Tag Archives: Budget Dinner

Spanish rice and chicken stew 

I wasn’t sure what to call it. I just whipped dinner in 30 minutes, 10 minutes prepping, 30 minutes thinking about what to cook the whole way home from work. That’s  pretty much my routine. I can’t  follow meal plan, I am more of oh I have this and that let’s make this 😂😂. Even recipe, I can’t  even follow a recipe as is. I have to always make my own twist. Sometimes when I cook, I just throw this and that to the pot and be done. My habit taking picture of my food did not help as I did not write down what I did. So I found myself staring at the pictures and try to figure out what I did. How to make that. 

Now I am better with adding what I do as I make something.  I use this blog as my journal of my cooking journey. 

This meal tonight ended up less than $10 … again. I have a whole young chicken that I bought for $6 and only uses the breast part in this recipe. The rest is just canned tomatoes, tomato paste, seasonings, onion, garlic, rice, frozen peas, chicken broth which I made in Instant pot and freeze tons of them.

Here is the list of ingredients:

  • 1 whole bone in chicken breast
  • 1 (14.5 oz) canned diced tomatoes 
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed 
  • 2 teaspoons oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper

Dumped everything  in instant pot. Closed the lid, sealed the vent, press manual 30 minutes. Once it beeped,  let it sit for 10 minutes before release the little pressure left and shred the chicken,  take the bone  out. I use 2 forks and shred them in the pot.

Now while the chicken  cooking, I started my rice. Into the pot, all ingredients for the rice below. Closed the lid, sealed the vent, press manual 4 minutes then once it beeped let it sit for 6 minutes. Then fluff  the rice. 

  • 2 cups jasmine rice,  coz that’s  what I have and love
  • 1/2 cups diced tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 cups frozen peas
  • 2 cups chicken broth

Serve the chicken with the rice and topped with shredded cheese and a squeeze of lemon juice.

My 11 years old had second. He even finished his dinner before I finished mine. So I guess dinner was a truly winner winner chicken dinner.

Broccoli and chicken rice casserole

When you see rotisserie chicken on sale, I usually grabbed some and freeze them. It was $2.83 When I found it. Grabbed couples and using one today. Well I am using just the breast part today.

Diced up the chicken breast part, add them to the Instant pot along with 3 cups of water, a diced of 1/2 small onion and crushed 3 cloves garlic. Stir, closed the lid, sealed the vent, press rice. Once it beeped, you can release pressure immediately which known as QR ( Quick Release) or leave it for longer like I did today, which known as NPR (Natural Pressure Release).

Stir the rice, add 2 cans of creamed of Chicken soup and 1 can creamed of mushroom soup,  1 cup mayonnaise, juice from 1 lemon, 1/4 cup heavy cream, 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar, 1 can sliced mushroom, 1 pack of frozen broccoli florets. Mix well

Pout mixture in a pyrex pan 9×13, spread them. topped with Panko breadcrumb. Drizzle with melted 1 stick of butter. Baked in preheated 350°f oven for around 25 to 30.minutes until the top is golden brown and bubbly.

We don’t cook things like this often. My son and my husband, both said that it have been a looking time since I cooked this dish. 

When I have time, I make own roux for the chicken soup and mushroom soup. But cans are shortcut.

Beef in red wine

Last week I scored when I grabbed this big block of brisket for $18. I cut them up into 4 pieces that I know I can do 4 dinners. So Thursday afternoon after stopping by at Wholefoods and found some sale on merlot and sauvignon, I thought I would do my own version of beouf bourguignon. 

I cut up my beef into big chunks. Seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme and flour. I do this in a bowl and just toss them until all coated. 

Cut a medium onion into 8 pieces, chopped 4 cloves of garlic, cut up 5 slices of bacon. And let them all dancing in the Instant pot with a splash of olive oil until bacon crispy, take the bacon out and use the oilin the pan to browned the meat. Set aside, add white mushroom that I cleaned and tool the stem off. I used 1 big container of it. Add 1 cup of merlot, 1/2 cup beef broth, 2 tablespoons tomato paste. Stir well, scrape the bits on the bottom told the pan from the bacon and the meat. Add salt, pepper as needed.

I then put the meat back in the pot, toss them around and add sliced of 5 carrots. closed the lid, sealed the vent, press manual 40 minutes. 

It was a look tender but not fall apart that I can still grabbed with my girl.

I think this one is a keeper. Would be good with a toast of french baguette or mashed potatoes. I can not stop drinking the broth. So it is another less than $10 meal for us. And since hubby skipping dinner, we actually have the leftover for dinner on Friday.

Another budget dinner

I try to work on a budget for our meal. I like to challenge myself to bring food to the table that if possible less than $10 that is not just pasta and mac and cheese or ramen noodle. If we can have dinner for 3, which actually 5 with our big appetite family, that is not junk food, I feel accomplished. 

Mind you I have limited items I can cook. No sesame for one, no gassy food or veggies for the other. So beans, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, green beans are in the no no list.  I still cook them sometimes but not something I can cook often.

What I do, usually I watch and grabbed what’s on special. Meats, most of the time I grabbed sale price and freeze them. I like going to the store often for vegetable. Daily if I can. they don’t last long. I ended up throwing so many in the trash. These days I like making trip every other day for the veggies. It is on my way home anyway. Not that I have to make special trip.

If you remember from my previous post, I asked my husband what to cook. Beef or chicken. He picked beef yesterday so I do chicken today.

I bought the chicken thigh for $5.83 there’s 8 of them. Enough for all 3 of us. And baby Bella mushroom for  $1.44 at Aldi. With the onion, garlic and seasoning, our dinner tonight is less than $10. 

I rub the chicken with a mixture of olive oil, crushed garlic, grated ginger, salt, pepper, onion powder. Then browned it in the pot with a little more olive oil. After all chickens browned, set aside and throw in the sliced mushroom and sliced onion, I used 1 small onion. Sautee until translucent, the onions are, and add 2 cups chicken broth to deflated the pan. Put the chickens back in the pot. Closed the lid, sealed the vent and press manual 15 minutes. When it beeped, let it sit NPR until the pressure all disappear 😚. Here is what I got. Oh and I still have leftover mashed potatoes from dinner last night. See … we can have a good meal that are not just ramen or mac and cheese in the box. 

Taco ring with peach mango salsa

Dinner in less than an hour..can’t get any better than this taco ring.

The idea is from my Pampered Chef website.

I didn’t follow the recipe to the T. Just to get the idea. Been thinking about this few month back and have not get the chance to make them. Today at work while chat through email with my hubby, I asked if taco ring sounds ok to him for dinner. Well of course he said yes after hearing the description.

We, specially my boys, loves the crescent roll. And they love taco so combining both.jackpot!.

We stopped by at Kroger on the way home got everything we need but taco seasoning..we finally found that stinker after we almost give up.

Off we go..pick my lil man from karate camp and went straight home.

First off brown the ground beef, I add chopped onion and garlic. When it’s all brown add the taco seasoning, a little S&P, 1/2 cup water and let it cook until almost all the liquid evaporated. Let it cool while you popped those crescent roll. Am I the only one who still jump eventhough I have anticipated the popping sound? That thing scares me lol.

Anyway, I am using my round pizza stone from Pampered Chef, brush with a little olive oil. Then arrange the crescent. The pointy part towards the outside of the pan and kinda hanging. While the wider side kinda overlapping. I wish I took picture..I forgot to do that because we were hungry. Next time I will..promise. Anyway ..then scoop the taco meat on the wider area, sprinkle with shredded cheese and fold the pointy part towards the middle and tuck in under the wider part of the crescent.
Brush with egg white, sprinkle with a little cheese. Bake in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. Oh and I used 2 can of the crescent that is 12 oz each.

When it’s cooked, take it out from the oven..garnish with shredded lettuce, salsa, cheese and sour cream.

We did peach and mango salsa this time and decided not to use sour cream. I got the avocado but forgot to use it..we were hungry and can’t wait to dig in. It was sooooooo good.
And easy…that’s my kind of cooking. Here is the picture. I promise next time I will take the step by step picture. Hope you enjoy!

Here is the recipe:


Taco Ring

1 1/2 lb lean ground beef
1 pkg taco seasoning mix
1 3/4 cups shredded cheddar cheese, divided
2 tbsp water
2 pkg (12 oz each) refrigerated crescent rolls
1 egg white, lightly beaten
toppings: Salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, Shredded lettuce

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Brown ground beef in Skillet over medium heat until no longer pink, breaking beef into crumbles; drain.

Stir in taco seasoning mix, 1/2 cup water. Let it cook until almost all liquid evaporated.

Unroll crescent dough; separate into triangles.

Arrange triangles, slightly overlapping, in a circle on Round pizza stone, wide ends 4-in. from edge of baking stone. (Points will extend off the edge of the baking stone.)

Roll wide ends of dough toward center to create a 5-in. opening.

Scoop filling evenly over dough in a continuous circle.

Bring points of triangles up over filling and tuck under dough at center to form a ring.

(Filling will show is you are using the 8 oz crescent roll.)

Brush with egg white. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.

Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Serve with toppings.

For the peach mango salsa ** if you want a chunky salsa, diced it..tonight I put it in food processor the tomato and all except the fruit. I mix in he fruit at the end.
1 mango – peeled, seeded, and diced
2 peaches, peeled, seeded and diced
2 tomato chopped
1 green onion, chopped
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
If you want hot :1 fresh jalapeno chile pepper, finely chopped
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice

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