Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mexican Chicken Hodge Podge Cost Breakdown

This recipe came from another recipe that has been modified to include the black beans & rice and the extra salsa and sour cream for garnishment, because I think it takes the meal another notch up. It's just a whole bunch of food all mixed up together in a bowl with Mexican-style spices.

Cost Breakdown:
  • 2 large chicken breasts (about 1lb.) -- $2.00
  • 1 T extra virgin olive oil, divided -- 10 cents
  • 1 tsp. each chili powder, cumin and garlic powder -- 9 cents
  • 1 bell pepper, chopped -- 80 cents
  • 1 small onion, chopped -- 32 cents
  • 1 C black beans -- 17 cents
  • 1 C corn, thawed from freezer or canned -- 25 cents
  • 1 C instant brown rice, cooked -- 18 cents There will be leftover rice as you are only using 1 C of the rice once it's cooked.
  • 1 C salsa -- 50 cents
  • 1/2 C salsa for garnish -- 25 cents
  • 1/4 C sour cream for garnish -- 13 cents
Total Cost: $4.79

This made about 5 servings, but you could easily stretch it by adding more black beans & brown rice. Three servings were eaten that night for dinner. Two 1/2 sized servings were served up with other foods on leftovers night. And a final serving was my lunch one day. That brings each serving to 96 cents.

How I Made It:
  1. Trim both chicken breasts if necessary and cut into bite size pieces. Chicken cuts more easily when partially frozen.
  2. Heat up 1/2 of the oil in a large skillet and brown chicken. Add in spices and continue cooking until done.
  3. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside. Heat remaining oil and cook bell pepper & onion until tender crisp. Add chicken back to skillet. Add in black beans and corn and let heat for a minute.
  4. Now add the brown rice and salsa. Mix well and cook until everything is heated through.
  5. Serve in bowls and top with additional salsa and sour cream.
  6. Enjoy!
  • I freeze my black beans in 2 C increments and I only used 1 C in this recipe. With my leftover black beans and corn and rice, I'll make quesadillas with some cheese and top them with sour cream and salsa.
  • My green bell pepper was also in the freezer. I pulled it out ahead of time and thawed it. To equal 1 bell pepper I used 1 cup chopped.
  • To increase the chicken and spices add an additional 1/2 tsp of each spice for each piece of chicken you add. So 3 pieces of chicken would mean using 1 1/2 tsp each chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin.
  • To increase the spice use medium or hot salsa. I used mild in the recipe so the whole family can enjoy it. I used medium salsa in my garnish to give me the kick I like.
  • I think my favorite thing about this recipe is that it's so easy to add more of the stuff you like and less of the stuff you don't like. It's really about the mixture and the spices that get used and less about the exact specifics. If you have 1/2 cup of leftover rice from another meal and don't want to cook more, then don't. The flavor won't change. If you're a vegetarian, skip the chicken altogether and use more black beans and extra veggies. Just add the spices to the black beans and mix well to evenly distribute.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

I'm truly starting to feel like my old energetic self. I know there is more recovery time, but I feel soooo much better. Thanks for the well wishes!

I'm doing a pantry challenge this week. I did go shopping, but I bought a LOT of household items -- cat food (wet & dry), papertowels, face cleanser & moisturizer, toilet paper, etc. Not to mention $35 in antibiotics & prednisone. It really cut into my budget, but we have so much in the freezer right now that it's impossible to get anything else in there, meaning that it's time to eat the food and not let it sit there any longer!
  • Sausage & Peppers Pasta (2 meals)
  • Pork chops with sweet potatoes & a vegetable (green beans or broccoli)
  • Mexican-style chicken hodge-podge -- I'll have to post more on this one, but it's got bell peppers, onions, black beans, brown rice, chicken, salsa, chili & cumin spices, etc. I just mix it all up and serve it in a bowl with extra salsa and sour cream on the side. (2 meals)
  • Hamburgers with seasoned potato wedges and mixed veggies -- My husband will prep these because I think he makes the best tasting hamburgers EVER!
  • Pizza for family movie night on Saturday

Friday, November 13, 2009

Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast Cost Breakdown

I have a bunch of pork roasts sitting in my freezer after scoring such good deals on them. I've been looking for a recipe that would really hit the WOW factor here at home with everyone. I think I found it with this one. I followed some suggestions from various reviews and I thought I would share my final recipe. I've also got ways this can be turned into 3 additional unique meals, so while you may make the same pork roast it can taste slightly different each time or you can make the leftovers a whole new meal with one of the variations. My husband *loves* this meal and I'm glad because I'll be making it about every 3 or 4 weeks!

Cost Breakdown:
  • 1/2 large onion sliced -- 20 cents
  • 2 lbs boneless pork roast -- $2.94 Using the median price range of all roasts I purchased.
  • 2 C chicken broth -- 64 cents
  • 1/4 C brown sugar -- 7 cents
  • 6 T apple cider vinegar -- 10 cents
  • 4 T low sodium soy sauce -- 10 cents
  • 2 T bbq sauce -- free
  • 1/2 t black pepper -- 1 cents
  • 1 t salt -- 2 cents
  • 1 t garlic powder -- 3 cents
  • 1 t hot pepper sauce -- 5 cents
  • 3 C egg noodles -- 50 cents
  • 1 T butter -- 6 cents
  • 1 C broccoli -- 50 cents
Total Cost: $5.22

There is enough meat that we will eat twice from the roast, making the total cost more than reasonable. I doubled the broth mixture from the original recipe and I'm really glad I did. There was more than enough for us to pour broth over the noodles on the plate and for me to save for sandwiches the next day.

How I did it:
  1. Slice onion and layer on bottom of slow cooker. Optional: Brown roast on all sides using a tablespoon or so of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Slice deep gashes into the roast; I did 5 gashes giving me 6 slices. Place roast on top of onion.
  2. In a bowl mix together broth, sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, bbq sauce, pepper, salt, garlic powder and hot pepper sauce. Pour over roast.
  3. Cook on low 6-8 hours.
  4. Serve over hot buttered egg noodles with broccoli on the side.
  • Another way to prepare the roast and get a different type of meal is to add potatoes and carrots in the space around the roast. This gives you almost a traditional pot roast, but with pork instead. I would probably use red potatoes since they seem to hold their shape better when cooked.
  • My husband said that the dish looked like pork stroganoff which got me thinking of another meal option. Simply take some broth after the cooking is done and add it to the egg noodles along with some sour cream. Place pork on top of the noodles or chunk it up and mix it in.
  • One of the reader comments mentioned pork bbq sandwiches with the leftovers. The reader shredded the pork and mixed in some of the broth and additional bbq sauce. We are doing that, simmering it on the stove for about 20 minutes to really blend the flavors, and pairing it with seasoned baked potato wedges and some mixed veggies. Since the pork, broth, and bbq sauce are free/leftover that leaves me a minimal cost for about 4 buns, 1 1/2 cups of mixed veggies and 4 red potatoes (maybe $1.50).

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

$1.09 / lb Pork Loin Roasts

Emily at Under $1000 Per Month not too long ago posted about her Sunday ham dinner which is a tradition in their family. My daughter loves pork. Any form of pork is fine with her -- bacon, chops, ham steak, roast, etc. Pork loin roasts keep going on sale; after all, it's butchering season for many and I live in the country. I was really excited when they were $1.47/lb. I bought 2. One was kept whole for when my parents come to visit in December. The other one was cut in half. I buy them around 4lbs each, so cutting it in half gives me 2 2lb roasts. With a family of just 3 people, this is plenty for 2 meals normally.

When pork went on sale again for $1.57, I bought 1 and sliced it myself into packages of pork loin chops. I was able to get 3 packages of 3 chops each and 1 package of 5 chops, also for when my parents visit. (That ends the pork they will consume while here!) Slicing it myself saved me 10 cents a pound.

Pork loin roasts were on sale again. This time they hit the rock bottom price of $1.37 / lb. I was ecstatic. We really only eat pork once a week at most, but any meat that your family enjoys that you find at $1.50 / lb. or less is worth stocking up. Imagine my excitement when I got to the pork loin roast area, found 2 4lb roasts and then discovered the coupon tear offs for $1 off any fresh pork product. My total for about 8lbs of pork loin roasts was $8.75 or $1.09 / lb.

I am now officially stocked up on pork through December, give or take a couple of weeks.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

We have all been sick around here. My daughter woke up with pink-eye last Sunday. I thought, "No problem. I've already got the meds on hand since she just had a couple months ago." Treated and done! Monday night she spiked a fever and Tuesday we found out her minor cold had gone the way of an ear infection. Meanwhile my husband and I are dealing with a cold. For a whole week we both had a terrible headache. One day we wake up and it's just gone. Yay! Life resumed a normal course. Then everything fell apart. Sometime after the pink-eye and before the ear infection, my husband and I took a turn for the worse. I spent all day Wednesday and Thursday and a good part of Friday on the couch. I'm still sleeping about 10 hours a day, but I managed to cook a simple dinner Saturday night and again on Sunday. My goal this week is push the veggies and fruit. We need this sickness BANISHED from our house so we can prepare to enjoy the holiday season.

I certainly hope you and yours are fairing better than we have at my house. So, here's to a new week and new menus!

  • Spaghetti with sauce and bread
  • Crunchy Salmon with broccoli and brown rice
  • Tangy Slow Cooker Pork Roast served over buttered egg noodles with green beans on the side
  • Pork BBQ sandwiches -- This was in the comments section of the pork roast recipe; a reader pulled some of the pork apart and then added it to a mixture of the roast broth and some bbq sauce. My husband loves pork bbq sandwiches so he's super excited about having this one night. I'll make some seasoned potato wedges and mixed veggies to go with it.
  • Doctored Veggie Soup -- Pulling soup from the freezer and adding kidney beans, italian seasoning, and pasta for a minestrone-type soup. Will serve it up with crusty homemade bread.
  • Ham & Potato Casserole with green beans and/or broccoli

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

A delicious week:
  • Pork Chops Diane with baked potatoes & green beans
  • Chicken breasts marinated with herbs & EVOO with brown rice & broccoli
  • Italian-style salmon with brown rice & mixed veggies
  • Potato Potato Soup (nope, not a typo) with scratch bread
  • Breakfast for dinner
  • Halloween Menu included Mummy Dogs (hotdogs rolled in strips of crescent roll dough and baked), Deviled Eggs, Fried Frogs Fingers (fried okra), and Dipping Blood (ketchup)