Friday, February 26, 2010

Five Dollar Friday: Chicken Breast with Lemon-Caper Sauce

A friend of mine is an amazing cook and has shared several recipes with me, most of which have become instant favorites at my house. This is one. Thanks A.B. for this one and all the others!

Also I just wanted to add that this is a great example of a recipe that could easily be a lot more than $5. The trick is to get all your ingredients on sale and with coupons. Enjoy.

Chicken Breasts with Lemon Caper Sauce over Angel Hair Pasta
(served with steamed broccoli)

1/4 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper (use paprika if you want to avoid cayenne but still get pretty color)
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded very thin
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon capers
4 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoon butter

1. In large skillet begin heating olive oil over medium high heat.
2. In a shallow dish stir together flour, salt and cayenne.
3. Dip chicken in mixture and shake off excess. Place on plate.
4. In a small bowl mix together lemon juice, parsley and capers.
5. Add chicken to hot skillet. Cook approximately 6-8 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Turn once during cooking.
6. Remove skillet from heat and stir in parsley mixture (*see notes below)
7. Add butter and stir until melted. Spoon over chicken.

Only a few notes for this recipe. The main one being do not add all the lemon juice at first when making the sauce. Hold back about 1/2 of it until you have tasted the mixture after adding butter. Some lemons are much more tart than others and you may end up with too strong a lemony taste. This is the voice of experience talking here! ;) Also I find that I like to season my chicken with a little extra salt before dipping it into the flour. Not too much, but a bit really seasons it well. To prepare the broccoli I simply steam and add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and a bit of salt, and for the pasta I just toss with a dab of olive oil to keep from sticking. I thinly slice the chicken and lay it on top of the pasta and then spoon the sauce over it so the pasta gets some of the goodness.

Cost Breakdown: $5.31

$ 2.54 2 lbs chicken breast purchased for $1.77 a lb
$ .20 parsley - from a bunch that cost $.60
$ .25 lemon - some for sauce and the rest of the juice to squeeze on broccoli
$ .50 capers
$ .03 flour
$ .28 olive oil
$ .13 butter
$ .38 for half box of whole wheat angel hair or thin spaghetti (bought when on sale and paired
with coupon)
$ 1.00 fresh broccoli (purchased on sale; I got an enormous head for $1)


Friday, February 19, 2010

Five Dollar Friday: Baked Potato Soup

This is a very simple but amazing soup and one of the first recipes I ever collected. I got this from a sweet mom I used to babysit for while in college in Austin, Texas (Hook 'Em Horns!). It's a great meal to feed a crowd or take to a family with a new baby, too.

The soup served with a side salad with feed my family two times (love to cook once and eat twice!) making the final cost $10. You can decrease that price if you leave off the optional garnishes. But to me, they are what make it a baked potato soup rather than a basic potato soup so I included them in the final price. Also you can make this from start to dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less. Another huge bonus in my book.

Baked Potato Soup
(and simple green side salad)

7 cups of peeled, diced and cooked potatoes
1 stick butter
2/3 cup flour
5 cups of milk
16 oz sour cream
salt and pepper to taste

1 lb bacon chopped and cooked for bacon bits
8 oz shredded cheese
fresh chives, chopped very fine

1. Melt butter and add flour gradually; stir until smooth.
2. Continue cooking for one minute stirring constantly.
3. Gradually whisk in milk and continue cooking over medium heat until mixture thickens. Stir frequently.
4. Add sour cream, potatoes, pepper and salt.
5. Serve with cheese, bacon bits and chopped chives on top.

* Here are some thoughts about this recipe:

Earlier in the day peel and chop your potatoes. If you have time go ahead and cook them. If not, store in a bowl of cold water and they won't oxidize. You can use more or less potatoes, just depending on your preferences. Also, I only use full fat sour cream because the low fat stuff usually has additives. In addition, my store has two versions of their regular sour cream. One that says "All Natural" and one that doesn't. They cost the same but the ingredient list is "clean" on one and not so on the other. Read those labels. :) For the milk in this recipe I use 2% because you still get plenty of richness (especially using regular sour cream) but not so much fat. I have been known to make it with whole milk when taking a batch to friends (Shhh!! Don't tell them. ;) Salt the water you cook the potatoes in because it will season the potatoes well and you won't need as much at the end. I prefer to use sharp or even extra sharp cheddar because you get "more bang for the buck". Last I always check the natural/uncured bacon (no nitrates/nitrites) in my store. When it gets near the expiration date they put it on sale half price and I buy lots and keep it in the freezer.

Cost breakdown: $10.00 (nice when it works out so evenly!)

$ 1.00 - potatoes from a bulk bag purchased on sale
$ 1.00 - 16 oz. all natural sour cream purchased on sale
$ .95 - 5 cups of milk
$ 1.25 - 8 oz bag of fancy shredded sharp cheddar cheese - sale price
$ 2.50 - 1 lb thick sliced bacon
$ .50 - 1 stick butter
$ .10 - 2/3 cup flour
$ 2.00 bag of mixed greens (use 1/2 bag for first meal and the other half for the second time
around) I can often get this on sale cheaper but this particular day I had no such luck.
$ .50 roma tomatoes at $.99 a lb
$ .20 balsamic dressing from a bottle purchased for $1.00
$ .20 fresh chopped chives

P.S. ~K.N. this is for you! :)