Meals for $5 or Less

7:43 PM, Jan 5, 2011   |    comments
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Can you really feed a family of four for under $5? "Yes!" says Erin Chase and she's got more than 200 different ways in her new cookbook.

Chase authors the blog and published The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook in 2009.

Now she's back with the $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook.

Chase clips coupons to use on sale items and watches meat prices carefully. "I'm stocking up on chicken breasts when they are $1.99 per pound or less; I'm stocking up on the pork chops when they're $1.99 per pound or less. Then when I go to put a meal together, I know I've paid as little as possible for the main ingredients and fill it with some other ingredients like rice or potatoes that are always inexpensive. So it's just a matter of being creative with I've got on hand and what I've paid as little as possible for," she said.

Many of the recipes in Chase's new cookbook can be made in large batches and frozen, like Hawaiian Ham-wiches and Chocolate Chip Raspberry Pancakes.

Here are three of the recipes. The prices are what Chase normally pays using either coupons, store sales or both.

California Club Wraps

8 bacon slices ($.67)
4 slices cheddar cheese, cut in half ($.75)
2 cups chopped lettuce ($.25)
1 avocado, pitted and sliced ($.68)
4 hard boiled eggs, sliced ($.76)
1/2 cup store bought or homemade ranch dressing ($.25)
4 burrito size, whole wheat tortillas ($.67)

Place the bacon slices on a microwave-safe plated lined with 2 paper towels. Cover with another paper towel. Microwave on high for 5 to 7 minutes or until crisp. If you prefer, cook the bacon in a skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Transfer to clean paper towels and let cool before adding to the wraps.

Place a slice of bacon, two cheese slice halves, lettuce, avocado slices and hard boiled egg slices onto each of the burrito size tortillas. Drizzle each wrap with ranch dressing and roll up. Cut the wraps in half on the diagonal.
Cost: $4.43

Overnight Honey Nut Granola:

1/2 cut canola or vegetable oil ($.20)
2/3 cut honey ($1.10)
1 teaspoon vanilla extrqact ($.15)
5 cups rolled oats, quick-cooking or old-fashioned ($.60)
1 cup sliced almonds ($.75)
1 cut chopped pecans ($.75)
Milk, cream or yogurt for serving
Fresh fruit ($.50)

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.

In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, honey, vanilla and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, combine the rolled oats, sliced almonds and chopped pecans. Pour the honey mixture over the oat mixture. Toss until evenly coated.

Spread the mixture evenly in a thin, single layer on 2 ungreased, rimmed baking sheets.

Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Turn off the oven and leave the granola in the oven overnight.

In the morning, remove the granola from the oven and serve with milk, cream, or yogurt and fresh fruit.
Cost: $4.35

Chicken and Broccoli Stir-Fry

1 cup uncooked brown rice ($.20)
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($2)
1/4 cup soy sauce ($.40)
3 tablespoons canola oil ($.15)
2 heads broccoli, cut into florets ($.79)
1 small yellow onion, chopped ($.30)
3 garlic cloves, crushed ($.15)
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes ($.10)
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, cook the rice according to the package directions.

Dice the chicken breast into 1/2 inch pieces. Toss the diced chicken pieces with the soy sauce and let marinate in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.

In a large skillet or wok, heat the canola oil and add the marinated chicken pieces. Cook over high heat for 7 to 9 minutes or until the chicken pieces have cooked through. Cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken pieces. Stir the chicken often while it cooks.

Once the chicken is cooked, add the broccoli, chopped onion, crushed garlic cloves, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper to taste. Saute for 5 to 7 minuters.

Serve over brown rice.

Makes 4 to 6 lunch size portions.
Cost $4.09

The $5 Dinner Mom Breakfast and Lunch Cookbook is available on Amazon as well as at Walmart and  Border's. Erin Chase will sign copies of her book on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 7pm at Border's Books at the Avenue East Cobb, 4475 Roswell Road Suite 1520, Marietta GA 30062.  


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