Saturday, January 31, 2009

Three Frugal Meals from One Fine Chicken; Meal One

Today's post comes from Carey at Frugal Fulfillment. Thanks, Carey!

Three Frugal Meals from One Fine Chicken


About a year ago, I discovered Leanne Ely and Saving Dinner, and her Rubber Chicken recipe, and was inspired. If you haven’t visited Saving Dinner, I highly suggest it! Leanne calls her recipe Rubber Chicken because of how far it stretches – into three meals! On day one, she roasts a whole chicken – which is so much less expensive than buying individual cuts (especially boneless, skinless breasts) – and with the leftover meat she makes two additional healthy and frugal meals. There are endless possibilities for using the leftover meat.

Here is a version of Rubber Chicken that I used this past week. Whole chickens were on sale for $0.99/lb at Winn Dixie, and I bought a 4 ½ lb. bird. My meals were prepared for just my daughter, Twelve, and me, but should still give you ideas to inspire your menu for a larger family.
Day One: Roasted Chicken with Baby Carrots and Au Gratin Potatoes

On day one, I simply roasted the chicken. After removing the bag of ‘parts’ from inside the cavity, I rinsed and patted the chicken dry. I do absolutely nothing fancy when I roast chicken! I don’t stuff anything in it and I don’t truss it. This makes a chicken that is not quite photo-quality (thus, no photo), but it tastes great! I only drop it in a glass baking dish, rub it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with seasonings. A while back, I got roped into attending my sister-in-law’s Princess House party and bought their Miracle Chicken Blend, which I use, but you can use any seasonings you wish. Some suggestions are rosemary, thyme, sage, and tarragon. I throw the chicken in a 350 degree oven for 90 minutes (20 minutes per pound). That’s it!

For this meal, after about 45 minutes, I tossed some baby carrots in olive oil and parsley and put them in the pan with the chicken for the remainder of the baking time, and I basted the chicken once. The carrots were $0.99 at Aldi, and I used about a quarter of the bag. Betty Crocker boxed potatoes had been on sale at Publix recently, and with coupon match-ups I got them for $0.50/box. I divided the contents of the box and only made half. I find this works better for me than having leftovers to commit to. Here’s the finished result!




1/3 of whole chicken: $1.49
2 servings of baby carrots $0.25
½ box Au Gratin potatoes: $0.25

TOTAL meal cost for two: $1.99

You can throw in a quarter or two for additional ingredients, like spices and oil and a little milk for the potatoes, but it’s still quite a bargain!

After dinner, I then took a little time to remove all of the remaining meat from the chicken. For two of us, this leaves a lot to work with! I divided the leftover meat in half, bagged them in freezer bags and threw them in the freezer for the next two meals.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Friday: Meatballs and Noodles

Rayna Place has provided today's meal of delicious looking meatballs and noodles. She has several other wonderful recipes on her website that she is happy to share.

Thank you Rayna for taking the time to share with all of us!

What you will need:

Meatballs
1-2 lbs of hamburger meat
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (it calls for plain but I use Italian)
3/4 cup Honey bbq sauce
1 egg
1/4 tsp pepper

Noodle Toss
1 package of oriental veggie mix (today I used reg. veggie mix)
2 cups of water
2 packages of oriental ramen noodles
3 tbls honey bbq sauce

Rayna says that his recipe feeds 4. On her blog, where she has posted the pictures and instructions she doubled the recipe for her large hungry family! :)

To see this recipe being made, step by step with pictures please visit Rayna's Place.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Thursday: Taco Pasta Shells

Camdekruse has also shared this meal with us for Readers Choice week!

It is called Taco Pasta Shells, just plain out sounds delicious.

TACO PAST SHELLS

(This Recipe is large. I makes 2 batches- one to eat now and one to freeze for later)


2pounds Ground Beef
2 Envelopes Taco Seasoning
1 8 Oz. cream Cheese
24 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/2 melted butter
1 C. Salsa
1 c. taco sauce
1 c. shredded cheese
1 1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 c. sour cream

Cook ground beef in skillet. Add taco seasoning and prepare to package directions. Then add cream cheese. Cover and simmer 5 min or so until melted. Cook pasta shells. Drain and toss with butter. Fill each shell with meat mixture.

Place salsa into baking dish and top with stuffed shells. Drizzle on taco sauce. Cover and Bake 350 degrees for 30 min. Uncover and sprinkle on cheese and crushed tortilla chips. Bake 15 min. longer. Serve with sour cream.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

A Grocery list to save you time.

Download our new Grocery List! Make it work for you. Katie's friend passed this along to her to use and she made it fit for her typical grocery needs. She shared it with us, I tweaked it a little to make it general enough, but not too general, and now we are sharing it with you. Print off as many copies as you want.

There are so many grocery lists that you can download and print. Some are too long, some are just meant to be cutesy but not real helpful. We have one for you that all fits on one page and gives you room to write in your extra info. (i.e. 2 cups cheddar, low-fat, etc.) This is the type that has helped me, so I hope it helps many of you as well.

I, personally, am printing off several and putting them on a giant magnetic paper clip on my fridge. Then when I realize we need something I just circle it on the list or write it in the correct box. When you do your grocery shopping you will save a lot of time using this type of method, and you will find it will be much easier than if you had jotted down all the things you needed in no particular order on a scrap piece of paper (like I used to do). ;)

Freezer Meals Cookbook Contest

I just wanted to let all of our readers know about a great contest currently running to win a Freezer Meals Cookbook! I want to start cooking more freezer meals, but don't know where to start. I saw this contest and figured it'd be a great way to get started. The site is called:
Mummy Deals: There's a difference in living and living well and I found it from first visiting Money Saving Mom. If you haven't checked out either of these blogs before and want to learn how to start saving money for your family, you absolutely need to visit both of these sites because they hold a wealth of information.

Here is the direct link to the contest which ends on February 1st.

If you are into preparing freezer meals, please leave us a comment and let us know:

1. Any cookbooks/websites you would suggest on freezer meals
2. How you make freezer meals
3. Ways in which it has helped your family!

Wednesday: Cheesburger Soup

Hello Meal Planners!
There are not pictures to accompany this post, but it looked so yummy we wanted to share it anyway. The good thing about soup is you can always freeze it and pull it out again on a night when dinner has gone to the wayside. Thanks to our reader, camdekruse, for sharing with us!


CHEESEBURGER SOUP

1 1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp Beef Boullion
2 C Cubed Potatoes
2 small carrots- grated
1 small onion
1 small jar jalepeno peppers (if desired)
garlic
1 Pd Hamburger- browned
2 1/2 C. Milk (divided)
3 Tbsp Flour
8 Oz Velvetta Cheese
Cooked and crumbled bacon

Combine first 7 ingredients. Bring to a boil and simmer 15-20 minutes. Add your beef and 2 C. Milk. Heat. Combine Flour with remaining milk and add gradually. Boil 2 min to thicken. Reduce Heat and add Cheese. Top with bacon to serve.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tuesday: Moroccan Chicken and Olives

Thanks to Heather from a day with jake for giving us this great recipe for Reader's Choice Week!

Heather says, "If there is one reason (aside from our son) that I am most thankful for meeting J. (the hubster) it's for this chicken. He and his roommate from college (and childhood friend, to boot) came up with this yummy recipe when they were missing their mommy's homemade Moroccan food (because J. is, of course, Moroccan)."

Enjoy!

Here is what you need:



Ingredients:

2 1/2 large onions (or 2 large 1 small, as you see pictured)
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. veg. oil
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper
4 large chicken breasts (the orignal recipes calls for a cut-up fryer chicken, but we're figure friendly around here)
1 C. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 small jars green onions 1 loaf of French Bread or bolillos for serving

Step 1:


I use a food processor for this, but you're more than welcome to get your dice on!


Chop up into a chunky paste (think picante sauce) your onions, garlic, parsley, and cilantro. Then, mix in your salt, pepper, turmeric, cumin, oil, and the juice of half your lime. Put that all into a big soup pot.



Step 2:





Turn the heat on high and add in your chicken breasts, 1 C
. water, and bouillon.



Put a lid on it and let the pot of yummy stuff come to a hard rolling boil.
Then turn the heat down to about medium-low (setting 3 or 4 on my electric stove) and let it simmer until the chicken is about done (I let it go about 30 minutes so it's tender). When you turn the heat down to m
edium-low, go ahead and preheat your oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Step 3:


Take the chicken out of the pot of goodness and put it on a foil lined baking sheet. Then stick it in that waiting oven.



In the mean time, add your olives plus their juic
e to the pot on the stove and crank up the heat til the pot of yummy is rockin' and rollin' ... or just, ya know, a rolling bubble.

Step 4:

After about 5 minutes, add your bread to the oven to get
warm and crusty. 5 minutes after that take the chicken and bread out of the oven. By this time your olive sauce should be nice and thick.

Step 5:


Here's how you serve it. We eat a small dinner salad on the side.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Monday: Oriental Noodles

This recipe comes from Heather. You can find Heather on her blogspot, A Day With Jake.

Oriental Noodles as directed by Heather herself:


This is a yummy meal that I lost the original recipe for. So, we have just adjusted it to our tastes. It's quick and easy. Also, it gets some good veggies into the kiddos.

The Ingredients:

1 head broccoli, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 C. carrots, chopped into bite-size pieces
16 oz. linguine noodles
1-2 lbs. sirloin steak, sliced into bite size pieces (I use stir-fry meat)
3/4 bottle (16 oz.) Italian dressing
1/4 C. teriyaki sauce
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
salt and pepper to taste


Let's get cooking!

Let's Get Cookin:


1. First, get all of your chopping done and bring 1 pot of salted water to a boil.
Make bite size pieces of brocolli
Make bite size pieces of carrots




2. Spray a skillet or saute pan with cooking spray (or add 2 tsps. vegetable oil) and brown your steak pieces. Tip: Cook the steak on screaming hot heat to get a nice char on the outside. As soon as both sides are brown- take the meat off the burner! This will give you tender on the inside and yummy flavor on the outside. Also, add linguine to the boiling salted water.

Don't turn your steak until it is completely brown on one side.



3. Add the linguine to an uncovered pot.


4. After the skillet has cooled considerably dump your italian dressing, teriyaki sauce, and ginger into the skillet with the beef. Mix it up and try to scrape up a big of the yummies on the bottom of the skillet.


5. Add the carrots and broccoli to the pot of water and noodles during the last 2-3 minutes of cooking. This will allow them to become tender enough to bite but still retain their pretty color and nutrients.

6. Strain the noodle and veggie mixture and return back to the hot pot. Then mix in the meat and sauce mixture.

7. Enjoy!! We usually serve this with some frozen egg rolls on the side. But, it's still super yummy and filling by itself.



If you have any questions please visit Heather!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Readers Choice Week

How exciting this week is for the Meal Planning Mommies!
We asked for your favorite recipes and you responded with wonderful ideas and terrific meals. So, now rather than post this week we are presenting your recipes and we are off having fun.

(The proof is below. Those nuts are your very own MPM's in action!)






Each meal posted this week has come directly from a Meal Planning Mommies blog reader and we are happy to pass them on. We are all also eager to try them out ourselves.

If you would like to participate in our Readers Choice Week please submit one meal, with instructions, and pictures. We will review and post your meal in the upcoming months.


THE READERS CHOICE MEAL PLAN

Monday~ Oriental Noodles
Tuesday~ Moroccan Chicken and Olives
Wednesday~ Cheeseburger Soup
Thursday~Taco Pasta Shells
Friday~ Asian Meatballs with Noodles
Saturday~One Chicken, Three Meals
Sunday~One Chicken, Three Meals (2)

GROCERY LIST FOR THE READERS CHOICE WEEK

Monday's Oriental Noodles List
1 head broccoli
1 C. carrots
16 oz. linguine noodles
1-2 lbs. sirloin steak
3/4 bottle (16 oz.) Italian dressing
teriyaki sauce
ground ginger


Tuesday's Moroccan Chicken and Olives
2 1/2 large onions
1 bunch parsley
1 bunch cilantro
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. cumin
1 Tbsp. veg. oil
juice of 1 lime
salt & pepper
4 large chicken breasts
1 C. water
4 chicken bouillon cubes
2 small jars green onions
1 loaf of French Bread

Wednesday's Cheeseburger Soup
1 1/2 c. water
1 Tbsp Beef Boullion
2 C Cubed Potatoes
2 small carrots- grated
1 small onion
1 small jar jalepeno peppers (if desired)
garlic
1 Pd Hamburger- browned
2 1/2 C. Milk (divided)
3 Tbsp Flour
8 Oz Velvetta Cheese
Cooked and crumbled bacon

Thursday's Taco Pasta
2pounds Ground Beef
2 Envelopes Taco Seasoning
1 8 Oz. cream Cheese
24 Jumbo Pasta Shells
1/2 melted butter
1 C. Salsa
1 c. taco sauce
1 c. shredded cheese
1 1/2 c. crushed tortilla chips
1 c. sour cream

Friday's Meatballs and Noodles
Meatballs
1-2 lbs of hamburger meat
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (it calls for plain but I use Italian)
3/4 cup Honey bbq sauce
1 egg
1/4 tsp pepper
Noodle Toss
1 package of oriental veggie mix (today I used reg. veggie mix)
2 cups of water
2 packages of oriental ramen noodles
3 tbls honey bbq sauce


Saturday's Cheese and Apple Bread Bake
Apples
Cheddar Cheese
Cresent Rolls


Sunday's Sausage and Egg Tarts
Sausage (1/2 Ibs)
Eggs
shredded cheese
Heavy whipping cream
Recipe creations cresent rolls (Pillsbury)

Sunday: Baked Pasta in a Cream Sauce with Steamed Broccoli

I ran across this recipe as I was looking through recipe books at Barnes and Noble. I adapted it a bit, to my taste and I think it turned out pretty good!

Here is what you need for a family of 4:

1 TB cornstarch, 1 cup milk, 1/2 box of Rotini (or noodle of choice), 4-5 TB parmesean, 1/2 cup sour cream, steamed broccoli (optional), mushrooms (optional), 2 TB butter (not pictured)

Step 1: Start boiling your water for your pasta, cook as indicated on package and drain.


Step 2: While pasta is cooking, start your sauce! Mix 1/2 cup milk and 1 TB cornstarch until blended. Add 1/2 cup sour cream, 3 TB parmesan cheese and 1 TB butter, mix and heat until warm. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Step 3: Steam your broccoli. I use fresh broccoli as much as I can. It is so much better than frozen, and I can get my daughter and husband to eat it that way as well!


Step 4: Preheat oven to 350 and butter your dish.

Step 5: Make biscuits/garlic bread. If you have never had bisquick's garlic cheddar biscuits, you have to try them! They are about $1.25 for the bag and it makes about 10 biscuits. They taste just like Red Lobster's biscuits! Yum!


Step 6: Mix your pasta, sauce, steamed veggies and mushrooms in your buttered dish. Sprinkle with more parmesan, and add a few dots of butter. When I first mixed the sauce in with the pasta, I was pretty disappointed. The sauce seemed to have separated and wasn't creamy looking. After cooking, however I was pleasantly surprised!

Step 7: Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes or until sauce is bubbly.
Step 8: Serve with biscuits or garlic bread and enjoy!

This recipe was okay, but not a favorite. My husband, however did go up for 2nds! I am picky when it comes to cream sauce. Besides this recipe, most of the cream sauce recipes I have found have been expensive and hard to make. I don't love this one, but I may play with the recipe until I do!

Let me know if you have had success with a different cream sauce recipe.
I'd love to hear your thoughts!


Cost of Meal for 4: $4.00
Cost per person: $1.00