Friday, June 3, 2016

A to Z Food Challenge: F

Ah Friday. The day that brings joy to many as the weekend nears. A night of relaxation and conversation. Unless of course you work on the weekends and/or prefer the only conversation you have to be with your child only.  Regardless Friday means food. Specifically my A to Z food challenge. I have to say, I thoroughly enjoy this challenge and am actually thinking about keeping every Friday reserved for all posts pertaining to food, after this challenge has been completed. Who knows, but until then let's get into this weeks decadent dish! 

Today's letter was 'F' and while I almost went with fish, I found it to be too.....bleh. Granted my dish isn't absolutely amazing by any means, but it is cheaper compared to salmon and tastier than simple fish-sticks. So it's still a win-win in my book!

After browsing my well-known, favorite grocery store - Trader Joe's - and ever so wishing it was the week of 'M' (they had SO many new mango products out! I may still do a review, because why not?) I decided to create a Fettuccine Alfredo with Chicken and French Bread. The outcome? Delicious but only when mixed. I'll explain.

I found two different frozen fettuccine Alfredo bags. One with chicken ($5.99) and the one I ultimately chose, one without ($3.99). I - nor my son for that matter - am a fan of frozen chicken. I'd prefer to simply bake, grill, or boil my own, so I bought a pack of chicken tenders for $5.93. Yes it would've been cheaper to just buy the frozen pack, but I choose health of price if possible. Once I got the chicken and the frozen Alfredo, I knew I wanted some sort of Sourdough bread included. That's when I came across the French loaf ($2.49) and knew I just had to include it. 

Total Ingredients:
1 pack of chicken tenders
21 Seasoning Salute from Trader Joe's
French loaf
1 frozen bag of fettuccine Alfredo

This meal took my a total of 20 minutes to prepare, feeds about 4 people (3 really hungry people), and costs under $14. That's less than $4 a plate!!! Gosh I love a good deal. 

To start off, I simply pre-heated the oven to 400 degrees (for the chicken) and got the Fettuccine started. This was incredibly simple, I almost couldn't believe it. In fact, even my son commented on just how incredibly fast dinner was prepared. 

Following the directions on the back of the fettuccine bag, I added 2 Tbsp of water to a skillet and emptied the contents, allowing everything to cook on medium heat. While that started to warm up/defrost, I prepared the chicken by simply melting a little butter into a dish, covering the chicken with butter, and generously sprinkling my favorite Trader Joe's seasoning on top - and ONLY on top. Sprinkling the bottom will make it seem burnt. 

Once I was finished with getting the chicken all fancy for it's big date with my stomach, I plopped it in the oven to be cooked for 20 minutes. Immediately after the chicken was put in, I grabbed a few slices of bread, put a small ball of butter on top, and slid the french loaf to the side to be toasted towards the end. You don't want brick bread. 

Shortly after the chicken and bread were set, the fettuccine began to bubble slightly, warranting a nice stir. I have to admit, the fact the the pasta was wound up into tiny little donut-like shapes, was a little ironic seeing as how today is "National Donut Day". Once it was mixed up nicely and the donuts of pasta were turned so they would cook evenly, I threw - not literally - the bread slices into the oven to be cooked for about 5 minutes. 

By the way, you're SUPPOSED to cover the pasta for the first 5 minutes when it's cooking. I did not. I do not regret it either. I like being able to see how my food is doing, without being greeted with a big heap of steam in my face every time I lift up the lid. It's my preference, cook as you wish.

After about 5 more minutes, the pasta, bread, and and chicken were ready to be devoured and devoured they were! 

Just to re-cap, the chicken took 20 minutes in total to cook, pasta 5-7 minutes, bread 5 minutes. That's it. 

Now for the review part. The Fettuccine Alfredo was nice and creamy, but I am the type of person who loves a good heap of sauce all over my pasta. This didn't quite have as much as I would've necessarily liked, but seeing as how I was adding the chicken in for flavor, it worked out nicely. The chicken by itself tasted just like plain chicken and seasoning. Nothing fancy, but when you cut up the chicken tenders and mix it with the Fettuccine Alfredo, you'll have an awesome mashup of flavors that I personally loved. My son ended up eating his entire plate, which means this momma scoured big time! The French loaf is exactly like sourdough, which was the perfect add-on to our plate of pasta and meat. 

While ours was absolutely scrumptious - I can't wait for leftovers tomorrow - another awesome thing about this extremely simple dish, is that you can easily alter it in almost any way. Perhaps you could add some fresh ground garlic onto the french bread before toasting, revamp the pasta with the veggies like mushrooms and bell peppers, grill a gorgeous steak, and whip up a tomato/cucumber salad for the side. Ugh, what an amazing idea. Maybe that's what I'll do for tomorrow. 

Regardless what or how you choose to create this dish, if you decide to try it at all, it's so cheap and so worth it. Another win for the Friday Food Challenge! 

Have a rockin' weekend everyone! Stay safe and eat great! "See" you guys Monday!

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