Friday, July 31, 2009

Homemade Pizza Friday: BBQ Chicken Pizza

So, Friday rolls around and what does the family usually want for dinner? Pizza! Unfortunately, if we order pizza we would most definitely exceed the $5 meal limit. The solution? Homemade pizza Fridays! Every Friday I will feature a different kind of pizza that I make from the comfort of my very own kitchen...for $5 or less.

1 Chicken Breast (1.61)
1 Cup BBQ Sauce (.36)
1/2 Red Onion (.16)
1 Cup Mozzarella Cheese (.60)

Step 1:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cube your chicken and add 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce. Stick it in the fridge and let it marinade for about 30 minutes.

Step 2:
While your chicken is marinading, take your pizza dough and roll it out onto your pizza stone.

Step 3:
Take the chicken out and cook it on the stove.
Step 4:
Throw your onions into a frying pan and sautee them until they are an opaque color. When they hit that color, throw the chicken in with it to mix the flavors for about 2 minutes.
Step 5:
Pour 1/2 cup of BBQ sauce onto the pizza and spread it out--this will serve as your pizza sauce.
Step 6: Add the chicken and onions.
Step 7:
Pour a cup of cheese on top of the chicken/onion mixture.
Step 8:
Put it in your pre-heated oven and let it cook for 15-17 minutes and then pull it out.
You're ready to serve!

Total cost of meal: $3.03

Homemade Pizza Dough

1/2 cup of water
1 tablespoon of vegetable oil
1 1/2 cups of bread flour
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons of bread machine yeast

Mix ingredients in order according to what is recommended by the manufacturer of your bread machine (for example, mine has me mix the wet ingredients, then the dry and add the yeast last).
Set your machine to the dough cycle (note that it does take about an hour and a half so plan accordingly) and you're done!

Total cost for a ball of homemade pizza dough: .30

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Southwest Chicken Salad

This is a salad that even those who aren't "salad people" ( husband) will enjoy. :)

1/2 head of lettuce (.78)
1/2 lb of chicken tenders (.97)
1/2 of a cucumber (.35)
1/2 lb of grape tomatoes (1.74)
1/2 bag of taco seasoning (.25)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (.24)
1/2 cup of ranch dressing (.30)

Step 1:
Tear your lettuce and place it in a bowl (note in advance: you may want to do this salad in a bowl with a top. I like to be able to shake it all up at the end to spread the dressing more evenly).
Step 2:
Put your chicken strips, tomatoes and cucumbers in with the lettuce.
Step 3:
Get out your 1/2 cup of dressing.
Step 4:
Pour the taco seasoning into it.
Step 5:
Mix the two really well.
Step 6:
Pour the new dressing over your salad, top it with cheese then shake it up.
And you're ready to serve!
Total cost of meal: $4.63

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Mojo Marinated Pork Chops and Steamed Green Beans With Bacon Accents

3 Pork Chops--froze extra (2.67)
4 slices of turkey bacon (.15)
1lb green beans (.86)
1/2 cup of Mojo Marinade (.27)
Leftover Homemade Bread (Free! Included in the cost of another meal from the week)

Step 1:
Marinade the pork chops in the mojo for about 2 hours before you begin the cooking process.

Step 2:
Begin by frying your turkey bacon until you get the desired level of crispiness. We like it extra crispy so it takes me close to 10 minutes to get the desired effect.

Step 3:
Break up the bacon and set it aside.

Step 4:
Begin to steam your green beans. This will take about 15 minutes. If you're like me and don't have a steamer, you can make one very easily using stuff you already have in your kitchen.

Start with a pot with about an inch of water in it:

Put a colander on top of the pot and put the beans in:

Use the top that goes with the pot and put it over the beans and you've got your own make-shift steamer!
Step 5:
About 10 minutes into steaming the beans go ahead and grill your pork chops. I use our George Forman because we love the taste that we get from it but you can easily do it on the stovetop if you don't have one. I cook it on the grill for 3-4 minutes.

Step 6:
Drain the beans of any excess water and then dump them back onto the pan that you fried the bacon in:

Step 7:
Throw the bacon on top and turn the stovetop onto medium heat for about 3 minutes just to mix the flavors--you can also add salt and pepper to your liking.
Now you're ready to serve!
Total cost of meal: $3.95

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tacoroni and Cheese

A great new spin on an old classic!

1 8oz box elbow noodles (.79)
1 15oz can of tomato sauce (.69)
1 15oz can of Rotel (1.34--next time I will use a coupon for sure)
1/2 lb of ground chuck (1.78)
1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese (.12--found a GREAT sale!)

Step 1:
Cook noodles as instructed on package. Drain and set aside.
Step 2:
Brown beef and drain.
Step 3:
Put stovetop on medium heat. Add Rotel, tomato sauce and macaroni to the beef and mix.

Step 4:
Add cheese and mix.
Step 5:
Don't forget your side dish! Mine? A loaf of homemade bread (.25)
And we're ready to eat! This recipe actually makes enough for about 5 people. I put the leftovers in some tupperware and will be having it for lunch tomorrow!
Total cost of meal:


Monday, July 27, 2009

How it works

Here's how it's going to work:

On Monday, I will post my weekly meal plan which will start on Tuesdays. Yes, we will start our weekly meal plan on Tuesdays because I refuse to go to the grocery store with the rest of the world on the weekend, and on Mondays I clean the toilets--I refuse to add anything else to my chore plate if that's what I'm doing. :)

I will post my recipes daily as I complete them and will post a meal total at the bottom of each post (so you know I'm following through with my $5 goal). All of my totals are accurate, you can come and add it all up from my grocery receipts if you don't believe me (I have a stack of them by our desk). Remember, I try to buy on sale with a coupon and different places have different deals so we may not have the exact same totals on the meals--but they should be close.

I shop at a variety of different stores. I frequent Super Target, Walmart and Lowes Food Stores and will go to that many grocery stores a week if necessary to get us the best deals (yes, I do it all with my six month old, by the third store I may be ready to poke my eyes out but at least I'm saving us some dinero). I have to remind myself that we're going for "gazelle intensity" here and that's what keeps me going when I'm ready to just fork out the extra $ to avoid the travel (yes, I do keep in mind the gas it takes to go place to place, and if it's not worth it, I'll stick to one place).

Are you up for the challenge?

Sunday, July 26, 2009

A Little Introduction To The Challenge

As seminary wife and new stay at home mommy to my beautiful 6 month old little girl, I have come to a point in my life where money is a little tighter than usual. One night, I sat down to write out a meal plan and came to the realization that our old meals no longer fit our grocery budget. Stumped, I began to research and found that with a bit of coupon clipping and creativity, I could make all of our dinners for $5 dollars or less.

I thrive on challenge. The idea of trying to make all of our meals on that kind of a budget makes me grin with anticipation. I did, however, have to get my husband to go along with it so that I'd have some encouragement if I ever hit a wall. When I announced this decision to my husband, he looked at me and declared, "So, let me get this straight...all of our meals will only be $5?" To which I replied, (thank you, Dave Ramsey for the phrase) "Yes, honey, this means no steak for a while. Remember, we're doing this with gazelle intensity!" This is how I got him on board with the idea.

My goal: to make a meal plan every week according to what coupons we have and what deals are being offered so that every single dinner will be $5 or less. This means that, once divided out, our entire dinner portion of our grocery bill should average out to no more than $35 a week. I say it will average out because if, say, there is a huge sale on ground beef--I'll stock up on that and freeze it but then won't need to buy any on the other trips for a while.

My challenge is to make this work, and you're more than welcome to read along as I go. I'm keeping the blog to:

1. Keep myself accountable to the $5 or under dinner limit.

2. Keep all of my recipes in one convenient location that DOESN'T take up space in my tiny kitchen.

3. Allow others to share my experience and recipes and maybe share some of their own. Are you with me? I challenge YOU to take the $5 dinner challenge.

Do it for a week, you'll be addicted and will find it hard to make a meal over $5 ever again!