In case you’re new here, these Budget Organic Meal Plans start with a “Sunday” roast (that you can cook any night of the week, of course) and then repurpose the leftovers into additional meals. You can check out the first two in the series here and here and, of course, read all about other strategies for meal planning in my ebook, “Meal Planning on a Budget.”
This particular meal plan starts with a whole chicken, marinated in yogurt and spices, and then roasted at very high heat for not a very long time. I really love this tandoori chicken recipe—almost as much as I love the sandwiches I make with the leftovers! Plus, this and the cauliflower recipe are a wonderful (and safe) way to introduce your family to Indian food if you’ve never served it before; both have plenty of spices, but neither is spicy hot.
Day 1: Tandoori Chicken with Manchurian Cauliflower and Rice
Marinade the chicken according to this recipe—you can do this as much as 24 hours in advance, but it really does need to marinate for a good four hours to make the most of the marinade. While your chicken is marinating, chop up the cauliflower and make the sauce for this Manchurian Cauliflower recipe. I suggest making a double batch, because this stuff is crazy good, and when cauliflower is on sale, it’s also crazy cheap. Start the chicken and the cauliflower at the same time at 500 degrees. Start a double batch of rice at about the same time. After about 20 minutes, add the sauce to the cauliflower and stir to coat. Check the cauliflower for doneness when you flip the chicken at 45 minutes—watch it carefully, as it is cooking at a higher temperature than the original recipe calls for, and you don’t want it to burn.
When the chicken and cauliflower are both done, turn off the oven and use the residual heat to warm your naan or pita bread if you will be serving them. Serve with chutney if desired.
Sometimes, I also like to add a package of prepared palak paneer to this meal. I usually buy the Tasty Bite brand dishes, which are shelf-stable and surprisingly tasty.
After the meal, take all the chicken off the bones and toss the bones into a pot, cover with water, add onion, garlic, carrots and celery and cook for an hour or more. Remove the solids and allow the broth to cool before refrigerating.
Day 2: Avgolemono Soup
I really like this Weight Watchers version of the Greek lemon chicken and rice soup called avgolemono. Use the broth and rice left over from day 1. You can use some of your leftover chicken if you like, but I often serve this without the meat added. It makes a nice vegetarian supper (though, not strictly vegetarian if you use the chicken broth; use vegetable broth if serving this to a vegetarian).
Day 3: Tandoori Chicken Sandwiches
Make the chicken sandwiches as described in the second half of this recipe. These are very quick and easy—and kind of ridiculously delicious. Don’t skip the yogurt sauce. I like to serve this with a simple salad of sliced cucumbers, tomatoes, and red onion, dressed in a little red wine vinegar. Not at all Indian, but very delicious. If you have leftover naan from day 1, you can easily substitute it for the pita breads.
Day 4: Manchurian Cauliflower Stir Fry
Toss the left over cauliflower (if you have any left over! It goes fast at my house.) with a bag of mixed Asian vegetables and a bag of frozen, cooked shrimp and reheat. You can mix up a little extra of the sauce from the original recipe if needed to coat all the veggies and shrimp. Serve over rice or cooked rice noodles.