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Friday, September 12, 2008

choose the right [chicken broth]

so i used to be one of those people who anxiously awaited canned chicken broth to go on sale for $0.50/can and then buy tons of it. i use it for everything - in pasta sauce, sauces for meat and veggies, we cook rice and pasta in it, make soup with it, etc, etc, etc. and yet, despite the fact that i bought it at the "sale" price i felt guilty every time i used 4-5 cans to make homemade chicken noodle soup. buying canned chicken noodle soup would be cheaper than that, wouldn't it? (granted it wouldn't have been as good, so it was still worth it!)

luckily, i discovered i was doing it all wrong. chicken broth can be cheap. and here's how:

buying the chicken bullion cubes isn't very cheap, but buying a whole container of bullion sure is! i bought this beauty for $5 at wal-mart. just add 1 teaspoon of the bullion (i often like a little more) to 1 cup of water and you just made a cup of chicken broth for 2 1/2 cents!!! (the whole container holds 250 teaspoons, it cost $5 - you do the math.) another bonus - it hardly takes up any room in your cabinets, unlike buying a case of the canned stuff.

this is the kind of budgeting find that makes me oh so happy to be a poor student on a budget! take that canned chicken broth! ha! :)

in honor of this money saving moment, here's a recipe to use some of your new chicken broth bullion on. warning: this recipe is not my cheapest, healthiest or lowest fat, but it isn't that expensive or that unhealthy and it is soooo good! so go ahead, splurge! with your cheap chicken broth and red, orange and yellow bell peppers on sale at the sunflower farmers market (see sale alert!!! in side bar) this meal is affordable. make it for a date night with your sweetie this weekend instead of going out or cook it for sunday dinner. it will not fail to impress! (some of you may have seen this on my family blog a few months ago if it looks familiar.)

chicken pepper pasta
(this makes lots - 4-6 servings, depends on how much you can control your urge to eat more!!!)

1 1/2 tablespoon fat-free italian dressing
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 large cloves finely chopped garlic
3 peppers, chopped into bite-sized pieces (red, yellow and orange, no green - can use 2 peppers to make it cheaper and it will still be great!)
2 cups chicken broth
4 oz (1/2 block) 1/3 less fat cream cheese
1 cup parmesan cheese
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
garlic salt, pepper and cumin
16 oz penne pasta, cooked

1. combine italian dressing, olive oil, black pepper, onion and garlic in large saucepan. brown until onion is semi-soft.
2. add peppers and chicken broth to saucepan. simmer for about 10 minutes until peppers are semi-soft.
3. add cream cheese and stir until melted. add parmesan and stir until melted.
4. while your sauce is heating, pan-cook or grill chicken breasts coated in a little bit of italian dressing and olive oil and sprinkled with garlic salt, pepper and cumin. cut chicken into thin slices.
5. combine sauce, pasta and sliced chicken in large bowl. serves 4-6.
no need for recipe attribution. this one, like creamy herbed chicken, is mine!


Super Angie said...

Love it!!!! Chicken bouillon makes regular appearances in my kitchen too! :)

stacey said...

I buy chicken base at Sam's Club in a little $3 or $4 container. It goes in the fridge and is great. I can see the benefits of having granules or this base stuff on hand, though, and I've been meaning to get some of the loose boullion so I can use it in food storage a little bit more easily. Thanks for reminding me to pick it up next time I shop.

Francheska said...

I love the convenience of not buying broth too, but I am pretty sure this one has MSG...have you tried better than boullion? It is most excellent!

Rose said...

Have you tried making your own chicken broth? Just simmer leftover chicken carcass or bones with whatever aromatic veggies you have. So easy and you're making something out of practically nothing!

healthy cooking on a budget

disclaimer: i don't claim to be an expert on cooking, weight loss or even healthy eating, but i do love to cook, find healthy, taste bud-friendly tricks and most of all, i love to eat!

qualifications: what qualifies me to blog on cooking healthy on a small budget? well, as my husband is still a student, my budget is not what you'd call large. and as for the healthy part, when i was 10 i was diagnosed with pancreatitus - a disease that doesn't effect me much anymore unless i eat food that is too greasy or has too much fat (in which case, well, let's just say i get really sick). this had steered my experience and limited cooking expertise in a health-conscious direction.

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