Sporty is in the home stretch, and in less than two weeks her project will officially be off the ground and running. Until then she's needing to stretch a few bucks, and since the woman don't cook, I put together a few tips to help her out. She's quick study. She'll get it.
You aren't really struggling if you don't have a five pound bag of potatoes in your house and have started to dread the smell of french fries. I've made ramen noodles every way they can be made, and probably a few ways they shouldn't have, learned the value of buying seasonings when times are good, and only just got out of the habit of buying groceries on payday when I realized I was never going to eat all the food already in my freezer. Ever.
So you need to stretch a few bucks to cover a few meals? Well, let's look at chicken....a meal for the ages.
You will need:
One pack of chicken (three breasts) - about $9
One packet of store brand gravy - about $1
Whatever seasonings you already own - about free
Heat your oven to about 400 degrees. Clean the chicken and season with whatever you have - a little salt, some pepper, garlic if you have it, I think everyone in America is legally required to have one can of "old bay" - which you can sprinkle on, just use whatever you got. I once seasoned a chicken with orange juice, okay?. Put the chicken in a baking dish, and put a little water on the bottom. Put in oven.
Wait about 30 minutes or so.
Mix up your packet of store brand gravy and water, and heat it up in a small pan. It should get thicker in about a minute or two. When you pull the chicken out, cut it up into smaller portions, then pour this gravy over the chicken. Most people are surprised, but chicken by itself tastes less like chicken than say, something that's supposed to taste like chicken. This gravy is for flavor. Yes, you are putting chicken flavoring on chicken, to make it taste more like chicken. Don't think about it. Put the chicken back in the oven and let it cook for another 5 or 10 minutes, cooking in the gravy. Pull it out, salt and pepper to taste. Put it in the fridge to keep, you got about three or four days.
Now. What is that good for?
With some boil in a bag rice ($2) you got chicken and rice. With some bread ($2), you got chicken sandwiches. With some vegetables you got chicken and veggies. Chicken and stove top stuffing ($2). Chicken and um, did I say rice? If you don't mix the chicken, but only add it as you make the meal, it maintains it's versatility. I have a friend, if you got to his house to eat with the family and you have a choice of the chicken, the chicken, or if he's feeling the culinary adventure, the chicken! Those kid's taste buds are going to explode when they finally get their first piece of bacon. Maybe some fish, but mostly chicken, so repetition can be okay if you're willing to use a little imagination. Wing sauce?
But I digress. So for about $15, you got eats for three or four days, with variety.
This works with pork too, but I wouldn't suggest the chicken gravy. Believe it or not, pork actually tastes like pork.
Try a pork tenderloin ($9) on or about 400 degrees for about 25 minutes in a shallow pan, then take it out and cut it into slices about finger width. Then lay out the slices and put it back in the oven for another 5 or 10 minutes. Sometimes I'll add barbecue sauce on half or some other sauce, and with a knife and some veggies ($1) and oil (jeez, you got oil) you can make a little stir-fry, some boil in a bag rice or again the with bread you already paid for, sandwiches.
So for less than $30 you got a weeks worth of eats, you just gotta get used to leftovers. And if it starts getting old, you hit a dollar menu somewhere.
But wait! There's more!
5 fairly large potatoes - about $5
1 roll of store brand foil - about $1
1 tub of butter - about $1
1 packet of cheese (optional) - about $3
1 thing of bacon bits - about $3
And just like that, loaded baked potatoes! Use the fork to poke holes in the potato before cooking, slather up the potato with a little oil water and salt, and pop them in the oven on - you guessed it - about 400 degrees for about an hour.
> or as my Mom discovered, wrapped in a few layers of cling wrap ($2) stick them in the microwave for 7 minutes.
Looks good, don't it?
Looks good, don't it?
Then remove, add the butter, the cheese and a splash of bacon bits and salt, and whammo...loaded baked potato! As a straight back up, and it will cover 5 good meals.
So, let's see...You got chicken, pork and baked potatoes, almost 13 or 14 meals...and you ain't even spent $40. Okay my math might be off a bit, but you see what I'm saying.