Tag Archives: Cheap Eats

$2.95 Local Meal: Roast Chicken, Potatoes and Greens

Ann Arbor FoodI am on my local food on the cheap kick, which is part of my $3-5 (per person) Local Meal Challenge. Here is todays meal of Roasted chicken legs, potatoes from my garden and mixed greens. The real budget miracle was the potatoes. I grew 40-50 pounds of spuds from about $5 of seed potatoes, which comes to about .10 a pound and about .05 per serving.

The other part of the this meal that is not listed is the chicken bones. They are reserved to make stock.

I also add a few cups of water to the roasting pan which collects the dripping and fat from the roasted chicken on the rack.

Here is a picture of the collected pan drippings and fat. Notice the two layers. The top is the chicken fat and some butter from the brushing the chicken. I let this cool then remove the top fat layer and reserve for potatoes and bean dishes. It is kitchen gold. The tasty broth is reserved to make sauces, and add a little flavor for beans, grains, and even mac and cheese.

Ann Arbor Food

Chicken legs have extra fat and skin, which I like to cut off and roast in the toaster oven to create what I call chicken cracklings, or Kosher Cracklings. They make a great little snack with hot sauce and a squeeze of lime.

This meal was very filling. I only ate half of my chicken portion, but most in the family had a full piece.

Roasted Chicken Legs w/ potatoes and mixed greens

Roasted Chicken

4 large 10.25 ounce portion
6 good portions

1/4 stick of butter melted to brush on chicken (local butter from Peoples food co-op) .25

4 chicken legs 2.6 pounds, ($3 per pound) $7.8, Sparrows Kerry Town


$1.95 per large serving
$1.30 per good serving

Oven Roasted Potatoes
4 large portions

2.2 pounds assorted potatoes from home garden .10 per pound
render chicken fat from the skin of the chicken
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika (not local, but could be) .20
salt and pepper

.10 per serving

Saute Mixed Dark Leafy Greens
6 portions

Collard and Kale One large bunch of each, $4.00 (Frog Holler)
1 onion $.50 (Eastern Market)
1/4 cup of michigan white wine $1.00

.90 per serving


$2.95 Large Portion
$2.30 Good Portion

$3-5 Submissions

I will be posting links to submission for $3-5 local meals

Here is a submission from MK of Motherskitchen.blogspot.com

The recipe is for crock-pot collard with ham hocks , and cornbread

$2.50 Local Meal: Black Beans, Cornbread and Kale

Ann Arbor FoodHere is a cost breakdown of my local meal. I am still trying to find a local source for cooking oil, so I used olive oil. The meal came to $2.58 per serving, but cheaper local beans were available, so the meal could have cost $2.08.


8 servings

14 ounce corn meal $1 Ernst farm

2 cups buttermilk $2 Calder Dairy

1 cup of milk .40 Guernsey Dairy

1 1/2  sticks of butter $1.50 (local)

3 eggs $.75 Farmers Market (FM)

$ .70 per serving

Black Beans

6 servings


2 onions $.50 (FM_

1/2 kaboshia squash $1.50 (FM)

3 carrots $.50 (FM)

2 cloves of garlic .25 (FM)

2 pounds of black beans $6 (but have seen beans for 1.50 per pounds)

1/4 olive oil  .6 (not Local)

1/8 rice vinegar .5 (not Local)

Kosher salt and pepper

$1.55 per serving (with cheaper beans could have been $1.05)

Steamed Kale

6 servings


one bunch of kale, $2 Tantre Farm

pinch of brown sugar

pinch of salt

$.33 per serving

$2.58 Total per serving

Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger

Ann Arbor Food It seems like a right of passage for any Ann Arbor, Michigan food writer to weigh in on Krazy Jim’s Blimpy Burger. The Road Food folks wrote a review and  Guy Fieri of the food network film part of his show there. In fact there is a big poster signed by Guy near the grill. It was only a matter of time until I ventured in.

The first thing you notice is the overgrown vegetation blocking out the sign. I had to move some plants out of the way to get this picture. Basically, if you can’t read the sign, and do not already know where the place is, Krazy Jim does not seem to be worried.

The place is pretty small, with seating for about 20-25 people and some outdoor seating. Ordering is from the grill counter where you tell the cook what you want. The first question is if you want anything from the frier. I passed this time, but like Kosmo’s Deli in Kerrytown, Krazy Jim’s is a fried food lovers paradise. Krazy offers a range of fried veggies from onion rings, zucchini, broccoli to potato fries. I saw some of the the onion rings orders and they were impressive.

The big appeal of the place is the range of toppings for your burger. Ann Arbor Food The blimpy burger web site claims 2,147,483,648 possible burger combination. The first thing you need to do is tell the cook the number of burgers. I ordered two, double burgers. The patties are not huge, and two patties make less then a 1/4 pound of meat. The cook throws four meat ball looking burgers on the grill, and ask what type of bread. They have several bun varieties to choose. There is plain, onion, kaiser and more that I forget. Then there are toppings from the grill, like grilled onions, mushrooms, bacon, and even hard salami. I choose the hard the salami to be different. Like the picture says, cheese comes later.

You wait on line pushing your tray forward and watch your burger being cooked. It has a gritty, kind of Top Chef aspect with watching your burger being cooked. The cook eventually, smashes the meat ball into a flat paddy. The burgers are all freshly ground on premisses, which makes all of the difference.

Eventually, you move up to your place in line and the cook ask for your cheese preference. I order swiss for my burger with salami and cheddar for my second for a traditional, but they also offer blue cheese, feta, american, and provolone. I am a plan burger guy, so a lot of the toppings are lost on me.

Ann Arbor Food I get my burgers with mustard and pickles to finish and some onions for the salami burger. They have hot sauce, steak sauce, and malt vinegar on the tables. I grab for the vinegar for my salami burger to create a sort of Italian sub sandwich burger theme. The burgers are great. In fact they are some of the best burgers I ever had. The fresh grinding gives them a crumply texture which is juicy and flavorful. If you are a burger fan, and coming to Ann Arbor, make sure you get to Krazy Jim’s.

551 S. Division St.
Ann ArborMI 48104
(734) 663-4590


Northside Grill: Ann Arbor

Ann Arbor Food

This was my first time going to the Northside Grill. I heard a lot about. It seems to be one of those places that people who write about food mention when talking about Ann Arbor breakfast joints. The Road Food guys, from the NPR’s Splendid Table loved it, so I thought I’d give it a try.

I was with my brother Jordan, who is my favorite family member to eat out with because he orders a lot and shares. He was the first person I know who orders an entrees as an appetizer to share with the table. Why had I never thought about that?

I had breakfast at 11:00 and he had lunch. I ordered a breakfast burrito, and Jordan ordered a turkey club. And we both split a short stack of the oat pancakes with a side of real maple syrup. I have not had pancakes in a while because they tend to put me to sleep. I am not a glycemic, syndrome X guy, but I think a large stack of pancakes puts me over the edge.

First off the pancake was great. In fact I would say it was the best pancake I ever had. It was light, yet hearty from the oats at the same time. My Burrito was huge, and I ended up taking home half of it for later. It came with corn chips. I looked on the menu for guacamole, but did not see it which would have added nicely with my meal. The coffee kept coming. This was old school for coffee with never ending refills and warm ups.

This is my first time, so I do not feel I can give a full review, but I liked what I had and I definitely will go back their again, next time with the family, so I can sample more of the menu. Here are some pics.

Northside Grill
1015 Broadway St
Ann ArborMI 48105

Mon-Sun. 7:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

(734) 995-0965

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Ann Arbor Food

Plum Market: Baked Good Sale

Ann Arbor FoodThe secret is out! Plum Market offers a half price sales on their baked goods, pastry and bread case every night after 8:00 PM. Get there early because a line starts forming about 30 minutes before 8:00. They sell out quick.

The prized items of the case is the Zingerman’s bread which at half price is a bargain. My favorite is the sour dough chocolate bread which is $7 a loaf at full price, so I usually pass on it, but at half price I can’t resist.

The offerings are cookies, muffins, breads, scones, donuts, various pastry, baguettes, and others. It is a mixed bag because the case can be pretty picked over depending on when you get there, but there is alway some sweet goods to choose from.

Plum Market is located in Ann Arbor on the corner of Dexter and Maple.

Taste Our Goods

Ann Arbor FoodSometimes you pass a place a dozen times and do not notice it. This was the case with the small sandwich grill called “Taste Our Goods,” located left of the cashier in the Kerrytown market in downtown Ann Arbor. The reason I kept missing it was because I tend to check out and not look over, or I shop the farmers market till the 3:00 PM closing bell. They are open Tuesday thru Saturday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. with breakfast serve till 11 a.m. and all day Saturdays.

The menu consist of seven salad options and twelve eclectic sandwiches plus daily special. They also serve breakfast offerings of omelets and breakfast sandwiches. My selection was a the Foley’s Steak Sandwich. The menu describes it as a Butt-rubbed steak, amish blue cheese, caramelized onions, & arugula drizzled with cherry vinaigrette on sourdough.

It was a large sandwich served with a crunchy cabbage salad for only $7. In fact the entire standard lunch menu is only $7 per salad or sandwich, which is around half the price of zingerman’s across the street. My sandwich was great and compares well with the a zinger. Half a sandwich made a good lunch.

Some of there other offerings are:

Judy’s a Punk: Grill portobello mushroom sandwich with pesto, tomato and goat cheese

Lisalized Chicken Salad: Chicken salad with grapes, almonds, green onions and celery with romaine

Kat’s an Adult Sandwich: Prosciutto, arugula & age provolone on a butter baguette

The Drew Brown: Banana and crunchy peanut butter grilled on farm bread with a nutella and/ bacon option (which I can’t wait to try!)

Taste Our Goods is a great example of the kind of restaurants I would love to see more. They offer reasonably price fresh food with local artisan ingredients, and use quality, well raised meats.