Money Saving Mom and Making Meals

And it is dinner time again! Now that D will eat chicken (though only free range) I am trying to cook it more. Last week, when he first consumed chicken after many years, I was unprepared, having made dinner for myself as he was in class. So check out this post about me, the Money Saving Mom and how I make my money-saving meals.

Once I knew chicken was a possibility, I knew exactly what recipe to make: Sandra Lee’s Guava and Rosemary Glazed Chicken! I found this recipe in one of her cookbooks that I had taken out of the library. When D was at a conference late last year, I made it for myself and my mother.

My mother, I might add, who is not a huge chicken fan. She couldn’t get enough of it.  And actually asked for seconds! My father was shocked! (My father is an incredibly picky eater so I had to make him a hot dog.)

So tonight I told D I knew exactly what I was making for dinner and he agreed! On Sunday when we went grocery shopping, the free-range chicken was buy one package, get a second package free! So naturally, I purchased two. If we act as though we are on an episode of Money Saving Meals, that means my package of chicken’s total cost was $3!

Now although I love the recipe, I do make a few changes. First, D and I are not rosemary fans. I live for parsley (not literally) so I substitute that.  Second, to keep costs down, I use bottled lime juice instead of fresh. I can’t taste the difference but someone else might be able.

Lastly, I use a large teaspoon of minced garlic (the large plastic bottle you can buy at the grocery store and keep in your fridge for months!). Since I strain the sauce after heating it through, the bulkiness doesn’t matter.

In the cookbook, Sandra Lee paired the chicken with Saffron Rice. Now let me say that this recipe looks delicious. However, saffron is a very expensive spice that I have never had another occasion to use. In its place I use turmeric. I like the subtle flavor and the color! And it’s absolutely worth the money (probably more than the sushi we had recently)!

The first time I went to the grocery store I wasn’t able to locate currants so I used dried cranberries. Since it worked the first time I keep using it! I also use a rice cooker and Uncle Ben’s brown rice (healthier). I find if I put the rice up first, it’s pretty much done when the meal is. (How much turmeric and cranberries? Eyeball it. Probably a teaspoon of turmeric and 1/3 c cranberries.) You could also use other spices/additions as well. I didn’t think I had dried cranberries so I was going to skip the turmeric, use another spice (hadn’t decided what yet) and put in pine nuts.

Anyway, at the top of the page is a picture of our meal. We both had seconds. How could you not?

Now, to tally up (approximately) the cost of our meal:

Chicken: $3 (thank you sale price!  Otherwise about $6)
Guava Jelly: $1 (used approx a third of the jar)
Lime: $.25 (if even that! benefit to using bottled)
Parsley: $.05 (I bought a HUGE container at BJs–think Costco if you are without a BJs–and had a coupon. Spent next to nothing!)
Garlic: $.10 (estimate.  I buy the large container at the grocery store and it really does last months even though I use it a lot!)
EVOO: $.50 (estimate again.  Again I bought a LARGE thing of EVOO at BJs and received as a wedding shower gift a container to pour it into to keep on my counter.)
Salt and Pepper: $.05 (though technically zero since these were cute gifts from Target!)
Flour: $.25 (again an estimate … I know I am doing that a lot!)
Rice: $.10 (this is a HUGE bag … I’ll have to take a picture eventually)
Tumeric: $.10
Dried Cranberries: $1.00 (approx 1/3 of the bag)

TOTAL: $5.40 for dinner for 2 of us.  And enough leftovers for lunch tomorrow.

If you make this recipe, let me know what you think! Check out as well this page about the Queen Of All Cakes.