Frugal Gourmet: One Chicken, Three Meals

All of my meals are budget conscious, but when whole chickens went on sale for 99c this week, I knew I could really stretch it and make it truly frugal. I spent $8.40 and got an 8 1/2 lb stuffer roaster, and I knew I could make 3 meals of 4 servings each with just that one chicken.

IMG_3120Meal 1: Roast Chicken, Cumin Roasted Carrots & Tossed Salad

You don’t need anything but kosher salt to make a delicious roast chicken, and if you spatchcock it, it’s an easy weeknight dinner. We ate the legs and thighs from the roast chicken with a huge tossed salad with lite ranch dressing and carrots roasted in olive oil, salt and cumin. Simple and delicious!

IMG_3133Meal 2: Thai Peanut Chicken Salad

I used 16 oz. of the cooked chicken breast to make this delicious and refreshing Thai Peanut Chicken Salad, adapted from this recipe.

IMG_3148Meal 3: Chicken, Kale & Acorn Squash Soup

I hope you didn’t throw that carcass away! I used mine to make a delicious chicken stock for a Chicken, Kale & Acorn Squash Soup by using my Instant Pot to cook the bones with some water and some vegetable stock. Then I sauteed onions, celery, two acorn squash and a bunch of kale before adding the stock and simmering for 30-40 minutes. Then right before serving I added the leftover chicken breast. I topped it with some grated Parmesan cheese. So yummy!

I made 3 meals for the week, 4 servings apiece, for about $20 in chicken, vegetables and stock. That’s TWELVE servings for $20! Not bad, right? You can do it too, the possibilities are endless! What are your ideas for stretching a chicken (or any other large cut of meat)? Let me know in the comments!


Copycat Sargento SWEET Balanced Breaks

So my most viewed blog OF ALL TIME is the recipe for Copycat Sargento Balanced Breaks. It’s quite obvious a lot of you love this easy, grab-and-go snack, but are deterred by the price. Well when I am deterred by the price I just make it myself!Not too long ago Sargento came out with Sweet Balanced Breaks: still dried fruit, nuts and cheese, but with some added chocolate, yogurt drops or graham crackers to reinforce the sweet notes. They’re just as tasty as the savory ones (okay, except the one with banana chips, because banana chips are gross). I decided to give you my take on the one with chocolate covered peanuts, because I love peanuts AND chocolate. Duh.  So here goes!

Copycat Balanced Breaks

  • 7g or 1/4 oz. of nuts
  • 7g of 60% dark chocolate chips
  • 14g or 1/2 oz. of cheese
  • 10g or 1/3 oz. of dried fruit (I used dried blueberries)

These are just as easy as the savory variety, with one caveat: I made my own chocolate covered peanuts. To do this, all I had to do was put the peanuts and chocolate chips into a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 10 seconds at a time until the chocolate melts, then stir to coat the peanuts refrigerate until the chocolate hardens, add to your little snack container with the dried fruit and cheese and it’s ready to eat! Yes, my chocolate “covered” peanuts are ugly, but who CARES. They taste delicious!

I made a point of taking down how much everything costs here, too, and I made these for 58 cents apiece, way less than the $1.33 apiece they retail for around here. I’m sure you can make it for less if you use less expensive dried fruit like craisins or raisins, which are much less expensive than dried blueberries (but not as delicious imho). I’m already thinking about other fun things I can throw in, like coconut chips! ❤

Will you give these sweet low-calorie snacks a try at home? I promise you won’t be disappointed!


Travel Snacks!

road-trip-shitIn case you didn’t figure it out from the Weekly Menu post this week, The Hubs and I are headed to Chicago on Thursday to visit some family. Not only that, but we’re DRIVING and bringing Bingley! It’s going to be a whirlwind long weekend trip full of food and dogs and for me, running. We’ll be staying with my cousin Susan and her husband, and I’ll be joining her running training group on Sunday, so I’m sure I’ll get plenty of fitness in on this trip.

We all know I’m not willing to spend my hard earned money on this junk.

I love a good road trip. When The Hubs and I were still dating (and living in separate countries) I used to have no problems making the 500 mile trip from the Philadelphia area to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on the regular, all by my wee lonesome. The drive from Philly to Chicago is a bit longer (okay, TWICE as long) so I plan on packing lots of snacks to enjoy while we’re stretching our legs at various rest stops. (Why do they call them rest stops anyway? I prefer to run around and pee than rest. Let’s rename them “Run Around and Pee Stops”! I think Bingley would agree with me there. *gasp!!!* That abbreviates to RAP Stops, which is entertaining on a whole other level! Seriously, why have we not done this?!)

Here are a few snacks I’ll be trying this trip:

The Salty

Garlic Bread Chickpeas from Annie at The Garlic Factory

We both love chickpeas in any way, shape or form. Roasted they’re a great crunchy snack for the road that won’t leave tiny crumbs everywhere. This garlic bread flavored version really makes me salivate just thinking about it, so we’re gonna give this a shot!

Image Credit

Healthy DIY Lunchables by Marla Meridith

Lunchables are super easy to eat but let’s face it, The Hubs is in his 40s and I’m in my 30s, so bologna and American cheese just aren’t our thing. Okay, they’re not MY thing. So I picked out an extra sharp aged cheddar and he accented it with summer sausage for our own version of a Lunchables, based on the below recipe.

Image Credit

The Sweet

Muesli Snacking Cookies by The Kitchn

Cookies are always a go-to for road trips. These cookies are only sweetened with honey, and made with whole grains for a much healthier, even breakfast-worthy treat! Plus, I love muesli. Does anyone not like muesli (who know what muesli is)?

Image Credit Izy Hossack via The Kitchn

Three Seed Brittle by Suzanne McCarthy

There’s something about brittles that always makes my mouth water. This brittle forgoes the hard toffee candy and uses just enough sticky sweetness to hold together those healthy, crunchy, nutty seeds.

Image Credit

3 Ingredient Peanut Butter & Honey Cereal Bars by Healthy Food For Living

Cereal bars are always great, and these are super simple. Sweetened with honey and made to stick with peanut butter, these oat cereal squares are far healthier than marshmallow based versions.

Image Credit

What’s your favorite homemade road trip snack? Let me know in the comments!


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