Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Our frugal dinner...

We got another surprise bill tonight...$241 at Gymboree that I thought was part of last month's $500 bill. Oppps! Yeah, this is a great example of how I got WAY off track on meeting our savings goals. And just because I needed to use my Gymbucks (aka, I bought $500 worth and got $250 off, plus another 5% off) is no excuse. I shouldn't have spent that much period on just part of Brooke's spring waredrobe!
I hate grocery shopping because it's one of the biggest budget items for us. I also hate grocery shopping because it feels like it never ends. Every Thursday I start thinking about it again. I'll write a list of what we have on hand and I'll try to mingle that with sale ads and coupons, but a lot of times I fall into the trap of seeing a recipe that looks delicious, and it might use up the chicken we have in the freezer, but then I need to buy 5 things to make the recipe. We also fall into the trap of quick snack items, especially for the kids.

My solution, a month long menu, well in our case it went from Sunday to March 18th, the day we leave for our Gatlinburg vacation, so about 33 days. We're going to try not to eat out or get carry out, not even for lunch, that entire time. AND we're going to try to stay under $50 every two weeks which is a BIG goal for us considering we have been spending about $150 every week.

I will post my monthly menu soon, but tonight's meal was frugal AND delicious, so I had to share. Our locally owned grocer had chicken leg quarters on sale for $.49/lb. I was able to get 6lbs (6 leg quarters - which is basically the drumstick and thigh I believe) for around $3. Last night I boiled them in some water and taco seasoning (I made a big batch of homeade seasoning since our family loves tacos). I then shredded all the chicken off the bone. I put 1/3 aside for tacos tonight and divided the other 2/3 into freezer bags, one for chicken tacos in the future and one for chicken tortilla soup next week. I then saved the chicken broth for both tonights spanish rice and next weeks tortilla soup saving me about $4 from two large boxed chicken broth.

For tonights dinner, I just tossed the shreded chicken in a skillet with more taco seasoning and just a tad of water. I also threw in a little corn to make it stratch a bit. We just threw that on some small soft taco flour tortillas we found at GFS for under $2 for 50 of them, topped them with chopped tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, a few packets of Taco Bell sauce I found in the fridge and a little sour cream.

As I side, I made spanish rice. I had remembered a recipe my brother had to make for his 4th grade class...a rice with tomatoes and bacon. For years I've tried to recreate it, but the second I laid eyes on this, I knew this was it. You have to check out this recipe at http://oneplusoneequalssix.blogspot.com/2009/06/spanish-rice.html. Added bonus...I've had two giant bags of long grain white rice sitting in my pantry for a long time, but never knew what to make with it. Pathetic huh? I'm a minute rice kinda gal. But this recipe not only used the rice (only 1 cup made a HUGE pot), but it also used up green onions I had for later this week, chicken stock I made last night, and a leftover can of diced tomatoes from dinner last night.
***These are borrowed pictures from the internet. Brooke was *dying* of strarvation, so I rushed to the table to feed her before I had time to snap pictures!***