Shake N Bake!

Greetings Readers!  Today’s post is going to be a little bit different.  Rather than focusing on a recipe, this has more to with product recommendations and budgeting.  Here on Normal Cooking, I know that you do not always have time to cook an elaborate meal, and you might not always have the funds to buy the highest quality ingredients.

There are days when you just have to have what I call a “make-do” meal.  Sometimes this could mean a bowl of cereal or a PB & J.  Really it’s anything that can be done quickly and easily with whatever you have in your pantry.  Or maybe your make-do meals just mean going through a drive-thru at a fast food joint.

Last night was a make-do meal for us.  Now there will always be a time and a place for a bowl of cereal or a PB & J.  But I’m hoping to give you some ideas for make-do meals that are maybe just a little bit more filling, more delicious, and more healthy.


These 3 packages (along with the chicken breasts I had in the freezer) are all I used for dinner last night.  After about 2 minutes of prep time and 20 minutes of baking time, dinner was served.

Now doesn’t that look more appetizing (and filling) than a bowl of cereal?  Well, this super easy to prepare meal turned out excellent.  We did not have to sacrifice flavor for ease.  Just FYI, I grew up eating real mashed potatoes and never any potatoes that came from a powder.  Although the real stuff just can’t be beaten, these Idahoan potatoes are the best “fake” mashed potatoes I’ve ever had, and I definitely recommend them.

So let’s talk about budget.  Here is what each item cost (rounded up):

Shake n Bake = $2 (and that’s for 2 packages.  So for only one meal we’ll say $1)
Can of Green Beans = $1
Idahoan Mashed Potatoes = $2
1 lb Chicken Breasts =  $2

So the total cost of this meal is about $6.  Then divide that by me and my husband and you get $3 per person.  That’s cheaper than a combo meal at McDonald’s.  Honestly, I’d dare anyone to find me a $3 meal that was as tasty and filling as this.

And what about nutrition? Here’s a look at the calories and fat included.

Chicken with Shake n Bake Coating = 170 calories, 2 g fat
Green Beans = 20 calories, 0 g fat
Idahoan Mashed Potatoes = 110 calories, 3 g fat
Total calories = 280.  Total fat g = 5

I mean c’mon!  That just can’t be beaten.  To compare it to McDonald’s again, a combo with a Big Mac and Fries is 1,040 calories and 54 g of fat.  So the next time you need a make-do meal, this is a great way to go.

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