Sunday, December 14, 2008

Homemade Breadsticks

This recipe is adapted from one that I found on - the original recipe (see link below) is for a plain breadstick with a parmesan butter on the side. My version includes herbs in the dough for more flavor. If you're not making an Italian dish, use other herb combinations, like rosemary and basil...experiment and see what works for you!

Homemade Breadsticks

Makes 36 breadsticks
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast (or 2.5 tablespoons)
1/2 cup sugar, divided
2 cups warm water (110 degrees to 115 degrees), divided
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese (from the can)
2-3 Tbsp butter, melted

-In a large mixing bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in 1 cup warm water.
-Add the oil, egg, salt, 2 cups flour, and remaining sugar and water. Beat until smooth.
-Stir in the Italian seasoning, parmesan cheese and garlic powder, and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
-Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.
-Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 40 minutes.
-Punch the dough down. Turn onto a floured surface; divide into 36 pieces. Shape each piece into a 6-in. rope.
-Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 25 minutes.
-Brush tops of breadsticks with melted butter.
-Bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

Total Cost:
Sugar - $0.09
Oil - $0.09
Egg - $0.14
Flour - $0.41
Seasonings - $0.25
Butter - $0.14

Grand Total: $1.27, or $0.03 per breadstick!!!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Crockpot Taco Chicken - make ahead!

This recipe was posted as part of the Freezer Cooking roundup on I'm an Organizing Junkie. The post is originally from Shawnee's Tangled Tales and I love how easy it all the prep work ahead of time, then when you're ready to cook just thaw and crock! :)

When I made this I actually skipped the freezing step and went straight to the crockpot...I then shredded the chicken and froze the cooked goods into 2 cup portions. I also omitted the chiles since I'm a wimp.

Crockpot Taco Chicken

For each recipe, label a one-gallon freezer bag and fill with the following:

3-1/2 cups diced tomatoes
1/4 cup diced green chiles (small can)
3 tablespoons taco seasoning mix (handmade, bulk or one small packet)
1 teaspoon cumin

Rinse two pounds of boneless/skinless chicken thighs (or 3 pounds bone-in chicken) and add to bag. Massage bag to combine ingredients well. Squeeze all possible air from bag, seal and freeze.

To Cook: Thaw overnight in refrigerator. Place contents of bag into crockpot. Cook on low for 4-6 hours/high for 3-4 hours, or until meat shreds easily.

Total cost:
Chicken: $2.97 (bone-in) or $3.98 (boneless)
Tomatos: $0.89 (32 oz canned)
Taco Seasoning: $0.25
Cumin: Negligible

Grand Total: $4.11 for bone-in, $5.12 for boneless (about 6 servings)

Stovetop Mac and Cheese

This recipe comes from - I love homemade baked mac and cheese, but I don't always have time for long baking before dinner. I like that it's a one-pot dish, less cleanup!

One great thing about macaroni and cheese - it's just BEGGING for add-ins! After the recipe post I have included a few variations on the theme :)

Stovetop Mac and Cheese
makes about 6 servings

8 ounces macaroni
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese

- Melt butter or margarine in a saucepan pan over medium heat. Add onions, and saute. Stir in flour and salt.
- Add milk and macaroni to saucepan, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and cover.
- Simmer for 15 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring occasionally
- Add cheese, and stir until cheese melts

Total Cost:
Macaroni - $0.50
Milk - $0.51
Onion - $0.20
Butter - $0.27
Cheese - $2.40
Salt, flour - negligible

Grand Total: $3.88 for 6 servings, or $0.64 per serving!

Some add-ins for inspiration

Bacon and diced green pepper
Shredded mexican chicken and diced tomato
Peas and carrots
Broccoli florets and chicken chunks
Ground beef or turkey (browned) and chili powder
Leftover Crockpot Sloppy Joe