Wednesday, July 27, 2016

My Favorite Cheap Eats Story

Every once in a while, the stars align and I can feed fiancé and I for pennies. Last month was one of those times. I stopped by Winn Dixie to buy eggs but decided to check out the rest of the store for deals. I walked by the whole chicken section and saw that there were a couple marked down for quick sale. The best by date was still a few days out so I decided to get one. A six pound chicken cost me 3 dollars. That's 50 cents a pound!

Now cooking whole poultry is not my favorite because it's kind of a pain getting the bird prepared and then you have to deal with carving it. However, it is delicious so sometimes it is worth it. I threw it in my largest cast iron skillet with a cut up onion inside the cavity and some butter and garlic under the skin. I baked it for an hour and served it with mashed potatoes and gravy ( made in the skillet with the chicken drippings.) Pretty easy meal right?

[Sorry for the terrible pictures and my messy kitchen. I took these pictures to text to my sister and didn't plan on blogging about it! Forgive me please.]

Then as I carved the chicken, I threw the icky parts, the cooked onion and the carcess straight into my crockpot and made stock. I had never made chicken broth before but it was embarrassingly easy. Throw bones into a crockpot set on low, fill with water and add spices and a bay leaf. Then you leave it for 12 to 24 hours. When you come back, you fish out the bones and bits with a slotted spoon and throw it away. The broth was so much better than the store bought crap I usually get that when I got my Instant Pot, the first thing I made was broth for my freezer. It was that good. My crockpot ended up making about ten cups of broth And it was made with ingredients that I would have thrown away!

However, I planned for this batch to be made into homemade chicken noodle soup. After I scooped out the bones and other solids, I added some frozen carrots, celery, and pearl onions and threw in a couple cups of the leftover chicken.  Then I let that cook on low for awhile and then added a package of uncooked egg noodles and some kale I had in the fridge. Once those were done and I added salt and pepper, I filled up ten pint freezer containers with the soup and put them in my freezer for later.

[No, I don't know why this was the only picture I took of my awesome soup. This was like my third bowl and half eaten at that. Dishonor on me, dishonor on my cow.]

At this point, I STILL had lots of chicken left over so I made a chicken pot pie in my cast iron skillet with a pre-made piecrust, leftover chicken, kale and a frozen mix of carrots and peas and pearl onions. Made a white sauce and baked. Fiancé ate almost the entire thing!!! And he has been begging me to make it again! It was delicious.

Then, if you can even believe it, we still had a cup or so of leftover chicken so Fiancé brought it with him for lunch on the fourth day.

To recap -  I paid:

$3.00 for the chicken
$1.50 for the ready to microwave, mashed potatoes
$3.00 (approximately) for the carrots, celery, bag of peas and carrots and pearl onions
$2.49 for the pie crust
$1.29 for the egg noodles
$1.79 for the kale
and a small amount for flour, spices, and milk.

For under 14 dollars, we had a roast chicken meal with mashed potatoes and gravy, a chicken pot pie and ten servings of chicken noodle soup. Oh and some leftover chicken. Obviously this wouldn't stretch quite as well for a larger family but it works pretty well for two!

I know I write a lot about food and saving money on this blog that is supposed to be about law school but I swear it is connected. Right now, I am trying to save for the Bar exam next summer. Not only do I have to commit to not working or only working minimal hours during the bar study course, the course itself costs $3,000. Taking the bar exam itself costs about $700. Oh, but don't forget you need to pay your state to even apply to take the bar and to convert your student application to a full application. Plus, the school advises to have 5-6 months of expenses saved up because it takes months for the results to come out and who knows how long it will take to find a job after that. The more I can prepare now, the less horrible next year will be. 

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