February 2010

Barbecue Chicken and Twice-Baked Potatoes (remember, this serves 2 adults and 2 children dinner AND lunch the next day!)

1lb boneless, skinless chicken breast ($1.88)
1 small bottle barbecue sauce ($0.39)
6 baking potatoes ($1.60)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar ($0.62)
1/2 cup sour cream ($0.25)
1/4 cup margarine ($0.05)
Canola or Olive oil

Place chicken in slow cooker, pour barbecue sauce over chicken, and cook on low for 8 hours. You can pull it apart with a fork after several hours, just to make sure the sauce cooks into all the chicken, but this isn’t necessary…the chicken will be falling apart after 8 hours anyway!

Preheat oven to 450. Coat baking potatoes in oil and sprinkle with salt; use a small knife to poke several holes in each potato to allow steam to release during baking. Place on a large broiler pan and bake for an hour to an hour-and-a-half, depending on size of potatoes. You want the skin to be crispy, and the inside cooked through. Remove potatoes from oven, slice open and allow to cool for 30 minutes. Scoop out the inside of the potatoes and place in a large mixer bowl. Add cheese, sour cream, and margarine; mix with mixer as if you’re making mashed potatoes – HIGH speed for fluffy potatoes!! Take mashed potato mixture and place in a gallon-sized zipper bag. Snip off one corner of the bag, and pipe into potato skins. Place in oven at 350 degrees for around 20 minutes. Because twice-baked potatoes are so labor intensive, I usually do a HUGE batch and freeze them…they can be baked from frozen at 350 in about 45 minutes.

Serve with salad or frozen broccoli for a little green. Tonight we’re having bagged salad – they were on sale at Kroger for $1.50 per bag!

Total cost, before green veggies:


Sloppy Joes, Roasted Potatoes, and Green Beans ($5.10)

1lb ground beef ($1.50)
1 can Hunt’s Manwich sauce ($1)
5 Kroger Whole Wheat Hamburger Buns ($0.50)
5 medium potatoes ($0.50)
1 large can Del Monte Cut Green Beans (I use fresh during the summer, canned during the winter) ($1.50)
2T Olive or Canola Oil (olive oil is healthier, but canola is cheaper) ($0.10)
salt and pepper
1t sugar
Magic Seasoning Salt

Preheat oven to 425. Coat a 9×13 inch glass baking dish with cooking spray. Cut potatoes into cubes (don’t peel them! This is the only time I can get my kids to eat potatoes with the peel on…) and place in baking dish. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of oil over the potatoes; add pepper and seasoning salt (as much as you like…my hubby likes a lot of pepper, so I go heavy on the pepper and do a light covering of seasoning salt). Place in the oven and bake for 45 minutes.

While potatoes are baking, place green beans (do not drain) in medium sauce pan. Add 1 tablespoon of oil, 1 teaspoon of sugar, and a dash of salt and pepper. Simmer over medium heat until liquid is gone.

While potatoes are baking and green beans are simmering, brown ground beef. Lean ground beef is more expensive than the fattier beef, so here’s a trick to reduce the fat content: after browning your beef, place in a strainer over a large pot. Heat several cups of water in the microwave until almost boiling. Pour water slowly over the beef, and watch the fat drain into the pot! Discard water and fat and return meat to skillet. Add Manwich mix, reduce heat, and simmer.

Place hamburger buns on baking sheet and heat on the lower rack of oven for the last five minutes as potatoes are cooking.

A yummy way to eat the leftover potatoes is to add a layer of cheese and heat at 350. Add a little more seasoning salt and they taste like those delicious yet terribly unhealthy cheese fries from Charley’s Steakery!