Thursday, October 9, 2008

Quick Easy Inexpensive Meal

I picked up a couple cookbooks at the library recently. Both by Sandra Lee of Semi Homemade fame. For those of you who have not heard of her. Her whole philosophy around cooking and food is 70/30. Mix 70% quality prepackaged foods with 30% fresh ingredients. I watched her show on the Food Network a lot when I was unemployed three years ago. I can't believe it's taken me this long to pick up one of her cookbooks!

Tonight I made cashew chicken from the Money Saving Meals cookbook. It took hardly any time at all and it was good. I bought a roasted chicken which is more than enough meat for two recipes (tomorrow night it's chicken mole), a bag of frozen stir fry veggies (also will cover both dishes), canned sauces, cashews, canned chopped tomatoes and Top Ramen. Total cost for these groceries $23.48 (already had rice for chicken mole at home). Recipe says four servings each but it makes more like six for the cashew chicken. That comes out to $2.35 per serving unless the chicken mole makes six servings then it's $1.96 per serving!

I lucked out too cause the cashew chicken recipe called for a can of waterchestnuts and the bag of frozen veggies I bought already had them in there (along with mushroom, carrot, broccoli & yellow carrot). I think next time I make this dish I will make a few substitutions.
  • The stir fry sauce was a little to salty for my taste so I will substitute peanut sauce.
  • Two packages of Ramen noodles were a lot (my veggies actually had a small amount of noodles included too) so I will try just one package if it's just hubby and I.
  • Not as many veggies as I like so I will double the veggies next time.
Just the other night hubby and I went to a local restaurant that has a really good happy hour special and spent $26 (including tip). Granted our beers were $6 each (Guinness) but our appetizers were $3.50 and $4.50 each. The appetizers were really more like regular servings. Hubby got a huge burger and fries and I got a regular serving size of Rigatoni Bolognese. We were totally stuffed.

Even though the happy hour meal was a good deal for the price for eating out it just goes to show how much you can save by cooking at home. Not only that but this recipe was pretty Weight Watchers friendly. The Ramen noodles were probably the worse in the dish point wise! Also, it's a recipe I can make from memory. I don't need a cookbook to tell me how to make it again.


mrsb said...

Ooh, I do something similar, but cold, with a bag of broccoli slaw (like coleslaw but with broccoli) and the rotisserie chicken. Instead of a sauce, I just use a little soy sauce, a little Asian rice vinegar, a ton of garlic and ginger and just a smidge of sesame seed oil.

I like the idea of using the Ramen, too!

small town city girl said...

Yummy! Sounds like that cookbook might be headed for the ol' Christmas wish list. :)

paisley penguin said...

I forgot to mention I added Ginger to the store bought sauce which also included the packets from the ramen.

I do make a cold salad with Ramen, chicken, cabbage and oil and vinegar. It's yummy!

If I like enough of the recipies I will ask for it but so far it's easy things to remember and add together.