Monday, June 29, 2009

Kroger Bargain Meal June 28-July 4

I am so excited to see Georgia shrimp on sale at Kroger this week. They are too expensive for a $5 meal, but it's our anniversary, so this is perfect. A couple of years ago, I started noticing a bit of tingling in my hands and lips when I eat shrimp from other countries. I began to pay attention, and when I bought the wild caught, American shrimp, it didn't happen. I'm not sure exactly what those other shrimp are treated with, but my body doesn't like it. Unfortunately, wild caught are always pricier. They taste more like shrimp, though, which is a good thing. And, we're having some tonight! I can't wait. So, if you have any excuse at all, go buy some shrimp this week.

This week's $5 meal is tortilla soup. It starts with chicken.
To make it "tortilla" soup, I'm real fancy, and I put crushed chips in the bottom of the bowl. Nothing but the finest around here.

Top with cheese.

And look what you end up with! This is one of our favorites. Everyone loves it. Soup is a bit hard for my boys to eat, so I use a slotted spoon to get the good stuff out, then make it into a quesadilla for them. Same flavors, less mess. All good.

Tortilla Soup (serves 8)
1 whole chicken--on sale $0.99/lb--$3
water to cover
salt, pepper, onion, celery to flavor (whatever you have limp in the fridge)
2 tsp. oil--$0.10
1 onion, chopped--on sale $0.79/lb--$0.25
1-3 jalapenos, chopped (to taste)
2-4 cloves garlic, chopped--$0.15
1 can (28 oz) tomatoes--approx $1.50
4 ears corn, cut from the cob--on sale 4/$1--$1
2 tsp. cumin
salt to taste
1/2 tsp. pepper
cheese, for serving--on sale $1.03/2 cups--$0.52
sour cream, for serving--on sale $1.77/24 oz--$0.44
avocado, for serving--$1
cilantro, for serving--approx $0.50/bunch--$0.25
lime, for serving--$0.25
chips, for serving (use the bottom of the bag)--$0.50

Cook chicken in water seasoned with salt, pepper, celery, and onion. Once chicken is done (about 45 minutes), remove from broth, allow to cool, and take meat off the bones. (I did this in the crockpot overnight.) Meanwhile, saute the onion, jalapeno, and garlic together in the oil. Add chicken broth, tomatoes, corn, and chicken. Season with cumin, salt, and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes or so. Serve with tortilla chips, cheese, avocado, cilantro, and a squeeze of lime over the top.

note---using a whole chicken makes it a pretty chicken-y meal. You can certainly use less chicken (about half the time, I use half of the meat from a chicken). Your husband won't love you quite as much, but it's still good. You can also do beans instead of meat, and this soup easily adapts to extra vegetables (zuchinni anyone??).

And, in an easy on the cook twist, this meal is really filling and needs no side dishes.

Total cost--$8.96 (8 servings) or $4.48 (4 servings)

Bargain Meal of the Week
As always, 5dollardinners hosts lots of meals from bloggers all over the country. If you aren't in love with Kroger, you can find whatever store your heart fancies.

Meal Plan

I love this time of year! I opened my mom's fridge this week to find an entire shelf full of green beans. That's a lot of green beans! I have more basil that I could have imagined, and I'm so proud because this is the first year I've grown it from seed. I feel like a mama with a new baby.

We didn't quite get our lettuce eaten last week, so there is a little bit more of that to eat this week. And, my turnips are big enough, so I'm going to pull the last 6 beauties, and we'll have those this week.

For the last several years, I've been a regular at our weekly farmers' market. This year, I'm finding that I just don't need to buy quite as much. I go, look around, and think, well, we have that at home. And that. And that. It's quite a thrill to know that we really are eating our of our backyard, in a significant way. Like our own CSA. That's really fun.

And, my husband thinks that we might have a ripe tomato by the weekend. It's just a grape tomato, but any red is worthy of celebrating! I can't wait.

This totally makes me feel like an old grandma. What can you do?

Friday: tacos

Saturday: lunch--sloppy joes, cucumbers in vinegar; supper--out!

Sunday: minestrone soup (beans, zuchinni, squash, green beans, collards, basil)

Monday: shrimp coktel (it's our anniversary)

Tuesday: meatloaf, new potatoes, squash casserole, green beans

Wednesday: take-out (it's my birthday)

Thursday: macaroni and cheese, greens, cornbread, cucumbers in vinegar

Friday: grilled chicken thighs, whatever pretty veggies are in our garden, new potatoes

As always, has sooooo many menu plans to be inspired from. Check it out!

Eight Great Years

On this day eight years ago, I married my favorite guy in the whole world. We were young and in love, full of butterflies, and I about the ride that we were about to embark on.

Somewhere along the way, we turned in to old married people. We had a hot date for our anniversary Saturday night, and we ended up at Dairy Queen.

It was the best Dairy Queen I've ever had.

I love you, honey! Here's to whatever the next eight years holds.

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Soft as butter

My baby will celebrate his first birthday next month.

Which makes this little unfinished project almost too embarrassing to blog about. Almost.

Today, I tackled one of my long neglected piles. Last year, when I was pregnant, I tried to wear my very comfy, very well loved, fabric as soft as butter and as thin as silk, pajama pants. Let me just tell you. A pregnant belly the size of Texas and fabric as thin as silk don't match. And, not one to learn easily, I had four pairs of pants to repair. Four (!!) times, I made the same mistake.

I have an awesome sewing machine. A great sewing area. This was just one of those projects that kept getting put to the bottom of the list. But, it's eighty nine bajillion thousand degrees outside this time of year, so it's the perfect time to get little projects done. And, I tackled the pile.


It took 20 minutes.

I'm ashamed. But, mostly, I'm kicking myself cause I really do love these very soft, very comfy, fabric as thin as silk, pajama pants. My friends, I have missed you!!

Motto of the story. Get to your piles and knock something out today. You'll be happier for it.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal June 25-July1

Bargain Meal of the Week

This week, Publix has pork spareribs on sale. Only thing is, I don't eat ribs. Oh, it's not that I don't like them. I've had them a handful of times. They taste good. It's just that ribs are so much darn trouble. So much work, so little meat. Not my style. So, if you want to take advantage of the sparerib sale, this recipe looks good. I won't be making it in my house, but I'm sure they'll be tasty. LOL


Asparagus is also on sale $1.99 per pound. And that's a sale that I can wrap my head around. We love asparagus. Adore it. Eat it as often as possible in the spring. It's so good. So tasty. Anyway...

This soup is one of my favorites. My grandmother could whip up some cream soups. Because of a newspaper article in my childhood, we always refer to Mimi as "the kitchen magician". So, here's the magician's soup. And, as a disclaimer... My husband is a big 300 pound dude. He eats this soup, likes it in fact, but it's not a big, hearty, "I've been working outside all day, and I'm starving", sort of meal. It's more of a "we ate an enormous Mexican lunch out, and I need a little something for supper" meal for him. Just so you know.

Cream of asparagus soup, Mimi style

1 pound asparagus--on sale--$1.99
chicken bouillon cube
2 T butter--$0.15
3 T flour--$0.10
3 cups milk--on sale $2.25/gal--$0.42

Boil the asparagus in enough water to cover, along with the bouillon cube, for about 5 minutes. I usually cut the asparagus into 2 inch segments, and boil all but the tips. Meanwhile, make a roux from the flour and butter. Add the milk, stirring constantly, until bubbly and thickened. Add in the asparagus. Put this whole shebang in the blender to puree. Add back to the pot, adding enough of the asparagus cooking water as needed to make a soup consistency. Add the asparagus tips, and cook for another 5 minutes, until the tips are tender. Taste for seasoning, and add salt and pepper as needed.

Serve with rolls--on sale $2.39/6--$2.39

Total cost--$5.05

Summer dishes

Dishes are so pretty.

I love looking at them, reminiscing about the memories they hold, using them, and setting a pretty table.

So, when I got married, I went for quantity. LOL. I chose not to get any fancy bone china that would pass muster for the queen. Instead, I have 3 sets of everyday china. It's still beautiful, even if it came from the ordinary kitchen section of Rich's.

What to do with 3 sets of dishes? Well, for me, I can't stand knowing that beautiful dishes are sitting lonely in my china cabinet. So, I switch them with the seasons. Holiday china for November and December, flowers for winter and spring, and, then, I pull out this beautiful white pattern for summer and fall.

It is a white on white pattern that I adore. When we got married, it was on sale at Rich's, and I drove to 5 different stores, all over the city, trying to find all the pieces. It worked! Between wedding gifts and my bridal insanity, we have service for 12, plus many of the serving pieces.

It really showcases summer flavors beautifully. I like the way all the colors of this time of year show up so well on these plates.

Of course, in a perfect world, I'd have 4 sets. One for each season. Or maybe 12. One for each month. If you see me in the china department at Belk's, just ignore me. I'm dreaming about my next set.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Saturday Date Night

We had a good time Saturday night, enjoying good conversation, admiring our backyard, and listening to music. No fancy theme this week, but fun nonetheless.

The drink of the week, however, was exceptional! Mike isn't a huge fan of really sweet drinks. Oh, he drinks them to make me happy, but his drink of choice is usually plain seltzer. Sometimes to kick it up, he'll add lime juice. Woohoo!

So, when I found this drink in a recent book from the library, I knew it'd be a hit. He loved it, and surprisingly, I really did, too. It is a bit of a pain to make, and it has to be made one at a time, so definitely a date night sort of drink. But a nice change of pace and a fun way to celebrate the beginning of cucumber season.

Cucumber Cooler
3 slices cucumber (I used seedless ones)
one 1 1/2 inch piece chili pepper (I used jalapeno)
1 sprig fresh cilantro
1 oz fresh lime juice
1 oz simple syrup
Muddle 2 slices of the cucumber, the chili piece, and the cilantro in a large glass. Add ice to the glass, then the lime juice and simple syrup. Shake vigorously. Strain into serving glass (over ice), top with seltzer, stir gently, garnish with remaining cucumber slice, and serve.

Meal Plan

Our garden is hopping! I think this is the last week of our lettuce until fall, though we may stretch it for 2 more weeks. We harvested all the radishes yesterday, and they'll go in a stir-fry later this week. We'll plant more this fall. My toddler has loved to pull them up. They have nice flavor, though I'm not quite sure what type they are. We bought the seeds at our local Korean supermarket, and the packaging is mostly in Korean, with the English translation "radish." Alrighty then. Whatever. They are quite tasty. I actually think that they are similar to a daikon, but not quite.

Friday: fried shrimp, squash casserole, salad

Saturday: enchiladas, salad, refried beans

Sunday: grilled hot dogs, roasted new potatoes, purple cabbage slaw

Monday: roasted chicken, pasta with zuchinni and chick peas, salad

Tuesday: hamburgers, grilled zuchinni, grilled baby bok choy, salad

Wednesday: black eyed pea soup with andouille and mixed greens (mustard, chard, turnips, collards), rice, salad

Thursday: stir fry with bok choy, chinese cabbage, radishes, beef over ramen

Friday: chilaquiles with chard (yes, again, but we really like them, they use lots of vegetables, and they are very, very easy)

Kroger Bargain Meal June 21-27

Bargain Meal of the Week

For Christmas last year, I got a meat grinder. Fancy, huh? But, it was something I had really wanted and had thought about for a long time. Y'all, it was the best use of $45 ever. It makes it so easy to have sausage any time you want. I've ground 15 pounds of sausage over the last 6 months, and we've experimented with the flavorings that we like best. The best part? I use a boston butt to make the sausage, at less than half the price of store-bought sausage.

I haven't tried smoked sausage yet, but that's next on my list. Andouille--here I come!

So, this meal utilizes some of that homemade sausage. I season double ground pork pretty heavily to make the sausage. You could easily substitute non-seasoned ground pork, ground beef, or even (gasp!) store-bought sausage. Any of those would be good.

The above picture is stuffed eight-ball zuchinni squash. This week, Kroger has bell peppers on sale. This filling is appropriate for any vegetable. I've done zuchinni, peppers, tomatoes, and mushrooms. For whatever vegetable I use, I like to chop the part that I scoop out and add it to the filling. Oh, and I use half peppers (cut lengthwise) for stuffed peppers. My husband will eat them, but they aren't his favorite, so I cut down on the size of the pepper serving a wee bit for his sake.

Stuffed Vegetables

bell peppers--on sale 6/$2.99--use 2 for stuffing, plus 1 for the filling--$1.50
1 pound ground sausage--boston butt on sale $1.29/lb--$1.29
Bread crumbs--free
Italian seasoning--dried or fresh
salt and pepper to taste
1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes--$0.50 for FMV brand
mozzarella--on sale $1.03 when you buy 10--$0.52

Brown sausage with onion and 1 chopped pepper until meat is browned and vegetables are soft. Drain any excess fat from the pan. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning (or basil, oregano, and thyme). Add about 1/3 of canned tomatoes to mixture. Add bread crumbs until mixture has the consistency of meatballs. Stuff mixture into halved bell peppers. Place in baking dish, top with remaining tomatoes, and then top each pepper half with shredded mozzarella. Cover with foil and bake at 350 for approx 30 minutes, until filling is hot and peppers are cooked through.

Serve over a bed of pasta (approx $1).

Total cost--$5.06

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Farmers' Market

Saturday mornings are our local farmers' market. We live in a large suburban county that likes to think of itself as many small towns. And, our house is mid-way between two of those "small" towns. They each have farmers' markets, and each of them has a different feel. I like to hit both of them. :)

This is the line at David's stand. His vegetables are just that good, and if you're not there by 8, he'll sell out of the really good stuff. This week, I held back and just got red cabbage there.
Beautiful zuchinni. We're lucky to have zuchinni both in our own garden and in my mom's garden. I have plans to become the zuchinni bread woman this year. I'm freezing it pre-portioned for bread, and every single covered dish this coming year is going to include zuchinni bread.
Look at these cute patty-pans! I couldn't resist them, and I have a few to cook up. Recipe as yet undetermined.
Kale is much prettier than it is tasty. We were members of a CSA one year that grew an excessive amount of kale. We got kale every single week for 20 weeks running. By about week 15, I was enjoying the beauty of kale in a vase all week. I considered it the flowers of the veggie box.

Radishes, beets, daikons, kohlrabi, and green beans. I love the colors and textures of everything.

And beautiful flowers.
My big boy loves the "outside farmers' market" because it's held in a local park. Lots of walking paths, and more importantly, a train track across the street. The train comes by at 8:22, so if we time it just right, we get to see the train on Saturday morning. He and Daddy run to watch it. Definitely a highlight of his week.

This week, we ended up with watermelon, cucumbers (two sizes), bell peppers, patty pans, potatoes, collards, spring onions, and a handful of cherry tomatoes.

And that only supplements the things that we are growing in our garden--this week, we have lettuce, bok choy, chinese cabbage, turnips, mustard, the first zuchinni, and chard.

And cucumbers, squash, green beans, chard, and cute little eight-ball zuchinni from my mom's garden.

I dearly love this time of year! So much good food! So many ideas! So exciting!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal June 18-24

Bargain Meal of the Week

Do you eat grillades at your house? I don't remember eating them growing up, but we now love them. When my mom married my step-father, he had just moved here after a couple of years in south Mississippi. He couldn't get some of the flavors of that area off his mind, and my mom started cooking a little bit more creole food. I think that time period is when I first had grillades. Whenever it was, I knew that it was good stuff, and I latched right on.

This is another recipe from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook. Full of good stuff, I tell ya! It was originally written for 1.5 pounds of round steak that you tenderize yourself. Always one to cut out a step, I just buy cube steak. And, it's a recipe that I have cut the meat way down in, without noticing a big lack of flavor. It's a breakfast for supper meal for us, which is usually served on a night that we're not desperately hungry. If folks are really hungry, you can always add some scrambled eggs on the side. Or you can put salad on the side and ignore the "breakfast for supper" angle. It is a meal like quiche--easily able to transfer from breakfast to dinner.

**as an aside** If you don't like grits (and if you don't--what is wrong with you??), this would probably be good over rice, too. But, first, you ought to try making grits with half water and half milk. Or even all milk. Or if it's a holiday, half and half. You'll be a grit lover before you know it.

Grits and Grillades

1/2 pound cube steak--on sale $3.99/lb--$2
3 T all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp creole seasoning (like Tony Cachere's)
2 T butter, melted and divided--$0.16
1 onion, chopped--$0.25
1 green bell pepper, chopped--not on sale yet--use frozen--approx $0.50
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can tomatoes, undrained and chopped--$1
1 cup water
4 cups hot cooked grits--a little over 1 cup dry--approx $0.30

Cut meat into 2 inch squares; set aside. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients in a ziploc bag. Add steak and shake to coat.
Brown steak in 1 T butter over med-high heat about 2 minutes on each side. Do in batches if necessary. Remove and set aside.
Add remaining 1 T butter, onion, and next 3 ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly until vegetables are tender. Add tomatoes and water; return steak to pot. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 45 minutes, stirring once.
Spoon grillades over grits, and serve hot.

Serve with canteloupe--on sale --$1.47

Total cost for this meal--$5.68

There are lots more bargain meals to be had over at $5 dinners. Find your favorite store and what folks are creating out of the weekly sales flyers.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Using what you have

Meredith at likemerchantships is using this summer to focus on using what she has. What a timely message for me as I use this summer to remind myself that God's purpose for me at this point involves living exactly where we do, in this house, with all of the goods and bads that come along with that.
One excellent thing about living in suburbia is the park system. Y'all. We have thirty three parks in my county. The county is big, but it's not that big. I can get from one end to the other (at 11 am on a Monday...let's not talk about traffic) in about 40 minutes. So, really. Not that big. And that is a HUGE number of parks.
So, we're purposing to explore them this summer. In the last 2 weeks, we've hit two. I need to step it up a little to hit all the parks before Labor Day. But, I'm up for the challenge.

And the best part? Cause we're right in our backyard, we're able to come home, eat lunch, and naps are in their own beds. And, then, I can use that quiet time to recharge Mama's batteries. Now that's using what you have.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Kroger Bargain Meal June 14-20

Bargain Meal of the Week

This week's bargain meal is a new one to me. A friend recently tried it, though, and she thought it was excellent. So, I'll be putting this on the menu soon. And, just in case you missed it, we had chicken divan last night. Yum!!

Grilled Pork Chops with Spice Paste

4 garlic cloves, minced--$0.15
3 Tbsp. vegetable oil--$0.10
2 Tbsp. light brown sugar--$0.10
2 Tbsp. coarse salt
2 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 bone-in pork loin chops (use mixed pork chops instead)--on sale $1.79/lb--$1.79

In a bowl, mix together garlic, oil, sugar, salt, paprika, pepper and cayenne until paste forms. Coat pork with paste and wrap or cover in plastic, place in fridge for 1 hour - up to 3 hours. Grill.

Serve this with grilled zuchinni and cucumber salad (like this without tomatoes).
Zuchinni--on sale--$0.99
Cucumbers--on sale $0.49/each--$0.98
Onions--on sale $0.79/lb--$0.79

Total cost for this meal--$4.90

Sometimes life gets in the way of a bargain meal. That's what happened to us yesterday. The park called, new friends were made, and the blog was neglected. But, there are many, timely meals over at $5 Dinner's Bargain Meal of the week. Click on over and check it out.

Meal Plan

Oh, I am loving late spring and early summer! The vegetables are rolling in, the days are long, and it's so much easier to have energy to cook supper when it doesn't get dark at 5:30. Our menus have firmly made the switch, too, from winter food to summer food. Today, I'm even switching out my dishes to the summer china. I love the changes in seasons that keep everything from getting ho-hum.

Saturday: eggs in a frame (breakfast), turkey sandwiches (similar to the Marigold turkey melt at this restaurant) and chips (lunch), tuna nicoise, french bread (supper)

Sunday: bagels (breakfast), chicken tortilla soup (lunch), pasta carbonara with chard, asparagus, red pepper, and English peas, salad (supper)

Monday: chicken divan, rice, kohlrabi, peas, salad

Tuesday: egg, potato, and chorizo tacos with radish salsa

Wednesday: stuffed eight ball zuchinni, turnip gratin, salad

Thursday: salmon croquettes, squash casserole, salad

Friday: fried shrimp, leftover squash casserole, potato salad

As always, orgjunkie hosts hundreds of people and their ideas for menus this week. Check it out!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Date night, Tomato King Style

I dearly love my husband.

So...when he decides that he has the perfect activity for our date night, I just go with it. Saturday night, we spent the evening...tying up tomatoes. Yep, you got that right. Tying up all the tomatoes. There are 32 of them. Heaven help us.

The um, un-exciting, part of our date night was inspired by this beautiful produce that I picked up early in the week from my personal shopper. She just so happens to be my personal gardener as well (I like vegetables; I need two--her and my husband--good thing they both love me). Look at these beautiful little haricot verts. This is a test year for the tender long skinny green beans. I really enjoy them so far, and I'm not even a huge fan of green beans.

The lettuce in our own garden is a bit nutty this week, so a menu developed that ran with the lettuce and the haricot verts.

Tuna nicoise salad, served with french bread (hey, tuna nicoise is french, you know..)

And sparkling strawberry lemonade. (not as good as last week's blueberry basil version, but not bad, either)

To make up for the tomato tying, we watched a very, very girly movie. And another Saturday night ends with me happy with my choice of a husband.
Always a good thing.

The best $14 I've spent all month

A few weeks ago, we enjoyed a local arts festival one Saturday morning. We stood in line for balloon animals, we walked around a cute downtown area, we helped our toddler make a cool mask, and we got talked into a subscription to The New York Times.

Y'all. It was like when they sign you up for credit cards as a freshman in college. All reason went out the window when we saw that shiny new travel coffee mug.

We had to own it.

So, we offered up our address, signed on the dotted line, then became new subscribers to a fancy (and I do mean fancy) big city newspaper.

And came home and freaked out. Did we have room in the budget for this? What were we thinking? This would mean that we had THREE newspapers to read every Sunday. Where would we find the time? And on and on.

But, then it came. And two weeks into our subscription, we've decided that it was very much worth it. And not only cause we look way cool drinking out of a New York Times coffee mug.

So, excuse me while I get back to reading my newspaper.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Publix Bargain Meal June 11-17

Bargain Meal of the Week
This week's Publix bargain meal is a classic, Chicken Divan. There are many, many variations of this recipe out there. Lots of them use cream soups. That type is okay, but the absolute best recipe comes from The Ultimate Southern Living cookbook. I love it so much that occasionally, I make the sauce to serve on broccoli, without making it into the whole casserole. It's good.

Do you have cookbooks that have specific memories attached? I got this one for Christmas the first year we were married. At the time, I was working a professional job, eating out a couple of nights a week on pharmaceutical reps' dimes, and while I loved to cook, I didn't do it that often. Fast forward a very short 6 months. I had a husband in grad school, I was working nights as a nurse, and I suddenly had a smaller food budget and more time on my hands. It was great. We were also living in a place that felt like Eden--the farmers' markets were amazing. The produce flowed. There were new vegetables to explore all around me.

So, I started cooking.

And, this cookbook became my friend. I have cooked many, many recipes from it. It is my go-to cookbook for anything that I don't want to call my mom about. Does potato salad usually have onions? When I can't remember, Southern Living comes to the rescue. How do you make pie crust again? My friend helps me out. And on and on. If you don't have a classic cookbook that makes you smile, this is a good one to get. And, since it's not new and shiny these days, this cookbook is ususally bargain priced.

Chicken Divan

4 bone in chicken breast halves--substitute whole chicken (cook and use 2 cups)--on sale $0.99/lb--$2
1 large sprig rosemary
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
2 T butter--$0.15
1/4 cup flour--$0.05
1 cup milk--on sale $2.25/gal--$0.14
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten--$0.09
8 ounces sour cream--substitute yogurt--on sale $2.19/32 oz--$0.55
1/2 cup mayonnaise--$0.41
1/2 t grated lemon rind
1 1/2 T lemon juice--$0.33
1/2 t salt
3/4 t curry powder
2 (10 oz) packages frozen broccoli spears, thawed--use fresh--on sale--$1.67
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese--$0.50

Combine first 4 ingredients. Add water to cover. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 40 minutes or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from broth, reserving 1/2 cup broth. Let chicken cool; bone and chop chicken. Set aside.

Melt butter over low heat; add flour, stirring until smooth. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Gradually add reserved 1/2 cup chicken broth and milk; cook over medium meat, stirring constantly, until mixture is thickened and bubbly.

Gradually stir about one-fourth of hot mixture into beaten egg yolk; add to remaining hot mixture, stirring constantly. Cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add sour cream and next 5 ingredients, stirring well.

Layer half each of broccoli, chopped chicken, and sauce in a lightly greased casserole. Repeat layers; sprinkle with cheese. Bake, uncovered, at 350 for 35 minutes or until bubbly. Yield: 6 servings.

We like this served with rice (though I like everything served with rice!)
1 cup rice--$0.30

Total cost for this meal--$6.19 (for 6 servings) or $4.12 (for 4 servings)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Frugal Successes of this week

It is no secret that I love vegetables. Green ones, red ones, yellow ones. Bring it on! This week's new experiment was an old favorite with swiss chard added. Chilaquiles is a crazy frugal meal, cause it uses day-old tortillas. I added in the chard with the tomato sauce. This was sooo good. I will definitely make it again.

Remember my personal shopper? She found a train table for our playroom! What an awesome find. I debated and debated over one at a spring consignment sale, and I finally walked away and let a friend pay the $40 for it. My mom was able to snag this one for 10 bucks. Ten bucks people. Once again, she rocks.

Inspired to look a little more stylish by Balancing Beauty and Bedlam's Frugal Fashionista Fridays, I went shopping in my own closet. Over the past 4 years, 2 pregnancies, 2 postpartum bodies, and feet that grew an entire size (to a very popular 10.5), I have very few clothes and shoes that fit well. Somehow, I had overlooked these sandals (bought too big, before I had my first baby). They are almost brand new, I still love them (that's why I bought them even too big), and these days, they fit perfectly. Score!

Last night, I had a great Moms' Night Out with friends from my MOPS group. And, lucky for us, the restaurant that was chosen had coupons in Sunday's paper. Several of us brought coupons, and there were enough for the whole table. Dinner out, including tax and tip, was only $10. Time with friends and no cutting up the meat on someone else's plate? Makes that $10 totally worth it. And, getting to see everyone else's frugal side? Not too shabby either.

I love my Korean grocery store. Sometimes, at the front of the store, they have these huge flats of the even-better-than-normal deals. So, sometimes, you come home with a two and a half pound bag of spinach. Watch out Popeye! We're gaining on you.

It really saves money on laundry when you let your toddler wear his jammie shirt all day long. Saves on Ibuprofen for Mama's headaches, too.

Cheap summer fun with the hose. Sometimes a plant or two even gets watered.