Cheap Eats #1

This is the first in an occasional series of posts about inexpensive meals that I’ve actually cooked for myself and I find to be tasty bargains.

First, I’m a huge fan of using a slow cooker. I’m single and not the greatest cook in the world — so the convenience of preparing ingredients in the morning, setting a timer, letting the slow cooker do it’s thing and coming home to warm smells of freshly cooked food can’t be beat!

I get many of my slow cooker recipes from Fix-It & Forget-It Lightly. Here’s one I made Monday and following the recipe will be a breakdown of the costs directly from my grocery receipt.

Chicken Chowder Recipe (serves 4)

  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp thyme
  • 1 cup onions, chopped
  • 1 potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 ” chunks
  • 1/2 lb. uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 2 15-oz. cans cream corn
  • 1/2 cup dried potato flakes
  • 1/2 cup shredded low-fat cheddar cheese


  • Combine all ingredients except potato flakes and cheese in the cooker.
  • Cover. Cook on low for 5-7 hours.
  • Add potato flakes and stir well.
  • Cook on high, uncovered, for 5-10 minutes or until chowder has thickened.
  • Top each serving with cheese (optional).

This was my first try with this recipe and it turned out to be quite tasty. It was a hearty meal that I paired with a small salad and a roll. Reheating it for dinner last night, it kept it’s flavor and didn’t get too mushy.

Keep reading for the cost of the meal…

Here is the rundown on prices for the chowder (note: I already had all of the spices and did not use cheese in my meal, also note that I used generic and on-sale ingredients when available) based on my receipt from Sunday and how much of the item I used (in other words, I bought a gallon of milk at 2.88 and only used one cup of it):

  • 1 carrot — 22 cents
  • 1 cup milk –18 cents
  • 1/2 cup broth –50 cents
  • 1 onion — 64 cents
  • 1 potato — 61 cents
  • 1/2 lb. chicken — 1.72
  • 2 cans cream corn — 1.00
  • Potato flakes –50 cents

Total cost = 5.38 Cost per serving = 1.34

I already had the bread and salad fixin’s so I don’t have a total for those, but you can add whatever cheap sides you might like to it, keeping the meal cost very low.


  1. My mom used to make a meal on some Sunday’s in the pressure cooker. Since, I don’t have one nor the money to buy one, I have spent the last several years making it on occasion in my crockpot. I am fixing some tonight, for my meal when I wake up tomorrow night.
    It is simply peeling some potatoes and carrots cutting them up and then balling up some meatballs. Letting the slow cooker do it’s thing as they set in water.
    And they are oh so tasty…just mash the cooked vegetables (or i do) on my plate add butter and then put ketchup on my meatballs.
    salt to taste.

  2. debtfreeforlife

    Sounds delish! Not much different to a recipe I made last night.

    I noticed pot roast was on sale at Kroger, so I picked up a small roast for about $5. Put some peeled and cut up carrots, potatoes, and onions on the bottom of the crockpot, added the roast (salt and peppered), half cup of water, 8oz can of tomato sauce, and oregano and basil on top of the meat. Cooked for about 10 hours…man it was great!

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