12 May 2009

Make ahead and freeze for rainy days...

It was storming something crazy so I didn't get out to go shopping... so I got in the freezer and got out a meal. A whole meal.. not something I had to cook.. I try to have 1-2 in there at all times as well as 1-2 lunches he can take to work..

The original recipe I got from "50 Recipes For Marinara Sauce" out of a Food TV Magazine.
# 30. Country Captain: Brown chicken parts in olive oil with curry powder and chopped onions and bell peppers; add pasta sauce and simmer until the chicken is cooked through.
It's a little pamphlet so there isn't much info but enough to whip a meal out. And I did.. and came up with 100's of revisions on the first bite LOL!

First, I had never used curry powder at all. From the second I sprinkled it on my chicken I was in love. It smells soooooo good!! Best thing is I spent maybe $3 on a small jar and I have made this at least 3 times and it's barely showing a dent. So it is a one time investment that doesn't repeat often... which is a good rule of thumb for pantry spices!

Second, it makes LOT no matter how I seem to cook it.

Third, traditional recipes that I found look nothing like what I made :) I used pasta instead of rice. And we prefer it that way.

Fourth, After I picked chicken off the bone for my girls, and I finally got a bite.. I had to stop to pick the meat off of my chicken... so...
My Revised Country Captain

1 1/2 lbs Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast (IQF bulk@ $2/ lb = $3.00)
Curry powder (sm. jar $2.50 & you use 5¢ worth?)
1/4 bag of seasoning blend (at $2 lg. bag = 50¢)
1 lb Radiatore Pasta (Great Value Box $1.26)
1 jar favorite marinara/red pasta sauce (approx $1.50 jar)
2-3 TBSP light oil (pennies)
Total $6.31 but I freeze a WHOLE MEAL, including 2 lunches for hubby!
$3.15 per meal!

Cut the chicken (while still partially frozen.. it's easier) into bite size pieces. I like them about the size of the pasta. Sprinkle curry liberally and salt & pepper lightly.

Heat a light oil or olive oil in a dutch oven sized pot. add seasoning blend (or chopped onions) and saute till they are softened.

Start pasta water to boil.

Add chicken and cook just until no longer pink. Pour in jar of sauce and simmer. Cover pan but stir occasionally.

Add salt to your boiling pasta water. You won't have another chance to season it. The cooking process is the only chance you get to season your pasta itself. The best sauce can't mask bland noodles!

Cook pasta per box directions till "al dente" It varies brand to brand so ALWAYS READ THE BOX!

When pasta is done, drain thoroughly and pour into chicken and sauce. Toss well until it is all combined.

Try serving with a side salad, garlic bread, or just a dollop of sour cream!

Ladies and gentlemen, you won't be able to get enough, and you'll still have tons of leftovers! Every time I make this we feed us, pack a lunch for hubby.. and freeze a container that does the same.

I wish I had a picture of this for you, but I forgot to get one. I promise I will next time, but don't let that steer you away from trying. This stuff is GREAT!


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