Letsgetbasted

Budgeting each bite

Archive for the day “April 17, 2012”

The Ranting Chef: Cajun Chicken and Veggies Skillet

Ranting Chef here. When Letsgetbasted approached me about guest blogging, I knew exactly what to post. While it has been a while since I’ve been a student myself (in fact I just came back from a marathon day of visiting three colleges with my high school junior), I do remember those days.

I was a dorm rat for three years (two of those being a resident advisor) and so I was excited to finally have a real kitchen my last year at school. I recall running to the grocery store and thinking of all the great things I would make. I grabbed my cart and started walking the aisles throwing a few items in the cart. I quickly realized that my budget was not going to match my culinary tastes. This was never more true than walking the spice aisle. I had gotten used to cooking at home with the variety of spices in my parent’s cabinet, but quickly had to settle for a much more limited set of choices.

The realization continued when I went into the kitchen and put my entire set of cookware on the stove at once. 1 pot. 1 pan. That’s it.

With that in mind, this dish is a 1 spice (well….blend) and 1 pot/1 pan dish.

While I am pretty organized in the menu department, sometimes I make things up on the fly. The other day I looked in the pantry and freezer can made a quick Cajun Chicken and Veggies Skillet.

The ingredients were a pound of chicken breasts, some oil, a can of fire roasted diced tomatoes, a few vegetables and some Cajun spice blend. Consider the ingredient list very flexible. Boneless thighs? Fine. Vegetable or olive oil? Your choice. Don’t like onions? Leave them out or substitute something else in. I had a half bag of pearl onions, some frozen corn and Parisian carrots. Don’t ask me how I ended up with Parisian carrots (they look like little carrot balls), but there they were. Any kind of fresh or frozen carrots will work.

Cut the chicken up into a few big pieces (you can dice and they will cook faster, but since I knew that my vegetables would all be bite sized, I was looking for some size variety). Fry them up in about 2T of oil until they are not pink and the juices run clear.

After the chicken is cooked, sprinkle with 1-2 T of Cajun spices. Continue frying for another 2 minutes.

Cook your vegetables while you are frying the chicken. If you have a steamer, use it. If you don’t, follow the microwave directions on the frozen or canned vegetables.

Add the vegetables and the diced tomatoes into the skillet. Cook on medium for five minutes until the moisture reduces and the flavors mix.

Serve. This works well on its own, or if you are craving some carbs, you can serve over rice.

Brain Food: Smoothie On-The-Go

Good Morning Everybody!

Breakfast is the most important meal of the day because it gets your metabolism running and your brain going after, hopefully, a good nights sleep.  A problem I face almost every morning is that I am in a rush do not have the time to prepare a good breakfast.  With finals approaching, I know I need to be on my A game so I came up with a cheap and easy solution.  For a while I was buying yoplait yogurts and taking them on the bus with me, but then I was stuck carrying around a spoon all day. I decided to do a little experiment, and it turned out great.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bananna
  • 1 yoplait yogurt
  • 1 cup ice
  • blender

Make sure to wash your blender before use it if it has been in a cabinet for a while. Then, put the cup of ice, yogurt and sliced banana into the blender and hold down the smoothie button.  After 30 seconds turn off the blender and mix it all around. Blend again with the smoothie button for about 30 seconds or until all of the ice is blended.

I actually made this smoothie last night right before bed, poured it into a disposable styrofoam cup, covered it in plastic wrap and hoped it would be perfectly chilled in the morning to grab on my way out the door. I definitely enjoyed the peach mango smoothie this morning and am going to try different fruit and yogurt flavors!

-Katie

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