No Spend Month and a yummy baked chicken finger recipe

For me, February is no spend month. It’s an exercise in self control and a reminder to be grateful and content with what I have. For the entire month I aim not to spend money. Last week I spent a whopping $7.98! Of course I don’t stick my debit card in a chunk of ice in the freezer for the whole month but I do set up rules that I follow:
– NO clothes (this is a big one for me)
– nothing optional (house decor etc.)
– nothing I’m not completely out of. This isn’t the month I switch up my shampoo or half used beauty products for fun, try a new laundry detergent when I have some of the old stuff left (who am I kidding- Gain forever) , or buy the pretty lotion at the gift shop.
– no grocery run until the 15th of the month (this is easy because I have my stockpile of freezer meals), but requires a little bit of creativity and planning.

The other night I wanted a baked chicken recipe rather than one of my stockpiled and trust quart sized crockpot meals. I had gotten a set of small chicken breasts on sale and frozen them individually for future use. I took a bag out of the freezer, let it thaw and the next night cooked up this chicken finger recipe. This is hardly a recipe (the way I like it!)

Ritz Ranch Chicken Strips

I started by cutting the breast into three pretty equal strips

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I preheated the oven to 375 and set up two two dunking stations next to a sprayed glass casserole dish. In the first was bottled ranch dressing (I buy farmhouse ranch which has some extra spices and veggies or pieces of “confetti” in it, but it really doesn’t matter what you use). In the second dish I finely crushed ritz crackers and added a little black pepper. I think Parmesan cheese here would be a good addition but I didn’t miss it.

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Place the strips in the ranch and cover well. I let them soak in the ranchy goodness for a while as I prep a side dish (no spend month confession- I really wanted some of my famous cream cheese mashed potatoes with this meal but I couldn’t break the no grocery rule so early in the month- even to buy one measly potato, so I served up some yellow rice I had on hand for Jamaican chicken and black beans – I have enough left over for that meal, which I froze cooked in a freezer bag).

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I forgot to take a pic of the chicken strips after I coated them in crackers, but I’ll bet you can imagine what that step looked like.

I baked these in a greased glass dish for 25-35 minutes. I used my Misto olive oil sprayer to lightly spray the tops in the last five minutes of cooking to crisp them up. They were SO moist and yummy! I served them up with the aforementioned, second choice yellow rice and my standby microwave steamed broccoli (I season with a little garlic salt and pepper). I’ll definitely be picking up more frozen veggies when I do my mid month grocery run! Finally!

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Have you ever tried a no spend month?

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