Letsgetbasted

Budgeting each bite

Archive for the tag “chicken”

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.

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Cheap Date: Fajitas

How can you go wrong with a quick and easy Mexican recipe to spice up your date?

Here’s what you need for delectable fajitas:

  • 1 pre-cut/packages container of green, red and yellow bell peppers
  • Pre cooked, sliced chicken
  • 1 onion
  • Soft tortilla shells
  • Mexican shredded cheese
  • Salsa

First, sautee the vegetables in a pan with the onions. While that is happening, warm up the tortillas in the microwave (on a plate in between paper towels to prevent sticking). Put the cheese and salsa in separate bowls. Add the chicken in with the vegetables for a few minutes to warm it up. When the vegetables and chicken are done, put them in separate bowls as well. Now you are ready to make your fajitas.

Recommendations: Take a tortilla. Put some vegetables and chicken inside. Top with salsa and cheese. Enjoy.

-Sarah

Date night: Chicken and pasta, with a twist

Hey foodies! For this week’s cheap date theme, I am bringing you a super easy chicken recipe with a side of pasta, sure to impress any date.

Things you will need for chicken:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 lemons
  • ¼ cup dry white wine (I recommend chardonnay or Pinot Grigio)
  • ½ tsp. poultry seasoning
  • 2 tsp. dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • ½ tsp. dill
  • Salt and pepper

In a medium bowl, juice both lemons; add the white wine, thyme, poultry seasoning, dill and some salt and pepper. Then, slowly add in the olive oil, using a whisk to vigorously combine them. In a zip lock bag, pour the marinade over the chicken breasts and let them marinade in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. Once you are ready to cook them, preheat the oven to 375⁰, put the chicken in an oven safe dish and bake for at least 30 minutes. You could also grill them if you have a grill and the weather is nice; this would add some good flavor to the freshness of the marinade. Hint for guys: watching you man a grill is a big turn on and it can give you and your date an opportunity to talk while you finish grilling. Once the chicken is cooked through, aka not pink in the center, you are ready to enjoy.

Things you will need for pasta:

  • Leftover marinade
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • ½ box bowtie pasta
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper

To go alongside the chicken we have a great pasta side dish, using the left over marinade. First, boil water for the pasta (I recommend bowtie for date night, but I used angel hair) and cook according to the package. While the water is boiling, put the marinade in a bowl over medium heat and bring to a boil for at least 2 minutes. Then let simmer on low. When the sauce is no longer boiling add in two tablespoons of butter and let it melt. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once the pasta is cooked and drained, pour a little of the sauce over the pasta and toss (do not drench the drench, a little will go a long way). Then toss in some parmesan cheese and enjoy. I suggest bowtie pasta because you can eat it in one bite so there is none of that slurping noodles awkwardness that can happen on a date. Note: this is a great date meal because there is no garlic or onion involved in the recipe and lemon is actually great for your breath, so no need to run for a mint right after you eat (it is date night after all). Plus, this recipe is fairly cheap and very healthy. Enjoy foodies and happy dating!

-Kelsey-

Chicken Enchiladas

Today, I decided to try something new.  I am a big fan of Mexican food but never want to spend money to eat out.  One of my all time favorites is chicken enchiladas so I took a stab at making up a recipe myself.

These chicken enchiladas were super cheap, extremely easy and delicious! To make these enchiladas you will need:

  • tortillas
  • chicken or beef
  • can of enchilada sauce
  • tomato (optional)
  • cilantro (optional)
  • cheese
  • olive oil
  • small glass pan
  • skillet
  • sour cream (optional)

Prepare chicken or beef any way you like and then begin the enchilada process.  Preheat the oven to 350 and heat a small skillet to medium heat.  Put 3/4 of the enchilada sauce, all chicken or beef and half a cup of cheese in the skillet.  Stir occasionally.  At the same time heat each tortilla (I used 5 to feed myself and roommates) in the microwave for about 20 seconds to soften them.  Grease the glass pan with a bit of olive oil and then put it all together!  You will want to put a bit more cheese and 1/5 of the mix from the skillet into each tortilla, roll it up and place next to one another in the glass pan.  Once all of the tortillas are in the glass pan pour the rest of the enchilada sauce from the can on top and sprinkle more cheese.

Once the oven is preheated, place the glass pan into the oven so that it can bake for about 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.  Carefully take a glass pan out of the oven and sprinkle chopped fresh tomato and cilantro on top.  You can also add salsa or sour cream to the dish if you would like. Enjoy!

-Katie

Blazin’ Buffalo Mash

Hey Everyone,

One of the all time favorite dishes on campus here at James Madison University is Buffalo Mashed Potatoes, or just “Buffalo Mash” for short.  Its one of those dishes that you just simply crave for no reason around here at JMU, it makes my mouth water just writing about it.  During lunch the other day my friends and I were discussing how we have not seen “Buffalo Mash” at the dining hall almost all semester.  We aren’t sure if it was discontinued or if we just eat on campus on the wrong days.  Whatever the reason may be for the recent absence of “Buffalo Mash” it is extremely disappointing. I have decided to bring back this JMU favorite right here in my kitchen.  I hope you enjoy the bite this “Buffalo Mash” brings!

What you will need:

  • Instant mashed potatoes
  • Butter
  • Salt
  • Milk
  • Water
  • Chicken
  • Buffalo wing sauce (I’m using Frank’s Red Hot)

Directions:

  • Follow the directions on the instant mashed potatoes box combining the appropriate amounts of potato, butter, salt, milk and water as directed.
  • Cover the chicken in a decent amount of buffalo sauce and put it in a pan to cook over the stovetop
  • Leave chicken in pan on medium heat until fully cooked.
  • In a bowl, first coat the bottom of the bowl in a decent amount of mashed potatoes
  • Next, place the fully cooked chicken on top
  • Finally, add as much buffalo sauce to the top of the dish as desired. (The more sauce the spicier the dish will be)
  • Enjoy
Let me know what you think about this JMU original,
 
-Ryan

BYOBowl: Alfredo Pasta

This weeks theme is Bring Your Own Bowl!

Today I decided to make a delicious shrimp and chicken alfredo pasta!

Ingredients:

  • tomato
  • broccoli
  • pasta
  • alfredo sauce
  • chicken
  • shrimp
  • parmesan cheese
  • seasoning

I use frozen shrimp and cooked chicken so once thawed it is ready to go. First, I filled a pot with water allowed it to boil and then added a serving of pasta.  I prefer whole wheat penne, but anything works! I put the chicken, shrimp, chopped up tomato and broccoli in a pan and allowed it to simmer in some seasoning and olive oil until the pasta was fully cooked.

I then drained the pasta and added alfredo sauce, the mixture from the pan and a dash of parmesan cheese. I was able to enjoyed this bowl full of delicious pasta next door with some friends as they ate their meals brought home from campus. I definitely had a best meal there.

-Katie

 

 

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