Thursday, February 18, 2010

homemade convenience foods

It's been a while since I've done a frugal post.

So, I'd say it's time.

This subject always strikes a chord in some of you thrifty gals.
I just love that.

Since we homeschool all four kids,

*Mercy be*

and two of them being teenage BOYS,

lunchtime is an issue.

*side note: my punctuation was out of control in that last "sentence."

We need quick-fix mid-day meals, but unfortunately,
that usually leads to convenience foods,
aka, pre-packaged, calorie-loaded, obscene amounts of fat,
salt and other things I won't even attempt to pronounce,
(not to mention high $).

But still,
we eat them.

So in an attempt to pry ourselves away from
this cycle of chemical dependence,
I spent two+ hours of my life (that I'll never get back)
frying chicken strips.
Some were for dinner that night,
and the rest I froze individually, then put in a zip-lock
bag so we can pull them out and eat conveniently for lunches.

I was fairly to highly disappointed when all my efforts only
filled one gallon-size bag.

And it left me in a whirl of wonder if I saved any money at all.

Just so you know, as much as I went out of my way to take the above
pic without my kids seeing, in a desperate effort to save myself from harassment,
Nick saw it on my camera and did the obligatory
teenager eye-rolling.

at least they taste dee-licious.
I really do have a knack for fried chicken.

I'd love to hear some of YOUR similar ideas!


And only because I know some of you will ask,
here's my "recipe" (it's not an exact science):

Mix a gob of flour (white or wheat, or both),
salt, pepper, LOTS of Cajun seasoning.

Cut chicken breasts into strips,
roll in flour,
then in an egg/milk mixture.

Then back into the flour mixture.

Fry in a generous amount of canola oil
in a cast-iron skillet.

Put fried chicken on a wire rack with a pan underneath
to catch excess grease.
*This is essential to them staying as crispy as possible*

If necessary,
just before serving, pop in the oven, under the broiler
to re-heat a bit.


Now don't forget to give me some of your ideas, OK?

Oh and one last thing...I should note that I DO realize
that fried chicken is far from healthy.
But it's a better alternative than pre-packaged chicken
nuggets, which my kids tend to eat a lot of.


Karin said...

I am totally cracking up over your 'time that I'll never get back' comment!!! LOL!

Bee-A-utiful looking chicken. Your kids are blessed to have a Mom who loves them enough to go to such effort to make yummy lunches. Poke Nick in the eye for me. :)

Tiffany said...

Love the frugal posts, by the way. We go through waffles like there might be a shortage someday. With my waffle iron, a box of bisquick, and about an hour, I can fix enough waffles to feed my herd for quite a while. There's my frugal contribution.

Angie said...

Can't wait to read the replies. Lunch is my toughest meal to fix...trying to make it healthy and fast...and soon to feed 5 children, plus 2 adults since my hubby works from home. UGH!

Hezra said...

Well, we sent to S*ms and bought a huge can of Peanut butter, then asame size can of gatorade, lemonade, and honey. Twin packs of jelly, boxes of 48(?!) granola bars... etc etc. It has filled the snack time issues pretty well. I buy hamburger in big quantities too and divide it up. I bake the best whole wheat bread , really. Wish I could take credit. lol But I just follow the recipe. They also have at that huge store frozen orange juice in large cans. That was a big help. Of course tp and paper towels and trash bags in crate sz boxes. But alot of that stuff will last two months. I cringed when I took pics of my whole wheat bread. and yes, I will be osting the recipe soon... hmm maybe today.

Jean said...

The recipe sounds great- I am such a bad cook I wish I could help ya out or even add to the conversation. However from having large hungry boys I do know how hard it is to feed them interesting and healthy foods- without breaking the bank! They all went to school though and I know they ate out a lot...

Martha Bachert said...

Those look sooooooo good!!

Janet and Kevin said...

Looks really tasty! I can't think of anything frugal right now, but I will keep thinking. Thinking skills are not good right now since it's only been a week tomorrow that we returned from China! LOL!!

Janet and gang (Kevin, Ted, Philip, and Eli)

Karen said...

Is it sad that I am 40 something and I have never fried chicken?

We homeschool too and lunch time is usually a challenge here too. I try to buy bags of apples when they are buy one get one free, we also buy a large amount of our groceries at Costco. Leftovers are pretty common here as well as all beef hotdogs and pbj's. I try to buy lots of fruits and veggies from Costco so the kids can snack on them throughout the week. Probably not as frugal as I need to be, but I haven't figured anything else out yet.

Adeye said...

That sounds so yummy!

Wow, some day I'll have a few of those teenage boys around here. Lunch is always an issue for us too. We usually do sandwiches, just because it's cheap and easy.

The cost of food is just completely insane these days.

Lacy said...

Lunch is a huge issue here as well. I think all of my kids have doubled the amount they used to eat (in a matter of months).

My frugal tip is to menu plan. I plan everything down to snacks. We do not always eat them in order, but it saves me from stopping at the beloved golden arches because I do not know what to make for dinner:) It also helps to make sure I have all of my ingredients on hand for each dish I plan to make. Which keeps me from running into kroger for a missed ingredient and spending $50. LOL!

I also used to read the hillbilly housewife blog. One thing I picked up from her was to buy the concentrated OJ and prepare it each night for the next morning. I also make a pitcher of tea as well. This stops me from getting drinks on the run or buying pop. If I do most of the prep work at night I am less likely to find the easy and expensive way out the next day. I also make all of my own pancake/waffle mix now which saves us a ton. My kids will eat pumpkin pancakes for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Cheap, easy and healthy!

This is the last thing I have... I gave each of my kids a "lunch day". On their day they prepare lunch for all of us. If they are too young to cook they make sandwiches etc... or I help make a hot lunch. This has been a great time saving help for me. When you are a busy homeschooling momma our time is as valuable as money.

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