Friday, March 27, 2009

frugal dinner - vegetable chicken stir fry

In order to trick Josh into eating more vegetables, I volunteered to cook vegetable chicken stir fry for dinner tonight.

Recently, GO Magazine posted an article titled A Cheapskate's Grocery Guide GO visited six Springfield grocery stores and priced a list of items to compare. The majority of the time Wal-Mart had the best prices, with Dillons having sales that were occasionally cheaper. Dillons had the highest prices on occasion too. Price Cutter was surprisingly high compared to the other choices.

Heeding their advice, I bought my stir fry ingredients at Wal-Mart. Eggs were down to $1.25/dozen (cheaper than the GO article), and brown eggs were $1.54. Frozen stir fry vegetables were $1.83, Tyson boneless, skinless chicken tenders were $4.96 for 1 1/2 lbs, and bean sprouts $1.77. Everything else we had in our pantry and cost very little per serving, but would make this recipe much more expensive to make if you had to buy everything.

1/2 lb. chicken, cut up and cooked ($1.65)
2 eggs scrambled ($0.26)
1/2 bag frozen stir fry vegetables ($0.92)
1/2 bag bean sprouts ($0.89)
1 cup rice cooked (we have a 20 lb. bag from Sam's, so 1 cup costs pennies)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 onion chopped
1 tbs. sesame oil
1 tbs. rice vinegar
3 tbs. brown sugar
pinch cayenne pepper
vegetable oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 tbs. minced fresh ginger

I'm not very good at cooking or giving cooking directions, but you can get the idea.
I made the sauce first and let it simmer while I made the rest of the meal.
Sauce: brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, cayenne pepper, ginger
Cook the chicken with the garlic then set it aside
Scramble the egg and set it aside
Heat oil with the onion and once it's cooked, add scrambled eggs and rice to make fried rice
Add the frozen vegetables, bean sprouts, chicken and sauce and cook until the vegetables are done.

Granted the onion, fresh ginger and 1/2 cup of soy sauce cost more than any of the un-priced items on the list, the whole meal easily cost less than $5.00. Basing my cooking on what we already had in our pantry, I only spent $3.72 out of pocket for dinner for two, and the ingredients I have left over can either go back in the pantry or be frozen, so nothing is wasted!

I also LOVE Red Diamond sweet tea and I could easily go through a gallon every other day, but I can't stand to spend that much money on tea. Yesterday I made a gallon pitcher of Lipton iced tea and added 1/2 cup of Splenda and it's not too bad. For the first gallon I used 5 tea bags and I think next time I'll try 8 and 3/4 cup of Splenda because the first gallon tastes a little watered down. Either way, making my own gallons of tea = huge savings compared to buying gallons of tea at the store.

For dessert Josh made chocolate chip cookies and we both ate an excellent meal for just a few dollars without feeling deprived.

Dody sent me a picture of Ben yesterday at the park.

I called the pediatrician about Ben's persistant but fading eye goop. The nurse told me to massage his tear ducts in addition to giving him his eye drops three times per day and call if his eyes haven't cleared up by Monday. We will also be meeting with the surgeon on Monday to schedule Ben's surgery.

Ben watching me (sleeping while I) cook (a rare sight.)

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