This past week, I was able to make a restauraut style meal for all 7 of us for under $10.00 plus I ended up with 2 single serve lunches and extra meat to serve for a lunch!
Here is what was on the menu:
Chicken Cordon Bleu
Homemade Breaded Chicken Tenders
Creamy Mashed Potatoes
Iceburg Lettuce Salad
Now to explain how I managed it!
For the Chicken Cordon Bleu, I used this recipe as my guide. I use 2lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast that I got for $1.87/lb ($3.74). I got a 1.87lb mini half portion boneless ham for $7.46($3.99/lb--cheaper than ham from the deli counter) and thinly sliced it with my electric slicer. I used only 6 thin slices so I figured just $1.00 for the ham. I used 4 slices of swiss cheese out of a 24ct. pkg. that I got for $1.88 so that figures to 32 cents for the 4 slices. Then for the 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs, 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, 1 cup flour, 1 egg, 1/2 stick margarine and spices, I figured about another 75 cents. That brings my total just for the meat portion of my meal to $5.81. I used the 1/2 stick of margarine as my "oil" for the pan. However, instead of melting it in the pan before adding the chicken to the pan, I used little pats of it on top of the chicken and it melted in the oven as the chicken cooked. Doing it this way makes it where you don't have to worry about flipping the chicken at the halfway point of cooking. Also, if you are wondering, I only made 6 of the 13 pieces of chicken that I had in the 2lbs of chicken into the Cordon Bleu. The rest of the chicken I used just the bread crumb and parmesan cheese mixture to coat it.
I used 2 1/2 lbs of white pototoes which costed me 65 cents. I got a 5lb bag of white potatoes from Save A Lot for $1.29! You can figure in 1/4 cup milk, 3 heaping tbsps. sour cream and the other 1/2 stick of margarine for another 25 cents brings the total for the potatoes to 90 cents.
I used two cans of sweet corn that I got on sale for 67 cents/can. So the "steamed corn" was $1.34.
For my salad, I used a head of iceburg lettuce that I got at Save A Lot for 50 cents and 1 large carrot. I also sprinkled shredded cheese, real bacon bits, and croutons on it so I figured that the salad costs me $1.00. It is hard to know exactly how much the cheese, bacon and croutons costs as these are a few things that I get in a monthly Sam's run.
The biscuits was a tube of Pillsbury biscuits that I got for 66 cents with a sale and coupon!
So the grand total for this restauraut style meal for a family of 7 was $9.70!!! If I were to take my family out to eat at a "sit-down" restauraut we would have spent at least $30 or more if you include the tip! That is why I like to take the time every once in a while to fix a more elaborate meal rather than heading out to a restauraut and spending 3 times as much.
For other frugal tips, recipes, or resources; head over to Biblical Womanhood!