I was planning the chicken feature, I twiddled with recipes, stealing a bit here and there to make another meal or two. Wouldn’t have got so many if I’d just stripped it and thought, right, what will I make with this

    I went through my freezer yesterday as I had lost track of what was in there, makes it so much easier to use things.

    I don’t tend to use pilchards. When I want cheap tinned fish I always go for the sardines. No reason, I do like pilchards. lovely in fish cakes. I am working my way through my capacious Armageddon cupboard in a bid to reduce stores. There is so much in there!

  4. LOLA DAVIS

    After meals of roast chicken lunch and then Risotto,I have just prepared a kind of chicken rissole with chopped chicken,adding a little mash ,fried finely chopped veg,seasoning and mayonnaise,to be coated in crumbs with chives from the garden.I know already that I’ve overdone the quantity of chicken in these rissoles,though I think they will taste very nice. However,if I had done what you suggest and reduced a bit from the risotto and these rissoles,for example, I could probably have saved enough meat for an extra pasta dish. Making these rissoles stirred memories of home-made rissoles which were a post-war way of stretching any kind of meat leftovers,mostly just with potato.They could be tasty but often were not and they seemed to go out of favour when prosperous times arrived. The memory inspired me to google “rissoles”. Some lovely recipes came up,using parmesan,garlic and herbs and tasty extras such as Worcester or barbecue sauce.I think I’ll go there again when I next attempt to stretch my chicken.Tomorrow I’m tackling the tart.However,I think I am only going to get about 14 meals from this chicken – not bad but way below your target.Slapped wrist! Must do better!Unfortunately my partner doesn’t eat pasta or pastry,so I’ll have to reserve more meals for me and freeze them.

    I have recently turned out all my garage stores and categorised them really well in a bid to use them up relentlessly,cutting new shopping to the bone. I came across a cache of pilchards,originally bought for my diabetic cat,who now cannot have them much because she also has a kidney condition,needing less protein. I was thinking what to do with them. I’ve always loved them in fish-cakes and in my frugal days also made pilchard pasties and even curry (inspired by a pilchard cook-book from the manufacturer).I don’t think I’ve ever seen you using them. I know you use sardines and mackerel. Are you not keen on pilchards? I’ve always thought them very tasty and they are both very nutritious and cheap.

  5. Lesley

    I set it all out in detail so you can copy if you want
    When I was working it out at the beginning, I used the total weight of the meat and then twiddled with quantities in recipes. So I reduced the chicken content of the pie for instance by a little bit, knowing that it tasted very meaty, so could stand a small reduction. The process being, if I pinch a bit from here and bit from there, I’ll have enough to make ‘x’
    The weighing part really helped to stretch it as far as I could

  6. Lola Davis

    Crumbs! I think I am doing well if I get 6 meals and soup for 3 or 4 out of a chicken. You have certainly raised the bar.I was intending to get a big chicken for my first February shop(I’ve been on my £55 budget challenge to myself for January – though I have gone over by about £5.)and will look at using it much more frugally. I don’t usually weigh out the meat to use,so I think that will be a useful strategy.Secondly,I also think it will help if I up the “padding” (to use Jocasta Innes’ term for the potatoes/rice/pasta/batter/pastry etc) to eke out the meat.Thirdly, deliberately using more vegetables should help.I can’t imagine doing as well as you but I clearly should be able to push the boundaries further.

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