It’s Frugal Friday…And Introducing, Save-It-For-Saturday

Welcome A few weeks ago I introduced Frugal Friday, providing a recipe for an economical meal for you and your family. I also added a “Budget Friendly” page to my website that I can periodically update with tips and hints for how to save on the household budget. Today, in addition to our Frugal Friday recipe, I am adding a Save-It-For-Saturday recipe. This means we are going to take left-over components from the first recipe and turn them into another meal the next day. This is a very economical strategy for stretching your grocery dollars and a huge timesaver as well. And while we’re at it, let’s talk a little about the spiritual side of frugality.  Have a great Labor Day weekend and I will see you Tuesday with another Two-For! Note-I may receive a small compensation from advertisers and affiliate links found in this post. I am not affiliated with any of the stores mentioned in this post.  For further information, please see my terms and disclosure page.

Food For Thought  We know, as Christians, we are not supposed to love money or let money have control of our lives or be our top priority (1 Timothy 6:3-10.)  But we need money to survive in this modern world…to provide for our families and have the necessities of life such as food, shelter, clothing, and medicines.  Most people I know, whether Christian or not, have a desire for more money.  More money to pay off debt, more money for security, both in the present and future, more money to enjoy life, and more money to help and serve others.  Instead of seeking longer hours at work or “investing” in lottery tickets, how about a tweak to the family budget and find ways where you can cut spending, then the money saved can be used for some of those other things like savings, paying down debt, and having a little fun.

Up until about 6 months ago, our household did not operate with a budget.  My husband and I didn’t have a “checks and balances” for what the other was spending.  We’d check our bank statement occasionally, to make sure there wasn’t any suspicious activity, and call it good.  As long as there was money in the account, we just kept on spending.  To our advantage, we rarely use credit cards, so we didn’t have credit card debt building, and right after we married we paid off all of our college loans.  We also have been fortunate to only have one car payment at a time in our marriage.  So it wasn’t like we spent without any consideration of long-term planning.  However, I knew with us going down to one income by the end of the summer, we would have to reign in our spending.  The last few months of two incomes, I spent a great deal of time tracking exactly how much was being spent in each category each month.  Our grocery and food budget had to come down!  I also needed less trips to Target and Hobby Lobby.  And I’m trying to get my husband to spend less at convenience stores and fast food places during his work day (there’s always things for him to take in his lunch!)  We were spending a lot on “incidentals”, making a quick run to the store for one or two things and leaving with 10 or 12!  We also switched television, internet, and phone plans to get better deals.  We don’t go out every Friday or Saturday night to dinner and a movie.  We didn’t turn on the air conditioning in our house until close to the end of June this summer, and the thermostat is set at 73 for more savings.  We wash most of our laundry on the cold setting, which is supposed to save energy.  I shop more at Aldi and Dollar General.  I use coupon and rebate apps, which has led to Target gift cards twice in the past three months and a check from Ebates.  That’s like free money!

While I know I’m not supposed to love money or make it a priority in my life, I also know I need to be a good steward of the resources God has blessed us with.  We also need to exhibit financial responsibility to insure we have plenty to share (Acts 4:32), giving to the greater good of God’s Kingdom, while also guaranteeing provision for our own families (Proverbs 6:6-11).  In closing, I would recommend taking a look at your household budget, if you do not already.  You may be surprised where you can find some “hidden” money.  If you aren’t keen on the idea of starting a budget from scratch on a program like Excel, I use the budget sheet found at Credit Repair to Credit Scores.  It’s a free download and I printed copies to use each month to help track our spending.  You may find some other helpful links on my “Budget Friendly” page of this website, or my Budgets board on Pinterest.

Today’s Scriptures  I found an abundance of scriptures related to money, in various aspects, when doing my Bible study in relation to budgets and spending.  If you would like a longer list of verses about money, check out the PDF at One Mosaic.  I don’t know who the author is, but it is a very useful list, broken down into categories, from budgeting to tithing.  I’m going to include four verses that I found relevant to budgeting.

Proverbs 21:5 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit as surely as haste leads to poverty.”

Proverbs 27:12 “The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and suffer for it.”

Luke 14:28 “Suppose one of you wants to build a tower.  Will he not first sit down and estimate the cost to see if he has enough money to complete it?”

1 Corinthians 16:2 “On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made.”

Today’s Recipes  Today we are going to prepare a Taco and Ranch-Seasoned Chicken in the Slow Cooker, that will save both time and money.  It’s going to be a big batch of chicken, but that’s okay, because we are going to use it first for some chicken tacos, and then follow up with an enchilada casserole with the left-overs.  DO NOT BE AFRAID OF LEFTOVERS!  Wasting food is like putting money in the trash can, seriously.  So here we go…

Slow Cooker Taco Ranch Chicken
Making a huge batch of taco seasoned chicken in the slow cooker is the easiest way to get two meals out of one preparation.

For both meals (feeding 4-6 people each meal) you will need:

  • 48 oz bag of frozen chicken breasts (or tenders), thawed-Yes, ALL of them!  Our local grocery store periodically has these on sale for 5.99 per bag, thrifty!
  • 2 pkgs low-sodium taco seasoning
  • 1 pkg ranch seasoning/dressing mix
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 cup sour cream, divided
  • 2 TBS mayonnaise
  • 2 pkgs tortillas (see my Healthy Living page for my favorite tortillas)
  • 4 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend, plus extra if you like on your tacos
  • 1 can diced chiles
  • 1 can pinto beans, drained
  • 1/2 cup sliced black olives
  • Any condiments for your tacos, such as salsa, chopped tomatoes, guacamole, etc.

For Chicken Tacos and Sauce:

Place entire bag of chicken in slow cooker.  Add 1 package of taco seasoning, package of ranch seasoning, and diced onion.  Pour water and tablespoon of lime juice on chicken and cook on low for 7-9 hours.  Prepare sour cream sauce.  In small bowl, combine remaining lime juice with 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 TBS of taco seasoning and 2 TBS of mayonnaise.  Whisk until smooth and refrigerate until serving.  You may serve from bowl and spoon onto tacos, or place in a squeezable condiments bottle and drizzle on tacos at serving.  When ready to serve tacos, shred chicken with two forks.  Warm one package of tortillas in microwave or skillet, according to package directions.  The chicken will be very juicy, so I recommend using tongs to pick up the chicken and allow some of the liquid to drain off before placing on tortillas.  Drizzle sour cream sauce on tacos and garnish with favorite taco fixin’s.  When left-over chicken has cooled, place in a storage container in the refrigerator for the next day’s casserole.

Chicken enchilada casserole
Using the remaining taco chicken meat and tortillas, we get a quick and easy enchilada casserole.

For Chicken Enchilada Casserole:

Heat oven to 375 degrees and spray 9×13 pan with nonstick spray.  In large bowl, beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup sour cream, 1 cup shredded cheese, chiles, and 1 tablespoon of taco seasoning; set aside.  Take 3 tortillas and cut, or tear, into quarters and place on bottom of dish.  Layer half of the leftover taco chicken, 1/2 can of pinto beans, and 1/2 of the cream cheese mixture.  Repeat the layers one more time.  On top of this, add the remaining shredded cheese and the sliced olives.  Bake, uncovered, 40-45 minutes.  Serve with any of the leftover sour cream sauce or taco fixin’s.

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