Ok, so a while ago I bought a whole chicken that was on sale for $0.89 a pound. I won't tell you how long it was in my freezer since I'm a little ashamed at that (how long is it ok to keep a frozen chicken anyway?). The important thing is that it tasted just fine and non of us got sick :) The chicken was 4.8 pounds (you can do the math if you like). The only thing I had to buy for dinner was a box of Stove Top stuffing (per Eric's request). I don't remember the price on that, but I'm sure it was less than $2, right? Everything else I already had on hand so I didn't spend any additional money. Here's what I did...
Thawed the chicken, rinsed it, dried it, rubbed it down with olive oil on the outside, cut up a couple cloves of garlic into chunks then cut slits in the chicken and squished the garlic chunks into the chicken (DELICIOUS!! But I don't recommend eating them after the chicken is cooked because they're really soggy and not a nice texture). Then I put salt, pepper and onion powder on the outside of the chicken. Next I put 1/2 an onion (cut into large sections), another couple of garlic cloves and 1 lemon (sqeezed the juice all over the outside of he chicken first) into the cavity of the chicken. I had some carrot sticks cut up in the fridge that were getting to that "either eat me or throw me away already" stage so I dropped those into the roasting pan around the chicken. I baked the chicken COVERED for 1 1/2 hours then uncovered it, basted it and baked another 15 minutes for a crispy skin. After I took the chicken out, I let it rest COVERED for another 10-15 minutes then cut into it to serve it up. Oh my goodness!!! It was so good! Maddie and Eric couldn't get enough so I know I did a good job with it :)
After the chicken cooled down I picked the rest of the meat off the bones and cut it all up into bite size pieces for tonight's dinner and put it in the fridge. Then I put the bones and little bits back into the roasting pan, covered it with water and cooked it for about...uhhh...forever...to make some chicken broth. I have that in my fridge now waiting for a good time to skim the fat off the top then I'll freeze the broth into 1 cup servings to use in future recipes. Now for tonight's recipe. It's a DEFINITE keeper!
Here's a link to it: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Salsa-Chicken-Rice-Casserole/Detail.aspx
The only thing I had to buy for this recipe was 2 cans of soup and an onion (since I used my last 1/2 an onion in last night's dinner). That added up to around $3. The recipe calls for a whole onion but I used 1/2 of one since we're not HUGE onion eaters. I made the casserole earlier today so when I put it in the oven it was still cold and the onions were still pretty much raw when we ate it. So if you don't like raw onions I would suggest leaving them out or cooking them a little first...or my mom even suggested dry minced onion if you have that on hand. The onions didn't bother me and Maddie didn't seem to mind either so we'll continue making it as is since it's easier.
So there you have it, two dinners for less than $10. It really doesn't get much better than that, especially since just a fast food meal for me and Maddie is around $10.
I recently heard about http://www.e-mealz.com/ and I'm going to sign up for that to check it out and see how it goes. If you want/need help planning meals and saving money, it looks like a really good site to help with just that. It does cost $5 per month but all the meals are planned for you, the grocery list is made and you can even get your list tailored for your particular grocery store. They make the menu based on what's on sale that week. Nice, huh? I'm just going to sign up for the Walmart meals for 2. It claims you can feed 2 for $30-$40 a week so that will be incredible! I looked at some other options and it showed meal plans for 4-5 for $70-$80 a week. Seriously, that's awesome! I'll let you know how I like it...Oh, and another thing is that Dave Ramsey is apparently some kind of spokesperson for their website. You know it's gotta be good if Dave Ramsey is willing to let his face be on it, right? :)
Does anyone have other ideas/suggestions for cheap meals? I LOVE saving money on food so I can spend it on other things...like sending two children to college! :)