Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Stretching the budget calzones...

Since it is football season and both my boys play--time is precious here at Animalhaus. Both the boys are on the Junior Varsity and are backup for the Varsity, so that means we have two games a week. That can lead to both a schedule clusterbuff and a menu disaster. If I don't have something prepared when they walk in the door, we sometime opt for fast food. That is OK, but can really bust the budget if we aren't careful. So this month I am going back to the drawing board and trying to get meals prepared ahead of time or at least meals that don't require a lot of prep. For this, I have relied on using up what's in the fridge and cooking out of my community cookbooks. I have a huge collection of cookbooks, but cherish my community cookbooks because they are slices of life from real people across the nation. Tonight I am cooking "Nameless Sweet and Sour Chicken". It uses an 8 oz bottle of Russian dressing (I didn't have a full 8 oz, so I added some Catalina. They do taste slightly different, so I'll have to see), 10 oz jar of Apricot preserves and a packet of dried onion soup mix. I might see if adding half a packet would be better.I did add a squeeze of lime juice since I had lime slices I haven't used up, but that is my twist....the recipe says to pour this over 6 chicken breasts or one whole 2 pound chicken cut up. I used 2 pounds of frozen chicken thighs that I cooked until they thawed out. I them dumped the juices and covered them with the sauce, then cooked completely. I'll serve this with rice rolls and a salad mix that we found marked down at the supermarket.

This weekend I was looking for ways to use up some leftover baked chicken breast, pepperoni and mozzarella cheese that we needed to consume or lose. I figured a calzone would be an interesting twist. So I found my go to pizza dough recipe--you can find them online or I can email you mine if you leave me a comment--and rolled the dough into a circle. After laying out the ingredients on half the circle, I folded the other half over and crimped the edged. After baking, it was well received by the hungry males in my house. Bellies full and budget saved--GOOD STUFF!

I had enough to make 2 of these. They were really large-you just can't tell it in the picture. Four of us ate well, and there were leftovers for two lunches.
Tonight I am making cinnamon rolls for breakfast tomorrow morning. I'll bake them right before bed and icing them when they come out so the gooey icing melts a little...YUM.

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