Eating away from home is supposed to be a treat and not a staple, right? Each time I hear that families turn to fast food as a supposed cheaper alternative to a home cooked meal I shake my head in disbelief. Yesterday while browsing on one of those social sites I saw a comparison made involving a fast food meal, homemade chicken and potato meal, and a beans and rice meal.
A chicken and potato meal was on the menu for supper last night so I decided to do a cost analysis of the foods I had on hand. This meal took me 30 minutes to prepare, and that included thawing the chicken in the microwave. The only advance prep I did was to pound the boneless, skinless chicken breasts before freezing. I prepared the meal for a family of three but did the cost analysis for a family of four. I could have added carrots as an additional vegetable for minimal additional cost.
I prepared my “French” chicken, microbaked potatoes with chives, and a romaine salad with an oil and vinegar dressing. I even had a fancy garnish of chive flowers for the salad. We drink water or iced tea with our suppertime meal. Even if serving children a glass of milk with this meal, it still would be really frugal. If we were meant to drink soda or pop, it would fall from the sky. I can feel the daggers, soft drink lovers. My husband is a Mt. Dew fan.
Put a little olive oil in your pan and start to cook your thawed chicken.
When your chicken is almost done you can make a sauce right in the same pan.
Dinner is served. My piece of chicken looks a little skimpy, but you have to remember that a serving size of meat is the size of a deck of cards. I’m trying to cut back on calories so I gave my husband the larger piece and half of my potato. He had leftovers to take to work as we only have a family of three. I filled up on a second helping of salad.
$2.50 2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to even thickness $1.99/lb
$1.26 3 medium organic, yukon gold potatoes
$.67 1 romaine heart
$.25 olive oil
$.05 onion powder
$.10 dried tarragon
$.07 Dijon mustard
$.04 organic 1% milk
$.08 4 tsp butter
$.00 chives from herb garden
We spend $15 to $25 on a fast food meal for a family of four, depending on if we happen to have high value coupons. Fast food is an option, not a necessary choice to save money or time.