Cheap eats you can make at home!

With everyone penny pinching, people are finding more economical ways to feed their families. More people are also finding that cooking a home-made meal is not only the more nutritious route to follow, but a cheaper one as well (unless you scored some free eats at a restaurant!). They key is to stock up on your meats as they go on sale. Match it with fresh vegetables on sale, and you are halfway there. Now, how about an easy recipe to go with it? Starting this week, and coming back every Thursday, Family Spice is working with Bargain Seeking Mom to let you know the best groceries deals during the week and offer some great recipes to go along with it.

This week, in Southern California, Vons/Safeway has Foster Farms Whole Chicken for 77¢/lb. This is a screaming good deal. And, we have TWO cheap and tasty recipes to go with it! Both meals can be served with a variety of cheap and healthy sides: mashed potatoes (Ralphs/Kroger 5lb bag for $1.99), wild rice, green salad (Ralphs/Kroger Fresh Express bags 99¢/each, $1/each at Alberstons), steamed or roasted vegetables. If you don’t have fresh vegetables on hand, go for the next best nutritious substitute: frozen. A variety of Safeway brand frozen veggies are on sale this week, too.

For dessert, don’t forget the fruit! School might have started, but you have a variety of delicious and cheap fruits in season right now: peaches (Von’s/Safeway 49¢/lb), plums (Albertsons 69¢/lb), berries, cantaloupe (Von’s/Safeway 97¢ each) and watermelon (Albertson’s 39¢/lb).

Crispy Butterflied Chicken

Don’t have the hour and a half to wait for your chicken to cook in the oven? Well, by simply removing the backbone of the chicken and flattening it out (a.k.a. “butterflying” it) you cut the cooking time to 40-45 minutes for a 2 1/2 – 3 lb chicken. Then, thinly slice a lemon or an orange and place it between the skin and the flesh of the chicken before roasting it for more flavor. If you are really thrifty and have an herb garden, also stuff some thyme, rosemary or basil under the skin. This can also be done to Cornish Game Hens (Ralphs/Kroger for 88¢/lb). For the full recipe for Crispy Butterflied Chicken, click here.

Garlic Schmeared Chicken

If you have a little more time and you love garlic, you must try this recipe! You simply cut about a quarter off the top of 3 large garlic heads, drizzle with olive oil and roast (cut side down) for 45 minutes at 325ºF in your oven or toaster oven. When the garlic has browned, remove it from the oven and let it cool. Then squeeze out the caramelized garlic cloves into a bowl, and mash with a fork. Season your chicken with salt, pepper and some chopped rosemary (optional). Roast for about 1 hour and then rub your garlic purée all over the outside of your chicken. Put the chicken back in the oven until done, about 15 more minutes. Don’t be afraid of this dish. By roasting the garlic first, you end up with a sweeter garlic and not so offensively stinky! For the full recipe for Garlic Schmeared Chicken, click here.

Fresh Fruit Tart

Still feel like making a sweet treat? Well, if you’ve got some stale pretzels in the pantry or a couple graham crackers leftover from summer s’mores, try a fruit tart. You can melt a little butter and chocolate and mix it with crushed pretzels to make a sweet and salty shell. Or go traditional, with graham crackers and butter. Fill it up with easy and cheap vanilla pudding, top with your favorite cheap fruit (like peaches and berries). A little melted jam helps keep it all together. For the full recipe, click here!

Another great tip to finding cheap food deals is to check out the small local markets, farmer’s markets and ethnic stores. You can find a lot of fresh produce at a fraction of the cost of most grocery chains. Don’t let the economy get you down, and more importantly, don’t let it get to your waist line. Teach your kids a great tradition by sitting together for a home-made (and cheap) family meal!

Check out more great recipes from Family Spice! And for freebies, coupons and other great deals, check out Bargain Seeking Mom!

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