Monday, August 31, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Here we are facing a new week...what's for dinner?

Monday: Tortellini (didn't get to have it last week as we were invited over to a friend's for dinner)

Tuesday: BBQ Chicken Corn Bread Bake

Thursday: Tortilla Chip Casserole

Friday: Some kind of pizza (possibly chicken fajita?)

Saturday: Country Pork Ribs with Mashed Potatoes

Sunday: Chicken Tetrazzini

I'm actually ALL DONE with my shopping for the week! I took hubs out to the grocery store yesterday to buy some lunch (they were doing a fundraiser for the American Heart Association) and we went ahead and got our shopping done while we were there. Can I just tell you how nice it is to have an extra set of hands with a 7 month old in the grocery store?!

For those of you who are looking for some GREAT DEALS this week, I have two words...

Harris. Teeter.

We saved $23.00 yesterday! They've got a great deal on Ken's Salad Dressing (buy 2, get 3 free--we go through ranch dressing in this household like it won't exist tomorrow so it was a wonderful buy for us), their manager's special on chicken breasts is incredible, and they have bacon on BOGO so I got a few and froze them since I use a lot of bacon as accents in my recipes.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meatless Meal: Cheese Enchiladas

To fit within our budget constraints, sometimes I have to make a meal sans meat. This is tricky when you have someone who L-O-V-E-S meat in the family and has a hard time filling up on something without it. This did the trick, though. Hubby loved the meal and had some leftover on his plate in the end. Mission accomplished.

4 corn tortillas (.70)
1/2 cup of cheddar cheese (.94)
1 8oz can of enchilada sauce (1.10)
1/4 white onion (.30)
2 ears of corn (1.00)

**Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1: Heat sauce and brown onions (in separate saucepans).

Step 2: Fill your tortillas with cheese (and onions if you like them--I did half and half as hubby doesn't like onions, but I do).
Step 2: Roll your tortillas and place in baking dish.
Step 3: Cut the corn off of your cobs and then fry them for about 5 mins until they turn a bit brown.
Step 4: Throw your sauce on the tortillas, throw the fried corn on top of that and top it with the cheddar cheese. Stick it in the oven for 30 mins and voila!

Ready to serve.
Meal total: $4.04

Friday, August 28, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

Frugal Friday Tip #2: Buy Local

If we can, we buy from local farmers. We have several little fruit/veggie stands and several farmer's markets on the weekends to choose from. I find it saves money, tastes better and helps out the local talent. Doesn't get much better than that!

I go once a week and get enough produce for us for the week plus enough to make enough babyfood for the week. This last round I spent $9.68 and had we bought all of our items in the store, it would have cost over $16.00, so we saved about $6.00--not too shabby. Also, would you check out the size of the sweet potato I found?! The big one I got at a fruit/veggie stand and the small one was the biggest one I found at our local grocery store. The big one made enough babyfood for 2 weeks.

What's your Frugal Friday tip? Link up in our comments section!

Homemade Pizza Friday: Pepperoni Pizza and Cheese Bread

So, I went ahead and made the double batch of homemade pizza dough and used a bit of it to make some cheese bread this time around!

Ingredients (for pizza and bread):

homemade pizza dough -- double batch (.60)
8oz can of tomato sauce (.25)
3/4 cup of moz. cheese (1.20)
1/4 cup of cheddar cheese (.60)
1/2 pack of pepperoni (1.00)
2 Tbs of olive oil (.05)

**Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

Step 1: Take dough out of breadmaker and split it (for the bread you want about 1/4 of the dough). Spread out the smaller batch onto a baking sheet and cover it in olive oil. Pour 1/4 of moz. cheese on it and 1/4 cup of cheddar cheese onto it.
Step 2: Roll out your pizza dough. Spread the can of tomato sauce on it and then place pepperonis on top of the sauce. Throw the remaining moz. cheese onto it. Stick the pizza, along with the cheese bread into the oven for 15-20 minutes.

Step 3: When cheese is slightly browned and bubbling, pull the creations out of the oven, cut up and serve!

Meal total: $3.70

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Chicken In Red Sauce

Didn't really have a clever name for this one. What you see is what you get, I guess.

1 8oz can of diced tomatoes (.57)
1 4oz can of tomato sauce (.25)
1 tbs Italian seasoning (.10)
1 tbs of garlic salt (.05)
1 tbs of olive oil (.10)
4 chicken thighs (1.60)
1/2 package of angel hair pasta (.75)
2 ears of corn (1.00)
1/4 cup of cheese (.45)

**Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
**This recipe takes about an hr so this is not the meal to make when you're starving.

Step 1: Mix diced tomatoes, olive oil, tomato sauce, Italian seasoning and garlic salt together in a small mixing bowl. Place chicken in a baking dish and cover with sauce.

Step 2: Place in the oven and set your timer for 50 minutes. When it hits 50 minutes, pull chicken out, cover with cheese and put it back in the oven for 10 mins. While this is cooking, throw your corn into some boiling water for 30 minutes and cook your pasta according to box directions.

Step 3: Take it out and you're ready to serve!
Total cost of meal: $4.77

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Beef and Broccoli

So, I was going to do a stir fry for dinner but when it came down to it, I didn't get the snap peas I wanted for it because they were too much $ so I just wasn't in the mood for stir fry without them. So, I whipped this together hoping it would resemble some sort of beef and broccoli we'd had in the past, and to our surprise (and delight), it did!

1/2 lb of beef strips for stir fry (2.25)
1/4 onion cut up into pieces (.10)
1/4 broccoli head (.40)
1 can cream of mushroom (.54)
2 tbs soy sauce (.10)
1 tbs sugar (.03)
1/2 cup water (free)
2 tbs olive oil (.05)
1 cup of brown rice (.50)

*Cook your one cup of rice while doing the rest of this. I use a rice cooker but you can easily cook it on the stove top. 1 cup of rice, 2 cups of water, let it sit on medium heat on the stovetop until rice has soaked in all of the water. Easy as pie!

Step 1:
Heat 1 tbs of olive oil and brown your meat and onions in it.
Step 2:
Toss in the broccoli and stir for a couple of minutes.
Step 3:
Add the rest of your wet ingredients (cream of mush, soy sauce, olive oil, sugar, water) and let it simmer for about 15 minutes.
Step 4: Serve on top of rice. Enjoy!
Total cost of meal: $3.97

Monday, August 24, 2009

Monday Meal Planning

Ok, here's our plan for the week:

M: Beef and Broccoli

T: Chicken w/ tomato marinara sauce on spaghetti

W: Enchiladas

Th: shells w/ homemade white sauce

F: Pepperoni Pizza (have leftover pepperonis from last week and want to get them used so as to not waste them)

Sat: Sweet and sour pork

Sun: Honey Lime Chicken

Check back for the recipes throughout the week!

(Do you have a Monday Meal Planning post? Put the link to it in the comments so we can see, too!)

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Don't throw those bananas away!

So, I was doing my 2nd deep clean of the kitchen for the week and noticed that I had some major brown bananas still sitting in there. Usually, I use leftover bananas to make babyfood, but, in the business of the week, I forgot that they were sitting there. What to do with over ripe bananas? Make banana bread, of course! Here's a recipe that will leave you wanting banana bread every day of the week--no joke, I went to bed every night this week thinking about the bread I'd be enjoying for breakfast.

3 ripe bananas mashed (.40)
1/3 cup of melted butter (.25)
3/4 cup of sugar (.55)
1 egg beaten (.10)
1 teaspoon vanilla (.10)
1 teaspoon baking soda (.05)
Pinch of salt (.03)
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour (.30)

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Recipe takes an hour to cook, make sure you have enough time!

Step 1:
Mix mashed bananas with the melted butter. Mix in sugar, baking soda, salt and flour.

Step 2:
Mix wet ingredients together (egg, vanilla) and then throw them on top of your other mixture.

Step 3:
Mix your full mixture together and pour into a bread baking dish. Put it into the oven, set your timer for 1 hour and then enjoy!

Total cost for the bread (which provided breakfast for five full days): $1.78 (which averages to a little more than .28 cents a day)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Frugal Friday: Money Saving Tips

I know that one thing that helps me with our money saving is finding and using tips from other wives/moms who are trying to make meals and life work on a tight budget so I thought that I'd go ahead and pass along some of the ideas I use in our daily life. So, on Friday's, I'll be posting tips that help us out. Do you have a frugal friday tip? Great! Post a "Frugal Friday" in your blog and in the comments section of my post, post a link to your POST (not your blog, just the post) so we can all enjoy your frugal tips! We'll be doing this every Friday so if you don't post today, post next week!

Frugal Friday Tip #1: (if you have room to stock your freezer) buy meat in bulk and separate it out yourself.

Why spend $8.00 over the course of several weeks on several 1lb packages of chicken thighs when you can spend $6.33 and get the same amount of meat in one big pack? I buy our chicken thighs, breasts, legs and ground beef in large packages and then split them up into serving portions on my own and freeze them like that. This helps save several dollars when thinking in the long term.

What's your Frugal Friday tip?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Taco Chip Casserole

I found this recipe and made a few changes to meet the needs of our family (i.e. no beans because my nursing baby gets a massive tummy ache when I eat beans) and it was yumm-o. We'll definitely be putting this on our regular dinner rotations. We had guests over and I served this and so I didn't get as many pictures as I usually do because we were busy entertaining (I didn't want to seem like a crazy person taking pictures of my food, either- :) ).

1 small cooked/cubed chicken breast (.40)
2 handfuls of crushed taco chips (.75)
16 oz can of diced tomatoes (1.15)
1 cup of cheddar cheese (.94)
1 8oz can of cream of chicken soup (.57)
1/4 cup of sour cream (.20)
1 Cup of milk (.40)
1/2 pouch of taco seasoning (.20)
Salt and Pepper for Taste

**Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1:
Spread your tomatoes on the bottom of your baking dish. Pour taco seasoning over top. Add a dash of salt and pepper.

Step 2: Crush one handful of taco chips onto the top of the tomato/seasoning mixture.

Step 3: Mix your wet ingredients together in a separate bowl.

Step 4: Throw your chicken on top of your dish so far.
Step 5: Pour wet mixture onto dish.
Step 6: Top with cheese, stick it in the oven for 25 minutes and when it comes out your ready to serve! Enjoy!

Total cost of meal: $4.61 + added steamed green beans (link takes you to a "how to steam beans without a steamer" post) for a grand total of $4.98 :)

Monday, August 17, 2009

Baked Ziti w/ White Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

This dish was easy and really yummy. It's a quick spin on an old classic.

6 Tablespoons of all purpose flour (.10)
1 16 oz box of ziti (.74-Walmart has GREAT deals on pasta)
4 tablespoons of butter (.25)
1 Cup of cheese (.94--I made it with cheddar because it's what we had left in our fridge, but it probably would have tasted a little more authentic with mozzarella cheese)
2-3 Cups of milk (.40--this depends on how creamy you like your ziti, more milk, creamier pasta)
1/2 Spaghetti Squash (1.70)

**preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

**cook noodles according to package.

Step 1: Start with your squash, because it will take the longest. Split it in half lengthwise (yes, this is quite a challenge--keep at it, it will eventually split). Put it face DOWN into a baking dish with about 1/4 cup of water in it and stick it in the oven for 40-50 minutes.

Step 2: Melt your butter in a large saucepan.

Step 3: Mix the flour in with the melted butter to form a paste.
Step 3: Add your milk. It's going to look very soupy at first (like below) but after about 4-5 minutes it'll get thicker as it warms.

Step 4: Spread your ziti noodles in your baking dish and then pour the sauce over them.
Step 5: Cover your dish with the cup of cheese and stick it in the oven for 15-20 minutes (until cheese is bubbling).
Step 6: Pull it out of the oven (along with your squash).
Step 7: Scrape the "spaghetti strings" out of the squash to serve. We sprinkle brown sugar and a bit of butter on the top for taste (very little goes a long way--even for picky veggie eaters). You're ready to serve!

Total cost of meal: $4.23

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Honey Glazed Pork Chops and New Potatoes

This is a crockpot meal, so be aware that it takes 4-8 hrs.

3-4 Pork chops (3.00)
1/2 Cup Water (free)
2 Tbs honey (.10)
2 Tbs brown sugar (.05)
5 Red Potatoes (1.10)
2 tbs olive oil (.05)
2 tbs minced garlic (I keep a jar of this in the fridge at all times-- .10)
Salt and Pepper for taste (.05ish)

Step 1:
Put the chops in the crockpot and cover with 1/2 cup of water.

Step 2:
Cover pork chops with brown sugar and honey (you can throw in a bit of salt and pepper for flavor). Turn crockpot on low for 8 hrs or high for 4 hrs.
Step 3: *Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Cut your potatoes into pieces. Put them in a bowl and coat them with oil, garlic, salt and pepper and mix them around. Stick them into your cooking dish and place in the oven for 1 hr.
Step 5: Take the potatoes out and drain the chops and you're ready to serve!

Total cost of meal: $4.45

Weekly Meal Plan: 8/17-8/23

This is what I see on my computer screen every time I look at it. It is a constant reminder of my desire to save my family as much money as I possibly can. When I decided to do menu planning, I wanted to find a good way to keep track of a weekly menu without:

A. Wasting Paper

B. Having to buy something (not in our budget right now)

So this was my solution! I plan out our weekly menu, type it into google calendar, take a screen shot and make it my background. :)

Here's our meal plan for the week:

Baked Ziti with White Sauce and Spaghetti Squash

Taco Chip Casserole with side salad

Cheeseburger Pie and Broccoli

Chicken Divan with Veggie Medley

Homemade Pizza Friday: Pepperoni Pizza

BREAKFAST SPECIAL: Banana Stuffed French Toast
Dinner: Orange Juice Chops With Green Beans

Potato Spinach Bake

Check back throughout the week for the recipes!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lemon Pepper Chicken and Baked Butternut Squash

After the poisoning, we went with a lot of comfort foods and here is one of our favorites!

**You want to start the squash about an hour before you're ready to eat.

***Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

1 Butternut Squash (3.20)
2 Chicken Breasts (1.40)
Brown Sugar (.5)
Butter (.5)

Step 1:

Poke holes all over the squash. Stick it in the oven and set your timer for an hour.
Step 2:
After your squash has been in for about 40 minutes pull out your handy dandy George Forman (you can do this on the stovetop, too, just make sure you defrost your chicken if you do it that way). When I use the Foreman, I just throw the chicken on there frozen because it makes for a juicier piece of meat. Cook them for about 10-15 minutes and right towards the end throw on some lemon pepper for flavoring.
Step 3:
Pull the squash out of the oven.
Step 4:
Split the squash in half, scoop out the innards and then use a spoon to scoop out the good stuff.
Step 5:
Sprinkle some brown sugar and put a little butter on the squash and you're ready to serve!!
Meal Total: $4.70


I'd like to apologize for being gone the last few days and not having great $5 recipes for you...but I can't apologize...because I wasn't called away unexpectedly for fun or for business or for anything remotely pleasant. As the wedding came to an end last Sunday evening, so did our health. We have spent the last week recovering from food poisoning and all that comes with it. It was not pretty, not fun, and needless to say, we didn't eat a whole lot until the end of the week. I'm going to post a couple of the recipes from the end of the week and I'll post our meal plan on Monday and get started with it.

Cheddar Cheese Chicken Casserole

I found a recipe similar to this one when I was in a "let's find out how many meals I can make with what's leftover in my pantry before going to the grocery store again" mood. I made the recipe work for what we had left and we LOVED it and it's now on our regular rotation.

(The pictures for this sweet number seemed to have disappeared from my computer but the recipe is just too good not to share, if I do recover the pictures, I'll post them ASAP)

Cheddar Cheese Soup (1.19)
1 Cup Cheddar Cheese (.94)
2 Chicken Breasts (1.50)
1 Can of Green Beans (.57)
5 Slices of Turkey Bacon (.30)
Ritz Crackers or Bread Crumbs to top (.40)

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1:
Fry your bacon to desired crispiness.

Step 2:
Take bacon out, let it cool. Drain your green beans and toss them into the same pan you fried the bacon in. Let the beans fry for a couple of minutes to soak in the bacon flavor. Crumble bacon when it has cooled.

Step 3:
In your cooking dish, spread the green beans on the bottom. Throw your bacon crumbles onto the beans.

Step 4:
Arrange your chicken on top of the beans, pour can of soup onto the chicken, cover that with your cheddar cheese and top it off with the ritz or the bread crumbs.

Step 5:
Stick it in the oven for an hour and then enjoy!

Total cost of meal: $4.90

Friday, August 14, 2009

Homemade Pizza Friday: Hawaiian Pizza

I doubled the dough recipe for this pizza because we had guests over, but I think I may regularly do it so that we have more leftovers as hubs and I battle over who gets the pizza leftovers on Saturday...this way we both can have them!

Homemade pizza dough *recipe doubled* (.60)
1/2 can pineapple (1.00)
1/2 cup of cubed ham (.70)
1/2 can of tomato sauce (.26)
1 cup of moz. cheese (.94)

*Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Step 1: Roll out your dough and place it on your cooking sheet (I use a pizza stone and it is incredible!)
Step 2: Spread sauce, cheese and then pineapple and ham onto the pizza. Stick it in the oven for about 20 minutes. (eyeball it, if the cheese starts to get dark then it's done and you need to get that sucker out of there!)
Step 3: Pull the pizza out, let it cool a bit and cut it up.
You're ready to eat now!! Enjoy!
Total cost of meal: $3.50