Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Been A Little Busy Lately...

Well, the last couple of weeks have been super busy for us, so I have been a little absent lately. My sister got married 2 weekends ago, we moved a week ago, and last weekend we were in Dallas. So, needless to say, life has been a little crazy! We are finally settling into our new apartment a little better, and I am getting back to cooking!

When we got back in from my sister's wedding, we were low on money, so we did not want to go out to eat, but we had very little food in the fridge. We did have some chicken, so I pulled that out and made a delicious (although not super healthy) meal, homemade chicken strips. I cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips. Next I made a battering assembly line. You need 3 shallow bowls, one with flour, one with a beaten egg (season the egg with salt and pepper, and garlic powder), and the last one with whole wheat seasoned bread crumbs. Keep them in that order, with the bread crumbs closest to your frying pan. Fill your frying pan with oil (canola or olive), about 1/2 inch deep. Heat oil over medium-high heat, and wait for it to get hot. Dredge chicken through flour, then egg, then breadcrumbs. Drop battered strips into the oil and cook until golden brown, turning to cook all sides evenly (cut into thickest pieces to make sure they are cooked all the way through). Place on wire rack with paper towel lined plate underneath to drain remaining oil.

I made a little honey mustard dipping sauce to go with the chicken fingers. I don't have exact measurements, so I will do my best. Stir together 2 parts mayonnaise, 1 part dijon mustard (I use Annie's Naturals Dijon), 1 part honey, and salt and pepper to taste.

This chicken with the sauce was really good (especially for being a meal born out of improvisation). Josh loved it too. He told me it was like homemade Chick-fil-A, which is a huge compliment coming from him, since he loves their chicken strips and Chick-fil-A sauce!

The past couple of mornings I had Kashi Honey Sunshine cereal for breakfast. It is one of my favorites! Give it a try sometime. It is sweet and has 6g of fiber per serving.

So, as I mentioned before, we have been pretty poor since we got back from my sister's wedding, so I have been trying to think of inexpensive meals using ingredients we already have along with cheap extra ingredients. On Monday night we had this pasta. I cooked whole wheat spaghetti and topped it with tomato sauce and sauteed carrots and zucchini. Often I think I can't buy fresh ingredients when we are low on cash, but that is not true. If you are on a tight budget, you can still find some really great deals on fresh produce. The zucchini was only $.55, and I bought a one pound bag of carrots for $.69, which will last me through the week! I also bought broccoli for another meal, and it was only $.41! You just have to be a little more flexible. Some produce is expensive, such as avocados, baby spinach, and almost anything organic. But if you just take the time to look around at prices, you can find some great deals on vegetables you can buy with your spare change!

To make the sauce for this pasta, I used 1 can of tomato sauce, which I already had in my pantry, and poured it into a pan on medium heat. I then added a generous dash of oregano, 2 cloves of minced garlic, a dash of crushed red pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. After the sauce was bubbly, I reduced the heat to low, and let it simmer while I cooked the pasta and veggies. I saved the leftover sauce to make pizza the next day.

This meal was simple, healthy, and cheap!

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