Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Eating for less challenge: Day 2 ~


Tonight’s Meal:

Chicken and Sausage Gumbo with rice, collard greens, rolls, and apple crisp

Total Estimated Cost:

Approximately $8.00 or about $1.14 per person in our seven person family 

I seriously feel like I cheated on this meal.  You see, my gumbo was made from…

{ a mix }

That’s right!  This daughter, granddaughter, and great-granddaughter of Cajun French ancestors is not able to make homemade gumbo!   Honestly, I am seriously afraid of messing with anything requiring me to make a roux.  So I do the next best thing.  I buy the best gumbo mix that I’ve ever found:  Louisiana Brand! 


It is affordable at about $1.50 a mix (at Kroger) and it is yummy!  The only bad thing is that it has MSG in it.  I try to avoid MSG as much as possible but my family loves gumbo and they love this mix.  Maybe one day, I’ll venture into the making of my own gumbo.  (I know you can buy premade roux too but the one I saw was by this same company so I’m betting that it probably has MSG in it too.)

~ The Breakdown ~

~Chicken and Sausage Gumbo over rice~

  • 1/2 of chicken from last night and broth from bones  $1.00
  • gumbo mix   $1.50
  • sausage  $1.50
  • 6 cups cooked white rice  50 cents =

$ 4. 50 (plus leftovers for lunch tomorrow)

Considering that a bowl  of gumbo for one person would cost more than $4.50 in a restaurant, I think this is a good price. 

One thing I do while cooking for my family is to try to stretch food as far as possible without losing the taste.  For instance, this gumbo mix calls for 2 quarts of broth.  I actually make it with 3 quarts of broth and the taste is just as good.  My family tends to add file ( pronounced fee – lay) and hot sauce to it so no one is any wiser that it may be a bit diluted!   (I honestly don’t think it tastes any different with the extra quart of broth.)

Since I was using chicken and sausage in this meal, I decided to only use half of the chicken from last night and save the other half for another meal. 

This meal is also one where I sneak in brown rice for my white rice loving family.  However, I was short on time tonight so I went with white rice. 

DSCN6998 This morning, I put all of those chicken bones in a stock pot with a little onion, covered it with water, and added 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  This simmered most of the day and made our chicken broth for tonight’s meal and some went into the freezer for a future meal.  (Strain and discard bones before using.  Read about why I put vinegar into my stock here.)

~ Collard greens ~

  • collard greens – free from the garden
  • 2 slices of bacon -  about 36 cents
  • chicken base -  a few cents

total:  40 cents

I like to have at least one vegetable at each meal.  Gumbo is a hard meal to pair a with a vegetable dish.  My mom says that they always grew up eating potato salad with their gumbo in South Louisiana.  When we eat gumbo with her, we have potato salad.  And it is good but I decided since I had collard greens in the garden, they would be a good one for tonight.  They were yum-o!

DSCN7006 I keep this chicken base in my frig for seasoning veggies and soups.  It was less than $4.00 at Sam’s Club.  I’ve used another brand that I got at the grocery store but it was a lot smaller and cost about $3.00 more.

~Homemade Rolls~

I really don’t have the time to figure out the cost of all of the ingredients in our rolls so I’m going to say about $1.00.  {though I think it may be less}

total:  $1.00

*I’ll have to share that recipe later because it is a good one.  Right now,  it is late and I need to get to bed so be on the lookout for that recipe.  It is the best roll recipe I’ve found.

~Apple Crisp~

  • 2 pounds of apples at 79 cents a pound = $1.58
  • other ingredients = a few cents

total:  $ 1. 80 ish

Meal total:  $ 8.00  (actual $7.70)

Final thoughts on Day 2 of challenge:

I have to be honest.  Today was a hard day for me money-wise.  There are some days when I don’t mind at all watching every nickel and dime but there are days that I wish that I didn’t have to do it.  I just want to be honest here.  I am not always joyfully frugal!

I know that this meal cost a little more than last night’s meal but it was a lot of food and it will be another meal tomorrow at lunch.  And I was able to put some broth in the freezer for another meal in the future!  All of that for $8.00 sounds like a pretty good deal to me. 



  1. sounds like a good deal to me too!

    I love how you are using that chicken still and re-using it again.

    I am learning girl!

  2. Looks Delish! By the way, those are Fiesta plates and bowls right? I Love Fiesta and have a slight addiction to collecting them!

  3. Hi Melissa! Yes, those are my fiestaware! I love, love, love it! I've just started collecting them. My mom & dad add to my collection on my birthdays & Christmas. I love all of the beautiful colors!

    When I saw some of your pictures on your blog, I immediately noticed the fiestaware!


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