Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad: Build A Menu

Cilantro Chicken Salad













Doesn’t this Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad look spring fresh and amazing? It is a colorful and deliciously healthy way to welcome in the new season.

Just in case you haven’t noticed … we are big fans of the Build A Menu program! If you are a Molly Green Magazine member, you can download their Dine on a Dime menu and shopping list right from your member page.  You also have a discount code – exclusive for Molly Members to join and start using this fantastic program today!

From Build A Menu

Who says eating on a budget has to be boring? One of our goals here at Build A Menu is to give our members plenty of mouth-watering choices that are surprisingly low cost to make.

Take this recipe for example: Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad on Avocado Serves 4-6 people and costs under $6 at most grocery stores (that’s for the entire recipe, not per person!).

Not only does this recipe look fabulous and taste scrumptious, it costs less than $1 per serving to make! Want more low-cost recipes to feed your crew? Check out what’s on our menu this week.

How does Build a Menu work? Just choose your grocery store, select the recipes you want for the week, print your customized shopping list and you’re done. You’ll always know how much your groceries will cost before you ever get to the store.

This is an “S” meal if you follow the THM plan. We make grocery shopping fast, easy and budget friendly!

Bon Appetit!

~ The Team At Build A Menu

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad

Cilantro Lime Chicken Salad on Avocado

Recipe type: Main       Cuisine: Chicken        Serves: 6

  • 3 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
  • 3 Tbsp mayo
  • 1 Tbsp brown mustard
  • 1 Tbsp lime juice
  • 5 Tbsp cilantro, chopped
  • 3 avocados
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Half avocados and remove seeds.
  2. Mix all ingredients together (except avocados) in a small mixing bowl.
  3. Spoon into each avocado half and serve. Enjoy!


PRINT A Copy For Yourself HERE

linking with Works for me Wed 

Mexican Casserole: to feed a crowd

Feed a Crowd - Mexican Casserole













Mexican Casserole

“Here’s a great budget friendly recipe that’s easy to make and feeds a crowd. I fixed it for company this past weekend and it fed plenty of us with leftovers for lunch the next day! Serve it up with a salad and some fresh bakery bread and you’ve got an easy meal your guests will love and won’t bust your budget. In fact, you can get all the ingredients for the casserole for around $10 at most grocery stores. Not bad, huh? Give it a try, I think you’re going to love it.”  ~ Karee/ Build A Menu 

Mexican Casserole to feed a crowd

Prep time:  

Cook time:  
Total time:  
Serves: 10

Mexican Casserole

A great budget friendly, crowd pleasing recipe!

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. In a large skillet, brown meat and drain off fat.
  3. Stir in beans, tomatoes, onion, taco seasoning, soup and water.
  4. Simmer over medium-low heat until everything is well combined and heated through.
  5. Grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
  6. Put down a layer of crushed tortilla chips, followed by a layer of the meat/bean mixture, then half of the cheddar cheese.
  7. Repeat layers.
  8. Cover with foil and bake for 20-30 min, or until bubbly. Let sit for 5-10 min before serving.

Print your own copy to try out this delicious feast of a casserole today – HERE

Cheesy Tuna Casserole: Dine on a Dime Recipe

Cheesy Tuna Casserole


They had me at cheesy!

Once I read the rest of the ingredients for this  Cheesy Tuna Casserole, I was a goner for sure. Fresh mushrooms, onions, chicken stock, and whipping cream are a few of the top-secret tips that dress up this cheesy tuna casserole. The creamy ingredients add rich flavor and have made it one of my family’s new favorites! I bet your family will love it too.

Cheesy Tuna Casserole


  • 2 6-ounce cans tuna, drained
  • 1 16-ounce package frozen green beans
  • 4 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/4 cup onion(s), finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded
  1. Cook the green beans as directed on the package; drain well.
  2. Meanwhile, sauté the mushrooms and onion in the butter until very soft and starting to brown a bit.
  3. Add the broth; bring to a boil.
  4. Let the liquid reduce by half, then stir in the cream. Bring back to a boil.
  5. Turn down the heat a bit and cook until reduced and thickened, stirring frequently and watching closely so it doesn’t boil over.
  6. Season to taste.
  7. Stir the tuna and mushroom soup mixture into the green beans.
  8. Add salt and pepper, if needed.
  9. Mix in the cheese; put into a 1 1/2 – 2 quart casserole.
  10. Microwave or bake until hot and bubbly.

If you are following the Trim Healthy Mama plans, Cheesy Tuna Casserole is an S.

This recipe only cost an average of $9 at most major grocery stores and serves four to six, making it an affordable option, before you even consider pulling out the coupons. I haven’t tried yet, but I think a couple of substitutions could be made to save even more on this dish. I’ve been known to make a cream sauce using powdered milk, a bit of butter,  flour and chicken broth (homemade, of course), and though I’m certain the heavy cream is tastier, I could pull this off in a pinch. It’s hard to beat, just the way it is.

Perfect cheesy tuna casserole makes a wonderful meal for a good old-fashioned family dinner!

You can download a printable copy of this recipe right from our friends at Build a Menu HERE. 

Remember, you can enjoy regular menu plans and printable shopping lists from the Build a Menu – Dine on a Dime plan right from your Molly Green Member page! It you haven’t joined the All New Molly Green yet, go here to get the details.

Inspired Bloggers Network – Family Dinner HUGE Giveaway for $800 set of cookware is HERE

Frugal healthy lunch ideas: works for me Wednesday

frugal healthy lunch

Frugal healthy lunch ideas from Midge

Hi all! It’s Molly’s cousin Midge here. Molly knows I’ve been working hard to find new ways to be frugal and for this new year – I’ve set some personal goals for my health as well.

Fortunately for me, my Molly Green magazine membership will allow me to have exclusive access to the Dine on a Dime menu planner from Build a Menu (coming soon) AND I get a big discount on a full membership to BAM which includes the fabulous Trim Healthy Mama recipes to help me even more.

Now, I know you may be thinking “lucky Midge – being related to Molly and all”  but, this is not just a family deal - YOU get the same benefits with a Molly Membership – see,  you can join the Molly Family too!

So now, about those frugal healthy lunches . . .

I’ve been making my very own kind of “Lean Cuisine” meals for the week.  When I do my batch cooking  or prepare evening meals – I set aside food to build the lunches with the tips as follows:

  1. Measure 1 cup of extra brown rice to add to broth. Freeze in baggies for quick access.
  2. Place portions of rice in freezer containers and add chopped veggies for a frugal, healthy homemade lean cuisine.
  3. Use broccoli stems to chop small pieces to add to rice for lunch stir-fry or to salads.
  4. Use the tops of tomatoes and bottom portion and chop for a fresh pico de gallo - to add to beans, salad, or chicken,  a Mexican rice dish or fish – for an instant burst of flavor that will light up your taste buds!  pico de gallo
  5.  Use tops and bottoms of white onions and peppers you might normally toss out for the same purpose. Chop ‘em small and throw them into sauce or soup too.
  6. Freeze washed berries and grapes individually on a tray and then divide them into portion sizes for your smoothies and health drinks.
  7. Chop bite size pieces of leftover meats – chicken, fish, steak – and freeze in portion sizes to go into your rice or healthy pasta for a protein boost at lunch.
  8. Once cooled, freeze lunch size portions of your homemade chick broth  in Mason jars or other freezer containers – add leftover rice, chicken, and veggies for a hearty hot lunch.
  9. Use frozen broth to make a homemade Egg Drop Soupfrugal healthy lunch: egg drop soup
  10. Freeze stuffed bell peppers  for a flavorful lunch – use leftover ingredients of rice and lean ground beef, turkey, or venison to fill them with.

Frugal healthy lunches can be yours with just a little bit of prep and planning ahead of time.

Don’t wait to get your Molly Membership so you can take advantage of the big discount for Build a Menu and have the Trim Healthy Mama recipes at your finger tips – or just use the Molly Membership to enjoy the ever frugal Dine on a Dime menu planner!

Go here to get your first month for only $1 and only $7.95 ever after. 

linking with Works for Me Wed

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Build a Menu: Puffy Chicken Recipe

build a menu - trim healthy mama


This Build a Menu: Puffy Chicken recipe has 3 ingredients, takes about 5 min to prepare and about 35 min for it to cook! It costs an average of $10 at most major grocery stores.  Best part is, my family really enjoyed it!  Hope yours does as well.  Enjoy.

build a menu - puffy chicken 3 ingredients, about 5 min to prepare it and about 35 min for it to cook and cost an average of $10 at most major grocery stores.  Best part is, my family really enjoyed it!  Hope yours does as well.  Enjoy.

If you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan then this is an S meal.

  • 4-6 chicken breast boneless skinless
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  1. Mix together Parmesan cheese with mayonnaise, to make a thick paste.
  2. Place chicken in a pan. Bake in a 350 degree oven till half-done.
  3. Turn over the chicken pieces and coat each thickly with the cheese/mayo mixture. Return to oven and bake until done.
  4. The paste will puff up into a delicious coating.

- See more and print the recipe on the Build a Menu blog here.

Molly Members will soon have weekly exclusive access to the BAM – Dine on a Dime planners!

Find out more about the new member benefits here.

Learn how having a Molly membership can save you money!

Homemade foaming hand soap: DIY project you will love-Frugal Fri

*affiliate links may be present
homemade hand soap

This homemade foaming hand soap is a DIY project you will love!

Our special recipe today comes from one of the new authors of the all new Molly Green Magazine. Lisa blogs at Homestead on topics we know and love. Frugal homesteading, DIY projects, and much more can be found there.

homestead originals blog

Use an empty foaming soap bottle, a bottle of Dr. Bronners Castile Soap, and your favorite essential oil to make this lovely homemade foaming hand soap. Lisa used an up-cycled bottle to make her hand soap and saved even more money.

foaming hand soap

One suggested essential oils combination is a Lemon/Lavender mixture (naturally antibacterial, smells out of this world!)  OnGuard Essential Oil blend (smells ‘fall-ish’ – spicey) and is unparalleled at fighting germs and bacteria, perfect for cold and flu season!

Lavender doTerra Oil

Making your own Foaming Hand Soap is just smart. It takes only a matter of minutes, it’s frugal, healthy, and super fun!


There is something really cool about the way it foams up and something even more special about knowing that it is wonderfully healthy for your family. The fact that you are saving money is almost an after thought. This recipe costs less than 50 cents to refill the Foaming Hand Soap Dispensers.

The hand soap is completely non-toxic. It smells DIVINE, you can obviously customize it, and Castille Soap is wonderful on the hands.

It’s a winner all the way around– Lisa loves to use this all over the homestead– bath, kitchen, wiping down counters…’s wonderful!  Give it a try!

Visit Lisa’s blog – Homestead Originals  to gain insight and information on cooking from scratch, homestead gardening, and much more.

You can enjoy another great recipe from Lisa, exclusive to Molly Green Magazine in the January-February “Hearth and Home” issue. Get it here. 

If you get my Friday newsletter, you most likely read Midge’s question about cooking with “exotic spices” (if you don’t get my FREE newsletter be sure and subscribe via the sticky note in the upper right corner). Read below to see my response.  Molly

Dear Midge,

There are quite a few recipes that use paprika, don’t be intimidated of this yummy spice! I think most people are familiar with using paprika on deviled eggs, here’s a great recipe. Some other recipes you might enjoy are: New Orleans Jambalaya, Paella and/or Baked Paprika- Parmesan Chicken. There are many more recipes out there, give one or two a try and see what you think.

Happy cooking! Love ya, Molly


Linking with: Simple lives Thurs Fabulously Frugal  BlackFoxHomeStead

Link up your own Frugal Friday tips and tricks! Grab the button for Frugal Friday on the side bar – or use a text link back to this post. Encourage others by visiting their links – I’ll be Pinning away. 


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4 Meals from 1 Chicken: a guest post by Midge

4 meals 1 chicken

These meals are designed to feed a family of 4 or 5 with little ones. If you have a larger family, you may only get 2 – 3 meals from your chicken, but by putting the broth to good use, you’ll be surprised at just how far you can stretch a chicken!

This is one of the favorite lessons I’ve learned on my journey to a more frugal lifestyle. I believe you’ll like it too!

4 Meals from 1 Chicken:

1)      Roasted Chicken – Begin with 1 whole chicken, rubbed with olive oil and sprinkled with garlic, salt and pepper. Add 1/2  inch of water to bottom of baking dish for a moist and tender chicken. Bake at 350 degrees, for 1 – 1 ½ hours (general rule is to roast the chicken for 20 minutes per pound with additional 15 minutes for browning). Be sure the juices run clear and that your chicken is cooked through. Cover with foil for the first 45 minutes, then remove foil for browning. (Adjust browning time for larger chickens – 15 to 30 minutes is all that is needed for a crisp, browned top.)

Slice and serve with veggies and potatoes for a hearty meal.

2)    Yummy Vegetable Soup Boil leftover chicken in large stock pot for 2 hours. Add pepper flakes, garlic, salt and pepper to the water with a heaping spoonful of coconut oil. Strain chicken and bones out of broth, then set aside to cool. Save remaining broth simmering on low. Pick chicken off of bones and store bones in bag. Store chicken pieces in another bag.

Add sliced carrots, celery, corn, peas, chopped onions and tomatoes to broth and cook on low for about 30 min. to an hour, until veggies are all tender.

Serve with fresh bread or corn bread for a delicious vegetable soup.

cheese sauce 

3)     Cheesy Chicken Noodle Casserole – Boil noodles in a pot of water. Grate 1 cup cheese (cheddar, jack or other favorite). Add leftover chicken pieces to pan with chopped onion and a pat of butter or coconut oil to heat. In a separate skillet, add a TB of butter and heaping spoonful of flour and stir until it begins to brown. Add ½ cup of milk and stir. Continue adding ¼ cup milk at a time until gravy is a thickened liquid (or desired consistency – remember, it will thicken a bit after sitting). Add the grated cheese and stir until combined.

Drain boiled noodles and put them in a large mixing bowl, pour chicken and onions over them and add cheese sauce, then stir it all together. If desired, add to a casserole dish and sprinkle Durkey onions on top. Place in oven to brown for 15 min. before serving.

 crock pot broth

4)     Wholesome broth for soup, stew or dumplings – Add leftover chicken bones to a crock-pot full of water. Sprinkle in red pepper flakes and garlic powder (add salt to taste later). Cook bones on high for 8 hours; continually adding more water to make sure it does not dry out. Store cooled broth in jars or bags in freezer for ready-made healthy and homemade chicken broth. Use for soups such as potato soup, vegetable soup, chicken dumplings and more!

These 4 in 1 meals can be enjoyed during a single week, or frozen for later use. If you have favorite ways to stretch a chicken I would LOVE to hear about it! Please share in the comments below.


Elk Meat: It’s what’s for dinner!

frugal homemaking

Guest post by: Midge

Although my “year of the carnivore” series is officially over, I came across a situation I just could not pass up sharing with you!

This week a friend of ours came home from a big hunting trip out west and brought back a cooler full of elk meat to share with our family. Now, as you may know, I’ve been cooking deer meat in a special venison chili  (and boy was it good!) but, elk meat, I have never attempted. In the spirit all things frugal, I certainly could not pass up the opportunity to learn. So, elk, it is.

In the process of finding out how to cook this new dish, I learned a few things. Did you know that elk meat has less fat than chicken, pork and beef? It’s true! I even read somewhere that it’s lower in fat than some seafood.  It has less cholesterol than bison, venison, or turkey! Who knew?

As a matter of fact, in most cases, at least in the recipes I came across, it was recommended that some fat be added to the dish in order to add moisture. The elk can be substituted for any red meat. You can use it in stir fry, grilling, roasting in an oven or the crockpot. You can even fry it up in a pan!

Evidently, elk makes a great burger when wrapped in bacon and grilled. If you decide to cook a roast, it’s as simple as adding plenty of moisture, like water with a few spices and slow cooking for a couple of hours.

I used the same kinds of special spices I keep in the pantry all the time to add to my roasts. Personally, I choose a sprinkling of garlic, a little fresh ground pepper, and maybe a touch of salt. Simple is good, and elk is a flavorful meat that does not require much dressing at all.

If you are keeping tabs, so far, I haven’t spent any extra money on this meal. (Now aren’t you proud?)

We are big fans of country fried steak (in olive or coconut oil) and all that is required to make that happen with elk, is the elk. The recipe I found is just like the country fried steak I always make. Cut it into strips, rinse and pat dry, then lay out flat. I like to season my flour (about 1-2 cups) with a bit of salt and pepper and then dredge the meat, coating it on each side. Heat 3-4 tablespoons of oil on medium to high in a cast iron skillet or a heavy pan and sear them on both sides. Lower the heat to medium low and continue to cook through for a few more minutes on each side. Once all the country fried elk steak has been cooked (and placed on a plate lined with paper towels or napkins to soak up extra oil) you can use the skillet leftovers to make a delicious country gravy.

roast elk

Being the busy mom that I am, during a busy week, like it is, I decided to go with an elk roast. I added an inch or 2 of water to the bottom of my roasting dish. I rinsed the meat and placed it in the pan and then added garlic powder, pepper, a pinch of salt and a just little bit of mixed dried Italian spices (just for fun) and covered it with foil. I placed it in the oven at 300 and roasted for an hour. I pulled it out and added carrots, onions, checked the water level and removed the foil to place it back in the oven for an additional 45 minutes to an hour.  You can slow cook the meat for longer, just be careful that it does not dry out.

The elk meat is naturally tender and flavorful and it’s now a favorite addition to our frugal family meal planning! Fortunately, there was about 45 pounds of elk meat in that cooler, so I’ll be trying some of those other recipes for cooking elk very soon.

How about you? Have you ever prepared elk meat? I’d love to hear about your favorite frugal recipes!

Sincerely, Midge 

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Easy Allergy-Friendly Lunches~ Works For Me

Last month I shared my trick for fast-fix salads at home. Today I thought I’d share about how I prep quick-grab lunches for my husband. This time of year he’s working harvest, which means 13 hour days. And since he’s gluten-free, he can’t just grab a sandwich and go. Therefore, I’ve been spending Sunday afternoons prepping a week’s worth of lunches that he can grab. That way I don’t have to worry about it again and he has a healthy lunch ready to go.

Last week was just a partial week of harvest and I fixed him some salads with two kinds of beans, marinated grilled chicken and cheese. I actually had two boxes of Ziploc bowls that I’d gotten free on a promo and never used. The salads worked perfectly in them. I prepped the salads, boiled up a bunch of hard boiled eggs and filled sandwich bags with some mini carrots, string cheese and almonds. I also made up some brown rice with lentils and peas and put them in bowls as well (not pictured.) I put some dressing in tiny cups and put some yogurt nearby. Now hubby has all his lunch items on one shelf and can easily grab what he wants.

This week I made a TON of potato salad. I filled six bowls with it for hubs and kept a tub for us to eat as well. I made my version of Southwest chicken salad. I used a package of the cubed chicken I’d prepped from my Zaycon foods purchase, mixed it with black beans and corn and dumped in some taco seasoning. Then I topped them with cheese.

I then cooked up a bunch of rice and added the rest of the chicken/corn/bean mixture to that to make a “rice bowl” type dish. I had some extra taco sauce packets from Taco Bell in my odds & ends drawer so I stuck a couple right on top of each bowl.

Another week down! Here’s a pic of things “in process”.

Here’s a shot of the rice bowl. You can put pretty much any kind of meat & veggies in these and have them come out well.

I took another shot of the fridge this week to show how I label dishes with my pink hair tape labels. I like these because they’re cheap, easy to write on, and peel right off. I decided I’d better label them after hubs took two of the same dish for lunch last week. I thought they were see-through enough (or that one could lift the lid and look?!), but I guess not. ;-)

Oh! And if you look at the cost of a pre-made salad bowl you’ll find that they’re right at $3!! And rice bowls are about the same, I believe. CRAZY! it’s definitely worth the time to make your own. Same with potato salad. It’s very inexpensive to make, but costs a fortune to buy pre-made.

What about you? Do you have any easy lunch tricks or tricks for dealing with allergies or intolerances?

Linking up to Tackle it Tuesday and Works for Me Wednesday.

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The Freezer Files~ Works for Me

When preparing food for the freezer, whether freezer meals, meats or veggies, place the food in a freezer bag and press the bag as flat as you can, removing as much air as possible. Freeze in this position. Taking the extra time to flatten out your bags will be well worth it down the road.  I often stack my freezer “files” on a cookie sheet until they’re entirely frozen. From there, I can stand on end in the freezer as shown in the bottom picture.

This systems helps with both organization and space efficiency. Just compare the below.

These bags of hamburger, though not terribly “lumpy”, were not smashed totally flat and can’t be stacked very well. They slide off one another quite easily.

These items (apple pie filling, frozen peaches, and marinated chicken strips) were frozen using the “file’ method. It’s super easy to quickly flip through the files to see what I have. If I need more room, it’s also easy to stack them on top of one another and have them stay relatively stable.  Many freezer meals can be frozen taking advantage of this method.

Tip: Whenever possible freeze food “flat”. If you must use containers, opt for square vs. round to conserve more space. (If you’re not concerned about space savings and have round containers on had, use away!)

If you need some help with freezer organization check out these great printable labels from Amy Bayliss. I don’t have a chest freezer, but can see hanging the labels from a hook magnet on the freezer door to show what is inside.

Freezer files work for me. To see more Works for Me Wednesday tips visit We Are That Family.

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