Growing up we were really poor; like the kind of poor where I didn't have my first pair of brand new jeans until I was in 10th grade, we didn't have 'things', we didn't vacation or buy brand named foods.
Daddy was a steel worker and Mom was a house wife who took care of us 6 kids plus a good 6-8 extra mouths daily. Our house was a home where we didn't lock the doors and you never went hungry. We learned that money wasn't important; family, honor, respect and love was. We were taught that with just a few simple ingredients you could make amazing meals. While some may say "oh how terrible that must have been for you to grow up so poor, to go with out.." my response is always the same - I wouldn't change a single thing.
See we learned values, morals and learned to really appreciate what matters in life. We learned to not take for granted and to always, ALWAYS rely on our own abilities to make something.
With that, when we would go food shopping we would buy in bulk. One thing Mom always would buy is a bunch of chicken breasts. By pressuring cooking those breasts in some great seasonings, she was able to turn that single pot of chicken into 7 different recipes. This was awesome as, if you ever grew up poor, it was a real treat not having to eat the same thing night after night.
Night 1 - Herb Pressure Poached Chicken - this is great served with some rice and green beans. *BONUS - add in some carrots, celery and onions to make awesome chicken stock too!
When the chicken was done Mom would slice some, shred some, cube some and leave some whole.
Night 2 - Skinny Chicken Burrito Bowl - take some leftover rice, add in some seasonings, cubed chicken and fresh veggies
Night 3 - Chicken Soup - just use your stock, cooked veggies and egg noodles to some shredded chicken.
Night 4 - Mix up some of the cooked, chopped chicken with mashed potatoes, herbs and coat in bread crumbs for a great Chicken Croquette dish!
Night 5 - Chop of some of the cooked chicken, onions, celery, grapes and make a great cold chicken salad
Night 6 - Mix the shredded chicken with bbq sauce, whip up a simple pizza crust and make one killer bbq chicken deep dish pizza!
Night 7 - Add some of the sliced chicken to noodles, cooked butternut squash and make an amazing creamy, cheesy butternut squash pasta bake!
So yeah, as you can see my Mom knew how to stretch our budget to the max. Since the majority of these ingredients were staples in the kitchen - flour, pasta, cheese, vegetables the possibilities were endless. Mom taught how to cook like this and more importantly how to 're-purpose' foods in new and delicious recipes!