Frugal Chicken Dinner – <$3 per serve!

This one wasn’t on my original meal plan, but I saw this chicken at such a good price I couldn’t resist. Overall the price for this whole meal was probably close to $5.30 (being generous) but could easily be cheaper as we use Fair Trade rice which we estimate at about $1 for this quantity (50c per serve) and this is a lot more meat than we’re used to. It’s way higher than the cost of the cheapest rice available, but this way it tastes of freedom. We buy our rice bulk in 5kg lots here, and always have some in the cupboard for meals like this. Our peas we got at $3 for the bag (what you see here is shy of about 50c worth) and I use them A LOT for meals for ourselves, or baby food. Its our favourite budget green.

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Here’s my great deal! It was $9.00/kg, which isn’t really a fantastic price, but $3.80 for a nights meat is ok, especially as it’s free range.

I had actually intended to use this when my brother was staying with us as well, and spread it over three meals (He’s used to more meat in his diet than us so he would’ve gotten two, and hubby and I would have been happy with one each). As it was I actually struggled to eat it all, and I actually ended up sharing a bunch of my rice and peas for baby food.

We made a decision about a year ago to eat less meat – I’ve got a tendency to be low on iron, and we also just love meat so weren’t willing to evict it completely from our diets, but what we’ve discovered is that we really didn’t need as much as we were eating – and as much iron-rich meat as you eat, it doesn’t really do you much good unless you’re eating things with vitamin C in them as well, or your body struggles to actually absorb it. We missed it at first, but our bodies have gotten used to it, and we DO feel healthier as well as a little wealthier from not having to shell out for prime cuts each night.

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It just so happened that the drumsticks fitted perfectly into my pyrex dish. Sloshed about in a bit of oil, I baked these for about 40 mins. I like meals like this because I can just chuck it in the oven and walk away.

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The chicken we got was pre-seasoned, which was nice (although in my opinion a bit TOO flavourful!) but it meant that I didn’t have to think about what to do with it which was great. Laziness all the way!

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As a side note, this is our general use oil. I did a bit of maths on the countdown website and we figured this was the cheapest oil for things where it doesn’t matter what kind of oil you want. We also have some more expensive olive oils for use where you’ll actually notice the flavour, but this is pretty good for everything else. It has a super annoying lid though, but I guess you can’t have it all.

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Here’s our chicken post-oven. I possibly could have left it in there another 10 minutes, but it was well enough cooked and we were hungry! This was such a low effort meal, as the rice was bubbling away in the rice cooker unattended, these were mostly unattended in the oven, and I only really had to stand over the stove about 15 mins to get my peas sorted out (typical turning on the wrong element dramas included).

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By the way, this is the best mint sauce I’ve ever had. You can let people slosh it all over their food once its served if you like, but it will probably last longer if you stir a bit through your peas once you’ve strained them while theyre all together.

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Tada! A simple meal, but filling, delicious, nutritious and affordable – and best of all – with barely any effort involved.

This is actually one of our more expensive meals these days, although a year or so ago it would’ve been one of our cheapest. It really involved a massive attitude shift from both of us – and now we’ve come to really appreciate the little things.

To check out my frugal stew recipe ($1.38 per serve) click here, or for my frugal soup (<$1 per serve) recipe click here.

For a delicious dessert check out my frugal apple crumble here.

And to read more about my personal challenge of living on a grocery bill of $350 a month click here.

If you decide to take the challenge (adjusting the amount for the number of people in your household! We’re two adults and one baby remember!) let me know how you go, what recipes you’re using and what tips you find helpful.

The YNAB budgeting system which we use is available here.

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