With the economy being what it is these days, it becomes important to stretch your food budget as much as possible. In doing so, it does not mean sacrificing quality for price. A great meal can always be done for the family for only a few dollars.
Two budget meals that can feed a family of five come to mind.
The first is an oriental chicken dish I call simply Soy Sauce Chicken.
Items needed are one medium to large fresh or thawed frozen whole chicken, two boxes of Rice a Roni, preferably either chicken or oriental flavor, a green onion and slivered almonds.
First cut the chicken in half, put aside the liver, gizzard, and heart for another recipe at another time and boil both halves for around ninety minutes. The chicken need not be seasoned while boiling. Next, prepare the Rice a Roni following the directions on the box. I prefer to fry the uncooked rice for about three minutes using about a tablespoon of oil at a high temperature before beginning the labeled cooking procedures because this gives the cooked rice better texture and adds a desirable unique flavor to the rice when done.
When the chicken is, done remove it from the water and let cool for about twenty minutes. Then discard the skin and remove the meat from the bone being careful not to let any small bones or joint gristle get into the meat. Next, shred the meat by hand into medium chunks or slivers.
The rice will be done by now and the recipe can be put together.
Put approximately three tablespoons of Rice a Roni in the center of each dinner plate, place a cup of chicken meat on top of the rice, and lightly sprinkle the almond slivers on the mound. At this point have a small pan of hot oil, preferably olive but any will work ready and pour very small amount over the mound. It should sizzle if it is done correctly. Now just add a few shakes of Soy Sauce and dinner is ready.
Teriyaki Sauce or Sweet and Sour Sauce can be substituted for Soy Sauce if desired.
To spice up the dish a variety of fresh vegetables can also be used as a side dish to this recipe.
Next is a dish I call Mexican Fiesta.
With this recipe, you will need a large bag of tortilla chips, two pounds of ground beef, refried beans, lettuce, onion, tomato, sliced olives, and shredded cheddar cheese.
For seasonings, use a simple pack of taco seasoning along with the seasonings of your preference. I prefer to use granulated garlic with this recipe because the flavor of garlic is integral to any Mexican dish.
Start with cooking the ground beef in a large frying pan and adding a half a cup of diced onions and a level tablespoon of granulated garlic to the meat while cooking. When fully cooked, drain off excess oil add a half cup of water and the taco mix. Bring to a boil and set aside.
In a separate pan warn the refried beans then also set aside.
Now chop the onion and tomato into small pieces put in separate bowls. Next cut the head of lettuce into sections of four get rid of the stem. Next, thinly slice the lettuce into a fine shred place in bowl.
Put a layer of chips over the plate, sprinkle the ground beef over them, put small amounts of the refried beans over the meat, add a small amount of diced onion on it, and sprinkle the shredded cheese over the mix. Repeat this process over what is in the plate. Now add the diced tomatoes, olives, and lettuce.
A teaspoon of guacamole and sour cream should be placed on the top of the recipe.
Your preference of using salsa or hot sauce can be put over the mixture as well. What you have now is a plate of gourmet nachos for a just a few dollars.
Living on a tight budget does not mean having to eat dull or tasteless food but having to get a little creative in making memorable meals for less.