Friday, September 30, 2011

Country Dinner for Two on a $ and Time Budget

Earlier this week I had a huge craving for cooking and Chicken and Pasta... What else... I immediately searched my Yum Yums board on pinterest for any ideas I have been wanting to try. I instantly saw a recipe that I wanted to cook. Crispy Chicken with Creamy Italian Sauce and Bowtie Pasta. I followed the link and found this awesome cooking blog - Jamie Cookes it Up!. I HIGHLY recommend going over and checking it out.

Well no surprise, work was incredibly stressful that day- After making a quick call to Kevin who always cheers me up and listens to my complaining- I decided to switch it up a bit and do something nice for him- Since I ALWAYS make chicken and pasta, I decided to make a big country styled dinner- his favorite. My mom - Penny Mom- always used to make this for me when I was little and it was my favorite! I loved helping her make it too. The hardest thing for me starting out is learning how to cook proper proportions and buying all the ingredients... it gets expensive! So I usually buy the big bag of frozen chicken breasts from Wal-Mart and thaw them out prior to cooking, buy great value items, and choose instant items- I wish I could say I made everything from scratch but with work, being on a tight budget and cooking for 1-2- thats not gonna happen.
After work, I usually have little time to cook and always want to stay on a budget. I decided to make Country Chicken, Baby Red instant Mashed Potatoes, steamed Broccoli and Cauliflower, and Cornbread.

This is what I used:
Chicken:
2-3 breasts
5 C of cornflakes
3/4 C of flour
1/2 tsalt
2 eggs (Whisked) or 1/2 C of milk
olive oil

1 package of Idahoan Mashed Potataoes (Instant/flavor of your choice) - Idahoan is the best
1 bag of frozen vegetables of choice- I get great value steamers from Wal-mart
1 box of cornbread mix

First I prepare the chicken. Use three bread pans/ containers of your choice. I only had 2 and a large tupperware. In the first - mix flour and salt - second, eggs-whicked (or milk)- third- cornflakes crunched. I dont have a food processor and naturally only had one large ziploc bag. So I used the end of the measuring cup to mash all the cornflakes in small small pieces.


Next, Put the chicken in a large ziploc bag and SEAL. Use a meat mallet to pund and tenderize the meat. Sadly.. I will admit... I dont have one.. I actually used the end of a small hammer. Don't judge people! Photo courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!

Next, use a butterfly cut on the chicken. I take a large knife to the outer edge, cut in half almost all the way making sure not to cut the whole way through. Open the chicken up to expose your butterfy cut.

Next, coat your chicken with flour. (Jamie recommends after this step is done with all the chicken- to place in freezer for about 5 minutes but I didnt have time- but it will help keep the coating on so I would recommend it). After, "Dredge" chicken in egg or milk - IMMIDEIATLY after, coat chicken in cornflakes.
Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!
This is the point where I quickly mixed up my cornbread and placed in the oven for 18 minutes.
Place olive oil in a hot pan and heat up. Carefully place coated chicken in pan. Cook for about 5 minutes or until golden brown on each side. Photo courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!

Cover pan with lid and reduce heat to medium for about 5-7 minutes. Photo Courtesy of Jamie Cooks It Up!
Next, I followed the instructions for the mashed potatoes. Put 2 C of boiling water in a bowl, mix in instant potatoes, mash and mix together, cover for 5 minutes. Heat the steamer bag of vegetables for about 5 minutes. Afterwhich I mixed in butter, salt, and pepper.
Put all into respective serving dishes - of which I don't have- pots and bowls work great for me! - and serve right up! The Chicken was awesome and juicy - Thanks Jamie! and other items turned out great! It was an amazing, inexpensive dinner that overall took about 45 minutes. Not too bad.. O and Kevin was incredibly impressed and happy :)

Enjoy!

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