Monday, August 16, 2010

Chicken Parm a la easy

We loooovvvve pasta, the hubster and I both have Italian dads so I think that is a contributing factor.  In fact, we are the most Italian bunch of blonde haired, blue eyed people you'll find.  Pasta hits our dinner table often because: 1. The 4 year old doesn't complain when we have pasta for dinner, 2. It's cheap, 3. It's easy.  Cheap n' easy dinners are my favorite kind.  I have tried lots of marinara recipes and taken my favorite parts of each, so mine is a collaboration of many of those.

Here is what ya' need:
- 2 large cans of crushed tomatoes, any brand
- a quarter of an onion, diced small
- 3 or 4 cloves of garlic, diced small
- chicken, about a pound feeds my family of 4
-spaghetti, we prefer the whole wheat kind but whatever tickles your fancy
- red wine or red cooking wine, nothing too fancy though.  Ahhh....fancy wine how I yearn for thee.  Sorry I got sidetracked with visions of wine that costs more than $5 a bottle.
-fresh parmesan cheese, go ahead and grate about 1/3 - 1/2 a cup depending on your love of cheese
-flour, sugar, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, olive oil

Use a meat hammer and pound the chicken flat a bit, go ahead and get out all the pent up aggrevation and frustration.  After you have pounded your chicken, dredge it through flour mixed with a bit of salt and pepper. Heat up some olive oil in a large pan (I prefer to use my big cast iron skillet) and brown the chicken on both sides.  After it is finished set it aside somewhere until later.

In order to minimize clean up I use the same pan for the next step too.  Toss the onions and garlic in the hot pan.  Pour in about 1/3 cup red wine and the add your crushed red tomatoes. Now add 1/2 cup of sugar ( to kill the acidity of the tomatoes), oregano, basil, salt and pepper.  I don't use exact measurements so a few shakes of each should work : )  Then add in a pinch of your grated parm. cheese. Put it on med to low heat (2-3 on my stove), cover and let it simmer for about 15 - 20 minutes.

Don't forget to start cooking your spaghetti in about 5 minutes!

After the sauce has simmered a bit, get your chicken out.  Place the pieces in the sauce, add a bit of cheese on top and let them cook about 5 minutes in the sauce.

Breathe a sigh of relief, another meal is about to be finished! Plate everything up and add a bit more cheese if you so desire, I always desire and use an ample amount!

Also served with this meal was yummy bruschetta, the recipe for it will be featured soon.
Budget breakdown:
Chicken $1.78 (mine was $1.78 per lb. and I used a pound)
Sauce $1.76 (2 cans at $0.88 each)
Spaghetti $.50 (used half of a dollar box)
Cheese $1 (use 1/3 of a $3 block)
Other spices were probably about .75
= $5.79 divided by 5 servings = $1.15 per serving!

Not too bad but I'll use the rest of the sauce for another meal later this week, the added cost for the second meal is $2 bringing the total to $7.79 for 2 dinners. Yahhhh!

Eat, drink and be merry!

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