I’ve completed my first grocery shopping (complete with coupons and a meal plan!) after getting serious about our food budget, and now I’m excited to share the first Cooking Deliciously on a Budget recipe with you. As promised, I will share the recipe, then break it down dollar for dollar to prove that eating healthy and deliciously CAN be done without breaking your budget.

(I hope!)

A while back, a reader (Hi, Kerri!) sent me a phenomenal chicken and dumpling recipe. Tyler’s Ultimate Chicken and Dumplings. The first time I made it, Michael paused mid-bite, looked up at me and said, “This? Is delicious.” It’s a keeper, guys!

The recipe is super long and I want to go over some minutia about the budget breakdown, so this time I’m just going to link to the recipe HERE. But here’s the tweaks I made to the original:

– I omit the bay leaves, because I never have them on hand, and it didn’t seem to miss it.

– I also use half a large yellow onion (diced) in place on the pearl onions. Just saute them with your vegetables.

– If you’re looking to make this recipe super fast, you can of course substitute making your own stock with store bought, as well as use a rotisserie chicken. If you have the time though, I HIGHLY recommend making your own stock. It only takes an hour and is SUPER delicious. Plus, you’ll save money doing it yourself and you know exactly what goes into it.

– The dumpling batter makes more than can fit at one time in the dutch oven. To accommodate for this, make your first batch, scoop out the dumplings when cooked, and let the second batch cook while you eat.

Budget Breakdown:

* For all recipes from here on out, some ingredients that I always have on hand and rarely have to buy will be considered freebies, or zero dollars.

 This list includes: salt, pepper, dried spices (unless it’s unusual and had to be bought specifically for a recipe), olive oil, butter, flour and sugar, baking soda and baking powder (unless they are used in very large quantities). *

– 3.5 lb roasting chicken – on sale for $5.68
– fresh thyme – $1.99/about 30 cents worth used
– 1 head of garlic – $0.92/used half at 46 cents
– eggs – $1.69 for 6/2 for 56 cents
– chives – $1.99/about 50 cents per 1/4 cup
– buttermilk – $1.99 for a quart/50 cents per cup
– carrots – $0.99 lb/2 used at 50 cents
– celery – $1.99/about 53 cents for 4 stalks
– frozen peas – on sale for $1.00/about 40 cents per cup
– yellow onion – $0.82/half at 41 cents
– heavy cream – $1.69/1/4 cup at 42 cents

Total for purchased ingredients (all which will be used for multiple recipes, except for the chicken): $20.75

Total cost of ingredients JUST used in chicken and dumplings: $10.26

Total cost of dinner per person (serves six): $1.71. ONE dollar and SEVENTY-ONE CENTS!

This is super filling so one bowl is plenty. We will eat it for leftovers the next night, plus have at least two more servings left over for lunch during the week. It’s the ultimate comfort food, with little guilt. What’s better than that?

Under five dollars for dinner? I’ll take it!