The $7 Dinner Challenge #3

by Cate on October 27, 2008

Parmesan Dipping SauceJust got back from what I thought was going to be a one hour meeting … three hours later.  You know how that goes … so no lengthy post from me tonight.  But!  It’s our $7 Dinner Challenge night, so I do have to share details…


Bread with Dipping Sauce (appetizer)
Blasted Chicken
Crispy Potatoes

Now the details.  Chicken is on sale this week at A&P for $1/lb, all different types.  Whether you prefer white or dark meat, they’ve got you covered at a price that can’t be beat.  The ingredients in the chicken recipe?  Chicken.  Salt.  Pepper.

Neighbor Wife, are you listening?  THIS is the recipe for you.  It honestly could not get simpler.  Preheat oven to 450.  Put chicken pieces (dark meat, bone-in) on baking sheet.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 45 minutes.

Seriously.  That’s it.  I heard about Blasted Chicken a few years back, and the fact that I should look up the recipe to find out what it’s all about has been ruminating in my head (along with much other useless information) for quite awhile now.  So I google’d it (I love that that’s a verb now, not just a url destination) and found a recipe from Sara Moulton on Food Network.  And once I saw how easy it was, I mean, really, how could you not make it?  It produces the most wonderfully crispy skin ever.

So with 3.50 lbs of assorted thighs and drumsticks, the main course was … $3.50.  Yes, $3.50.

Now the potatoes.  Happened to be thumbing through the latest issue of Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food magazine the other day when a recipe for Crispy Potatoes caught my eye.  Usually I roast potatoes and love them that way, but I’ve been trying to perfect another way … to get them with a crispy outside and a soft inside.  While her picture looks like that’s the way they are, no way does the recipe work.  Still tasted good, but needed more time, help, guidance and care than the recipe gave.  Bag of potatoes at Shop Rite was $2.99.  I used 1/3 of the bag, so $1.  Only other ingredient was 2 tablespoons of olive oil and an onion (50 cents), which I added to the recipe.  So we’re up to $5.00.

Now the appetizer.  I love dipping sauces for bread.  I think it all started with our first visit to Macaroni Grill many, many years ago.   Since then, I discovered another dipping sauce from Carrabba’s restaurant (and one of these days, I’m going to remember to put the recipe up on the website) that we love equally well, and it’s a great starter to dinner when entertaining.  The kind of interactive appetizer that gets everyone involved, you know?  So anyway — geesh, for a non-lengthy post tonight, this sure isn’t working — found this recipe in an ad for extra virgin olive oil and whipped it up.  I scrounged around in the freezer for bread to use for this and found a 1/4 loaf leftover from a Panera purchase ages ago.  I toasted that up, sliced and chunked it.  Mixed the sauce together with ingredients I had on hand (and you will too) — olive oil, pepper, Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning — and voila!  dinner was done.

For $5.00!  Take that!

How’d YOU do?

Did you join in our challenge? Leave your link below and let us know.

Blasted Chicken
Recipe courtesy of Sara Moulton

  • 3-1/2 pound chicken, rinsed and patted dry
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Season the chicken all over with salt and pepper and place in a roasting pan. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the juices run clear when the thigh is pricked with a skewer. Transfer the chicken to a cutting board and let stand for 15 minutes.  Serves 4.

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{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Darius T. Williams October 27, 2008 at 10:51 pm

You can’t see – but I’m doing my happy dance on this post – this is great!



Sarah October 27, 2008 at 11:09 pm

Aww! I saw that recipe and mentally bookmarked it (the crispy potatoes). So sorry to hear it didn’t work!

Sarahs last blog post..The $7 Dinner Challenge: Week 3


Judith in Umbria October 28, 2008 at 4:30 am

Crispy potatoes from the oven are a specialty here. I use duck fat which I render whenever I cook duck, so it’s sort of free. It keeps forever in the fridge or freezer and you have never tasted better potatoes!

Judith in Umbrias last blog post..Some calorie free pleasures


Jenny October 28, 2008 at 6:06 am

Mmm! I’m loving this 7 dollar dinner challenge! It all sounds great. Can’t beat a good deal and good food!


The Neighbor (Wife) October 28, 2008 at 8:58 am

Sounds good, I’ll try it soon.


Patsy October 28, 2008 at 9:33 am

I’m going to have to try that blasted chicken! Do you think it would work with chicken wings? My boys adore wings, so I’d love to use those instead of thighs.

Patsys last blog post..Martha Stewart’s Chewy Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies


kimberly October 28, 2008 at 5:30 pm

This sounds yummy! And easy which is right along with my cooking style.

I tagged you with a meme. I thought it would be fun to pass it along. Check out my blog and see. Hope you like it.


Cate October 28, 2008 at 11:16 pm

Darius – lol, glad to hear it!

Kimberly – so good and too easy not to try. :) Thanks for the tag!

Patsy – yup, I think it would work fine – just watch them because it would be less cooking time – maybe 20-25 mins or so, depending on the meatiness of the wings.

The Neighbor Wife – you have to!

Jenny – now you have to come join us in the challenge. :)

Sarah – me too! You saw how awesome they looked in that pic, right?

Judith – no cooking duck, so must find other way, but yours sound delish!


Danica October 29, 2008 at 8:27 pm

That is what I always hear about Martha Stewart recipes! Gorgeous pictures, doesn’t work. I did, however, find out that despite this I suddenly want to subscribe to her magazine, when I sat next to a woman on a plane who had the Halloween issue… all kinds of fun pretty things to make! I want to carve crazy Martha-style pumpkins… can I get them pre-gutted? :-)

I love your challenge and I am excited to say that I finally managed to post mine! Balsamic braised chicken and steamed artichokes. I am totally inspired by your crispy chicken… sounds like I have a meal for myself for next week!! I love nothing more than crispy chicken or fish skin.


Colleen Fischer November 5, 2008 at 5:44 am

Yes, Sara Moulton! I love her; she’s great. I’ve never managed to try that Blasted Chicken in all these years since it was on Cooking Live though. Glad to hear it’s a winner!

Colleen Fischers last blog post..$7 Dinner Challenge: Pesto Pasta with Sausage


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