Monday, November 15, 2010

Eating for less challenge: Day 1 ~


 Tonight’s Meal:

Roasted Chicken, Oven roasted potatoes, Green Beans, Cornbread, and fresh pineapple & banana fruit salad

Total Estimated Cost:

Approximately $ 6.00 (give or take) or about 86 cents per person in our seven person family*

This meal is definitely not the most colorful meal in the world but it is a family favorite around here.  After the meal, I heard two people say, “That was really good”.   One child commented, “I am full” after he had cleaned every bit of food from his plate.  Two people went back for cornbread seconds and one went back for extra chicken – twice!  Even though we didn’t have a rainbow of colors at this meal, we did have full bellies! 

* Before I share the costs & recipes, I need to explain a bit how I calculated the cost.  Since it is about impossible for me to calculate the cost of my staple pantry items such as flour, corn meal, sugar, oil, eggs, etc., I have just simply rounded up the known costs of the main meal items to the nearest dollar.  After figuring that my flour probably cost about 10 cents a cup {I bought some on sale this past weekend.  I believe it was $1.25 a bag.}, I decided that trying to figure out the exact costs of my staple items & spices would be a bit time consuming.  I still believe without every exact nickel and dime that these prices will closely reflect how much I spent on these foods. 

~The Breakdown~


~Roasted Chicken ~

* recipe below

Chickens were on sale this weekend at Kroger for 49 cents a pound.  At another local store, they were 69 cents a pound.  Even when whole chickens are not on sale, they are still a good buy for us.  The most a chicken costs us is about $ 5 – $6.  However, at 49 cents a pound these 4 pound chickens were $1.96 each.  We cooked both chickens tonight but our family only ate one chicken.  The other chicken was deboned and the meat will be used for another meal.  The bones were also saved to make broth in the morning. 

I do realize that these chickens are not organic.  As much as I would love to feed my family organic meats, it is not in the budget right now.  Hopefully one day we will eat organic meats but for now, I just try to fill their bellies the best way that I can.

Estimated cost of one chicken:

$ 2.00  (actual: $1.96)

~Side Dishes~

Side dishes are the secret to making this meal work.  Since there will not be large amounts of chicken for everyone, the side dishes are what help to round out the meal and make the family feel satisfied. 

~Oven-roasted potatoes~

Estimated cost:

3 pounds at 60 cents a pound = $2.00  (actual: $ 1.80)

~ Green beans seasoned with bacon ~

Estimated cost:

  • 2 slices of bacon at 36 cents
  • 1/2 bag of frozen green beans at 63 cents
  • green beans from the garden (free) =

$1.00 (actual:  99 cents)

~Cornbread ~

I did not figure the cost of the cornbread.  One, all of the ingredients came from my pantry.  Two, the cost of most of the ingredients is just mere cents so I’ve rounded the cost of the other items up in order to reflect the cost of the cornbread.   Maybe one day, I’ll find some time and compute the price.  {smile}


~ Pineapple & banana fruit salad ~

Pineapples were on sale this weekend for 94 cents each.  The banana was just a few cents. 

Estimated cost:

$1.00 (actual:  94 cents + a few)

~ The recipes~


Roasted Chicken

  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tsp paprika ( I was out but I like to add for color)
  • 1/2 chopped onion
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • olive oil

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl except the onion and chicken.  Wash and dry chicken.  Place spices under the skin and push it under the skin with a wooden spoon.  (This gives a lot of flavor to the meat.)  Place leftover spices inside of the chicken and rub onto the skin.  Also, put chopped onion inside the chicken.  Place chicken breast side down into a roasting pan.  Sprinkle with olive oil and bake at 350 degrees until done.  (Usually about 2 hours, give or take.  Check to make sure that the juices run clear.)  This recipe does well in a crockpot also.

Oven roasted potatoes

This is a very simple recipe but my kids love it.  Scrub and cut potatoes.  Place into an oven safe dish.  Sprinkle with spices and stir.  (We used salt, pepper, and seasoned salt.)  Place a few pats of butter on top of the potatoes and bake in a 350 degree oven until ready.  We’ve also made these in a microwave but would stir the potatoes every five minutes until ready.


We like sweet cornbread in our family so this recipe has sugar.  I’m tempted to try this with honey instead of sugar one day but this recipe works so well that I’m afraid to mess up a good thing!

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup corn meal
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 c. cooking oil
  • 1 1/2 cup milk

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl.  Pour into a baking dish.  (I love to use cast iron for cornbread but mine needs to be seasoned.)  Bake at 425 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes.  Be careful to not overcook. 

Final Thoughts on Day 1 of eat for less challenge:

My family (including older children) was impressed when I told them the cost of the meal.  They even commented how they enjoyed this 6 dollar meal much more than a $30 dollar meal from McDonald’s.  That made my day!  My husband also thanked me for working so hard to lower the cost of our food budget.  My family blessed me tonight with their appreciation and thankfulness.  That definitely makes the extra work of sticking to a food budget worth it.  See you tomorrow night with meals for day 2. 



  1. THANK YOu, Thankyou, thank you, thank you, for taking the time to post this as well as recipes!

    I have been buying chicken breast at 1.99 #, now I see that buying the netire chicken is a much cheaper alternative. we are starting a tradition this saturday night...a sabbath celebreation. I think i will make your roast chicken!


  2. Amanda, you're welcome! I rarely buy chicken breast unless it is bone-in and on sale for about 99 cents or less. We usually go the whole chicken route. On occassion, we will buy chicken breasts. (I personally love skinless & boneless chicken thighs which are cheaper and tastier but higher calorie content.) When I do buy chicken breasts, I stretch it as far as I can.

    A note about the whole chicken...some contain the "extra parts" inside of the chicken. The ones above did not but be sure to clean those out. Or if you are squeamish (like me), try to get a chicken that says it does not have those "extra parts". :) But sometimes the deal is so good that I just deal with the extra parts. {smile}

    We've been talking about starting a sabbath meal too. Have a great day, Amanda!

  3. Thanks for the tips!

    I am planning our meal for this Saturday night. We decided to do this on Saturday instead of Friday to let our day of rest go into Sunday morning and lunch time. If I am creative enough I will take photos and post about it.


I love comments! Thanks for taking time to leave me a message. I'll be sure to get back in touch with you!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...