Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

With the prices of beef, pork, and chicken all on the rise this year, budget-concious cooks have to try a little harder to keep costs under control. When it comes to chicken, three things can usually save you money: skin, bones, and dark meat. (Buying larger “value packs” can also save money, but food waste can be a bigger issue if you live alone.) Bonus: those cost-saving traits also make for tastier meat.


I love chicken leg quarters as single-serving, economical main dishes that also taste great. Four quarters costs about $5, regularly priced. For this recipe, I used low-sodium soy sauce, which provides a flavorful foundation. Workhorse seasonings – garlic and onion powder, Lawry’s seasoning, and pepper — go with everything and cost (at most) pennies per meal. Paired with your choice of seasonal vegetables, this entire meal can easily come together for under $10, or $2.50 per serving.


Crispy Baked Chicken Leg Quarters

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken leg quarters
1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Seasoning salt
Black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9×13 baking dish with foil.

Trim any excess fat from chicken. Use your fingers to separate the skin from the meat, eithout completely detaching it (you will end up with a “flap” of skin). Using a silicone basting brush,  generously brush soy sauce under skin. Season with garlic powder, onion powder, and seasoning salt.

Arrange chicken skin-side up in baking dish. Generously brush with additional soy sauce. Sprinkle with seasoning salt and pepper.

Bake at 375 degrees for 1 hour. Increase temperature to 400 degrees; bake an additional 15 minutes until chicken is done and skin is crispy. Let sit 5 minutes before serving. 

Applejack-Braised Pork

It’s harvest time across America. My favorite childhood memories of the farm involved riding in a combine during corn harvest. It’s mesmerizing. I hit the jackpot last week at work, accompanying a journalist on a harvest ride-along.



When you grow up in an ag family, fall is just as synonymous with harvest as picking apples or watching football. And when the weather turns chilly, I turn to slow cooking.

This pork goes great with so many things — sauteed apples, root vegetables, roasted cauliflower, or polenta, to name a few.

Happy harvest!


Applejack-Braised Pork Loin
Serves about 5

2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pound boneless pork loin
Salt and pepper
2 shallots, chopped
1/3 cup Applejack or other apple brandy
1 1/2 cups beef stock or broth (or try apple cider)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a 1.5 quart Dutch oven, melt butter over medium heat. Add oil. Season pork with salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides, about 8-10 minutes. (If necessary, cut meat into 3-4 pieces and work in batches.) Place meat on a platter.

Add shallots to pan; cook 3-5 minutes until soft and translucent. Remove from heat. Deglaze the pan by pouring in brandy and scraping up the browned bits. Return pan to heat. Add pork and stock. The meat will not be completely submerged. Heat to a simmer.

Cover pot with lid and transfer to oven. Cook until fork-tender, about 2 hours, turning meat halfway through. Place meat on a platter. Let sit for 10 minutes. Shred with a fork. Spoon pan sauce over meat.

Spinach Artichoke Bacon Egg Souffles

For whatever reason, I have been craving crescent rolls for awhile now. The kind that come in a tube and you grew up eating on top of casseroles and straight out of the oven (at least, if you were in my family). So, I bought a tube with no real plan on how I would use them.

Then the other night, I had made individual serving egg casseroles using the dough, frozen spinach, and some leftover bacon. They turned out great, and became my breakfast for the week.


Spinach Artichoke and Bacon Egg Souffle Cups
Inspired by Pillsbury, Panera and others

1 tube refrigerated crescent rolls
4 slices bacon
1 tsp butter
1/4 cup diced red pepper
2-3 canned artichoke hearts, well-drained and chopped
1/4 box frozen spinach, thawed and well-drained
6 eggs
1/4 cup cream
2 oz Monterey Jack or other cheese(s), shredded, plus more for topping
Salt and pepper

Unroll crescent dough, pressing each pair of triangles together to create a rectangle. Press into the bottoms and sides of 4 1-cup ramekins, letting the edges overhang. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a large skillet, cook bacon over medium heat. Drain and crumble. Remove pan drippings. In the same pan, melt butter. Saute peppers for about 3 minutes. Add artichokes and spinach, stirring to heat through.

Whisk together eggs, cream, cheese, 1/8 teaspoon black pepper, and 1/4 teaspoon salt (or less if using salty cheese). Pour egg mixture into hot skillet. Stir constantly for 90 seconds to 2 minutes. Eggs will be very runny. Working quickly, pour into ramekins. Sprinkle with a little bit of extra cheese.

Place ramekins on a baking sheet. Bake for 17-20 minutes. Eggs should be set, and dough golden-brown.