It is important to me to stay within a budget. I’ve always been pretty frugal and good at saving. I want to make the cheapest cheap meals for my family to enjoy because I have a budget to follow. There is just one problem. I care about health. When I was young, I always thought all those moms who went on healthy food crazes were a little nuts. I thought, “What difference does a few calories really make?” “How do you know whole grains are better?” and the one that constantly crossed my mind, “What’s the point of making a dessert if you’re going to make it FAT FREE or SUGAR FREE???? It’s dessert, isn’t that the whole point?”
I promised myself I would never be one of those crazy moms. I promised I would serve delicious food that didn’t taste healthy. Well, I guess being a mom really does change every prejudgment you ever have. 🙂 I realize now why all those moms want to have healthier options in the home. I realize why they make everyone in the family eat all of their “healthy” food. Moms have a responsibility to take care of their family. I can’t expect my children (or husband, or me) to grow up healthy and strong without proper nutrition. It is my job to make sure they eat good wholesome food. Over the last week, this has been weighing on my mind heavily.
I have been thinking a lot about the purpose of this blog. So far, I’ve just been trying to post inexpensive meals. We recently made a necessary food budget cut in our family. We simply don’t have the money to spend on food that we used to have. I’ve been telling myself, “Yes, being healthy is important, but right now we just need things to be cheap. Right now I’ll just focus on staying within our budget. I’ll go back to healthier food when we have more money.” After a week or so of cooking like this I stand up to say, “No, being healthy is important. I will find a way to stay in our budget and be healthier!” Hmmmmm, maybe like this:
That’s motherhood. Sometimes you just commit yourself to the impossible. Still, it is important enough to me that I will try as hard as I can. From now on, at the end of each post (below the recipe) I will add a section titled: Tips to Make this Healthier. This section may or may not cost more than the original recipe, but I will post it anyway. It will make me feel better about myself and will hopefully help you make healthier meals. Cheap, healthy meals, here I come!
Creamy Chicken, $3.60
1 can cream of chicken soup ($ .80)
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts ($2.25)
2 C cooked rice or 1/2 lb. pasta ($ .55)
Directions: Cook chicken breasts in skillet with cream of chicken soup. Serve over cooked rice or pasta.
Tips to Make This Healthier:
Serve this meal with a vegetable! Steam some asparagus, broccoli, carrots, squash, or whatever you have in your fridge. Another way to add vegetables that can be used with the steamed vegetables or alone is to add 1 C frozen mixed veggies (or a drained can of mixed veggies) to the chicken and soup when there is only about 5-8 minutes left. You could also use a homemade recipe of cream of chicken soup to get rid of the preservatives. Lastly, use brown rice or whole grain pasta. The vegetables would only add another $1 or so. Making homemade cream of chicken soup is probably the same price or cheaper than the can, but it is also more time consuming. The brown rice or whole wheat pasta is more expensive, but would probably add no more than $ .50. Still a pretty cheap dinner.