I seriously made this meal almost a month ago, but we’ve been run-run-running so much that I hadn’t gotten a chance to post it. However, I know you guys are going to like it, so I decided to post it, even though it’s been several weeks.
The other day, I was in my local Price Chopper. They’ve just introduced a new in-store area called “Meal Central.” The idea is that you get 4-5 items you can use for a reasonably healthy meal at a pretty good price. Some weeks you’ll get spaghetti, pasta sauce, ground beef, and garlic bread. Other weeks, you’ll get salad, chicken, dressing, and a coating for the chicken. Sometimes you have to pay close attention- they put other great items that go with the meal near Meal Central (even though not all of those items are at the discounted rate… for example, if angel food cake is part of the meal deal, they may place strawberries nearby as something you could purchase separately that would enhance the meal). We frequently stop by the Meal Central area in our Price Chopper. It’s been a great source for meal ideas, and it’s been nice for those days where we’re at the grocery store and still saying “Umm… we planned a week of meals, but forgot to include tonight’s dinner!”
This was one day like that… I had made it all the way to the grocery store, list in hand, ready to grab the groceries for the week. But, when I got there, I remembered I had no dinner planned for that specific evening. And sure, I could have just shifted meals over a bit, but it is just easier sometimes to pick something out at the store. The meal deal that week included Smart Chicken chicken breasts (YUM!), some itty bitty yellow potatoes, rolls, and an angel food cake. I thought it would make for a good meal, so I loaded the items into my cart, clocking in at around $9. That’s not bad, I thought, but how on earth will I make 2 chicken breasts feed four and a half (baby!) people? Since we had the Angel Food cake included in the deal, and I knew I had picked up some Cool Whip on sale during a 10 for $10 the week before (only $1 for Cool Whip? YES, please!), I thought that I could grab some fresh strawberries (which just happened to be on sale, 1 pound for $1.99) to add to our cake. In the produce section, I passed bell peppers, and since red and green were both on sale, I decided to add them, and some mushrooms, to our cart. I decided then that if I chopped up the peppers (60 cents each), then I could make the chicken stretch farther, without adding more chicken to our budget. I knew we had pasta at home to serve it with, so that was perfect. I was still walking through the produce section, near the salad, and stumbled upon something amazing, though.
See, I’m a Kraft junkie. Anyone who knows me knows that I am absolutely stuck on Kraft. I would buy almost anything they’d make, because they make high-quality products with good flavor, at reasonable prices. I swear I’m not advertising for them (even though I totally would! Please, Kraft! Hire me! Haha). I just really like their products. So, when I saw a Kraft item I’d never heard of before, I was excited. When I realized it would fit perfectly into that meal plan, I knew I had to have it right away.
It’s called Kraft Sizzling Salads, and you get a salad dressing and coordinating sauce for your meats (the sauce I chose was aimed towards chicken, though I bet it would taste awesome mixed with ground beef for burgers, or on fish). I opted for the Tuscan Chicken variety, which included the Pesto cooking sauce for chicken and a Sweet Roasted Garlic Balsamic sauce for salad. Knowing we had some bagged salad at home (also purchased previously on a 10 for $10), I ended up grabbing the sauce combo for $1.99 (after sale and coupon).
For under $20 (including the items I had at home), I was ready to go. I checked out, headed home, and set to work.
The first thing I did was slice up the little yellow potatoes that they gave us, added a few tablespoons of butter on top, and covered them in foil, sticking them in the oven and setting the timer for 45 minutes. Then, I cut the chicken breasts into small chunks, and I cooked them over medium heat until they were fully cooked. I set those aside.
Following that, I put about 1 tablespoon of oil in my pan, and tossed in my peppers and mushrooms. I also began boiling my water for my pasta.
When my peppers were just barely tender, I added my chicken back in, and tossed my chicken and veggie mixture with 4 tablespoons of the pesto cooking sauce from the Kraft Sizzling Salads kit. I let that cook for about 5 minutes while my pasta finally started to reach an al dente state. While they were cooking, I removed the foil from my potatoes that were in the oven, and continued to allow those to cook for another 10 minutes.
I went ahead and put my pesto chicken and peppers into a bowl so they’d be out of the way. At this time, I also drained my pasta and removed my potatoes from the oven now that they were tender.
Finally (well, not really… finally… I mean, the dinner was a pretty easy meal to prepare) we sat down to eat.
The salad was topped with the sweet roasted garlic balsamic that also came in our Sizzling Salads kit, and I topped the potatoes with a touch of sour cream. The meal was full of color, and full of flavor. It was a hit with our entire family, from the little dude all the way up to my dad.
Our meals often consist of eating and then sitting around the table and chatting or playing cards or board games for awhile. Our table is kind of our family center… we do school work there, we enjoy meals together there, we play games there… we just are together the most when it’s time to be at the table. So it was no surprise that, an hour later, when we were ready to bring out dessert, we were still spending time together at the table, even though dinner had long passed.
Each of us enjoyed our angel food cake in different ways… mom is a pure strawberries kind of girl. She liked to enjoy her cake just topped with the bright red fruit and nothing else. Dad passed up the strawberries in favor of the Cool Whip and Chocolate Syrup. I decided to meet them both in the middle and put all three toppings on my cake.
And Jeffrey started with Cool Whip, but then decided that the perfect addition to angel food cake and Cool Whip was a little (or a lot!) of Jet-Puffed’s Mallow Bits, and of course, a drizzling of sweet chocolate. I thought he had the right idea, so I added a handful of them to mine, as well.
I love Price Chopper’s new Meal Central. It truly is the best place in the store for getting great meal ideas, especially ones you can make right away. But truly, this meal would have never been possible without the great Kraft products that dot the various sections of our store… after all, this meal wouldn’t’ve been quite the same without Sizzling Salads, Cool Whip, or Jet-Puffed, now would it?
Okay, I promise, I’ll stop with the Kraft promos in this post now… but only because the post is basically over. But I will tell you a cool story about Kraft that I bet none of you know.
My great uncle Freeman actually used to work for Kraft. He worked on Macaroni and Cheese. The funny thing? He actually isn’t a huge fan of cheese at all! You know what else my uncle Freeman used to do? He and his twin brother Leeman (no, I’m not kidding) worked on Air Force One. Freeman even got to roll out the red carpet for the Queen! Yes, THAT Queen! So, Kraft has a pretty long history in our family, and holds a special place in my heart. I even have a really cool Kraft truck bank that Freeman gave me! So, see, I’m not just a blind Kraft devotee… their foods and their company hold a pretty big place in my heart.
What’s for dinner around your place tonight?