Roasted Chicken with Stuffing cost- $7.30

Cooking with a whole chicken can be intimidating.  How do you season it?  How do you know when it is done?  How do you cut it?  So why use a whole chicken rather than just the breast in a package?  There are a few really good reasons.  Whole chickens go on great sales, are always in stock at the grocery stores regardless of the time of year, and they have great flavor, just to name a few.

Chances are if you have been to my house for dinner more than once you have been served from a whole chicken.  We cook with it a lot because it is versatile, affordable, healthy, easy to cook, and is a large portion.

There are many, many ways to cook a whole chicken from deboning it and cutting it up, to roasting it whole, to BBQ, even deep-frying it.  In this recipe we opened the chicken flat so it would cook faster.  By doing this you will save some time but you will lose some of the flavor that is gained by cooking the chicken on the bone.

We will post other recipes where we will roast the chicken whole. 

This meal costs $7.30 or about $1.83 per person for our family of 4.  You could easily leave the mushrooms out of the stuffing to bring the cost down to $5.31 or $1.33 a person.  After everyone ate dinner we still had one serving of stuffing left and one leg, one thigh, and two wings left over.

Check out the two part video for the step by step part one http://www.youtube.com/user/troberts43?feature=mhee#p/a/u/1/8yKNZ34sEH4 and part two http://www.youtube.com/user/troberts43?feature=mhee#p/a/u/0/9iOe1aTsmgw

Ingredients

Chicken

1 whole chicken-$2.67

salt- nominal cost

pepper- nominal cost

Lemon juice $.10

Stock

all chicken innards including the backbone

water- nominal cost

salt- nominal cost

Gravy

chicken drippings- no cost

salt- nominal cost

red pepper- nominal cost

poultry seasoning- nominal cost

1 tbls corn starch- $.02

1 cup stock- no cost

ice- no cost

Stuffing

1/2 small to medium onion- $.35

1/2 bell pepper- $.39

1 garlic clove- $.03

1 package button mushrooms $1.99

salt- nominal cost

pepper- nominal cost

1 box of Stove Top- $1.00

1/2 cup butter- $.75

Instructions

Chicken

remove all the innards from the chicken and put into a pot

using kitchen shears or scissors cut out the backbone and add to the pot

open the chicken up so it is flat

season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice

turn the chicken over and put the open side your oven safe pan

season the other side of the chicken

put the chicken into a 400 degree oven for 40-60 minutes depending on the oven.  The chicken needs to reach an internal temperature of  at least 170 degrees

chicken should rest for about 10-15 minutes after cooking before you cut

Stock

put all chicken innards and backbone in a pot and fill with water

cook on high heat until it reaches a boil then turn the heat down to medium

cook until the liquid is about half of what you started with

make sure you spoon off the oil from the top of the pot as it builds up

Gravy

in a bowl mix together corn starch, ice and about a half cup of stock until disolved

bring the other half cup of stock and chicken drippings to a boil use a wooden spatula to scrape off the stuck on chicken bits

slowly mix in the stock and corn starch mixture

spice with salt, red pepper, and poultry seasoning to taste

Stuffing

melt butter in a pan add small diced onion and salt let cook about 1 minute

add small diced bell pepper salt again let cook about 1 minute

add small diced garlic let cook about 5 minutes on medium low heat stir occasionally

add sliced mushrooms cook until mushrooms reduce in size at least 5 minutes

add 1 and 1/2 cups stock and stir raise the heat to high to bring to a rapid boil

add stuffing mix from the box and stir

cover and remove from heat and let stand at least 5 minutes

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Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup cost- $9.45

Let me start off with a question: Is there a better comfort food than homemade chicken noodle soup?  I don’t think there is.  Today is cold and rainy and we ae all getting over a cold so it seemed that chicken noodle soup was in order.

The recipe listed here seems a little pricey by my standards but it made enough for our family to eat plenty and the left overs will feed us all tomorrow for lunch. It breaks down to $2.37 per person for two meals or $1.19 per person per meal.  Having a teenage boy in the house it is always a good idea to have leftovers.

ingredients with cost:

noodles: less than $.25  See this post http://wp.me/p23JKr-b for how to make.

1 large onion: $.70

1 bell pepper any color: $.78

2 cloves of garlic: $.05

chicken: we used 1.25 pounds: $3.83

3 cans chicken broth: $2.07

 2 tbsp butter: $.20

1 bag of frozen mixed vegetables: $1.00

1 pouch instant mashed potatoes: $.50

1 tsp oil: nominal

Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning, and flour: nominal

See the video for the step by step instructions. http://youtu.be/pw00RJt6BNw

Tips:

When making your roux have equal parts flour to fat.  There are different stages to a roux from blonde to brick.  The longer you cook it the darker it gets.

When cooking fresh vegetables don’t be afraid to salt.  They need that to cook the way you want.

When cutting up fresh vegetables try to get them close to the same size so they will cook evenly.

When you cook with chicken be sure to wash your hands, utensils, and surfaces to avoid cross contamination.

Always taste as you go.  A good dish can easily turn into a bland dish without the proper seasoning.

Shopping and storage tips to help you save money

Shopping can be really hard when you have limited time and money.  Here are some things that we do to save time and money.

Figure out what is a good deal

Sale prices vary from month to month.  Watch the store ads and buy at a good price.

Stock up when the price is low 

When chicken goes on sale for $.77/lb, buy the limit.  You can freeze it so when chicken is $3.99/lb you don’t have to buy it.  The same applies to anything you can freeze.

You would be surprised what you can freeze

Did you know you can freeze milk? How about cheese?  You can freeze lots of foods to keep them fresh. 

Plan meals in advance whenever possible

Nobody wants to have to go out to the store halfway through cooking dinner because you ran out of something.  Make sure you have what you need before you start.

Use what is in season

If a fruit or vegetable is in season it will be cheaper and taste better.  Have you ever bought oranges in the summer?  They cost way more and don’t taste nearly as good.  Keep an eye out for what is on sale in the produce section, that will usually be what is in season.

Look into food co-ops

In some areas you can join a co-op for meat, dairy, or produce.  How does it work?  Usually you pay for a pickup (how often depends on the co-op) in advance and show up at the meeting place.  You may not know what you are getting but it is almost always what is fresh. 

If you coupon, do it right

Dont just use coupons to use them.  Try to pair them up with the store sales.  Example: box of frozen vegetables normal price $2.99. coupon for $1.00 off makes the price $1.99.  But if you wait until that box of frozen vegetables is on sale for $1.00 then your coupon makes it free.  There are several websites that can teach you to coupon.

Dont shop hungry

It is the best advise out there.  When you shop hungry you will spend way too much money on things that you don’t need.  Have a snack before you go to the store.

Make a list

This serves a dual purpose. First it will help you to not forget anything, and second it can help to make the trip faster.  I am sure you know the layout of your store so if you always start in the produce section put that at the top of the list.  This will hopefully help you to not walk back and forth in the store.

Shop the local thrift stores for small appliances

Want a deep fryer?  Or a stand up mixer? How about a bread maker?  Shop the thrift stores like The Salvation Army for these things.  Best deal I found there was our large deep freezer.  It is huge and it works great!  Best part?  It was $40! 

 

Home Made Noodles cost- Less than $.25

This is a great recipe for noodles to use in soups:

Ingredients

1 Egg beaten

1/2 tsp salt

2 tbls Milk

1 cup Flour

Beat the egg in a bowl then add the salt and milk.  gradually add the flour until the dough forms a ball. 

Let it rest for 20 minutes

Roll out until the dough is as thin as you can get it

Using a pizza cutter or a sharp knife cut the noodles into desired size

Let dry at least 45 minutes the longer the better

Please watch the video for step by step instructions http://youtu.be/5NZq06bT23Y

Getting Started With The Basics

Every kitchen need some basic things to start off with.  Here is a list of some of the things we have in the kitchen:

Utensils

  • Whisks one metal and one silicone.  Make sure that the handle is the heavy part of the whisk.
  • Knife A minimum of one good knife.  A produce knife is the best to start with.
  • Mixing bowl  I like a large stainless steel bowl, easy to clean, long lasting, and inexpensive.
  • Cutting board  Pass on the bamboo or other woods and get a good size hard plastic.   Dishwasher safe and inexpensive.
  • Wooden spoons  One slotted one with a flat edge and one that is a good stirring spoon.  Look for them in a 3 pack very inexpensive.
  • Tongs  One set of good tongs. 
  • Measuring cups
  • Measuring spoons
  •  Pats and Pans with lids One good stainless steel pot (3 Quart size), one large stock pot, one stainless steel oven safe deep frying pan, one dutch oven, two nonstick frying pans 12 inch and 7 inch
  • Spatulas  One silicone, one metal, and one plastic.

Spices

  • Salt three kinds Kosher, table, and Sea
  • Pepper black and red
  • Paprika
  • Cumin      
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic powder
  • Italian seasoning
  • Chili powder
  • Ginger
  • 5 spice
  • Dried mustard
  • Taco seasoning packets
  • Gravy packets

Other miscellaneous necessities

  • Flour
  • Butter
  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Oil
  • Rice
  • Sugar brown, white, and powdered
  • Pasta

Introducing ourselves

We are a family of 4 living and eating on a budget. Our goal is to help families to be creative in the kitchen to make meals that make everyone happy. Our family consists of Mom Chelsea and Dad Travis (who both work full time) and two boys, Logan age 15 and Xander almost 2.
Cooking on a budget can be really difficult especially if you like to watch cooking shows on TV. I don’t know where these people shop but I don’t think it is in our neighborhood. Everything we use we will tell you how much it costs and where to get it.
Happy cooking!