Frugal Family Meals

One way I keep meal costs down is by stretching my meat over several meals.  I try to buy the best meat I can get my hands on and eat less of it. My favorite frugal, versatile & kid friendly fare?  Hands down! The roasted chicken. For about $10 I can buy a 5 lb. bird that can feed my family of four (2 adults and 2 small children), four times! Some people might have trouble handling a raw bird and diving into the cavity of a fresh chicken. Trust me, you’re going to  have to get over it.  It’s well worth it.

Here was part of my menu from last week:

Meal #1:  a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce and salad.
Meal #2: leftover chicken, pan fried potatoes  & roasted brussel  sprouts.
Meal #3: chicken & rice soup (with the stock I made from the chicken carcass – bonus mileage!) & homemade bread.
Meal #4: chicken pot pie. Toss some chopped fresh rosemary into the crust – di.vine! For a lighter version, I leave out the bottom crust & use skim milk.

If you’re not keen on eating chicken for so many nights in a row, you can chop up the meat into small pieces and freeze for 4-6 months. I usually bag mine into 2-cup portions.  Check out my white chicken chili recipe below. Or pull your chicken out of the freezer to make enchiladas, tacos, stir frys or casseroles.

What are your favorite ways to use leftover chicken?

White Chicken Chili

1/4 cup margarine or butter
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 cups 1/2-inch cubes cooked chicken
3 cups chicken broth
1 tbsp. dried basil leaves
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. ground cloves
2 cans (15 oz. each) of great northern beans, undrained


1. Melt margarine in Dutch oven over medium heat. Cook onion and garlic in margarine, stirring occasionally, until onion is tender.

2. Stir in remaining ingredients. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 1 hour stirring occasionally.

3. Serve with tortilla chips or cornbread muffins & a salad.

This recipe is from Betty Crocker and it is a real simple meal. I bet’cha it would even do well in the crock pot, on low for about 6 hours. Whatever you do – don’t leave out the cloves. Promise? It kinda steals the show. Bon Appetit!


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