Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crockpot BBQ with cornbread topping

Another great find from my Crockpot hero, A Year of Crockpotting - her original recipe called for chicken and bbq sauce, but this can also be done using leftover beef roast which will shred nicely in the bbq sauce.

Crockpot BBQ Chicken and Cornbread casserole

1 pound of cooked, or practically cooked chicken, cubed or shredded (or leftover beef or pork!)
1 small sweet potato, peeled and cut in 1-inch chunks (optional.)
1 red onion, diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 bottle of your favorite barbecue sauce (18 oz)
1/4 cup hot water

cornbread topping:

use a mix and follow the directions on the box (minus the oil or butter), or mix together the following:

--3/4 cup corn meal
--1 1/4 cups of flour (I used a Bob Red's Mill GF mix--we were out of Pamela's)
--1 cup milk
--1/4 cup sugar
--1 egg
--1 tsp baking powder (only if using regular all-purpose flour)
Spray the inside of your stoneware with cooking spray. Cut up the chicken and sweet potato, and add to the crock. Add the corn. Empty the contents of the barbecue sauce bottle, and then add 1/4 cup of hot water to the bottle, shake, and pour that out, too. Mix well with a spoon.

In a separate bowl, mix together the cornbread topping. You don't need to mix well, I just used a fork. Spread the topping on to the chicken mixture.

Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours. Ours cooked on low for exactly 6. If you are planning on being out of the house, cook for the shorter amount of time. You can always switch to high to brown the top when you get home.

Total Cost:
Meat: $1.99
Sweet potato: $0.50
Onion: $0.30
Corn: $0.30
BBQ sauce: $1.50
Corn Meal: $0.30
Flour: $0.14
Milk: $0.17
Sugar: $0.04
Egg: $0.14
Baking Powder: $0.02

Grand Total: $5.40 for 4-6 servings

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Crockpot Meatloaf

I love my crockpot! My guys love meatloaf! That makes this recipe from a perfect marriage for dinnertime at my house :) If I don't feel like breaking out a mixing bowl, I combine the ingredients right in the crockpot, and just remove half to add the "filling"...less dishes works for me any time!

I reduced the amount of meat a bit since I usually freeze ground meat in 1.3 pound bullets - I also had to reduce the cook time because the meat is not quite as thick in the crockpot so it cooks fast. Any type of ground meat can be used, and as with any meatloaf you can change the flavors around by changing the seasonings (chili powder or italian seasoning mix) and topping (salsa or pasta sauce)!

Slow Cooker Meatloaf

1.3 pounds ground beef (or other ground meat)
2 eggs, beaten
6 tablespoons ketchup
3 tablespoons dry onion soup mix
3 tablespoons steak seasoning or worcestershire sauce
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup bread crumbs

Combine beef, eggs, 3 tbsp ketchup, soup mix, steak seasoning, bread crumbs and cheese - mix well (works best with your hands!) Top with the remaining 3 tbsp ketchup - add some cheese on top if you like!.
Cover, and cook for 4-6 hrs on low, or 2-3 hrs on high.

Total Cost:
Ground beef: $2.60
Eggs: $0.28
Ketchup: $0.15
Soup mix: $0.30
Seasoning: $0.05
Cheese: $0.90
Bread Crumbs: $0.15

Grand Total: $4.13 for 4-6 servings

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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Easy Garlic Pork Chops

Another great find from - not only is it fast but there are only two steps :) Great meal for a work night when time is short and mouths are hungry!

Garlic Pork Chops

1 Tbsp vegetable oil
4 boneless pork chops
1 clove minced garlic
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1/2 cup milk

1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. add the pork and garlic and cook for 10 minutes, or until the chops are well browned on both sides. Remove the chops and set aside.
2. Stir the soup and milk into the skillet. Heat to a boil. Return the chops to the skillet and reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the chops are done. Serve with couscous or rice.

Total Cost:
Oil - $0.03
Pork chops - $4.00
Garlic - $0.05
Soup - $0.50
Milk - $0.08

Grand Total: $4.66 for 4 servings

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Crunchy Sweet Potato Fries

I found this little gem on - I wanted another alternative to a starchy side dish that would please my french fry-loving husband :) I like the Rice Krispy crust, it gives me a reason to use up the cereal other than making marshmallow treats! The recipe calls for garlic powder and cayenne pepper, but you could easily omit those if you prefer a more straightforward flavor.

Savoury Sweet Potato Sticks

3 medium sweet potatoes
3 cups crushed Rice Krispies
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 cup flour
4 egg whites
4 Tbsp water

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Wash potatoes (or peel). Cut lengthwise into 1/2 inch slices, then cut slices into 1/2 inch sticks
3. In a shallow dish, mix cereal and seasonings. Place flour in a second dish. In a medium bowl, mix egg whites and water.
4. Coat potatoes with flour, dredge in egg mixture, then coat with cereal mixture. Place in a single layer on a foil-lined baking sheet coated with cooking spray.
5. Bake at 400 degrees for about 25 minutes or until lightly browned and tender when tested with a sharp knife.

Total Cost:
Sweet potatoes - $1.20
Rice Krispies - $0.50
Flour - $0.05
Egg whites - $0.56

Grand Total: $2.31 for 4-6 servings!

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Chicken Broccoli Casserole

This recipe was posted on - it's hearty, fast, and easy to make with leftovers or fresh ingredients! I priced this out two ways - with all new ingredients, and with mostly leftovers.

Chicken Broccoli Casserole

2 cans broccoli cheese soup (or leftover homemade soup!)
2 cups cooked rice (or leftover rice)
2 boneless chicken breasts (or leftover roast chicken)
2 cups frozen broccoli
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Brown chicken in a skillet (skip this step if you use leftover roast chicken)
3. Prepare rice and broccoli according to their packages. Drain the broccoli of excess water.
4. Mix soup, chicken, rice, broccoli and 1 cup of cheddar cheese together in a 9X13 casserole pan. Season with salt & pepper to taste
5. Sprinkle remaining cup of cheddar cheese over the top
6. Bake until cheese is golden brown, about 15-20 minutes

Total Cost (all new ingredients):
Soup - $1.00
Rice - $0.40
Chicken - $2.50
Broccoli - $0.50
Cheese -$1.60

Grand Total: $6.00 for 6-8 servings

Total Cost (leftovers!)
Soup - free!
Rice - Free!
Chicken - free!
Broccoli - $0.50
Cheese - $1.60

Grand Total: $2.10 for leftover casserole!

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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unbelievable Chicken & Pasta

This recipe turned up on on a night when I wanted to try something new without having to get anything from the store. I lucked out when I found this gem, using things I had readily available AND only taking half an hour to prepare!

I made a few adjustments based on what I keep around regularly, and added a little seasoning to suit the tastebuds of my brood. The title link goes back to the original recipe, here's my take on it!

Laura's Unbelievable Chicken and Pasta

1 pound boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
2 cups chicken broth (homemade, or 1 can store-bought)
1 (10 oz) package either fresh or frozen spinach
1 (8 oz) package cream cheese, cubed
1 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tbsp garlic powder
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, drained
1 box penne pasta

1. Boil a large pot of water, and cook the pasta.

2. In a large skillet, cook the chicken in the chicken broth, simmering until done, about 10 minutes. (If you are using fresh spinach, add it with the chicken).

3. Add cubed cream cheese (and frozen spinach if you are using that), stir until it melts with the broth. Add pepper, salt and garli powder. Return it to a simmer, and cook another 5-7 minutes.

4. Add diced tomatoes, and cook about 3 minutes more, until sauce thickens slightly.

5. In a large bowl, mix the drained pasta with the chicken mixture, toss well and let stand a few minutes before serving!

Total Cost:
Chicken - $1.99
Chicken broth - Free!! (I make my own and freeze it!)
Spinach - $1.50 (fresh)
Cream Cheese - $0.99
Diced Tomatoes (1/2 a 28 oz can) - $0.45
Pasta - $1.00
Seasonings - $0.05

Grand Total - $5.98 for 6-8 servings - that's $0.75-$1.00 per serving!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Crockpot "Fried" Rice

This recipe comes from one of my all time favorite recipe resources, A Year of Crockpotting - if you haven't been to her site you MUST stop by...especially if you have a crockpot that you've been neglecting. How does 365 tested recipes sound? :)

I liked this recipe because I too am always looking for ways to use up either leftover cooked veggies, or the remnants of not-quite-used-up bags of frozen veg in the freezer. The meat is totally optional, I priced it out as meat-free because I usually have specific plans for those leftovers's the veggies that get me!

Crockpot Fried Rice

-2 cups leftover rice/quinoa
--3 T butter
--2 T soy sauce
--2 t worcestershire sauce
--1/2 t black pepper
--1/4 t kosher salt
--1/2 diced yellow onion
--1 cup of whatever frozen or fresh vegetables you have on hand.
--leftover meat (optional)
--1 egg
--sesame seeds for garnish (optional)


Plop everything on in there together. Mix it around, and cook on high for 2-3 hours, or on low for 3-4. You are only heating everything up and cooking the egg.

Total cost:
Rice - $0.40
Butter - $0.21
Onion - $0.10
Veggies - appx $0.25
Egg - $0.14
Seasonings - appx $0.15

Grand Total - $1.25 for 4 meatless servings! (under $3 with leftover meat!)