January 2010

My family loves this chicken so much, I usually make 1.5-2lbs of chicken rather than my usual pound!

Apple Chicken and Brown Rice ($4.48 for two meals, not counting veggies)

1.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast ($2.82)
2 medium apples ($0.50)
1 medium onion, sliced ($0.10)
1.5 cups apple juice ($0.31)
1T lemon juice ($0.13)
1t cinnamon ($0.09)
1 cup brown rice ($0.53)

Slice chicken into smaller pieces – my family generally likes smaller, “tender-size” strips – and place in crock pot. Slice onion and place in crock pot with chicken. Slice apples and coat with lemon juice and cinnamon; layer over chicken and onions. Pour apple juice in crock pot and cook on low for 8 hours. (I actually forgot to coat my apples with lemon juice and cinnamon this morning…I’ll let you know how it turns out!)

Cook brown rice according to package directions. If you’re not used to brown rice, keep in mind that it takes longer to cook than white rice. I prefer rice that isn’t overly done, but it still takes around 30 minutes for brown rice to cook to my liking.

Tonight I think we’ll have either green beans or sweet potatoes as our veggie, but we’ve also done broccoli, carrots, and corn.



An easy and inexpensive dinner!

Jama’s Soup Beans (or Pinto Beans, for those not familiar with the Southern term)

Total cost for meal: $2.34 for dinner and lunch for a family of four. Not kidding!!

16oz of dried pinto beans (I buy the 4lb bag and divide it into 4 portions – it’s cheaper!) ($0.87)
1 med. onion, chopped ($0.10)
4 slices turkey bacon, chopped ($0.62)
salt and pepper

The night before, put dried beans in a large bowl and cover with water. Let soak overnight. Recover with water in the morning. We have dinner at 6pm, so I pour off the excess water at around 2:45pm, put the beans in a large pot, add chopped onion and bacon, and fill about 3/4 full with water (you want a lot of water in the pot, because they’re going to be cooking for several hours!), and place on the stove over medium heat at around 3pm. Simmer for approximately 2.5 hours, and add a pinch of salt once beans are tender. Continue cooking until soup is thick.

I couldn’t find my favorite cornmeal at the grocery store this time around, so I bought White Lily ($0.75 to make enough cornbread for 2 meals for a family of 4). Follow the package directions. I swear by cornbread baked in the oven in an iron skillet – it just doesn’t get any better! If you have an iron skillet, pour a bit of oil in the pan, and place in the oven to heat. Once the oil is thin and hot, pour your batter into the pan, and cook according to package directions. If you don’t have an iron skillet, you can always do corn muffins in a regular muffin pan!

This is the first of my “What’s For Dinner” posts. I’ve had several people ask for recipes that I use frequently – especially the healthy ones! – and I thought this would be a great place to direct folks when they want to know what the Olivers are eating for dinner. A lot of the recipes I’ll be posting are just things I’ve come up with on my own, and most will have the price I paid for the ingredients listed. All of my recipes make enough for dinner AND lunch the next day for two adults, a three-year-old, and a one-year old. We always have last night’s leftovers for lunch!

Jama’s Healthy Spaghetti
The only real downfall for this recipe is that I use canned sauce, which means that there’s more sodium than if I made my own sauce. I’ve found, though, that it’s not only easier to use the canned sauce, but it’s also a lot cheaper. I’m hoping to have enough tomatoes from my garden this summer to can and make my own sauce for practically nothing, but until then, Hunts it is!

1 lb. ground turkey ($1.50)
1 can Hunt’s Spaghetti Sauce ($1.00)
1 medium onion ($0.10)
1 bag Kroger crinkle cut carrots ($1.00)
Great Value Whole Wheat Rotini ($1.00)

Brown ground turkey and chopped onion. Add carrots and spaghetti sauce. Cover and simmer until sauce is thick and carrots are soft (they’re easier to smoosh and hide from the kids if they’re really soft!). Cook pasta according to package directions and mix into sauce mixture (I’ve found that mixing the pasta in with the sauce makes the sauce stretch farther. If I don’t mix it in, I end up with not enough sauce and lots of leftover pasta!)

I am in the process of changing the focus of jamaoliver.com. For several years this was a political blog – a place for me to rant and rave about whatever political issue was on my mind at the moment. Over the last few years, however, the focus of my life has become my family – raising my children, taking care of my husband and my home, and becoming a more Godly woman. While I’m still interested in politics, I am much more interested in “being busy at home.”

So, over the next couple of weeks or so, I plan to revamp this site to reflect Jama Oliver as she is now. All of the political content will still be here, archived, for you to read and enjoy (or not enjoy!), but, for the most part, I’ll be posting recipes, stories about my family, pictures, and information on homemaking, child-rearing, and the general interests of a Reformed Christian woman.

For those of you that drop by for the political content, please keep in mind that this is a family site now. Be kind, keep your language clean, and try to enjoy a grown-up, calmer, mommy-fied Jama Oliver!