Now what do I do with that chicken?

Well, our first meal off of the whole chicken I wrote about in the previous post was very successful!

I make a batch of cornbread and nuked up a mixed bag of veggies, poured some 100% juice and served it with freshly cut chicken pieces.  I ALSO made an attempt at making my own chicken gravy and it turnout pretty well!  Here’s what I did:

I pour some of the chicken broth into our Magic Bullet, then added some flour and whirled away!  I adjusted and four and broth for the consistentsy I desired.  Yummy!

Then, I pulled the rest of the meat off of the bone and have it saved in a bag for other meals this week.

Next, I kept the bones and the little meat left in the crockpot and added several cups of water.  I now have it simmering.  Hopefully in the morning, I will have the base (without those bones of course) to make a chicken soup!  🙂

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Cooking a whole chicken

My family was asking for a change from the usual beans and rice combos I’ve come up with this week.  So, I decided to cook a whole chicken and come up with as many dishes as possible!  So, here’s my chicken cooking in the slowcooker.  By the way, this was/is soooo easy!  Stick the bird in, add a cup of water and set the crock pot on for 8-10 hours!  Done!  Season as you wish.

Here’s what I’m hoping to make over the next few days:

Chicken Stir Fry

Chicken with Cornbread and Mix Veggies (the frozen ones nuked up in the microwave)

Chicken Casserole (recipe coming soon if the experiment works out well)

And if there are any left overs, chicken sandwiches!

Any other cheap chicken ideas?

Menu Planning–2009Nov09

These next few weeks are going to be super, super tight financially for us; so it is incredibly important that I save as much $$ for our family by not going over the food budget! There’s not much I can do to generate income, but I can help the money stretch further by being diligent in how the money does (or doesn’t) get spent! I’m normally pretty miserly about the money anyhow, but I am going to have to put on the Scrooge hat with the coin purse for a couple months!

My goal is to not spend a penny over $50.00 a week in food for our family of 5 for the next 10 weeks. This is my plan for this week:

Breakfasts: Oatmeal, Cereal-WIC, Homemade bagels, Homemade pancakes

Lunches: Sandwiches, Fishsticks, Leftovers

Dinners: Beans and Rice (2), Leftover Lasagna from Bible Study (1), Quiche (1), Pizza (1), Spaghetti (1), Tuna Casserole (1)

Sides: Canned Peaches, Canned Pears, Canned Carrots, Bananas, Yams, Frozen Broccoli, Frozen Corn, Frozen Peas, Canned Green beans

Snacks: Rasins, Popcorn, Graham crackers, Apples, Yogurt

This post is linked to Menu Planning Monday. Come join the fun!

Baking Day

On Saturday, I took some time to bake and freeze. Here were the results:

I made a double batch of Mac’n Cheese Lunches. Measured it out by cup servings, placed in individual storage bags, then piled all of them together into one big gallon size freezer bag. This makes for a quick thaw/cook in the microwave for lunches when we tire of Peanut Butter and Honey sandwiches. Total cost: $2.19 The boxes of Macaroni and Cheese were 0.35 each (2x) at Aldi and a package of Turkey Dogs were $1.49 at Target.

I also pureed a pumpkin for use this week. I have an earlier post about this process here. I stored it by (roughly a) cup portions in the refrigerator. The added benefit was our kitchen smelled divine for a few hours!

Next up was cooking a batch of Spanish Stuffed Peppers. Our family loves this meal and now I won’t have to figure out when to make it during our busy week. It’s done, in the freezer and ready to go! Total cost was: $6.82 from Aldi. The peppers were $3.18; the Spanish Rice was $0.59 and the ground beef was $3.05. I will serve this with cornbread and apples later this week.

And finally, my family was very glad that I still made dinner (on time) while trying to bake and freeze everything else. In the chaos, I did manage to forget the salad, but I didn’t hear too many complaints. Here is spaghetti, garlic bread with chocolate milk. 🙂

What I did with a 3lb pumpkin

Yesterday, feeling somewhat adventurous, I bought a 3 lb pumpkin. Last night, I began the task of reducing this pumpkin to a puree and toasting the seeds. Here’s how the project worked out:

The Pumpkin:

Cutting the Pumpkin and removing the pulp and seeds:

Putting the sliced pumpkin in a pan for ‘baking:’

While the pumpkin flesh is softening in the oven, washing the seeds:

Washing the seeds didn’t actually take that long, so I chose a movie to watch (and fold laundry) while waiting for the pumpkin to come out of the oven:

The pumpkin comes out after an 1 1/4 hours!

Scooping off the flesh:

(it’s midnight, Cinderella):

One of my husband’s favorite parts, the use of a power tool! Time to puree the pumpkin flesh:

And then stored by 1 cup portions:

Adding the pumpkin and few extra spices to our pancakes this morning:

My husband’s next favorite part, very yummy pumpkin pancakes:

And remember those seeds? I tossed them with a little EVOO, salt, cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg then roasted them up! Soooo yummy!

From the Kitchen of. . . .

Homemade Whole Wheat Bagels

I adapted this recipe from Feeding a Bunch of Munchkins. I substituted 2 cups white flour, 2 cups whole wheat flour and 1 TBSP wheat gluten for their 4 cups of bread flour. I also substituted corn oil for the veg. oil because I didn’t have veg. oil on hand when I made them. I had a great time making these with our oldest daughter.

First we mixed the ingredients:

Kneading the dough:

Our daughter trying her hand at kneading too:

Shaping the bagels:

Boiling:

Baking:

Cooling:

Yummy!!

From the Kitchen of. . . .

Here’s a couple of winner recipes we’ve tried on a whim around here. I am more than happy to share!

Whole Wheat Blueberry Pancakes
This recipe is adapted from the Whole Wheat Pancakes over at The Happy Housewife.

1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 TBSP white sugar
1 1/4 cup buttermilk
1 egg
3 TBSP butter, melted
Blueberries as desired.

Mix dry, then add wet and mix. Cook on hot, 350 degree griddle for about 3 minutes each side.

For freezing, I double the recipe. Let the extra pancakes completely cool (this is important!!), then place on a sheet and put in the freezer for 10 minutes. Then stack in a bag and store in freezer.

Baked Fries
So yummy and simple! I adapted this recipe from Disney’s Family Fun Recipes.

2-3 large baking potatoes
1 TBSP minced garlic
2 TBSP oil (I use EVOO)
1/2 tsp salt (optional)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Combine garlic and oil in pan and heat thoroughly. Cut potatoes into 1/4 wedges (or matchsticks). Toss potatoes in the garlic/oil mixture. The spread potatoes on a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake until golden crispy (about 35 minutes), flipping halfway through. Salt can either be added in the tossing or sprinkled on the potatoes when you put them on the baking sheet.

Berry Blast Yogurt Pops
This recipe is from The Mommy Chef. My kids LOVE these!!
1 C. Greek Yogurt, plain or vanilla
1 1/2 C. frozen berries
Honey* to taste

* Children under 12 months should not have honey. A little apple juice concentrate or sugar will work fine to sweeten in this case.

Blend all ingredients together and pour into molds to freeze. Makes 4-8 depending on the size of your molds.