Recipes for the Financially Challenged

Chicken Flautas

Chicken flautas have always been kind of a let down dish for me.  Sure, chicken wrapped in a fried corn tortilla sounds like a good idea, but I’m always disappointed at the lack of flavor.  Such is not the case here.  The jalepenos and onions infuse such great flavors that once I’ve had one, I’ve got to have more.  These can easily be made ahead and frozen, saving the frying for right before they’re to be eaten.  You could also lightly baste them with olive oil and bake for a healthier approach.

  • 2 1/2 pounds chicken
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 1 1/2 jalapenos
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1 to 2 cups vegetable oil
  • 36 corn tortillas

    In a pot, cover chicken with water. Add onion, jalapenos, and one teaspoon of salt and bring to a boil and simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Remove meat from pot and cool. Pull chicken apart into small pieces. Chicken should be continuously pulled apart until string-like consistency. In a deep pan, heat the oil to about 375 to 400 degrees F. Dip corn tortillas into hot oil for 1/2 a second or until tortilla is soft. Lay the shredded chicken in the middle of the corn tortillas. Add enough meat to make sure you taste the flavor of the meat and the corn tortilla. Roll the tortilla up and put toothpick through the middle of the flauta to hold in place. Once rolled, deep fry each flauta in the oil already heated (used to soften the corn tortillas) until corn tortillas turn to a golden brown or to your preference. Allow cooling off time. Remove toothpicks and serve 4 flautas on a plate with salsa or guacamole. Serves 6-9

    Cost Breakdown(matching coupons with sales)

    chicken: .69/lb=$2.07

    jalepeno: .33/lb=.07

    onion: .33/lb=.15



    tortillas: $2.50

    Total per meal for a family of four: $5.29/2= $2.65 per meal


    Baked Spaghetti

    This is a very quick and easy recipe to make when you’re pressed for time.  I prefer to make my own spaghetti sauce, but sometimes it’s just easier to use what I have on hand.  I made spaghetti the night before, but my husband and I were so busy we scarfed down a bowl and ran out the door.  Not wanting to waste all the leftovers, I decided to reinvent them.  I literally threw this together one night and it turned out to be a great meal and was a nice change to the usual spaghetti dinner.  The egg gives the sauce a consistency similar to baked macaroni and cheese, so if you like that, you’re sure to be a fan of this one.

    1 jar spaghetti sauce

    1 lb. Italian turkey sausage

    1 box pasta, cooked

    1 8oz can tomato sauce

    1 8 oz. bag of blended or mozzarella cheese

    6 egg whites (or 4 whole eggs)

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Brown sausage and drain of excess fat.  Stir in cooked pasta and spaghetti sauce.  Cook until warmed through.  Add eggs, cheese, and tomato sauce and stir. Pour mixture into baking dish and cook for 20 minutes or until egg has set and cheese is melted (you can skip baking and cook it over the stove top if you’re pressed for time).  Serves 6-8 and can easily be divided into two portions- one to be eaten immediately and the other to be frozen and eaten later.

    Cost breakdown (shopping with coupons matched to sales)

    turkey sausage- $1


    spaghetti sauce-.25/jar

    can of sauce-.20

    8 oz. bag of cheese- $1

    6 eggs- .50

    Total for two meals (we had alot left over, so I froze what was left): $3.40 or $1.70 per meal


    My Favorite Chicken Recipe- Annie’s Stovetop Chicken

    There are few things I enjoy in life more than good food.  I figure that if you’re going to eat, it might as well taste good.  Certainly the right blend of spices and ingredients can make or break a recipe, but sometimes the thing that brings me the most satisfaction in having a good meal is eating it while knowing that I’ve provided a delicious meal for my family for pennies per serving.  The trick is to use what you’ve got.  If you don’t have it, substitute with something that you think would add to the flavor, or just leave it out.  Here’s one of my favorite no fuss concoctions that’s good enough for company:

    Annie’s  Stovetop Chicken

    2 tablespoons butter

    1 3 lb chicken

    2-3 spoonfuls minced garlic

    2 tablespoons lemon juice

    Garlic salt to taste

    Pepper to taste

    Sage to taste

    Parsley to taste

    1 packet onion and mushroom soup mix

    2 cups water

    Melt one tablespoon of  butter in large pot.  Mix remaining butter, garlic, lemon juice, a heavy pinch of garlic salt, and  pepper and spread under the skin of the chicken.  Cover top of skin with garlic additional garlic salt, sage, pepper, lemon juice, and parsley.  Place breast down in butter.  Saute for five minutes until golden brown.  Repeat for bottom of chicken.  Pour 2 cups of water into the bottom of the pot along with the soup packet.  Cover pot and cook on medium high for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until done, checking occasionally to stir sauce.  Serve gravy over chicken, rice, or mashed potatoes.



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