Mar 31, 2010

Recipe Wednesday - Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken (Merrick)

This is a recipe I recently tried out of the The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook. I mentioned this cookbook before and there were several commenters who said they were nervous about a $5 dinner; did these dinners only include spaghetti, casseroles, and ramen noodles? Well here is a recipe that proves the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook has great options. In fact, after making this, Philip said it went into his top 10 recipes that I've ever made (that top 10 list doesn't include soups...that man would eat soup or stew every day for the rest of his life if I would make it for him).

Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($1.66)
1/3 cup plus 1 tsp olive oil ($.50)
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, crushed ($.10)
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes ($.03)
1/4 cup bread crumbs ($.25)
2 heads broccoli ($.79)
1 package (16 oz) shell pasta ($.97)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese ($.50)

Pound the chicken breasts between two sheets of wax paper to a thickness of 1/3 inch. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with 1 tsp of the olive oil and season them with salt and pepper.

In a skillet, saute the chicken breasts for 6 to 8 minutes on each side, or until the chicken is cooked through. The cooking time will vary depending on the thickness of the chicken breasts. Remove from the skillet and let cool. When cool, dice the chicken and set aside.

Peel and thinly slice the garlic cloves. Place them in a shallow saucepan with the 1/3 cup of olive oil and heat gently until the garlic takes on a golden color. Add crushed red pepper flakes for a bit of zing. Remove from the heat and set aside, uncovered.

In the same skillet used to saute the chicken, toast the bread crumbs until brown and set aside.

Remove the stems from the broccoli and separate into florets. Cook the broccoli florets in boiling salted water until they turn bright green. Drain and set aside.

In a large pot, cook the pasta according to the package directions. Drain, reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking water. Return the pasta and reserve water to the pot.

Toss the broccoli and chicken with the cooked pasta. Pour the headed oil with the garlic cloves and red pepper flakes over the pasta and toss. Finally toss with the grated Parmesan and toasted bread crumbs.

**I like a little sauce with my pasta, and usually the pasta water doesn't really do it for me. So I made a half batch of $5 dinner mom's Homemade Basic White Sauce and tossed that with the meal right before serving**

Homemade Basic White Sauce:

4 tablespoons butter ($.40)
6 tablespoons flour ($.10)
3 cups milk ($.30)
salt and pepper

In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium high heat. Add the flour and whisk with the melted utter until it forms a paste and bubbles.

Whisk in the milk. Whisk until flour and butter have dissolved into the milk.

Cook the sauce over medium heat for 5 to 6 minutes, stirring continuously. The sauce will begin to thicken, as it bubbles and cooks. Add milk and flour one tablespoon at a time to reach desired consistency for your meal. Add more milk for a thinner sauce. Add more flour for a thicker sauce.

Cost for Pasta with Broccoli and Chicken: $4.80
Cost for half batch of White Sauce: $.40

Total Cost for Dinner (that made plenty of leftovers for the next day): $5.20

1 comment:

Packrat said...

This sounds really good. (I wouldn't like it dry as much, either.) The white sauce over the Parmesan cheese must make almost an Alfredo sauce. Thanks for sharing.