I've been in a cooking mode lately. I get like that sometimes. There are times where I just like to have those bagged frozen meals to drop in the microwave and not even think about, but then there are times where I like to be very Food Network-ish with my cooking.
This weekend, I made up my own recipe for something! It's not something I do a ton, because I figure if someone else has already made the recipe, tried it, and liked it enough to share it with others, then it's good enough for me…most of the time. But I was feeling adventurous (and wanting to clean out my pantry a little), so I went for it!
I have LOVED Rotel Chicken since college. My sorority served it, and it was always my favorite meal!
1 lb. pasta
2 lbs. chicken
1 big block Velveeta
1 can Rotel
1 can diced tomatoes (I used fire roasted.)
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup
1 can Chicken Broth
1/2 cup butter
First, get the pasta going.
(I did 2 lbs., but it was a little dry, so I would go with 1 lb. next time I try this.)
Then, saute your onion in a little bit of oil…olive oil is my favorite. I use it for EVERYTHING!
After the onions are sauteed, drop in your Rotel, tomatoes, soup, and chicken broth. Bring to a boil, then drop to low while the pasta finishes and you get everything else ready.
Cube up your Velveeta.
And roast your chicken in a 450 degree oven. Preferably, thaw out before roasting (something I didn't do. Whoops.)
Drain your pasta, and spread in your BIG casserole dish (I had to use 2 because I had 2 lbs. pasta, but you could probably get away with one if you only used 1 box).
Mix together cheese, chicken, and pasta in the dish.
Pour sauce mixture over the top and (wait for it)…pour melted butter over that. I know…just pretend like you didn't do it, it will be okay just this once. Plus I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, so I guess that's a little better. (I also used 2% Velveeta and reduced fat Cream of Mushroom soup.)
Drop oven temp to 350 degrees and bake (covered) for 25 minutes. Uncover, and bake 20 more minutes, until bubbly.
Makes a TON of food!
I also made my own bread yesterday. It sounds really hard, but it was seriously easy…just time consuming!
(I got the recipe here.)
You let the yeast rise in warm water with some sugar for 10 minutes, then mix in flour and salt. Let this rise
and it becomes this
Poke that down, then roll it into balls on a greased cookie sheet.
Cover with warm, wet paper towels
and let it rise…again. Like I said, a little time consuming.
They will become this.
Bake, and they are super yummy!
I like to break down cost of each meal…it's just something I do in my head every time I cook. I try to never go above $2 a serving, and I've gotten it to where our cost per serving is about $1 – sometimes a little more, sometimes a little less. Here's how these broke down, including my sale prices.
1 lb. pasta – I paid $.80 for 2 pounds, would be less next time around.
2 lbs. chicken – $3.40
1 big block Velveeta – $2.85
1 can Rotel – $.40
1 can diced tomatoes- $.40
1 can Cream of Mushroom soup – $.50
1 onion – $.25
1 can Chicken Broth – $.10 (I use chicken bullion.)
1/2 cup butter – $.20
So that's $8.90, and it makes 12 meals (6 per dish…I froze the other one.) That's 74 cents per serving…not bad!
And the rolls:
Water – free
Yeast – 50 cents
Sugar – 5 cents
Olive Oil – 10 cents
Salt – 5 cents
Flour – 40 cents
So (about) $1.10 for 20 rolls. If you have 1 per meal, that only adds 6 cents to each meal!
I've been reading this blog a lot lately. I don't agree with a lot of the ways she does things, but I think some of her cost cutting methods are just FASCINATING. I really like how she makes a lot of the foods we buy pre-made, like tortillas, salsa, and bread. I think I may try some of it!
One thing I am definitely trying is making my own garden this summer. I have ALWAYS wanted to do this! My grandparents had a garden when I was little…I spent many summers on my grandmother's back porch shelling peas and cleaning corn. You have NO idea how good fresh garden vegetables are until you try them! And it cuts way down on your produce bill…especially when you use free Amazon gift cards to pay for them. So I'm ordering all of that within the next week…I'll be sure to put it all on here when I get started!