SoBo Mama's Tips & Tricks

My local grocery, Brookshire’s, every few weeks offers what they call “The Real Big Deal.”  Basically, you pay the full price for one thing (a bag of chicken breasts, a brisket, etc.) and they throw in some goodies “for free.”  Unless I will use EVERYTHING in the deal, I usually don’t fool with it.  The deal tends to cost anywhere from $9-13, and that’s a chunk from my $50 budget. I have no use for paper plates or fish sticks.


Last week, “The Real Big Deal” was built around a package of chicken breasts.  Boneless, skinless chicken breasts.

Which is the basis for about 65% of the freezer-to-crockpot recipes I package.

With a $10 package of chicken, Brookshire’s included a bottle of store brand marinade, a package of taco seasoning, a 5 lb. bag of potatoes, a can of baked beans, I think, and I honestly cannot recall what else!  It was good, though.

The potatoes were used with a meatloaf Sunday and a roast on Tuesday.

The beans are in the pantry until Grizzly grills (my birthday is coming up soon!) or Monkey #2 asks sweetly.

The taco seasoning was added to ground meat, which I fried the other day and packaged for the freezer.

With one half of the package of chicken, I put together a crockpot Ranch chicken baggie.  The rest of it stumped me, though.

And why, for my marinade, did I choose teriyaki??  I don’t know if I even like teriyaki.  I honestly didn’t have a recipe for this.  This is a “Cheaptitude is the Mother of Invention” recipe, but I think it’ll be super yummy.  And that $10 I spent on chicken has gotten us through several meals already!

Easy Freezer-to-Crockpot Teriyaki Chicken & Veggies

  • 4-5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (could probably work with a pound or two of chicken tenders!)
  • 1/2 16 oz. bag frozen cut broccoli
  • 1 bottle store-brand teriyaki marinade

Place the chicken breasts in a 1 gallon zip-top freezer bag.  Add broccoli.  Empty entire bottle of marinade into baggie.  Some of the marinade, like a barbecue sauce, will stick to the sides of the bottle.  Add a little water to the bottle, swish around, and add that liquid, too.  Squish the bag around till all of the contents are mixed up nicely.  Flatten as much as possible, and slide into your freezer till you’re ready.

Labeling:  I added instructions to my baggie, in case Grizzly decides to crockpot, stating to crockpot on low 6-8 hours and serve with rice.

On cook day, if it looks necessary, I might add some chicken broth so there is enough liquid.  I also might add green peas and carrots to the rice.

This recipe is untested, as of yet, but I’m sure it will be fine.  When I googled for teriyaki chicken recipes, I was traumatized at all of the ingredients and work involved.  I’m all about some cooking, but I’m also all about inexpensive and easy. most of this crockpot meal came from a “Real Big Deal” and the rest from my freezer and pantry.

What culinary creations have you come up with lately?  Have you developed any surprisingly good dishes while “making do?”

~ Katie


I love furniture.  I love to look at it, try it out, shop for it, buy it.  My sweet husband tells people he is perfectly safe sending me to Ivan Smith with every checkbook, credit card, and tiny bit of cash in the house, because I probably won’t buy anything.  I take advantage of the “x months, no interest” financing when buying furniture and refuse to buy any more till what I have is paid off (always before the promo period is over!)  We’ve slowly replaced our second (third, fourth) hand furniture over the past few years.  My living room was a bit of an impulse buy, but we’d needed to replace the hand-me-downs for a while.  My bedroom I shopped for over two years after the living room was paid for before I bought it, and my favorite chair was at Big Lots several years before I gave myself permission to bring it home.

In my living room, I had this wicker chest (hand-me-down) as my entertainment stand media unit for the first several years we lived here.  I have an idea in my head of what I want and I will not pay for something less.  But with the furniture swapping around that occurred with my bedroom purchase, I was left with extra dressers.  Something in me will not allow me to get rid of a dresser.  The one I had in Granny-at-the-Farm’s old house as a teenager was not in the greatest shape after both monkeys used it at different points, after probably twenty years of my not-so-gentle care.  But it had great bones.  With Pa-Paw’s help cutting shelves, I transformed that old dresser into a perfectly acceptably media unit.

We still have lots of hand-me-down furniture or things we bought from my mother-in-law when we moved into the house.  Some things are slowly making their way to new homes, some just to new purposes.  One that is finding a new purpose is the funky stool.

The funky stool lives in my garage.  It’s one of those little wooden stools you can buy at the craft store.  It’s had foam placed on top and fabric stapled over it.  It is FUNKY.  Grizzly’s friends sit on it when everyone hangs out in the garage, but I have a better purpose for it.

My beloved chubby chair is not a recliner.  I think it’s called a club chair.  Or a tub chair.  Anyway, you can’t put your feet up, unless you’re Monkey 2, who curls up in the chair like a slithery snake.  I’m going to repurpose the funky stool as a foot stool for my awesome chair.  One of the pillows that came with my couch was the victim of a tug-of-war between the monkeys and the four-legged kid, and is not fixable – as a pillow.  My plan is to take that fabric to make a new top for the funky stool.  With some paint and a little stuffing, the fabric matches all the other furniture, and I’ll have a new stool.

Without going shopping.

Are you addicted to furniture?  What’s your favorite piece?

~ Katie

I’ll come back & post pics later!


{December 12, 2012}   Getting Sauced (Reprint)

Last summer,  I discovered the Shreveport Farmers’ Market.  There is nothing like sampling blueberries and local wines by the river at 7 on a Saturday morning.

My major investment last summer was bag after bag of tomatoes.  I had seen @Teresa_Giudice’s family making red sauce on The Real Housewives of New Jersey. I knew I couldn’t do anything on that scale, but didn’t see why I couldn’t make sauce from scratch.

I googled for a basic recipe.  The kids and I blanched, peeled, cored, and seeded a bazillion tomatoes. Yield: 2 gallons of sauce in my freezer.

For Christmas this year, my stepmom got me a boiling water canning kit. So as soon as the market opened,  I was there with my reusable shopping tote!

My first batch took all day and produced 4 quart jars of sauce. I spent $13 on tomatoes,  not to mention whatever else went in there, so it probably wasn’t too cost effective.

Since then, I’ve begged everyone with a garden for tomatoes! I have 12 quarts canned in the pantry and would like to do a bunch more. The actual canning is under an hour. I’m getting really good at peeling tomatoes and it’s pretty much a morning project.

Apples are really expensive still, so I may try my hand at jelly next. Who knew getting sauced would be such fun?


I was browsing some old posts I’d made on a blog I’d started about organizing and came across this one.  I can’t help but think how far I’ve come since that first canning attempt (Thank you for your invaluable knowledge and guidance, Mother Earth!)  my pantry is full of jellies, long emptied of apple sauce, and I (Stingily) have only one jar of red sauce left.  And I’m still willing to share the recipe.

I really think that canning kit and trip to the Farmer’s Market helped start me on my search for ultimate cheaptitude.  I figured out that I could make things instead of buying them.  I won’t lie, sometimes the up front cost has been higher than just purchasing a can of Hy-Top 4-cheese pasta sauce.  But when you really start crunching the numbers and consider the peace of mind, knowing what went into those jars in the pantry?  I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

When I share my stories with Rhonda-Belle (because I talk to her pretty much at least once a day without fail!), she tells me what valuable lessons I’m teaching my kids.  Of course, hearing the eight year old monkey say, “No, The Dora cereal is not on sale and we don’t have a coupon so we are not buying it” just makes me laugh.  But maybe the monkeys will be better with money earlier than Grizzly and I were.  Maybe they’d prefer to make their own jelly and sauce than spend ridiculous money for chemicals at the grocery.  Time will tell.

~ Katie

et cetera
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