Drool-Worthy Bacon Wrapped Chicken

 

When your cooking on a budget, you must get creative.

Saturday night, we had a hankerin’ for some bacon.

Who doesn’t love bacon?

So, we experimented with bacon, chicken and cheese.  And came up with this totally budget-friendly meal that our kids LOVED.



Bacon Wrapped Chicken

8 portions of thick boneless skinless chicken breast, thawed

1 lb. package of bacon

2 cups shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  While oven is preheating, fry the chicken in a skillet with a bit of oil, until nice and golden brown, but not cooked completely through.

Make a pocket in the chicken, by slicing lengthwise down the side of each piece.  Stuff shredded cheese inside each piece.

Wrap the chicken with the bacon.

Place in a baking pan and cook for about 30 minutes.  **Remember that poultry should be cooked to at least 165 degrees* We ensured that ours was cooked completely by inserting a meat thermometer in the THICKEST part of the chicken breast.

We love our cheese.  So, after we determined the chicken was done, we sprinkled the remaining cheese on top, and put it back in for about 5 minutes.

We served it with rice on the side, and veggies.



 

In other news, there is a lot going on behind the scenes.

There are crochet patterns being tested right now, (if you would like to be one of my testers, please click here)

There are several DIY projects going on right now, ranging from scrap wood projects to sewing.  Don’t worry, it’ll be up on the blog soon!

 

The BEST Fried Chicken EVER

One of my favorite memories of growing up, is Sunday afternoons during the summer.

My dad would be listening to a CD or a vinyl record, usually classic country music.  My mom would be in the kitchen, making either roast, pork chops, or her fried chicken, in her big cast iron skillet.

It wasn’t too crispy, and nowhere near soggy.  It was PERFECT.

Now, my mom used bone-in chicken.  I use boneless, skinless chicken.  But you can use both, and it’s going to taste amazing either way.



The BEST Fried Chicken Ever:

In a cast-iron skillet, pour in about 2 cups of oil.  Heat over medium heat while you prepare the chicken.

In a 1 giant Ziploc bag, combine:

2 cups flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

1 1/2 tsp garlic powder

1 1/2 tsp onion powder

Shake to combine everything.

 

In a bowl, whisk together 2 eggs, and 1/2 cup of milk.

Take your chicken, and place into the egg mixture, ensuring it’s covered well.  Place into the Ziploc bag and shake to coat the chicken.  I usually shake 4 -5 pieces at a time.

Place chicken into the oil.  Cook until golden brown, and of course, at least 165 degrees.  You MAY have to turn down the heat to make sure the chicken isn’t getting too brown before it’s cooked thoroughly.

Fool-Proof Homemade Bread

One way I save money in our household is to make my own bread.

We use about 3 loaves a week, at about $2.28 each,  which adds up to $6.84 a week, or $27.36 a month….you get the picture.

Now, I have a bread machine, that I picked up from Goodwill about a year ago.  I paid 15.00 for it, and it paid for its self with in the first couple of months.  If you can’t find one at your local Goodwill or thrift store, you can find them on Amazon by clicking here.

Does this actually save money?

You are probably thinking the same thing I did when I came up with the idea of making my own bread to save money.  Am I really saving money?

Yes.

This is based upon my prices here in the midwest.  The breakdown is as follows:

Flour, 5lbs for 1.88

Salt, .54

Vegetable oil, 48oz for 1.88

Yeast, 4oz for 4.58

Sugar, 4lb for 1.98

That all comes out to 10.86.  I know in my house, we always have sugar, vegetable oil, salt and flour on hand, as we use them for other things as well.  The only extra ingredient I had to buy, was the yeast.  And I usually get 6 loaves out of a bag of flour.  I’ll spare you the math, but it comes about 4.34 per week for bread.  I make 1 loaf per day.  It’s super simple and literally takes about 15 minutes.  My machine does the rest.

To save even more money, I coupon; so the price per week is even LESS if I coupon for those items (my favorite stores to coupon at are Dollar General and Family Dollar).  If you work it right, you can get that flour and sugar pretty much free.  (We’ll get to that in another post)

In order to make sense, it has to save money, taste like the store-brought product, and be quick and easy.

Let’s face it.  When making household staples from scratch, the quality has to be the same as what your replacing.  If the item tastes nothing like what you would buy from the store, or if it takes way too much time to prepare, you’re going to get discouraged and not stick with it.

With SOME items, the convenience is worth the money spent.  With as busy as we are in my house, I could never make cheese. (Kudos to those that can!)  There just isn’t enough time between kids, work, etc.

That being said, I have searched high and low for a recipe that is going to have the same texture and taste as sandwich bread.  My family’s favorite is Wonder Bread, and I think I have found the perfect “copy cat” recipe.  I needed a bread that is soft (yet firm enough to not get soggy when you put mayonnaise on it), and not yeasty-tasting, and not overly sweet.

I tweaked and tweaked a basic bread recipe until I finally found what my kids call “moms special bread”.

Fool-Proof Homemade Bread

2 tsp yeast.  I use the instant yeast that is compatible with “Rapid Rise” recipes.

2 1/2 TB sugar.

1 cup of hot water.  I use cold tap water, and put it in the microwave for about a minute.

1/4 cup vegetable oil.

3 cups + 2 TB of stirred flour.

1 tsp salt.

**I have used both all-purpose and bread flour.  I always fluff my flour before spooning it into the measuring cup.  I then take a knife and scrape the top of the measuring cup.  Honestly, I haven’t noticed a difference in the way the bread rises with bread flour vs. all-purpose.  And it tastes the same in my opinion.**



First, put the yeast and sugar in your bowl, add the water.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  The yeast will foam, and look something like this:

Next, pour your vegetable oil in, put the flour in and lastly, the salt:

Finally, close your lid, and set your machine to “Rapid”.  And walk away.  When it’s done, it will look something like this:

 

Enjoy!!