Although much of the food our family consumes is home grown or wild harvested, there are some things we purchase from the local grocer. For instance, I love chicken breasts and thighs, but I'd have to butcher 2 dual purpose hens (and loose 2 egg layers) anytime I wanted to cook a recipe that utilizes only chicken breasts, or thighs. For this reason, I keep an eye out for one of those really good "three time per year" sales that is available in our area on chicken breasts and thighs. I also utilize the "reduced for quick sale" bins for convenience foods that are discounted by 60% - 90%.
Utilizing the 3 time per year chicken breasts & thighs sales, the "reduced for quick sale" bin, and homegrown broccoli and tomatoes, today's Frugal Feasting Friday menu comes in at only $1.49 per person.
On The Menu: Crockpot Smothered Chicken Breasts, Uncle Ben's Herb and Rice Blend, Broccoli in Browned Butter Sauce, Seasoned Roma Tomato Slices and Warm Potato Rolls. This company worthy meal serves 8 people and is a cinch to prepare.
Crockpot Smothered Chicken Breasts
4 large chicken breasts, halved butterfly style, makes 8 portions ($7.27)
1 prepared batch of Cream of Anything Soup ($0.20)
salt and pepper, to taste
Lightly grease the bottom of the crockpot. Lightly brown chicken breasts in some reserved bacon fat. Place 4 of chicken breasts halves in bottom of the crockpot. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Pour 1/2 prepared soup over chicken breasts. Layer the remaining 4 chicken breast halves, season with salt and pepper, and pour remaining soup over chicken breasts. Cook on low 5-6 hours.
In addition to frugal shopping skills, portion control is also an important aspect of maintaining a frugal grocery budget. In this recipe the 4 large chicken breasts are halved, reducing the cooked portion size to 3-4 oz. each, roughly the size of a deck of cards. Nutritionists recommend our plate contain only a "deck of card" sized portion of animal protein, 25% of our plate should reflect grains or starches and the remaining 1/2 should be filled out with vegetables and/or fruits. Regarding fruit, I like to live by the old saying, "Fruit in the morning is gold, fruit in mid-day is silver, fruit in the evening is lead." Thus, our family usually consumes fruit prior to the evening meal.
Broccoli in Browned Butter Sauce
2 lb. homegrown broccoli (free)
4 Tbsp. butter ($0.31)
salt, to taste
Steam broccoli until crisp tender. In a small sauce pan combine butter and salt. Over low heat melt butter, stirring occasionally, until it begins to lightly brown. As the butter melts, watch closely because once the butter begins to brown, it will burn very quickly. We are looking for browned butter not burned butter. Pour the salted browned butter over the broccoli and toss.
Seasoned Roma Tomato Slices
2 sliced homegrown Roma tomatoes (free)
1/4 tsp. dried basil ($0.02)
salt & pepper to taste
Arrange tomato slices on serving plate. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and dried basil.
Here's today's cost breakdown:
Crockpot Smothered Chicken Breasts ($7.47)
Broccoli in Browned Butter Sauce (homegrown $0.31 / store bought $2.29)
Seasoned Roma tomato slices (homegrown $0.02) / store bought $0.66)
2 "reduced for quick sale" boxes Uncle Ben's Herbed Rice Blend ($2.80)
8 "reduced for quick sale" potato rolls ($1.33)
Total cost for 8 people: using homegrown vegetables, $11.93 OR only $1.49 per person
If I were to purchase the broccoli & tomatoes, or other fresh vegetable(s), I would pay a maximum of $0.99 per pound. Thus, if the broccoli and tomatoes for this meal were store bought at $0.99 lb., the cost for 8 people would still be very frugal at $14.55 OR only $1.82 per person.