$3 Chicken Meals: Delicious, Low-Cost Dishes for Your Family

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250+ hearty, healthy recipes that make your family’s tummies happy without emptying your wallet

If you’re like most Americans, it’s a safe bet that a few nights a week you’re having some form of chicken for dinner—a roaster, a stir-fry, a bowl of soup, or a salad topped with chicken. Even if you’re not eating much chicken now, the era of “cheap food” is over. This means chicken is our best buddy for a bargain and, more likely than not, it will ...

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250+ hearty, healthy recipes that make your family’s tummies happy without emptying your wallet

If you’re like most Americans, it’s a safe bet that a few nights a week you’re having some form of chicken for dinner—a roaster, a stir-fry, a bowl of soup, or a salad topped with chicken. Even if you’re not eating much chicken now, the era of “cheap food” is over. This means chicken is our best buddy for a bargain and, more likely than not, it will be a big part of your diet for many years to come. That’s where $3 Chicken Meals comes in.

Ellen Brown presents more than 250 tried-and-true recipes, none of which take more hands-on time than listening to the evening news—and all of which cost less than $3 per serving for your whole meal. They include everything from rubs, marinades, appetizers, and hors d’oeuvres to soups, salads, and a whole range of main courses—and many feed six people with just a few cups of left-over diced cooked chicken. In short, your taste buds will savor richly flavored foods, all of which can be made on a limited budget.
• Parmesan Mustard Chicken Wings
• Chicken Cooked in Red Wine (Coq au Vin)
• Mexican Chicken and Rice (Arroz con Pollo)
• Plum Chicken à la Fox
• Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas
• Grilled Chicken Hash
• Italian Chicken with White Beans and Tomatoes
• Szechwan Chicken with Green Beans
• Guacamole Chicken Salad
• Chicken Satay with Thai Peanut Sauce

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780594485841
  • Publisher: Lyons Press, The
  • Publication date: 3/16/2010
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Ellen Brown, who gained the national limelight in 1982 as the founding food editor of USA Today, is the author of twenty-five cookbooks, including $3 Meals: Feed Your Family Delicious Meals for Less than the Cost of a Gallon of Milk and the five-volume series Great Year-Round Grilling (Lyons). She lives in Providence, Rhode Island.  

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Table of Contents

$3 Chicken Meals: More than 250 Delicious, Low-Cost Recipes for Americans’ Favorite Bird



Per capita consumption figures of chicken, and to a lesser extent turkey, continue to climb; it’s been almost a decade since poultry surpassed red meat in per capita figures. So there is a constant need for more recipes to utilize chicken, however the focus of the media and in cookbooks during the past few years has been for boneless, skinless chicken breasts that are not as economical as using the whole bird. Another trend has been to increase the cost of a chicken or turkey meal by listing luxury foods like artichoke hearts and fresh wild mushrooms as ingredients in the recipe.

$3 Chicken Meals contains more than 250 recipes that use all parts of the chicken in a cost-effective way to produce delicious, low-cost meals. The chapters include appetizers and hors d’oeuvre that can be prepared for $1 per person, as well as main course soups, grilled recipes for chicken parts, and a chapter for foods made from ground turkey and ground chicken.

While there is a chapter on stir-fried and sautéed dishes made with boneless parts, most of the recipes use whole birds. Part of the reason is to have leftover poultry which forms the basis for myriad casseroles and entrée salads, the recipes for which are in separate chapters. 





The introduction presents the consumption figures and nutritional benefits of poultry, as well as reasons for is popularity. It concludes with a section on the philosophy of the $3 Meals books, and its avoidance of processed foods to produce meals that are healthier as well as less expensive.

Chapter 1: Saving Money at the Supermarket


How to save money when shopping is a thread uniting the books published as part of the $3 Meals series. There are sections of this chapter on shopping tips, how to get the most advantage out of coupons, and other ways to stretch the food budget.

Chapter 2: Poultry 101: Everything You Need to Know About Chicken and Turkey

This chapter includes all the procedures for handling chicken to make it an inexpensive meal, including how to cut up a chicken, bone chicken breasts, and butterfly a chicken. There are also sections on selecting, storing, and handling poultry. The chapter concludes with recipes for basic marinades and spice rubs to enliven the flavor of simple dishes. 

Chapter 3: In the Beginning: $1 Hors d’Oeuvres, Snacks, and Appetizers

This chapter contains recipes is for “little dishes” that can be served as snacks, at parties, or grouped together to form a “grazing meal.” They are developed to be less than $1 per serving, because it is assumed that other foods will be needed. The chapter introduction gives tips for creating an “assembly line method” for making them, as well as guidance on how much food to serve at parties.

Examples of Recipes:

            Santa Fe Quesadillas

            Blue Cheese-Crusted Buffalo Wings       

            Vietnamese Spring Rolls

            Stir-Fried Chicken in Lettuce Leave


            Satay with Peanut Sauce

Chapter 4: Meals in a Bowl: Entrée Soups from the World’s Cauldrons

Chicken soup is synonymous with comfort food, and that’s true around the world when one surveys the ways it is flavored and served from country to country. The chapter begins with a chicken stock recipe, because the recipes are even less expensive to make if using homemade stock. These are all filling soups that, with the addition of a green salad or a loaf of crusty bread, are the entire meal.

Examples of Recipes:

            Mexican Tortilla Soup

            Chicken Soup with Matzo Balls

            Lentil Soup with Turkey Meatballs


            Chinese Hot and Sour Soup


Chapter 5: The Sum of Its Parts: Dishes Made with Whole Birds and Pieces

These recipes in this chapter are all cooked in the oven; some are “dry” preparations topped with an inexpensive sauce, while others are “wet” recipes in which the sauce is the braising liquid.

Examples of Recipes:

            Classic Roast Chicken

            Classic Roast Turkey

            Oven-Fried Chicken

            Coq au Vin

            Chicken with Forty Cloves of Garlic        

Chapter 6: The Daily Grind: Dishes Using Ground Turkey and Chicken

Ground turkey and ground chicken contain less fat and less cholesterol than ground beef, plus they are less expensive than all but the lowest level of ground  beef. There is a range of dishes in this chapter, from ones that are on the table in a matter of minutes to ones that take some time to bake.

Examples of Recipes:

            Shepherd’s Pie

            Stuffed Cabbage

            Spicy Chili

            Stuffed Peppers


            Dilled Swedish Meatballs

Chapter 7: Redefining Fast Food: Boneless, Skinless Breasts and Thighs

There are times that boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs are on sale, and those are the times to stock up on them. This chapter contains recipes from the world’s cuisines that are quick to make using these lean parts.

Examples of Recipes:

            Chicken Schnitzel

            Chicken Parmesan

            Mu Shu Chicken

            Szechwan Chicken and Green Beans

            Chicken Piccata

            Turkey Stroganoff

            Sweet and Sour Chicken

Chapter 8: Everything Tastes Better Outdoors: Grilled and Smoked Poultry

The author is rather an expert on grilled poultry, having written a five-volume series on American regional grilling. The chapter begins with a section on how to light a grill and basic grilling techniques, as well as a chart for how long to grill various pieces. Some recipes utilize the technique of turning the grill into a smoker that uses aromatic wood chips to add flavor.

Examples of Recipes:

            Chicken and Vegetable Fajitas

            Thai Grilled Chicken

            Tandoori Chicken

            Butterflied Lemon and Herb Chicken

            Turkey Cutlets Ensalata

Chapter 9: The Second Time Around: Dishes Made with Poultry Leftovers

These are all casseroles and other dishes that stretch the leftovers from roast chicken and turkey to feed a crowd on another night.

Examples of Recipes:

            Turkey Tettrazini

            Mexican Chicken “Lasagne”

            Chicken Enchiladas

            Chicken Pot Pie

            Turkey Croquettes


Chapter 10: Salad Daze: Poultry Salad Entrees


While some of these main dish salads utilize leftover poultry, others fall into the classification of warm salads; the chicken or turkey is cooked directly before serving the salad, and the meat is hot while the other salad components are cold. Some of the salads use grilled poultry, while others use stir-fried food.

Examples of Recipes:

            Hot Fried Chicken Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing

            Stir-Fried Chicken and Pineapple Salad

            Gazpacho Chicken Salad

            Curried Chicken Salad with Chickpeas and Fruit

            Mexican Chicken Salad with Chipotle Dressing

Appendix A: Metric Conversion Tables

Appendix B: Table of Weights and Measures

of Common Ingredients



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