We’ve undertaken a weekly series on inexpensive family dinners that people on food stamps can easily cook. Our only criteria are that the meals are cheap, easy to prepare, tasty, and filling for an entire family. With that in mind, we present a casserole that’s sure to be a winner with everyone who tastes it.
The Meal: Ranch Chicken and Potato Casserole
There are few meals heartier than a casserole, and especially one that contains chicken in it. You get protein, carbohydrates and dairy, and can easily add in vegetables, like broccoli or cauliflower, to give it an extra health boost. Here’s how to make it. In total, this recipe will make 8 servings, takes 20 minutes to prepare, and 60 minutes to cook.
What You’ll Need
2 pounds chicken breast: You’ll need boneless skinless chicken, but just buy whatever’s on special. The goal is to spend less, and you can always use the skin and bones for soup later on instead of throwing it out and wasting money. The chicken should also be cut into half-inch cubes.6 pounds potatoes: Divide into two halves of 3lbs each, and quarter each potato.2 teaspoons of parsley: Fresh parsley will taste the best, but dried parsley may be cheaper.1 teaspoon basil: Again, fresh is better, but dried will work just as fine.2 teaspoons dill: Chop it up finely, or buy dried dill if it’s easier.2 teaspoons garlic: If you have garlic on hand, peel a few cloves and mince it up finally (make sure to chop off the ends). If not, powdered garlic is okay.2 teaspoons onion: Just like parsley or dill, you can chop up a fresh onion finely, or used powdered onion. Just make sure you’re getting powdered onion, and now powdered onion with salt.Salt and pepper to taste1 to 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese: Some people will want their casserole super cheesy (2 cups) while others won’t (one cup).6 slices of bacon: Cook the bacon thoroughly (or not, depending on how well-done you like your bacon), and then chop it up finely once it’s cooked so it’s the size of bacon crumbles.Green onions, chives, or sour cream for extra toppings.
What You’ll Need to Do
Preheat the oven to 400F, and use this time to do your prep. The first thing you’ll want to do is take two 9” x 13” glass baking dishes and grease them.Next comes the first cooking part: mix the quartered potatoes and chicken cubes together with the parsley, dill, basil, garlic, onions and salt and pepper.You need to leave the two baking dishes in the oven for about 45 minutes so the chicken can cook and the potatoes can get soft.While that’s cooking, cook the bacon slices and then crumble them once they’ve had a chance to cool down.Sprinkle the cheese over the now-roasted chicken and potatoes, and stick the baking dishes back in the oven long enough for the cheese to melt to a crispy golden brown.Add in the rest of the extra toppings, and serve.