Healthy Cooking on the Cheap: Honey Barbecue Roast Chicken, Sonoma Chicken Salad, and More


This might be one of the thriftiest menus I've posted! From one bag of dried beans and one large chicken, you can feed your family well in a tasty and nutritious way. First, roast your chicken on Sunday for a comforting family meal, and then use the leftover chicken to make a delicious salad the next day! No one will even remember that they're eating leftovers. On your busiest day of the week, try my third recipe. You can throw a bag of black beans into a crock pot and head to work. When you get back, you can use them to prepare the perfect Cuban feast with brown rice, pan-seared shrimp, and avocado for topping. It's going to be a tasty week, indeed!

Grocery list
1 16-oz. bag dried black beans
1 yellow onion
1 jalapeño pepper
1.5 heads garlic
1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined
Olive oil
Brown rice (Minute Rice or regular short or long-grain)
Cayenne pepper
Hot sauce
1 4-5 lb. chicken, preferably free range and organic
Barbecue seasoning
Red grapes
Small bag slivered almonds

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Honey Barbecue Roast Chicken
A sweet and spicy comfort meal that the whole family will love!

Serves 4

1 4-5 lb. chicken, preferably free range and organic
1/4 cup honey
2 tbsp. barbecue seasoning (I love Famous Dave's!)
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 head garlic
1-2 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 425. Pull the giblet bag out of the chicken's cavity and discard. Slice the top off the garlic head and stuff into chicken.

2. Place chicken in a large pan or roasting dish. Rub barbecue seasoning and salt all over chicken and drizzle with olive oil.

3. Roast for about 90 minutes, then check with a meat thermometer to make sure internal temperature has reached 180 degrees. After removing chicken from oven, brush with honey. Let chicken sit for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Remove and discard garlic.

4. Serve with mashed potatoes, gravy, and your favorite green vegetable.

Sonoma Chicken Salad
This is the chicken salad my mom made when we were growing up. It's still my very favorite today!

Serves 4

2 cups chopped or pulled roast chicken, mix of light and dark meat
1/2 cup mayonnaise (or to taste)
1 cup sliced red grapes
1/3 cup slivered almonds
1/4th tsp. salt
Pinch of black pepper

1. Mix all ingredients. Spread on bread. Dig in!

Crock Pot Beans 'n' Rice With Shrimp
One of the easiest (and tastiest!) dinners I know!

Serves 4

1 16-oz. bag dried black beans
1/2 yellow onion, diced
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. salt (or to taste)
~6 cups water
1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined
1 tbsp. olive oil
Pinch of cumin and cayenne pepper
1 cup brown rice (use Minute Rice for less hassle if you choose!)
Sliced avocado for serving
Minced onion for serving
Hot sauce for serving

1. The night before, place dry beans in crock pot and cover with water (but do not turn on). Let soak overnight.

2. The next morning, drain water from beans and cover with fresh water. Water should be about two inches above beans. Place onion, garlic, and jalapeño in with beans and turn the crock pot on low for about five to six hours. When done, beans should be very thick, almost like refried. You could also add more water if you need to and continue cooking for another hour.

3. When beans are done, season with salt and keep warm while you make rice and shrimp. Cook rice according to package instructions and heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp for about a minute until done and season with salt, cayenne, and cumin.

4. To serve, make mounds of rice on each plate and top with shrimp and then beans. Serve with sliced avocado, minced onion, and hot sauce on the side. Don't forget the margaritas!