Saturday, May 28, 2011

Most Expensive Meal Ever

I'm cheap. I'll admit it. I'm not ashamed of it. I try to find food to serve my family in the most economical way possible.

I also like to try new recipes. Lately our local paper has been running a feature with five recipes called "Five in a Fix." I'm pretty sure the idea is that these are all new ideas that can be made fairly quickly. I have amassed a stack of clipped recipes to try at some point.

Last night, I finally tackled a recipe I have been eager to make. It is called "Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken." Since I'm still on my spinach kick, it won't surprise you that it contained spinach. The spinach was the easy part of the recipe. I always have that on hand. Even the cheeses weren't too unusual. I guess what blew me away were the prices of the incidental ingredients (i.e. the pine nuts and the prosciutto).

It was great fun to make and not all that difficult to whip together. Here are the chicken breasts prior to baking:

And here is the final product on my plate:

It met with great approval. Even Trevor begged to try it and ate part of my husband's second piece.

I'm not sure I'll make it again, however, because of the exorbitant price. I paid $1 for the bag of frozen spinach, $5 for the packet of pine nuts, $1 for the ricotta cheese, 25 cents for the Parmigiana cheese, and $5 for the prosciutto. I purchased all these ingredients over four weeks ago, including a $5 package of 3 chicken breasts.

Sadly, when I thawed the chicken and told hubby I planned to make it for dinner, he declared that he didn't want it for dinner that night because he was going to exercise heavily. He suggested I make it on the weekend. I didn't think I should refreeze it, so I left it in the fridge.

You will be able to tell how seldom I prepare chicken when I say that I thought there would be no problem taking the chicken out four days later to prepare. Again, hubby intervened and said that the chicken would have to be thrown out. I was incensed, but after checking the Internet, believed him and chucked the first package of meat. Thus, I paid another $5 for 3 more chicken breasts.

Here is the recipe (I knew it called for six breasts, but didn't want to pay for more and didn't think we'd be able to consume all that. As it was, the three breasts had extra meat and I ended up scrapping together a fourth serving):

Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken

1 (10 oz. package of frozen spinach, defrosted)
2 Tbsp. pine nuts
1/2 C. ricotta cheese
1/4 C. grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
2 garlic cloves, grated and chopped (I never buy garlic - so I used garlic powder instead)
Salt and pepper
Fresh ground nutmeg (mine wasn't freshly ground ;)
6 chicken breasts
6 slices (1/3 pound) prosciutto de Parma
3 Tbsp olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Wring out defrosted spinach in a clean kitchen towel. Lightly toast pine nuts in a small dry skillet over medium heat. Combine nuts with spinach in a bowl. Mix in cheeses, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg. Cut into and across - but not all the way through - the chicken breasts, opening them like a book. Season with salt and pepper. Fill with small mound of spinach stuffing. Fold breasts over, wrap with prosciutto to seal, being careful to cover the whole breast. Brush chicken with olive oil (I forgot this step) and roast 18-20 minutes.

It was, indeed, good. But, if I'm going to spend $22.50 for four servings of a meat entree ... I'd rather purchase it in a restaurant where someone else is slaving to make it and clean everything up afterwards!

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