Category Archives: Cheap and Friendly Family Meals

Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-Fry

I’ve been thinking a lot about Cheap & Friendly Family Meals lately.  So many households need quick and inexpensive meal ideas; may I humbly suggest this one?

Auntie Doni’s Chicken and Snow Pea Stir-Fry

serves 4

3 B/S Chicken Thighs, diced

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

8 oz. package Fresh Snow Peas

2 Garlic Cloves, thinly sliced

3 Green Onion, chopped and divided

1/2 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, grated fine

1/4 tsp. White Pepper

1/4 C. Low Sodium Soy Sauce (you know we like Aloha Shoyu best!)

1/4 C. Chicken Broth

1/2 Tbsp. Corn Starch

1/2 tsp. Sesame Oil

 

In a large fry pan over medium-high, heat the Oil just til you see wisps of smoke. Sauté the Chicken until it get a little brown.  Now goes in the Snow Peas, Garlic, Ginger, half of the Green Onions and White Pepper, toss them with the Chicken and add maybe 2 tablespoons of water and cover.  Steam the veg to crisp-tender, this should take like 1-2 minutes, tops.

Combine the Shoyu, Broth and Corn Starch in a small bowl or measuring cup; pour over the Chicken and Veg and stir to combine.  The sauce will thicken and coat everything nicely.

Remove the pan from the heat and drizzle the Sesame Oil and sprinkle the remaining Green Onions over your finished dish.

Serve with Steamed Rice, Noodles or just by itself.

Here’s the break down of this dish:

Chicken $2.00 + Snow Peas $2.98 + everything else $1.50 = $6.48/4 servings = $1.64

WOW!!   😮

As always, a recipe is simply some else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  Change out the protein and/or the veg, like Shrimp and Asparagus or Beef and Broccoli, the sky’s the limit.

 

**Cook’s note: if you like a saucier dish, double the Soy Sauce, Broth and Corn Starch.

Kielbasa and Cabbage

I was poking around again at Walmart and found this

We’ve eaten at Dickey’s BBQ Pit before and I thought that their Smoked Sausage wasn’t bad, hmmm

What if I made a Kielbasa and Cabbage dish with this?

YUM!

That was delicious !!  Oh, maybe I should write this down  😀

 

Auntie Doni’s Kielbasa and Cabbage

4 servings

1 Kielbasa (Dickey’s BBQ Smoked Sausage), sliced

2 C. Onion, chopped

2-3 C. Cabbage, chopped

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 tsp. Smoked Paprika

S & P to taste

 

In a Dutch Oven, heat 1 tablespoon of Olive oil over medium-high; sauté the Sausage until just crisp, remove to a plate and set aside

Add the remaining Oil and sauté the Onions until just starting to brown

Next add the Cabbage, Sausage, along with the Garlic and Paprika, give it all a good stir; turn the heat down to medium-low and cook until the Cabbage is crisp-tender.

Season to taste and serve

I like to serve this dish over wide Egg Noodles and maybe a nice piece of bread.

This is also a cheap & friendly family meal!  Here’s how I figure it:

Dickey’s Smoked Polish Sausage $2.98

Cabbage, Onion, Garlic, Spices $2.17

Wide Egg Noodles $0.50

Total $5.65 divided by 4 = $1.41 per serving, WOW!!   😮 

And as always, remember that a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own

ENJOY!

 

 

 

One-Pan Herb de Provence Chicken & Veg Supper

I keep hearing about Herb de Provence Roasted Chicken and wanted to try this for myself, but on a smaller scale, and with vegetables.

DONE!

Geez, I really should write this down, that was really tasty AND I got a big thumbs up from DH.

 

Auntie Doni’s One-Pan Herb de Provence Chicken & Veg Supper

Serves 2+

3 B/S Chicken Thighs

1 C. New Potatoes, halved

1 C. Baby Carrots

1/2 C. Onions, chopped

2 Tbsp. White Wine

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

2 tsp. Herb de Provence

1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder

1/2 tsp. Salt

1/4 tsp. Black Pepper

Preheat the oven to 350⁰

Line a sheet pan with Tin Foil

In a small bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients

In a large bowl add the Chicken & Veg, pour the Wine and Oil over everything, coat everything well

Sprinkle in the Spice mixture and evenly distribute over the Chicken and Veggies

Spread into the prepared sheet pan in a single layer

Roast for about 45 minutes, turning everything half way through

Cooking until the Chicken registers 165⁰; the Vegetables should be done at this point too

MMM!

Remember that a recipe is just someone else’s idea, take it and make it your own

ENJOY!

New Mexico-Style Chicken Green Chile Stew

I belong to a wonderful Food Forum online and one of the gals was talking about a New Mexico dish that she makes her own way… it sounded fabulous!  In New Mexico, Chile Verde is big, but it’s made with Tomatillos, which neither my husband nor I care for.  Her riff on this lovely stew was to use her homemade Green Chile Sauce instead.

I adore Green Chile Sauce, but don’t make my own, rather I use Hatch® Brand Green Chile Enchilada Sauce,  mild please, as well as their canned Chiles.

💡

How about we try our own version of New Mexico-style Chicken Green Chile Stew …

 

Auntie Doni’s New Mexico-Style Chicken Green Chile Stew

Serves 4

1 Tbsp. Vegetable Oil

½  C. each: Chopped Onions, Carrots & Celery

1 C. Corn Kernels, frozen, canned or fresh

2 Garlic Cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Cilantro, minced

1 tsp. dried Oregano

½ Tbsp. ground Coriander *

½ tsp. ground Cumin

1/8 tsp. Smoked Paprika

2  Hatch® Brand Whole Green Chiles (about ½ C.), canned or fresh roasted, chopped

1 15 oz. can Diced Tomatoes

2 C. cooked & shredded Chicken Meat **

1 C. Hatch®  Brand Green Chile Sauce (aka Enchilada Sauce)

3 C. Chicken Stock or Broth **

1 small can (approx. 8oz.) Creamed Corn

2 C. New Potato, cooked & diced, canned or fresh

S&P to taste

 

In a Dutch Oven, heat the Oil over medium-high.

Add the 1st four ingredients and sauté until the vegetables are crisp-tender.

Add in the next 6 ingredients and stir until fragrant.

Next goes in the following 6 ingredients and bring to a boil.

Lastly, add in the Potatoes, reduce to a simmer and cover partially.

Cook for 20 minutes and adjust your seasonings with Salt and Pepper to taste.

I made a small-ish batch this first go-around, but I did freeze half of it, and it re-heated beautifully.  I’ll be making another batch to freeze and have on hand for a quick meal.

YUM!

Remember, a recipe is simply someone else’s idea, you take it and make it your own.  I used Hatch® Brand, that’s what we like, you use what your family likes.

*Cook’s Note: I think I may lessen the amount of Coriander next time, it was a bit over-powering a taste, IMHO

** Cook’s Second Note: I poached about 4 bone-in/skin-on Chicken Thighs in some leftover Onion, Carrot and Celery discards that I save in the freezer; cooled and pulled the meat and saved the cooking liquid (aka stock or broth if you use b/s Chicken) for this recipe, as I do for many others… saves money 😉

Tuna “Not Like The Lunch Hall” Casserole

I have this recipe that I pulled out of one of the first issues of Rachael Ray’s Magazine and I adapted it just a bit to our liking, but that’s what recipes are all about, right?

Auntie Doni’s Tuna Casserole 

½ lb. Barilla Whole Wheat Medium Shells

1 Tbsp. Olive Oil

4 Tbsp. Butter

1 C. minced Onion

1 C. minced Celery

½ C. minced Red Bell Pepper

1 Tbsp. Flour

½ C. Dry White Wine (like a Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc, something you would drink, NOT cooking wine, EVER)

½ C. Chicken broth

1 C. Half and Half

1 C. frozen Peas

2 seven ounce cans of Tuna, drained and flaked

1 ½ C. Bread Crumbs (make your own, fresh is better then that stuff in a can)

Cook the pasta to desired doneness, I always take it 1 minute longer than the directions on the box say. Drain well and set aside.

In a large, deep pan (* I have Rachael Ray’s pasta pot, so I use this to boil the pasta and make the sauce, see below) over medium heat, sauté the onions and celery with the Olive Oil and 1 tablespoon of the Butter, for about 3 minutes or so, don’t brown the veg.

Add in the Red Bell Peppers and cook for about a minute.

Stir in the flour and cook for about another minute. Mix in the wine and reduce for 1 minute. Now whisk in the broth and bring to a boil to thicken.

Turn the heat down to low and stir in the half & half; season to taste with salt and pepper.

Throw in the peas, tuna and cooked shells, fold everything together and leave to heat through.

Preheat the broiler.

Melt the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter in a large microwaveable bowl (I use my big Pyrex measuring cup). This is optional, but I like to swirl in a couple dashes of hot sauce and then mix in the bread crumbs.

Spoon the Tuna mixture into a 9X13 inch ovenproof dish and top with the buttered bread crumbs. Pop the casserole under the broiler just long enough to brown the top and then …

Tuna "Not" Casserole

Let’s eat!

For our new neighbors

This makes too much for the two of us to eat in one sitting, so I split the recipe and this time I put half into a disposable aluminum pan to share with our new neighbors, who I know were too busy to make dinner.

Served with a green salad and the rest of that bottle of dry white wine and that’s dinner or lunch if you like.

When DH asked what we were having for dinner and I said Tuna Casserole, I got, “EW! I don’t like that”. Hmmm, really? Then why is it all gone? AND  why did you ask me, “Why are you giving away good food to the neighbor?”

Rachael Ray's Pasta Pot

*This is my new favorite pot!

Enjoy

I Need A Little More Than A Salad, Please

I know that I haven’t been around much, but it’s been so DANG HOT here in the middle of the desert. This has been the hottest month of June on record to date. 100⁰ or more of DRY  heat every day. DH and I have been spending most of our days at our community pool trying to keep cool. We’re still on our diet and we have been longing for something more substantial than salads.  So I was racking my brain as to what I could make that we could eat and that would fulfill that hunger.

Auntie Doni’s Chicken Chili 

5 boneless-skinless Chicken Thighs, 1 inch cubes

2 Tbsp. Oil

½ of a large Onion, diced

4 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Tbsp. Cumin Seeds, toasted & ground

1 Tbsp. Oregano

1/8 tsp. Chipotle Chile powder

1 C. Chicken Broth

1 15oz. can diced Tomatoes

1 4oz. can (2 whole Hatch-diced) Green Chiles

1 small roasted Pasilla Chile, chopped

1 large Sweet Red Pepper, diced

½ C. Trader Joe’s frozen Roasted Corn Kernels

2 tsp. Cilantro, minced

1 15oz. can White Kidney Beans, rinsed & drained

**1-2 tsp. Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix

Heat a large Dutch oven with the oil, over medium. Sauté the onion until translucent; add the garlic and cook just until you smell it. Toss in the chicken and cook until the exterior turns white. Add the spices and cook those for a few minutes. Stir in the broth, tomatoes, peppers, corn and cilantro; bring to a boil then reduce the heat to simmer and cover partially. Cook for 40 minutes, until it thickens; at the last 15 minutes, add the beans to cook as well.

Chicken Chili

Look at that bowl of goodness

This recipe makes 4 good sized servings. (without steamed white rice though, ARRGGHHHH!)

Jiffy Corn Muffin Mix, makes a tasty thickener

** this is optional, if you like a thicker broth, add a few tablespoons of the hot broth to a small cup and stir in a teaspoon or two of Jiffy Corn Muffin mix. Bring the pot back to a boil and stir in the corn mixture and allow to cook for a few minutes to desired denseness. (I keep the rest of the box in the `fridge in a ziptop bag for later use or just make it into corn muffins that go with your bowl of chili)

Remember, a recipe is just someone’s thought; you take that and make it your own. Add or delete and ingredients you want; maybe black beans instead of white? Green bell peppers rather than red. Or even chicken breast meat over dark thigh.

ALOHA!

I Think We Can Eat This

Yeah, um, I was looking through all of my recipes the other day, trying to figure out something ‘new’ that I can add to our diet, I mean new way of looking at food. I have this three-ring binder in my kitchen cabinet where I collect/adapt dishes from people that I’ve met or websites, or TV programs, what have you.

I shared with you my SIL’s recipe for potatoes, well this one is from that same trip back East at Thanksgiving a few years back. It was a really awful day and she put on this yummy smelling pot of bubbling goodness that was done in no time flat. I was thinking that maybe we could eat this without the sausage and rice. HMMM, wait a minute. I’m pretty sure that I saw turkey kielbasa in the market. Maybe we can have this after all.

Quick Gumbo

Quick Gumbo

4 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Red Bell Pepper, chopped

2 large Celery stalks, diced

½ C. White Onion, diced

2 Carrots, diced

2 Garlic cloves, minced

2-15oz. can diced Tomatoes

2-4 C. Chicken broth (I use 2, depends on how soupy you like it)

8 oz. frozen Cut Okra

½ tsp. dried Thyme

2 Bay leaves

¼ tsp. Cayenne

6 Green onions, chopped

2 lbs. boneless-skinless Chicken, cut into large bite sized pieces

1 lb. Kielbasa, sliced

Sauté until crisp-tender the peppers, celery, carrots, onions and garlic in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat with the olive oil. Stir in the remaining ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 30 minutes, until the chicken is done.

Serve with steamed rice (that is of course if you’re eating rice).

**you can add 1lb. of cleaned shrimp at the last 5 minutes or so, be careful not overcook them.

*** we like our soups a bit on the thicker side, so I tightened the broth up at the end with a slurry of about 1 to 1 ½ teaspoons of corn starch and some cold water; stir it into the pot as it’s still boiling, let cook for a few minutes.

I also added a last minute sprinkle of chopped green onions tops for brighten up the flavor.

This recipe will serve 4-6 people hungry people, it’s a full pot, that’s for sure.

Looks Like Spring

As I went through the produce at the green grocer the other day, I saw asparagus, WHAT? Already? It seems a little early, but I’ll take it, I mean buy it.

Chinese style Chicken Asparagus

Chinese-style Chicken and Asparagus

 

3 boneless-skinless Chicken thighs, cut into bite size pieces (or breast meat if you prefer)

An equal amount of Asparagus, cut into large bite size pieces

Garlic, sliced, as much or as little as you like

1 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, finely grated

Vegetable Oil

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium Soy Sauce

2 Tbsp. Low-sodium chicken broth

1 Tbsp. Mirin

1 tsp Sesame Oil

1 tsp Corn Starch

1-2 stalks Green Onion, sliced

 

Heat a large skillet with just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan; sauté the chicken until just done. Add the asparagus with just a little water into the pan. Cover and allow the veg to steam until crisp tender. Add in the garlic and ginger; cook for 30 seconds. In a small dish, mix together all of the liquids and whisk in the corn starch. Pour the mixture over the chicken & veg, once it comes to a bubble, add the green onions, reserving some of the onions to top your dish. Once the sauce has thickened to your liking, serve over steamed rice or noodles.

 

This recipe serves two very hunger adults.

This recipe can be adapted to any meat you prefer, as well as veggie.  If the snow peas look good that day at the market, go for it.

Remember that a recipe is just someone else’s idea, you take it and run with it.

ALOHA!

 

A Different Way To Serve Chicken

Yesterday, I posted a photo of a plate that had several items on it. We were talking about a side dish, today let’s talk about the main dish on that plate. If you’re not from Hawaii, then you wouldn’t be familiar with one of the ways that Chicken is made.

We no mess around! Forget that dry, nasty, tasteless breast, go for the thighs; either bone-in or not, skin-on or naked, your choice there. The dark meat of pretty much any animal is fattier and that adds up to ONO~LICIOUS!! (good)

Shoyu Chicken is a terrific alternative to your everyday broiled Chicken breast. And talk about a simple recipe… well, we’ll get to that in a minute.

What was that question? What’s Shoyu?

I had to look that one up too. Shoyu has under gone a slightly different fermentation process from your run-of-the-mill Soy Sauce. For us locals, Aloha Shoyu is the best!! Yes, there are other brands, but if you can find it, buy it. We always have a gallon jug in the pantry at all times as a reserve.

But I digress, on to the chicken.

Shoyu Chicken

5 lbs. Chicken Thighs

5 C. Chicken Broth or Water

3 C. Soy Sauce

4-5 fresh Garlic, crushed

1-2 Tbsp. fresh Ginger, finely grated

1 bunch of Green Onions, rough chopped

½ C. Beer (optional)

Chuck everything into a large pot

Bring to a boil; lower the heat to a simmer

Cook uncovered for 45-60 minutes, until the Chicken is very tender.

Remove from the cooking liquor and serve with freshly chopped Green Onion and a sprinkle of Sesame seeds for a flourish.

*This is an economical dish for a large family. Served with some steamed rice and the Namasu we talked about yesterday, your kids will actually eat what you put down in front of them without a fight.

Now that's Ono~liciuos!

Now that’s Ono~liciuos!