Sunday, November 30, 2008

Slow cooker Chicken and Dumplings

I found this recipe on - the original recipe calls for chicken breasts, but I like this recipe as an option to use leftover roast chicken pieces. I also make homemade biscuits instead of using the refrigerator biscuits to cut costs even more!

Slow Cooker Chicken and Dumplings

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (or leftover chicken roast)
2 tablespoons butter
2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces (or homemade!)

Place the chicken, butter, soup, and onion in a slow cooker, and fill with enough water to cover.
Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High. About 30 minutes before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Total Cost:
Chicken - Free! (used leftovers from roast chicken)
Butter - $0.14
Cream soup - $1.00
Onion - $0.30
Homemade biscuits - $1.72

GRAND TOTAL - $3.46 for 6-8 servings, or $0.57 per serving!

Sweet Potato Biscuits

This recipe is courtesy of Three Peas in a Pod - I love finding new ways to use up leftovers! This is a nice variation from regular biscuits and a great way to sneak in some extra veggies :)

Sweet Potato Biscuits

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cooked, mashed, and cooled sweet potatoes
1 to 2 tablespoons cream or milk
1 tablespoon melted butter
Brown sugar
Pecan halves

1. Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Stir together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl until well combined. Using your fingers, work the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles a coarse meal (a great job for kids).
2. Stir in the sweet potatoes, then add the cream or milk a little at a time until the mixture can be gathered into a soft ball.
3. Place the dough on a floured surface and knead it 10 or so times (not too long), then pat it into a 1/2-inch-thick circle. Using a floured cookie cutter or drinking glass rim, cut the dough into 2-inch rounds and arrange them on an un-greased baking sheet.
4. Brush the tops with the melted butter and sprinkle on brown sugar.
5. Press a pecan half into the top of each biscuit.
6. Bake 10 minutes or until golden brown. Makes about 9 biscuits.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.12
Sugar - negligible
Baking powder - $0.01
Butter - $0.35
Sweet potatoes - $0.20
Milk - $0.01
Brown sugar - negligible

GRAND TOTAL - $0.70 for 9 biscuits - or $0.09 per biscuit!

Autumn Chowder

Being from New England, the word "chowder" gets my attention every time :) This recipe from Heritage Schoolhouse appealed because all of the ingredients were readily available in my pantry! She originally used baby carrots, I substituted about a cup and a half of peeled chopped carrot since that's what I've got. I also used 3/4 tbsp cornstarch mixed with the water to thicken (just a personal preference), and threw in some extra cheese. We're cheese hounds!

I think this would lend itself well to be done in the crockpot, but I like that the recipe can be made in about half an hour if you chop the veggies ahead of time! The below recipe includes my adjustments, but be sure to click the link below for the original recipe.

Autumn Chowder

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion, chopped
4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
3-4 carrots, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken broth
2 cups milk
1 bag frozen corn
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
3/4 tbsp cornstarch
4 tablespoons water
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled

In a large saucepan, saute onion in oil until tender. Add the potato, carrot, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the vegetables are almost tender. Stir in the milk a half cup at a time (to temper it and prevent curdling), then add corn, salt and pepper. Return to a boil, cook 5 minutes longer. Combine the cornstarch and water until smooth; gradually whisk into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted. Stir in bacon. Serve up big bowls and enjoy!

Total Cost:
Oil - $0.08
Onion - $0.30
Potatoes - $0.50
Carrots - $0.15
Chicken Broth - FREE!
Milk - $0.38
Corn - $1.00
Cheese - $0.90
Bacon - $0.85
Seasonings - $0.10

GRAND TOTAL - $4.26 for 6 servings, or 0.71 per serving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Honey Balsamic Chicken

I found this recipe on What's For Dinner? - she posts tons of great recipes and her dishes range from practical to downright decadent. This particular recipe was origially written for chicken on the grill, but since we live in an apartment that's not really an option for us. I adjusted it a little for the oven, and I think this would be a great glaze for any cut of chicken, or even pork! The instructions below include my adjustments, click on the link for her original recipe.

Honey Balsamic Chicken


2 pounds chicken (breast, drumsticks or wings)
2 Tbsp olive oil
5 Tbsp balsamic vinegar, divided
4 Tbsp honey
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp coarsely ground pepper

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In a shallow bowl, combine oil, 2 Tbsp vinegar, garlic powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in seasoning mixture to coat, and place in shallow baking dish in a single layer. Pour any leftover mixutre over the chicken.
-Place chicken in oven, bake for 30 minutes uncovered, turning once halfway through.
-While chicken is baking, combine remaining 3 Tbsp vinegar and honey in a small saucepan and heat over low heat. Cook down, stirring occasionally, until well thickened.
-After 30 minutes in the oven, brush chicken with honey mixture. Cook for 7-10 minutes. Turn chicken and brush again with honey mixture, cook for an additional 7-10 minutes until chicken is cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a serving plate, let cool for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Total Cost:
Chicken - 2.00
Oil - $0.25
Vinegar - $0.30
Honey - $0.30
Seasoning - $0.08

GRAND TOTAL: $2.93 for 4 servings (0.73 per serving!)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Pork Chops with mushroom sauce

Easy peasy pork chops! I like to sautee some extra mushrooms and add them in the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Pork Chops and Mushroom Sauce

1 Tbsp Olive oil
4 pork chops (boneless or bone-in)
1 tsp kosher salt
1 tsp white pepper
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1/2 onion, chopped
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
3/4 cup milk
Cooking spray
1 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms

-Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray baking dish with cooking spray
-Heat oil in a skillet. Rub chops with mixture of salt, pepper and garlic. Brown in skillet on both sides, remove from pan and place in baking dish.
-Brown onions in skillet. Pour in soup and milk, stir until blended and starting to heat up. Pour over pork chops
-Cover and bake for 30 minutes. If desired, while pork is cooking, brown sliced mushrooms in the skillet and add for the last 5 minutes of cooking.

Total Cost:
Pork chops - $3.00
Onion - $0.15
Milk - $0.05
Soup - $0.50
Spices - $0.20
Mushrooms - $1.50

Grand Total - $5.40 for 4 servings, or $1.35 per serving)

Whole Wheat Biscuits

These biscuits lookded SOOO good when I found them on - I love biscuits but I'm trying to get away from using baking mix. These seemed perfect, and they are much cheaper than both premade baking mix and refrigerated biscuits!

Whole Wheat Biscuits

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1 cup milk

-In a medium bowl, combine flours, baking powder, sugar, and salt; mix well.
-Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Stir in milk just until moistened.
-Turn out onto a lightly floured surface; knead gently 8 to 10 times.
-Roll to 3/4-in. thickness; cut with a 2-1/2-in. biscuit cutter and place on an ungreased baking sheet.
-Bake at 450 degrees F for 10 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Serve warm.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.09
Wheat Flour - $0.20
Baking powder - $0.08
Sugar - $0.01
Salt - $0.01
Butter - $0.28
Milk - $0.19

GRAND TOTAL: $0.86 for 12 servings! That's $0.07 per biscuit!

Beef (or Turkey) and Biscuit Bake - AKA Cowboy Stew

This recipe showed up on one of my searches...I keep a lot of ground turkey around, and I'm always looking for new dishes to make with it. I like the addition of the beans to this dish, for extra nutrients and a heartier texture. I made a few substitutions to use stuff I had on hand, I also prefer to use homemade biscuits instead of canned, which is usually cheaper.

We've taken to calling this Cowboy Stew in my's very stick-to-your-ribs hearty, and the beef and beans remind my hubby of camping trips!

Beef-n-Biscuit Bake

1 pound ground turkey
1 (16 ounce) can kidney or black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups frozen corn kernels (or 1 can whole kernel corn)
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed tomato soup, undiluted
1/4 cup milk
2 tablespoons minced onion
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 can refrigerated biscuits (or homemade biscuits!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/3 cup yellow cornmeal

-In a saucepan over medium heat, cook the turkey until no longer pink; drain.
-Add beans, corn, soup, milk, onion, chili powder and salt; bring to a boil.
-Remove from the heat; stir in cheese until melted.
-Spoon into a greased 2-1/2-qt. baking dish. Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, brush all sides of biscuit dough with butter; roll in cornmeal. Place on top of bubbling meat mixture. Return to the oven for 10-12 minutes or until biscuits are lightly browned and cooked through.

Total Cost:
Ground turkey - $1.50
Beans - $0.60
Corn - $0.25
Soup - $0.50
Milk - $0.05
Cheese - $1.60
Homemade biscuits - $0.86
Butter - $0.14
Cornmeal - $0.07

GRAND TOTAL - $6.31 for 6-8 servings, or $1.05 per serving

Oatmeal-Cornflake Cookies

Yes, you read that correctly - two great breakfast treats in one! I found this recipe on Recipezaar - I had a hankering for a cookie and was out of chocolate chips. I did a quick search and these piqued my attention - they were easy, fast, and VERY yummy. The cornflakes add a little crunch to the cookie, and a little sweetness as well.

You can substitute applesauce for the oil, and I added the cinnamon for some extra flavor. These would lend themselves well to add-ins like dried cranberries, raisins, or chopped peanuts!

Oatmeal-Cornflake Cookies

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
1/2 cup crushed corn flakes
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup vegetable oil


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Sift together flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; stir in oats and cornflakes. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugars. Add egg and vanilla, then oil. Mix well.
Add flour mixture; mix well.
Drop by spoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheet.
Bake 10 to 12 minutes.

Total Cost:
Flour - $0.16
Oats - $0.06
Corn Flakes - $0.04
Butter - $0.55
Sugar - $0.09
Brown Sugar - $0.10
Egg - $0.14
Vanilla - $0.01
Vegetable Oil - $0.24
Other spices - $0.05

GRAND TOTAL: $1.44 for 15-18 cookies!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sausage and Penne bake

I love a good pasta bake - especially one that freezes well! This recipe came from my mother's recipe box, she usually used sausage but you can also substitute a pound of ground meat. This is a great make-ahead recipe, and can be frozen cooked or uncooked since the meat is browned ahead of time. I like to make this in multiple batches!

Sausage and Penne Bake

1 pound box penne pasta
1 pound Italian sausage (hot or sweet - or use ground meat!)
2 bell peppers, diced
1 small onion, diced
2 Tbsp minced garlic
1 (14 oz) jar tomato sauce
1 1/2 - 2 cups shredded mozzarella

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Cook pasta according to package directions, removing from heat while still slightly firm (about 8-10 minutes). Drain and set aside.
- While pasta is boiling, crumble sausage into a skillet and brown over medium-high heat. After about 3 minutes, add peppers, onion and garlic, and brown for an additional 4-5 minutes. Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for an additional 3-4 minutes until heated.
- Remove from heat, stir in penne and half the mozzarella. Transfer to a casserole dish. Sprinkle remaining mozzarella on top.
- Bake for 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until cheese is slightly browned and melted.

Total Cost:
Pasta - $1.00
Sausage - $2.00
Peppers - $0.75
Onion - $0.30
Tomato sauce - $1.00
Cheese - $2.40

Grand Total: $7.45 for 6-8 servings, or $0.93 per serving!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Mission - new start

Well here we are at Day 7 of my blog being disabled by blogger, and not a peep from the powers that be.

SOOOOO I made the executive decision to create a new blogger blog, and start fresh. I am hopeful that eventually my old blog will be unlocked so that I can get back my archived posts, but for now I'm just going with a clean slate.

The SUPER good news - Lauren at Restored 316 Designs will be installing my super hot new layout at the new site, so I'm kicking things off with a bang!!! The new layout will be up at some point tomorrow (Friday!) keep an eye out :)

Now make sure to tell your friends, neighbors, pets, dustbunnies, and anyone else you deem of tomorrow the new home for The $200 Mission is:

Spread the word! I will be hunting all you lurkers down over the next few days...hee hee!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The mission - Day 6

Yes, that's right, six.

Six days that The $200 Mission has been disabled, six days that I have faithfully checked my dashboard and my inbox, six days that I haven't heard so much as a peep from ANYONE with a pulse at blogger.

The whole experience is unbelievably disappointing.

I'm trying to hold out hope, rationalizing that perhaps because there was a weekend and a federal holiday mixed in there, maybe my request is just on the edge of being seen and addressed.

But then I read the "Help Groups" postings and find that there are folks whose blogs have been locked for MONTHS.

And then I found where Google lists the addresses and phone numbers for all of the google offices.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Obama's Chili

I saw this recipe over at A Year of CrockPotting and just HAD to give it a try. According to her, this is the Obama family chili recipe...wherever it came from, it is DELICIOUS. I have wimpy tastebuds, and my toddler and I were both able to enjoy this chili without any mouth emergencies :) It's well-seasoned without being spicy, but for those who enjoy a little heat it would be very easy to add either diced jalapenos or hot sauce to jack it up a couple of notches.

When I made this I only had black beans and balsamic vinegar on hand, but the substitutions worked wonderfully - another benchmark of a great recipe, it's yummy AND flexible! I also took the Crockpot Lady's advice and increased all of the spices - the recipe below reflects the amounts I used but check out the link for the original amounts.

According to the original post the Obamas serve this over rice - other options would be to serve it over Fritos or crumbled up cornbread!

Barack Obama's Chili Recipe

--1 can kidney beans - and the goop! (I used black beans)
--1 lb lean ground meat (I used ground turkey)
--1 green bell pepper, chopped
--1 large onion, chopped
--5-6 medium tomatoes, chopped (include seeds and all)
--4 chopped cloves of garlic
--2 tsp cumin
--2 tsp oregano
--2 tsp basil
--2 tsp turmeric
--3 tsp chili powder
--2 tsp salt
--5 T red wine vinegar (I used balsamic vinegar)

(Ms Crockpot noted that she did not brown her ground meat ahead of time - I also didn't bother browning the meat. Unless you are using a fatty ground meat and want to drain the fat off a bit, just toss in the ground meat raw!)

Chop up the tomatoes, garlic, onion, and bell pepper. Add to the crockpot. Open the can of beans, and pour in the whole thing (do not drain or rinse!). Add the ground meat. Stir in all of the spices and the red wine vinegar.Cover and cook on low for 7-9 hours, or on high for 4-5.

Total Cost:
Beans - $0.65
Ground Turkey - $1.50
Pepper - $0.85
Onion - $0.30
Tomatos - $3.20
Garlic - $0.20
Seasonings - $0.75

Grand Total: $7.45 for 8-10 servings, or $0.75 per serving!

**an update - this chili does WONDERFULLY in leftovers. I made burritos by mixing the chili with rice, rolling it in a 12" tortilla and frying both sides in the pan. Then we used some in omelettes for breakfast! YUMMY!

The Mission - Day 5

OK - today will be the telling day....we are past the weekend and the holiday, so I *hope* business is rolling over at Blogger again. Either way, The $200 Mission WILL be back up before the end of the week - either because Blogger restored my old site, or because I threw in the towel and started up a new one.

Thanks to everyone who's left comments - I feel the love!!! And I can't wait to post once things are back to normal - I have two HUGE shopping hauls to report!!


Monday, November 10, 2008

Mission - Day 4

Day 4...still no communication from Blogger, still no movement towards restoring my service.! If this goes on beyond the next day or two, I may just create a new account and put up The $200 Mission on a new blog. It would stink because all my old stuff would be stuck on the old blog, but at least I'd be able to move forward!!!

Keeping multiple appendages crossed,


Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Mission - Day 3

Yep, it's Day 3, and The $200 Mission is still down. I am hoping that with the regular work week starting up again, this will be fixed quickly...but time will tell. I still haven't gotten any communication from Blogger's folks that my restore request was neuroses are kicking in but I'm trying to hold it together!!

Thanks for hanging in there with me!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The Mission - day 2

Well here I am, day 2 of my blog being disabled because of Blogger's anti-spam program singling me out as a spam blog. Anyone who reads The $200 Mission knows that this is hooey, but for whatever reason their program pegged me. I submitted to have my blog restored yesterday morning, and have yet to hear from Blogger as to whether they have even received my request. I am hopeful that this is just an oversight because this occurred on a Friday and come Monday this will be taken care of.

At any rate, keep checking back - I will be posting updates on this blog for now, until everything is back to normal :)


Friday, November 7, 2008

The mission is still on!

Happy Friday!

I wanted to post a quick note regarding my main site, The $200 Mission - in reconfiguring the site for my new layout, Blogger apparently flagged me as spam and temporarily disabled the site. I am working to get it restored, so check back!

Thanks :)