Alice Spring Chicken – Copycat Recipe

Confession: I have never actually heard of Alice Spring Chicken before I actually made it. I have never actually ate at Outback Steakhouse either. I stumbled upon this recipe when I was searching Pinterest trying to find something different to do with boneless skinless chicken breast. It seemed like it would be delicious except the mustard part so I decided to adapt it for my family’s taste and make it keto/low carb friendly. We like mustard but only a touch on a sandwich or in our foods. Also the recipes I found called for honey but I decided to use pre made honey mustard (not the dressing) to cut the carbs. We definitely don’t like it to overpower a dish. Here is my version of Alice Spring Chicken.

Ingredients:

  • 3 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied ( I would also take an extra step and pound it thin) You should end up with 6 thin breasts
  • 1/2 tbsp of honey mustard
  • 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard
  • 2-3 tbsp of mustard
  • 1/2 packet of dry ranch dressing mix
  • 1 tbsp of minced onion
  • 5-6 slices of bacon
  • 1 1/2 cup of fresh sliced mushrooms (I used white)
  • 2 cups of Colby Jack Cheese
  • Seasonings: I used onion and garlic powder and Tony’s seasoning
  • 1/2 cup of fresh green onions chopped (optional)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375. Mix the Dijon and honey mustard with the mayonnaise and add the dry ranch dressing mix and dry minced onion. Mix thoroughly and set aside. Spray enameled Dutch oven or oven safe pan (if you don’t have an oven safe pan that’s okay, just start with a pan and transfer to a bacon dish at the end) with oil spray and then add bacon on medium high heat. While bacon is cooking season chicken and spread mustard/mayo mixture on each side. Set aside. You can marinate the chicken ahead of time in this mixture for a few hours or o/n but again we didn’t want a strong mustard taste. After bacon is crispy remove from pan and add mushrooms. Once mushrooms are cooked removed from pan and set aside. Turn heat to high and add chicken searing on both sides. Turn heat off and top chicken with mushrooms, bacon (crumbled) and cheese. Cover with lid or foil and bake in oven for 35-40 minutes until chicken is cooked thru. I was just gifted a meat thermometer so that is an internal temp of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Lol get a meat thermometer! It’s awesome!

Surprisingly the kids loved this meal. I enjoyed it to and was something different that we could all enjoy since I’m currently on the keto diet. The hint of mustard was just enough for us so if you’re not a big mustard fan you can try this and enjoy it.

If you do give this meal a try, make sure to tag me on Instagram @severalpeoplesmama

Love Ricki

How to stretch food and get full

We are all at home whether by ourselves or with our family and the number one thing you will probably think about is what are we(I) gonna eat. And if you have kids, you will hear I’m hungry ALL DAY LONG! To combat being a short order cook, you need to make meals that will STRETCH! We want our family to be full while stretchier our budgets. So I’m here to help. With that dreaded C virus going around we may not be able to find ingredients (like meat) readily available so we have to be able to cook filling meals with little protein. Here’s a list of recipes or meal ideas that can keep you & yours full and content at least for a few days.

Pasta – Pasta is cheap and easy to make and very filling. You can add less protein or none at all and just pack it full of veggies (frozen or canned if you can’t find fresh).

Recipes with pasta:

Marry Me Chicken – Use less chicken and cut it up into cubes. Make the spinach lemon pasta and make it with penne or bow tie instead of orzo and add the chicken and sauce. Add mushrooms and spinach to “beef” it up.

Taco Pasta- Use Rotini pasta, ground beef (or not), cheese and beans & corn and a can of rotel or take the Mexican stuffed shells recipe and instead of stuffing individual shells take the filling and enchilada sauce and add to small shells. Top with cheese and serve.

Spaghetti- A big pot of spaghetti always works. Use ground beef or Italian sausage or even breakfast pork sausage (cheap and good) and sauce and pasta and you’re done. Also try spaghetti mac using macaroni pasta and Velveeta cheese and baked in the oven.

Shrimp Scampi- Use chicken instead if you don’t have shrimp and use spaghetti or fettuccine noodles to bulk it up. Add a can of peas or spinach or even zucchini.

Skillet pasta- make some bow tie pasta. Sauté some sausage, zucchini, tomatoes and whatever else and some half and half and Parmesan cheese, add pasta and mix.

Ramen- Yup that cheap stuff can be billed up by adding a bunch of stir fry veggies, less protein and a dash of soy sauce and seasonings.

Another staple that can stretch a meal and a budget is rice. The recipes below can be bulked up by adding more rice and less protein.

Cheesy Chicken Burrito Skillet– Cut the amount of chicken in half and add another can of beans, you can even use pinto instead of black beans.

Goulash– I usually serve this over rice so why not double the okra and sauce and cut back on the shrimp/chicken or just add sausage. Combine with rice and serve.

Fried Rice– add more veggies and leave out the meat. Make a huge batch and some crab wontons or egg rolls on the side.

Broccoli, rice and cheese casserole- I plan on sharing a recipe for my version soon. But you can easily add bacon bits or few chunks of chicken and go overboard on the broccoli and rice and have a full meal.

I love soups or chili anytime of the year & if your kids are hungry enough they will too.

Cream cheese chicken chili – cut the chicken in half and add more beans.

Baked potatoe soup– to lighten this up serve it in a cup with a huge salad of choice.

Taco soup- as you guessed cut the meat down by adding beans or omit the meat all together. Make a huge batch and serve over nachos and as the filling for burritos and chimichangas on two additional nights.

Chicken soup- cut the chicken add more veggies and noodles and bake some bread of biscuits or even cornbread. You can also add some grilled cheese sandwiches.

Another way to get someone full is add bread. Or make bread the main part of the meal.

This maybe more kid friendly because my body can’t take all those carbs but this will fill up your family. These are also great lunch options.

Taco or Cheeseburger ring-serve with your favorite taco or cheeseburger fixins’

Stuffed breads- I’ll be sharing a recipe soon for Bread stuffed pizza and we can use plain marinara sauce for a dip and serve with a salad.

Top your favorite casserole/dish with a bread- like a pot pie. You can make a chili and add a layer of cornbread on top and bake in the oven.

Or make a chicken soup filled with veggies and add biscuits (from the can is absolutely fine) in top.

These are just some ideas and hoped they get your creative juices flowing and have you thinking of your everyday meals in a different way. We may have to use our imagination to create meals but sometimes that leads to the favorites! I will be sharing a post later this week on snack ideas for our little snackers.

Let me know in the comments some other meals you can think of that are filling and make great leftovers!

Love Ricki

5 Ways to make Holiday gift giving not feel like a Burden

Let me first preface this post by saying Christmas is NOT an emergency! It comes every year on THE SAME DAY. So in actuality we should be prepared when the holiday season is upon us and it’s time to start shopping. But I will be the first to admit that I have been one of those people stressed and ill prepared for Christmas. In fact I have felt tremendous amounts of anxiety and sadness and inadequateness (is that a word?) when Christmas was coming because I was not able to afford the things I wanted to give the people I love. Let’s be real, the holidays have become hella commercialized and people spend a lot of money this time of year unnecessarily and if you don’t have it to spend you can feel less than. The holiday season can go from joyful to feeling like you had a chair pulled out from under you REAL QUICK! So I wrote this post to hopefully make us feel what the holidays should be about which is making memories with our loved ones.

So how do you make the most magical time of year feel magical again? Let me give you my two cents!

  1. Manage Expectations– You are not superwoman (or man) and you cannot nor should you even be trying to make everyone happy. When I say manage expectations this means letting the people that matter know where you are at and what you are capable of this holiday season. This includes the kids. My kids usually get one major (i.e. expensive) gift from us (the parentals) each year on Christmas. They may get a few smaller gifts or maybe not but we do try to get the ONE major thing they ask for. They understand and are perfectly fine with this because they know all year long they are getting things they need and may want. If you have smaller kids understand you set the expectation for Christmas now so don’t go overboard or it will be something they always expect. Also I stopped buying for adults a few years back. Let me explain. I was raised in a family where Christmas was strictly about the kids. Also we only celebrated Christmas with immediate family so you only bought for a limited amount of people. My ex husband’s family is the opposite. They buy a gift for everyone! And I mean everyone! The gift could be big or small but anyone that visits them on that day will not leave empty handed. I love this about them but it was very different and intimidating for me after awhile. To try to match that effort was exhausting mentally and financially. I had to learn this is the way THEY celebrate and not necessarily how I should or have to. So a few years back I let them know I would not be purchasing major gifts for adults (I may give something small). If they had kids I would make sure the kids would get a gift. And I make sure my in laws have a nice gift because they are always a help to me all through the year. No one was offended or mad about this and it actually lessened the pressure because I was one less person they had to worry about on their list. So speak up and let people know what you can do instead of trying to make miracles happen.
  2. Set a budget– This should go without saying but you need to have a budget for your holiday shopping. It can be a budget per kid or per person. Or you can say I’m spending $500 on gifts for everyone and that’s it. Now after you have the budget the key is to stick to it! Don’t apply more stress by trying to make more happen than you can. This is one day a year. If you feel like you want to give a loved one something special you can do it ANYTIME of the year specifically when you CAN afford it. And it would probably mean more to them anyway. Who doesn’t want a gift anytime of year?
  3. Use your talents– We all have something we are good at. Whether is cooking or baking or writing or even make up we can always give our talents as gifts to the ones we love. Bake cookies and package them up really cute and give as gifts. If you write for example make a book of poetry or a story especially for that person. Or make a coupon book for a free make up session or even to babysit the kids to give a stressed out mama a night off. With the internet and Amazon anything is possible lol! But use what you got, be thoughtful and you can still give a gift your loved ones will cherish and remember.
    Focus on creating memories– The best and most expensive thing you can give anyone is your time! It’s something you can never get back so it really is a treasure when you take time out to spend and create times you can look back on with your family. I used to host a night when my kids were younger where their cousins could come over and we would make Christmas cookies and drink hot cocoa. My kids still remember this! Now my in laws host a gathering a few days before Christmas where everyone comes over in their pajamas and watch movies and eat lol. This is what the holidays are for in my opinion and this should be the focus instead of just gift giving.
    Give yourself Grace– It is not only important to manage the expectations others have of you but you must also manage the expectations you set for yourself. If this is a rough year for you in whatever way don’t stress yourself out trying to make things happen for one day. It’s never that serious. Accept reality whatever that may be and take the pressure off yourself. Sometimes, no most times we are our own worst enemies. We also live in an instant society that has put a timeline on things and events that in actuality take years to happen. If it’s Christmas time and you don’t got it like that understand that is okay. It doesn’t make you any less than a person. It makes you real & actually wise to not try to make happen what you cannot.

I hope this post gives you some things you can do to make this season a good one. Please understand people & time cannot be replaced no matter how hard science is trying to clone folks. Many people have lost ones they love either through separation, divorce, death etc and they wouldn’t care not one bit about a gift if they could get a few minutes with that person. So it is so important to know life is the most precious gift of all. Spend the holidays, give your time and believe me things will be just fine.

Love Ricki

My favorite kitchen books

Hi y’all! In this post I want to share my favorite kitchen books and why I think it’s worth reading them. Notice I said kitchen books because not all of them are actual cookbooks even though they may contain recipes. Back in 2009 and 2010 when I became pregnant and had Lil Diva I began to learn about how to manage a household efficiently. I also became addicted to reading blogs. They were relatively new then but I was grateful for the people who wrote them and shared so much information! That’s probably why I always wanted to blog lol. I wasn’t a SAHM but a lot of the things I learned from mommy bloggers helped me be able to work and feed my family well. And helped me to stay on a budget. So today I’m passing this information on to you!

First we’ll start with my absolute favorite cookbook ever even tho apparently I have lost it in my move last year BUT I have it on kindle lol so…

This was one of the very first books I bought when I really got interested in making cooking and meal planning work for me. I was OBSESSED with my slow cooker and I wanted to try every recipe possible. Well it’s probably in this book! One of the reasons I love this cookbook so much is that it has sooo many recipes using simple ingredients you probably already have. When cooking for different people who seem to have different taste buds it’s always best to cook simply. I’m more adventurous when it comes to cooking because I love trying new things but my family isn’t. If you want to get started cooking for your family start with this book and inexpensive slow cooker and plan 2-3 nights a week. You will discover it’s not hard to put together a meal at all. .

Miserly Moms by Jonni McCoy was one of the first books I read on learning how to be frugal. Not cheap but frugal which to me means being able to meet the lifestyle goals I want by managing my money well. I’m not quite there yet lol but I’m trying. In this book I learned and still live by several principles she shared in her Eleven Miserly Guidelines. She taught me not to shop at the same store and making a menu plan based on grocery ads. This book was written for women who wanted to make the switch and stay at home with their children vs working outside the home but they’re are so many gems here that can be applied to anyone who wants to save money. I highly recommend this book. I also have her second one Miserly Meals on Kindle where she shared more recipes.

Cut your Grocery Bill in Half by Steve and Annette Economides (America’s Cheapest Family which is their other book and also very good) is another book that isn’t a cookbook that contains a few recipes (but not many) BUT it really gives good information about reducing your grocery costs. Some things I learned from this book: more tips on menu planning, knowing food prices for your area and stretching meals and how to store and organize your refrigerator and pantry. They also talked about once a month grocery shopping and cooking and even though I don’t practice this there some good tips to glean from it.

Family Feasts for $75 a Week by Mary Ostyn is still a book I reach for often. She is one of the original several people’s mama and has TEN kids! Some biologically and some thru adoption from other countries which is really cool because she shares recipes from her kids origins in this book as well. Why I love this book: In addition to the many recipes I have tried and love she also gives helpful tips on how to grocery shop, meal preparation and has a section on the homemade pantry which gives recipes for dressings, seasoning mixes and more you can make yourself. I recommend this book especially if you are feeding a larger family like myself.

Who doesn’t love Ree Drummond aka The Pioneer Woman? I have been following her blog and making her recipes for YEARS and she has not disappointed me yet. She has about 5 cookbooks currently but her first two The Pioneer Woman Cooks and Food from My Frontier are my absolute favs! The reason I love these books: She cooks real food with a little fancy stuff thrown in here or there. This where I learned how to add cream cheese to my mashed potatoes (best idea ever and no you don’t taste it) and how I learned to cook the beat pot roast ever. She also has a bomb lasagne recipe! Get these books if you want to hearty and filling down home food! Also she still has tons of recipes on her blog which I love!

Miss Kay is the beloved matriarch from the Duck Dynasty Family and she can cook! In Duck Commander Kitchen she shares May recipes she has made to feed her family through the years. I enjoyed this book real southern food using regular ingredients. Again sometimes I think I’m fancy and my cooking will reflect that but there is nothing like a good bowl of pinto beans and cornbread which she shares in this book. If you’d like to try your hand at southern and some creole/Cajun recipes check this book out!

If you know me you know I enjoy baking. And one of the recipes I use to be famous in my family for was Red Velvet Cake! Well The Cake Mix Doctor by Ann Byrn is where I got this easy but delicious recipe from and it’s absolutely worth the cost of the whole book. Cake mixes are cheap but you can make truly delicious recipes from them and she shows you how in this book. She also shares some frosting/icing recipes and shares history & tips on how you can use cake mixes to make delicious cakes (some with some alcohol!) brownies and bars. This is one of my top favorites, if you love to bake or even if you don’t but would like to contribute a delicious desserts for family gatherings and holidays- get this book!

Yeah so I think this book is going to be my favorite favorite!!! It’s my dinner inspiration ebook!!! I’m writing a book lol. I won’t call it a cookbook per se because it’s more like me sharing recipes I’ve tried and loved and passing on to you to make your own. I’d like to think on my platforms I don’t show you how to cook but I inspire you to want to make something (mostly dinner lol) good to eat! Hopefully this ebook will make you want to cook and actually like it, that’s my only goal. Look for this ebook to be available for purchase next month!

Editors note: My cookbook is finished! Looking for delicious but easy recipes that don’t use complicated ingredients? I got you! Check out my cookbook which is available to purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

So those are my picks and link to all the books are discussed is here. Listen I heard if you want to hide something from someone, put it in a book. Don’t let that be you. I understand knowledge about any and everything can be found online but there is NOTHING about having your own library that can never be taken away from you! Let me know in the comments if you already have these books or which ones you’re looking forward to purchase!

Love Ricki

If you decide to make a purchase through my link, I will earn a small commission for it. This doesn’t cost you anything additional. These commissions help to offset expenses to run this blog and other platforms so thank you!”

Cook with Me: Taco Ring

Hi Y’all! I recently filmed a Grocery Haul & Cook with Me on YouTube sharing the infamous Taco Ring Recipe. I figured I would also write it out for anyone that wants to try it! Hope you enjoy and don’t forget to like, comment and subscribe to this blog and my YouTube channel for more content on the single mama life on a budget!

Looking for more recipes like these? Check out my new cookbook available for purchase here: https://payhip.com/b/WN19

Love Ricki

Back to YouTube!

Hi Y’all so you asked and I delivered! I am have relaunched my YouTube channel and I am so excited with all the ideas for content I plan on bringing you! Please make sure you subscribe and check out my first video back below!

Don’t forget to like and comment!

Love Ricki

How to “make” groceries! 10 Tips for grocery shopping on a budget

Now you may be saying Ricki, how do you “make” groceries? Simply put that’s what the old folks say in the south when referring to going grocery shopping. Last week we talked about meal planning but now its time to take that plan, make a list and get the food in the house that you need.

Since I usually grocery shop on Saturday morning, I do my prepping on Friday so I am prepared and stay on budget. So I’m sharing 10 tips with ya’ll. Here we go:

  1. ASSESS YOUR INVENTORY -Before you go to any store, you need to assess your refrigerator, pantry and freezer first. Look at your meal plan, do you have things already that you can use? What staples are you running low on? WRITE ALL THIS DOWN!
  2. WRITE A QUICK LIST-Next take the list you just jotted down and your meal plan and write out your grocery list. Having a grocery list is necessary to shop on a budget. If you have a list you will not buy unnecessary items and you won’t forget the things you actually need. Now this is a rough draft. Because the next step is to…
  3. SET A BUDGET- UGH! I know right but this is usually where we mess up at. If you don’t set an amount I am telling you now, you WILL OVERSPEND! In order to stay on budget set an amount. I usually like to set a few, let me explain. I have a amount I will spend on groceries like $60 for the week, then I may add an additional $10 for stock up items – we have a store here that will discount great things to very low prices so I use this extra amount to take advantage of a great deal. And then I may have an extra $5-$10 for fun items, like a treat for the kids or to try a new product. So my budget for the week would be $75-$80. Look at your rough draft list and maybe remove some things that may cause you to go over budget like do ya’ll really need steak this week? Is there a veggie or fruit in season that you may like that will be cheaper to replace one on your list? When you buy in season you are getting better quality at a better price. Once you’ve set your budget you can make your final list.
  4. KEEP UP WITH YOUR LIST- I won’t tell you how many times I forgot my list at home which defeats the whole purpose so TAKE A SCREENSHOT of your list and your meal plan or write it in the notes section of your phone. I bet you won’t leave that phone! Seriously, when trying to save money you have to make things easy and convenient or you won’t stick to it!
  5. TIME TO SHOP- But before you head to the store you need to make sure you’ve eaten a full meal. When they say don’t shop on an empty stomach no lies were told. Listen, EVERYTHING looks good when you’re hungry! Don’t play yourself! Also, if you can, grocery shop in the morning before you run the rest of your errands etc. Shopping with a clear mind leads to better decisions and if you can leave the kids at home (unless they’re older kids that can help) DO IT!!! And if you know you have a tendency to spend at the store, take out cash and leave your cards at home. Hunny, you will stick to the budget in order not to be embarrassed in that checkout line. Ask me how I know lol.
  6. SET A TIME LIMIT- The more time you spend in the store the more money will part from your wallet. Why do you think they have all those free samples at stores on Saturdays? The main objective is to keep you in the store longer so you will be more likely to spend.  The grocery stores specialize in using psychology to help you part with your money at their establishments. They spend millions of dollars on learning our behaviors. You have to outsmart them and stop letting them win. Set a time period for each store you visit and stick to it. I actually started doing this so my older kids would come help me because they said I took too long but I noticed it actually helped our budget!
  7. DOWNLOAD THE STORE APP AND ANY DIGITAL COUPONS- Now you actually should have checked the store ad when you were making you meal/menu plan however sometimes you may get in the store and find something you really may need. Check to see if the store has a digital coupon. Also you may want to check another store’s app to see if maybe they have the same thing on sale. There also apps that get into cash back. I don’t know too much about them but you can always do a google search. Anyway the technology is available, use it!
  8. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STORE BRANDS- Honestly the time of being brand loyal is over. Many but not all store brands are made by the same manufacturer. You have to understand there is not a manufacturer for every single product, that’s just not feasible. When you buy a store brand, like butter if you take it out the box you’ll notice it will have the same wrapper as another brand lol. It was made at the same dairy it’s just cheaper because there is no brand label. Now is this true of every store brand, no but it doesn’t hurt to try them out.
  9. USE YOUR CALCULATOR-Again back to that budget thing, if you want to prevent overspending take out your phone and use that calculator function! I usually round up when calculating but it helps to stay on track and you can also use your calculator to determine if buying in a certain quantity is a good deal. Also, every thing that’s on sale isn’t a good deal if you’re not going to use it. Exactly how many time have we thrown away a food item because we couldn’t or didn’t use it prior to expiring. Please remember that when you throw wasted food away you are actually just making a donation to the grocery store. I need all my coins, what about you?
  10. SHOP ONCE A WEEK- Ideally if you shop according to your list for the week you SHOULDN’T need to come back to the store again. I personally don’t like having to go to the grocery store several times a week, that’s my time I can’t get back and my gas! But things happen and sometimes we forget because we are human. If you do need to pick something up quickly try to just bring the cash for that item so you won’t be tempted to spend more.

Those were my 10 tips to have a successful grocery shopping trip on a budget. Let me be real with ya’ll it takes a few times to get this down so please don’t beat yourself up if you mess up. I do all the time lol. But eventually you will find a system or routine that works for you and. your family. Take all the tips and apply them or a few. Depending on where you are in life every tip might not apply. The number one thing is to have a plan and that will set you on the right path! Make sure you follow me on IG (@severalpeoplesmama) because on Saturday I will be headed to the grocery store on my stories so you can see exactly how I shop. What grocery shopping tips can you share? Comment below!

Love Ricki