Monday, October 10, 2011

Cheap comes in unusual forms...


I missed Yummy Monday last week, I admit it.  This post was worth the wait, though.  Delicious, easy and best of all CHEAP.


Do you remember when I confessed to you that from now on our dinner recipes needed to be more budget and waistline friendly?  Well, one of these recipes is BOTH!  (And the other recipe it one... so that counts, too.)  This meal was the result of turning to google for help.  Just type in "cheap chicken recipes" and you'll be referred to cheapcooking.com.  At which time, you'll realize that google really does have all the answers.


Ok, without more blabbering, I give you Baked Chicken and Artichokes.



Baked Chicken and Artichokes
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup mayonnaise
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
14-oz can water-packed artichoke hearts

Preheat the oven to 425.
Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
Pound the chicken breasts with a mallet for a bit until they're thinned out. Place them in the pan.
Mix together the mayonnaise, artichoke hearts, Parmesan, and garlic. Spread on top of the chicken. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes or so, until cooked through.
Really great served over angel hair pasta - cooked al dente.


Delicious.  Seriously.  Even mr said delicious.  Really.  And you know how hard he is to please. No, I say that in jest.  Well, not really.  Kind of.  See, it's not that he's picky or anything, he's just very honest in his reviews.  Which is good.  Because my parents are very generous in their praise.  So you know if it has the "mr stamp of approval" that you should try it.  I do have to let you know that this definitely has a rather strong artichoke flavor - as if you couldn't guess it from the name... The first bite is a little "whoa.  That's strong." But then you realize that "huh.  Artichokes are good."  Fancy that.  PLUS, easiest meal I've made in a long time.


The salad in the picture there?  Just a normal salad.  I made our favorite dressing to go with it and it was awful.  First of all, I couldn't find the recipe, and then it just didn't taste right with the contents of the salad... it was very strange.  I don't think I'll use that dressing for normal, average, run of the mill salad again.


The bread?  That's just store bought french bread.  I DID turn it into garlic bread - want to know what I think is the best method?  First, you have to soften your butter.  Then you slice your bread - but don't cut the slices all the way through, leave them connected on the bottom.  So now you've got a bunch of slices most of the way through your loaf the entire length.  Then, you butter both sides of each slice.  Stick it in the oven at 350 for a few minutes - maybe 5 ish.  Then bring it out and rub a clove of garlic all over one side of each slice.  You could do both sides, but that's super garlic-y.  Then put it under the broiler for about 3 minutes ish.  Bring it out and voila!  Perfect.  Did you know that garlic MELTS on warm bread???  At least that's what it seems to be doing.  Blew my mind when I first found that out...


Now, on to the real star of the show.  I tried to come up with a name of my own for this pie so as not to give away the contents before people tried it.  I decided on "Surprise Pie" - not only because you don't really know what it's made of right away, but also because when you DO find out you are SUPER SURPRISED.  So, what's in the surprise pie?


Cottage cheese!  Yes, this is actually called Cottage Cheese Pie.  For you southerners, you probably aren't surprised by this at all.  Apparently it's like a southern comfort food or something.  (Ok, that's what google told me.  Blame him if I'm wrong.)  But I'd never heard of it before.  


Cottage Cheese Pie (AKA Surprise Pie)
unbaked pie crust for a 9" pie
1 cup cottage cheese
2 rounded Tbs of flour
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs, beaten
2 cups milk
cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 450. Roll the pie crust out for a 9" pie pan and put it in the pan.
In a blender or food processor or mixer, blend the cottage cheese until creamy and smooth. Put it in a mixing bowl, if it's not already there, and add the flour, sugar, salt, and eggs. Mix until smooth. Add the milk and stir it in slowly.
Pour the custard into the pie shell and sprinkle with cinnamon. It has a good chance of boiling over so if you have one of those 
pie drip pans this is the time to use it! I like to pull the oven rack partially out, put the unfilled pie down on top of the drip pan, then pour in the custard.
Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300 and bake at least another hour.  It will by jiggly in the middle, but will firm up as it cools.


I have to say, I love this pie.  Really.  It is right up there with Buttermilk Pie (which is my favorite) and even the Lemon Cake Pie (different idea, but it is comparable as far as yumminess).  mr has a dessert crush on this pie (unrelated, but also true - he has a celebrity crush on ADELE.  I think I'm ok with that because I kind of do too.  In a platonic way.)  He likes it better than cheesecake.  (The Cottage Cheese Pie, not ADELE).  (Although, maybe ADELE.)  Now, I don't think I would take it that far, but he doesn't like his desserts as rich as we Wisconsonites like to make them, so I can understand.  For the record, mr wants to call it "Cottage Pie" because he thinks it sounds more quaint, charming and "comfort food-y," but I think that's too close to what it really is - so wouldn't that give it away?  Also, who doesn't love that near-rhyme - Surprise Pie... surprise pie... plus you think you're getting something REALLY special then.


Why is this pie awesome?
1.  You totally can not tell it's made from cottage cheese.  I stumped everyone, and only my dad guessed it after one hint.
2.  It's delicious.
3.  It's smooth, not clumpy.  If you could feel the little cottage cheese lumps it wouldn't be nearly as yummy.  
4.  It's cheap!  Cottage cheese is fairly inexpensive in its own right, but when it's something you usually buy anyway, that makes it even better.  We generally have cottage cheese on hand for our kids, so that means I don't have to buy something special in order to make dessert - like buttermilk or cream cheese.
5.  It's fairly low cal!  I mean, you make a cheesecake and you use like 24 oz of cream cheese or something disgusting but delicious like that.  And I'm sorry, but the fat free cream cheese is gross.  For this pie you could use light or fat free cottage cheese and not even taste a difference!




And that's what I think of that.  Now you know.  In case you were wondering.




*Be sure to check just below for all the fun parties I link to!

5 comments:

Amie {Kitty Cats and Airplanes} said...

OMG I must try cottage cheese pie. I love cottage cheese!! And I love pie. So I must love this.

Ashley said...

hmmm sounds interesting! I must try! thanks girl:)

the momma (aka Shannon) said...

alright, ya got me. must try "surprise pie" now.
the small number of ingredients is impressive...

Meaghan Luby said...

i don't know which one is MORE impressive to me! i want to have both. that's really all i know. that chicken bake looks fantastic and, holy cow! not being from the south, i didn't know cottage cheese and pie were friends!

so many awesome possibilities have emerged in my mind...

thanks for sharing! love you/love your blog ;)
-meg
@ http://clutzycooking.blogpsot.com

Traci said...

I have never tried this kind of pie but I have heard of "Cottage Pie"... I'm anxious since I do love Cheese cake but not all the fat.. :)

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