Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Cheap meals

This is something that doesn’t happen often, but when it does I’m ecstatic!
Free food!!!!

Ah, maybe it’s the eternal college student in me, but I love free food.
Food takes up an estimated 30% of our budget, so when it is good and free for the taking- I don’t hesitate.

My parent’s retired recently, and threw a fabulous party for 80 people in celebration. They had the food catered by a local butcher and there was plenty of food leftover. Too much for a couple to eat by themselves. So I got to take:

2 gallon sized bags of cherries (courtesy of the Laurie’s backyard!)
2 gallon sized bags of chicken
2 gallon sized bags of beef
1 gallon sized bags of rice
2 bags of bagels
1 tub of cream cheese
1 tub of salsa
1 tub of BBQ sauce

I’ve managed to freeze some of this, and here are the meals I’ve made from it:

Meal #1
Mexican bowls
2 servings of beef + 2 servings of rice + 2 servings of salsa + 2 servings of Trader Joe’s refried beans with Jalapenos + 1 cup (or so) of shredded cheese

Heat everything in one big pan, serve layered in bowls, and top with shredded cheese.
Hands on time- 10 min.

Meal #2
Chicken and gravy
2 servings of chicken + 2 servings of rice + all leftover chicken sauce, stock, and gelatin + a couple tbsp. of AP flour + Trader Joe frozen green beans

In a large pot heat the sauce, stock, gelatin, and flour. Shred chicken. In a separate pan heat the green beans. Once the gravy has thickened add the chicken. Heat rice in microwave. Serve rice, green beans on the plate. Add the chicken and gravy on top of the rice.
Hands on time- 10 min.

Meal #3
Chicken salad
2 servings of chicken + 2 servings of ranch dressing + 1 bag of prewashed baby greens

Combine and serve.
Hands on time- 2 min.

Meal #4
BBQ beef Sammie
2 servings of beef + 2 servings of cheddar cheese + 4 pieces of bread + BBQ sauce
Toast bread in toaster. While toasting slice cheese. Once toasted lay the freshly sliced cheese on the hot bread. Heat the beef with the BBQ sauce in the microwave. Then top the bread and cheese with the BBQ beef mixture! Add the other slice of bread and enjoy!
Hands on time- 7 min. (unless you have a slow toaster…)

Meal #5
Mexi-ranch chicken sandwiches
2 servings of chicken + 2 servings of ranch + 2 servings of salsa + 4 pieces of bread + 2 servings of salad greens
Heat chicken, ranch, and salsa together. While heating chicken mixture, toast the bread. Assemble sandwich and enjoy.
Hands on time- 5 min. (unless you have a slow toaster…)

+ 8 lunches based around bagels
+ 4 servings of cake for dessert
+ 1 pie filling worth of cherries

Estimated cost of meals:
Five dinners at $6.00 each= $30.00
8 lunches $1.50 each= $12.00
4 dessert $2.00 each= $8.00
1 pie filling= $4.00
= $54.00 worth of food for free!

*Photo: From left to right and top to bottom
a- Fudgey layers of German chocolate cake- yum!
b- To store cake without sticking frosting to clear wrap, simply insert toothpicks into cake and then cover
c- Bagels and smear
d- Making Mexican bowls
e- Rice
f- Cherries
g- Mexican bowls
h- Freezing supplies
i- Chicken

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