Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Chicken and Veggies over Pasta (and my schnazzy new knife!)

Did you ever find yourself scrambling through your cupboards to pull together a meal when they're almost bare? That's where I found myself when I was planning meals for this week on Sunday night. I knew that our grocery budget was pretty much DONE until payday so I could not fall back on just running to the store like I have been doing. I needed to figure out what we had on hand and then just buy the bare minimum to get us through. I wasn't about to fall back on feeding my family ramen noodles; the straits are not yet that dire! I did want the meals to be good and at least semi healthy.

This is where being a good cook comes into play. Sure, most people can follow a recipe from a book, but not all can take a bunch of random things and figure out what will go together in the best way. Not all of my cobbled together creations are winners, this is true, but this one came out pretty good, and it's pretty healthy too!

I present to you, Chicken and Veggies over Orecchiette. (I swear, NOTHING looks good photographed under fluorescent lights!)

Not fifteen minutes before I was to start dinner, the mailman dropped off this beauty at my front door:

I won it on Kevin and Amanda's blog. Isn't it just lovely? I love my Henckles knives, but I've had them for about 8 years now and have never had them sharpened. I mean, I hone them before every use like I'm supposed to do, but after a while a blade needs a true sharpening! They've gotten so dull, but we don't have it in our budget to have it done right now.

Thankfully, the Lord (and the Internet) provides! When I saw the post for this giveaway, I didn't hesitate one second to throw my name into the ring. Of course, after I did so I realized that I was the very first poster to leave a comment. Aw man! Comment number one NEVER wins! I was so bummed I almost deleted it. Almost. Then I told myself, you know, if it is to be, it will be, and the odds of winning are pretty slight anyway since this is a very popular blog. So I left it... and I won!!! How awesome is that?

So the moral of the story is to never lose hope if you pull a bonehead move and comment first on a giveaway.

I pulled my ingredients all out before I got started and did a little prep work. After months of cutting with dull knives, this one was a DREAM. Thank you, thank you, thank you Amanda for this knife! I love it!
Now, onto the pasta!

First, heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a heavy pot or deep skillet. Add chicken slices (I had about five tenderloins, so that was probably just under a pound?) and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Cook the chicken until it just starts to slightly brown, then remove to a plate and set aside.

Heat another tablespoon or two of olive oil in the same pan. Slice up an onion and toss that into the pot. I had half a bag of shredded carrots leftover from a salad I took to a barbecue last weekend so I dumped that in there too. Cook them over medium low heat until they're softened, about five minutes.

Next, dump in two 14 oz cans of tomatoes. I used some of the ones I canned myself - one of heirlooms and one of plain romas. Also add in 1/2 teaspoon each of black pepper, salt, dried basil, garlic powder and a quarter teaspoon each dried thyme and red pepper flakes. Break up the tomatoes as well as you can with the spatula and allow to simmer for ten minutes.

Coarsely chop a bag of baby spinach and toss that into the pot, along with a half cup of chicken broth. I didn't feel like defrosting a bag of stock so I added a half cup of water along with a half teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder. I cheat.

All that spinach will cook down really quickly!

Add the chicken back into the pot. Cover the mixture and let it simmer for another 10-15 minutes while you cook your pasta.

Dish it up and enjoy! There are a ton of veggies in each serving along with some lean protein, so I'm guessing that if you served this over just a one cup serving of pasta it would be a pretty healthy meal. I think if you served it over rice or gluten free pasta it might even be gluten free, depending on your chicken stock I guess. Either way it was very good and very filling and all I had to buy was the bag of spinach!

It's easy too - while this was cooking I was also baking Oatmeal Cherry Chocolate Chip cookies and getting ready for bible study, which included flat ironing my hair. Now you know the true secret to how I do so much. It's not because I'm up late every night - I still sleep eight hours like everyone else. Heck, that's probably more than others sleep. The truth is because I am a professional multitasker! HA!



Blogger Katy Cameron said...

Looks good! When I was at uni I learned the hard way how to budget for food, and although my friends tease me for my anal retentiveness in continuing with my method, my food bill is far less than half of theirs ;o)

I shop monthly. Yep, monthly - for the main shop anyway. I plan my meals for the entire month and make up 2 lists - the first for all the things I can buy on day one, including anything that's long life (jars of sundried tomatoes, tins of beans etc) or can be frozen. For list 2, it's the veggies and short life stuff to get on my second shop halfway through the month (short and quick shop). Now I don't stick rigidly to having a certain meal on a certain day, but if I have it in the right half of the month fresh-ingredients-wise then I can have it any night pretty much (although I tend to be pretty smart in my planning and not have long/difficult recipes on weekdays where I know I won't be bothered to make them after I get home from work)

I also make my dinner, along with my breakfast and lunch for the next day (on work days) all in a oner. Multitasking 3 ways at this point, but it saves me having to get up earlier in the morning ;o) Getting out of the house of a morning in 20 minutes, including shower, is not to be sneezed at lol (I eat my breakfast at work, and leave my clothes out the night before)

3:32 AM  
Blogger Jennifer said...

Congrats on winning the knife ... how awesome that #1 won!

8:19 AM  
Blogger Kat said...

I am so jealous of that knife!

5:57 PM  

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