Here’s a peek at what we ate this week on our budget. I’ve had to bump up the budget over the years as my kids have grown and started to eat as much as adults.
I now spend $600-700/month on groceries and I struggle to remember those days when I spent $400-500. My kids ate like birds back in day and now they are famished every time they walk into the kitchen.
This Week’s Dinners:
Sunday: Pizza night! I bought a store-made take & bake pizza for $5 and it was enough pizza for us each to have 2 slices. The cantaloupe and pineapple were both delicious and were on a super sale of .99 each. I cut them both up and served as a side for 3 nights of dinners and 3 school lunches for each daughter. I also made a large garden salad to serve for 3 dinners this week.
Monday: Leftover night! I made Pioneer Women’s Baked Ziti on Saturday night. The recipe calls for 2 lbs of meat and 2 jars of tomato sauce, but just one box of ziti. It’s a large recipe and covered us for 2 dinners and a couple of lunches for myself.
Tuesday: Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup. I batch cooked 4 bone-in chicken breasts in the slow cooker and used some of the chicken and the stock that the chicken made during the cooking. SEE MY METHOD BELOW.
- Crunchy Parmesan Chicken – One of my most popular recipes at FBS!
- Smashed Skillet Potatoes – my favorite way to cook potatoes and it uses my cast iron skillet!
- Homemade Sugar Free Applesauce – this is a constant side dish for my family and it has NO added sugar!
- summer corn.
Thursday: Clean Out the Fridge Night! My family was not thrilled, but we need to reduce our food waste. Did you know you can save hundreds of dollars by reducing your food waste?!?!
Friday: Chicken & Black Bean Tacos, Fiesta Rice, and Refried Beans.
My Slow Cooker Method to Batch Cooking
Bone-In Split Chicken Breasts:
I like buying split chicken breasts, because not only is the cut of meat less expensive, but the bone and skin provide a lot of flavor to the chicken. And a delicious and flavorful stock develops while the chicken is cooking. I usually cook 4 split breasts at a time–just enough for one layer in my slow cooker.
What you’ll need:
- 4 split chicken breasts
- 2-3 carrots, cleaned, pealed, and roughly chopped
- 2-3 celery stalks, cleaned and roughly chopped
- 1 onion, peeled and quartered
- 1/2 cup of water
- salt, pepper, and your favorite chicken spices
Place the vegetables and water in the slow cooker. You want just enough water to cover the bottom. Lay the chicken on top of the vegetables and season with salt, pepper, and your favorite chicken seasonings. I use garlic powder, onion powder, and Paprika. Close the slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours or until the chicken in cooked all the way through.
When chicken is cooked completely, remove chicken from slow cooker and allow it to cool just enough to handle. Remove the skin and bones, and discard them. I find it easier to remove bones and skin when chicken is still warm.
The chicken is ready to use in any recipe. I cook chicken this way so I always have 2 cup portions of shredded chicken in the freezer ready to go. I like to use my Kitchen Aid paddle attachment to shred the chicken. I discovered this hack on Pinterest and it really does work. Turn the machine on intermittently, until you get the desired shred/chunk size. Don’t overshred or it will be too fine. You can use the chicken immediately or place in freezer containers and store in the freezer until you ready to use. I freeze in 2 cup portions.
The liquid that is left in the slow cooker is a delicious stock that can be added to soups and recipes. When the stock has cooled enough to handle, pour through a strainer into a glass bowl. Discard the vegetables. This stock will be ready to use in soups, or refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to use.
What tasty recipes did you serve to your family this week?