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Easy Lemon Chicken for the Crockpot

Moms Meet & Kiwi Magazine recently sent me a copy of their new cookbook, Allergy-Friendly Food for Families to review. I’m always on the lookout for fun, delicious new recipes so even though we are lucky enough not to have any food allergies, I was happy to take a look through their new cookbook.

Moms Meet & Kiwi Magazine recently sent me a copy of their new cookbook, Allergy-Friendly Food for Families to review. I’m always on the lookout for fun, delicious new recipes so even though we are lucky enough not to have any food allergies, I was happy to take a look through their new cookbook. And I found a lot of recipes I’d love to try, but their recipe for easy lemon chicken really sounded quite delightful. So, I gave it a whirl – but first, I turned it into a crockpot recipe and the chicken literally fell off the bone after my beloved crockpot slaved all day to make me effortless dinner! YUM!!Here’s the original recipe and my adaptions:

Easy Lemon Chicken for the Crockpot

Recipe Type: Main Dish
Author: Allergy Free Food for Families
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 1 hour 5 mins
Serves: 4
Easy, one pot meal with a quick prep and few, simple ingredients!
Ingredients
  • 2 TBS oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, pressed through a garlic press
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh lemon thyme or regular thyme
  • 1 1/2 pounds chicken thighs (and or legs) ~ I used about 3 lbs of leg quarters
  • 1 pound new potatoes or baby Dutch yellow potatoes, halved ~ I used 1.5 pounds new tri-colored potatoes (purple, yellow, white)
  • 1 – 12 ounce baby baby carrots ~ I used 1 lb regular carrots, sliced to about the size of baby carrots
  • 1 lemon, cut into 4 wedges
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Combine the oil, garlic, thyme in a small bowl.
  3. Place the chicken on one side of 9×13 baking dish. Place the potatoes, carrots, lemons on the other side.
  4. Drizzle the oil mixture over the chicken and veggies and toss well to coat.
  5. Turn chicken skin side up. Sprinkle with salt & pepper.
  6. Roast, uncovered, for 45-50 minutes, until the chicken’s internal temperature reaches 165 degrees, stirring the veggies and lemon wedges once or twice. Remove the veggies and lemon wedges if they are tender and golden-brown before the chicken is fully cooked.
  7. {Or, you can cook in a crockpot on low, 6-8 hours.}
  8. To serve, allow the lemon wedges to cool slightly, then squeeze them over the chicken and veggies.
 Allergy-Friendly Food for Families includes 120 gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free, and soy-free recipes. Not all of the recipes are -free from everything – but the book is nicely organized by colored tabs on each page so it’s very easy to find what you’re looking for. For instance, the French Toast Kebabs have a gluten free option and are dairy, nut, and egg free. The book also has tips for fun ways to involve kids in the kitchen and gorgeous pictures I loved looking at. One of my favorite pages is called: “recycle your food! five ideas for leftovers!” Reducing food waste is one of my passions so I was thrilled to see these ideas for using up leftovers instead of throwing them in the trash.

Why I Shop Loss Leaders (when I can)

If you are a regular Simplify, Live, Love reader, you probably know that I pride myself on keeping my grocery budget low – while eating as healthfully as possible at the same time. A couple years ago, I started reading deal blogs like Money Saving Mom and Hip2Save, and actively played the coupon and drug store game. I saved a ton of money, learned so much about prices and coupons,  and had a lot of fun.

But then life got really busy and I kind of fell out of the couponing loop. And I still need to keep my grocery budget low, especially in the winter, when my garden is not providing my fresh fruit and veggies. What I realized, though, is that I can still save a ton of money by planning my menus around store’s lost leaders. I still watch out for coupons and use them when I can find them – but mostly I stick to buying loss leaders, goods at Aldi, and bulk grains.

Here’s why:


Pictured above is $72.10 worth of groceries we bought in Florida. Does it look like a lot to you? It doesn’t to me!  In all fairness, it’s not totally comparable because the biggest portion of the bill was 12+ pounds of $4 / lb pick-your-own-strawberries that were gobbled down in 3 short days while we were on vacation in Florida. But this is an example of paying top price for groceries. When I started paying attention to store fliers, I was amazed at how much prices fluctuate from week to week and season to season.

Here’s a bunch of groceries I picked up this week at home in Iowa for less money than I paid for the fruit and eggs pictured above (3 dozen farm fresh eggs are missing from the pictures):


All of the items in the three pictures cost less than $70. I did buy a few things I’ve been staying away from – conventional potatoes and peppers and a bag of nasty pepperoni. What can I say? I couldn’t stomach the price of organic potatoes and I totally caved on the pepperoni. Overall though, it seems to be a lot more food to me than the fruit I bought in Florida.

I’ve become so conscious of grocery store prices in the last couple of years, that I can tell you when a lot of produce will be at its lowest price. (And yes, I buy mostly produce at grocery stores in the winter because most of my other goods come from bulk food stores and my Iowa garden doesn’t grow in the winter).

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  • In the winter, we eat a lot of citrus. Why? It’s plentiful and CHEAP! – pineapples, mangoes, pomegranates, avocados, as well as oranges, grapefruit and beloved cuties – all of these fruits are cheaper in the winter.
  • In March, watch out for cheap cabbage! Why? St. Patrick’s Day!
  • In the spring – strawberries (and other berries) will be at the rock bottom prices.
  • In the summer – well, truthfully, I’m not sure because that’s when I’m in my garden!
  • In the fall – cheap apples
  • Around Thanksgiving & Christmas – cheap sweet potatoes!

So now, instead of couponing, I shop lost leaders. I check out the weekly ads, shop my pantry, and plan my menus. This week, mushrooms happened to be on sale at Aldi for 59 cents a pack! I bought 8 packs and almost everything we’re eating this week has included mushrooms. Onions were also super cheap. Since they keep fairly well, I bought a bunch.

Eating this way is actually kind of fun. Our society makes having whatever you want when you want it possible. If I want raspberries in the middle of winter (in Iowa), I can go to the store and buy them. Buying according to what’s cheapest (which corresponds to what’s in season somewhere) makes me look forward to changing seasons even more. I waited a long time for citrus. And now I’ve eaten so much of it, I’m beyond excited to move on to berries – and I won’t have to wait much longer because spring is right around the corner.

The best part of shopping loss leaders {besides saving a ton of money} is it’s easy for me and saves me time. Time is an invaluable commodity I can’t buy right now. And that’s why I shop lost leaders.

Do you shop loss leaders? How do you save money on groceries?

Linking up: Frugal Friday; Frugal Tuesday; Works for Me Wednesday;

Bulk Shopping & Price-Matching to Stretch Grocery $$

Well, I’ve done it. I spent the $100 I allocated for February’s groceries (plus another $10). It didn’t take long. But I managed to stretch the grocery dollars quite a bit by shopping in bulk at the Amish store and price-matching. Here’s what I got for $110.

I spent $60 at my favorite Amish bulk food store:
Highlights of that trip include 6 dozen Amish eggs, coconut oil, 48 Texas grapefruit, organic raisins, and raw peanuts. Half the stuff’s missing because we’ve been eating it! I think for $60 I got a lot of good food.

Then I went to Walmart to take advantage of some good produce deals:

Price-matching and TWENTY $, got me 20 avocados, 8 lbs of oranges, 5 pineapples and more. Stay tuned to see what I’m doing with 20 avocados and 5 huge pineapples…

Then at the end of the week, I picked up a few more goods for another $30. I saved 37% by price-matching. Cost before price-matching would have been $43.45 – after price-matching, $29.01! I saved $14.44 without using coupons.

And so, I have no more money for groceries in February (at least in Iowa). And that’s ok because we’re getting ready to hit the road in a week. We’ll be busy eating up all the fruit, baking, and making snacks for our long drive to Florida. And I have a different pot of money for groceries at our destination. I’m looking forward to seeing how my grocery dollars compare in another state.

Did you get any good grocery deals this week? How do you stretch your grocery money?

Bulk Shopping & Price-Matching to Stretch Grocery $$

My Grocery Price-Point List

I’ve had a lot of people ask me what my personal grocery price-points are and how I’m able to feed my family as cheaply as I do (averages out to somewhere between $250 – 300 a month for 6 people). I’ve been thinking about this post for a long time and this weekend, I did a little sleuthing and fact gathering so I could finally write it.

Here are staples I almost always have on hand and the prices I pay for them.

Sam’s ClubI’ve blogged before about whether Aldi or Sam’s is cheaper. While I think a lot of items can be found cheaper than Sam’s Club using coupons and loss leaders, I do get a lot of staples at Sam’s Club. I buy:

  • Jasmine Rice – $16.93 / 25 lbs = .68 / lb
  • Pinto Beans – $17.76 / 25 lbs = .71 / lb
  • Popcorn = $23.92 / 50 lbs = .48 / lb
  • Taco Seasoning (MSG Free) – $3.98 / 23 oz
  • Vanilla – $6.88 / 16 oz
  • Baking Powder (Aluminum Free) – $5.78 / 60 oz
  • Sharp Cheddar Cheese – $6.74 / 2 lb ($1.68 per 8 oz block – common size seen at grocery store)
  • Vinegar – $3.58 / 2 gallons = $1.79 / gallon
  • Ghirardelli Chocolate Chips – $9.48 / 3 lbs
  • Fair Trade Coffee – $14.88 / 40 oz = $5.95 / lb
  • When I have a little extra money, I also LOVE the assortment of cheeses at Sam’s Club. I don’t have prices, though.

Things I don’t buy at Sam’s Club because I can usually find them cheaper elsewhere: fruit and most veggies (except their organic spring salad mix – love that!), diapers, wipes, OTC medicine, toiletries, butter, yogurt, cereal, snacks, liquor, meat.

Bulk Amish Store

  • Prairie Gold Hard White Wheat – $20 / 50 lb = .40 / lb
  • Raw Sugar – $35 / 50 lb = .70 / lb
  • Rolled Oats = $20 / 50 lb = .40 lb
  • Whole Flax Seed = .99 / lb
  • Sea Salt = .55 / lb
  • Real Salt = $3.49 / lb
  • Raw Honey – $3.50 / lb

Misc. Grocery Stores

      • Fruit – anything under $1 / lb
      • Chicken & Pork – under $2 / lb (try for < $1.85 / lb)
      • Pasta – stock up around .50 / lb (loss leaders with coupons)
      • Veggies – whatever’s cheapest any given week  (cabbage and carrots are two of the cheaper veggies)
      • Skim Milk – < $3 / gallon (use coupons) rGBH free
      • Cottage Cheese – .99 / 24 oz
      • Butter – $1.99 / lb (stock up on loss leaders)
      • Cereal – prefer free after coupons/rebates/RR/ECBs, but under $1 is acceptable depending on the cereal (I’m pretty picky about cereal and I won’t buy anything just because it’s free. I do have my limits!) 🙂

Aldi

      • Powdered Milk – $5.95 / 26 oz (I use this in a lot of my baked goodies)
      • Sour Cream – .99 / 16 oz
      • 1/2 & 1/2 – $1.65 / 32 fl oz
      • Tortilla Chips – $1.19 / 13 oz

Beef – buy from a local farmer 200 lbs / year for around $500 = $2.50 / lb

I don’t buy a lot of organic fruits and veggies because it’s simply cost prohibitive. I do, however, have a large organic garden in the summer and I preserve as much as I can for us to eat in the winter. When I do buy fruits and veggies, I try to buy as much as possible from the Environmental Working Group’s Clean 15 list and minimize produce on their Dirty 12 List to minimize our exposure to pesticides.

Oil isn’t currently on my list. I’ve had an enormous stockpile the last couple of years from awesome deals I used to find at Jewel-Osco. Unfortunately, it looks like those deals have ended and I’m down to my last two bottles of Canola Oil. I also use Olive, Sunflower, Peanut,  and Sesame oil. I’ll be on the lookout for good oil prices. I use a lot of oil because I bake almost all of our bread, muffins, cakes, granola, and other snacks. Plus, I make almost all of our salad dressings and meat marinades. Oil is something I’ve got to have on hand.

I also recently found out that the nuts I thought were raw are actually pasteurized. So, I’m on the lookout for real RAW nuts now. I’ll probably stock up at Trader Joe’s a few times a year. I’m also eying all of my walnut trees with a new interest right now. They’ve started dropping their nuts and we’re collecting. We’ll see how black walnuts treat us!

One other area I really want to improve quality on is chicken and pork. I have a great source for healthier beef, but I still get commercially produced poultry and pork. I buy the best quality I can afford. I make sure to avoid gas packed meats and meat with added solutions, but I would prefer to buy free-range poultry and pork. It’s on the list. One of these days, my budget will increase!

I’m linking up to Frugal Tuesday and The Thrifty Peach. Is there anything you stock up on that I don’t have listed?

I’m linking this post with Frugal Friday. Check out more great ideas there.