Monday, April 13, 2015

Eating a (Mostly) Balanced Diet on a Budget: Day Two--Oven-baked Chicken


I am not a food photographer.  Actually, I take terrible pictures of just about anything.  But I thought I would include pictures of the actual meals,  not just something I google.  I will try my best to make it pretty though.


Breakfast this morning was eggs, toast and juice.  Some of my kids prefer hard-boiled eggs and some of them prefer fried eggs.  So, I got up early enough to make fried eggs for the ones who like fried and cook up some toast.  Those who like hard-boiled just ate some of the remaining hard-boiled eggs from Easter last weekend.  I bought the eggs for $1.25/dozen (Easter special).  The loaf of bread was $1.19 and I used about 1/4 of it.  The English muffins were free after spending $6 at the bread store.  The apple juice was $1.49/64 oz and we drank 1/3 of it.  The grape juice was $1 for concentrate, which we drank about half.

Cost of Breakfast:

$.91 eggs

$.31 toast
$1 juice
$2.22 total=$.32 per person (seven people)

My husband, when he works the day shift and leaves at 7 a.m., takes two peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and a blender bottle (those shake blender things) of chocolate milk.  I would estimate his breakfast costs about $1 when all is said and done.  Factor that into the equation and it's $3.22, which equals $.40/person.


Four of my children eat lunch at school.  My husband gets a free burger for his lunch at work.  This is really about what I feed my family, though.  My husband is a grown man and makes his own decisions about what he eats and I don't have a lot of say in it.  Make no mistake, he eats what I fix when he's home, but when he's not around, I don't have a lot of control over what he chooses to eat.  So we will ignore the fact that he has a Coke, burger and fries every day of his life for at least one of his meals.  Moving on.

The four children take a sandwich, usually consisting of lunch meat, a piece of fruit (or some fruit), a snacky side (crackers), and a dessert.  In Utah, they got milk at school (it was only $.25, here it is double that, too much for four kids every day of the week).  So they drink water for their drink.
Sandwich, per person cost=$.45 (they usually take one half a sandwich; the meat costs $2.49 and it lasts about two weeks for each of them as they each like a different kind, then the mustard and the cheese, which only two of the kids take cheese)
Piece of fruit=between $.15-$.50, depending on the fruit and the price.  Choices include a sliced up or whole apple, a banana, an orange, a bunch of grapes, some strawberries, a handful of blueberries, etc.
Snack=pretzels, animal crackers, graham crackers, leftover homemade rolls, dried fruit.  I would say about $.15
Dessert=today it was a couple pieces of Norwegian candy sent to us by our exchange student's family (whom we hosted last year).  Usually it is home-baked treats.  I would say no more than $.15.

Cost of lunch:

$.45 Sandwich
$.25 fruit
$.15 snack
$.15 dessert
$1 Total per person

At home, we each have a sandwich (peanut butter and honey, usually), a piece of fruit, and a dessert and a glass of milk. I would estimate about the same for that, $1/person, because of the milk.


Tonight's dinner took a little more work than I usually do.  We had oven-baked chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, a tossed salad and a fruit salad.

Oven-baked chicken:
bone-in, skin chicken thighs and drumsticks
Place the chicken pieces in a foil-covered cake pan.  Sprinkle with salt, pepper and paprika.  Bake at 350 for 1 hour, covered, then remove cover and bake for 30 more minutes.
I got the chicken for $.88/lb on sale, so I spent a total of $7 on all the chicken together.  I used half of it for tonight's dinner and put the rest in the freezer.

Mashed potatoes:
The usual-peel and slice potatoes and boil until soft, then mash.  I added a bit of milk and butter.  The potatoes were $1.99 for a 5 lb bag (I could always find them cheaper in Utah, but oh well) and I used half of them.

1 can cream of chicken soup, chicken drippings, 1/2 cup milk with 3 tsp flour
I had the ingredients in the pantry, but cream of chicken soup is usually around $1/can.

Tossed salad:
Lettuce, $.99 for the head and I used about 1/4, so $.25
Cucumber, $.49 for one cucumber and I used 1/3=$.17
Sprinkle of grated cheese=$.20
Salad dressing=$.20 worth, would be my guess

Fruit salad:
One apple=$.25
Bunch of grapes=$.50
One banana=$.15

Cost of Dinner:

$3.50 chicken
$1 potatoes
$.82 Tossed Salad
$.90 Fruit salad
$7.22 Total=$.90/person

We had leftovers as well, which will be part of a meal I serve later this week.

Total cost for food on Monday: $17.22 or $2.18/person

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