Fresh, fast and frugal!

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chicken Cacciatore in a Dried Plum and Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce with Risotto

Price per serving for two: $3.38

You will need to buy chicken thighs. I happened to hit a good sale and paid $3.77 for a package of 4.  If you don't have in the pantry dried plums or tomato sauce of rice... then pick some up. Keeping a stocked pantry is wise and frugal. I am able to get a number of meals from food items (ones that keep well in dry storage) that I bought either last week or month or even from six months to one year - canned tomatoes will keep that long or longer.  Today, I am using up the last of my harvested fresh from the garden 'frozen' tomatoes. Factoring in other costs from what I have in the pantry, I figure about 3 dollars, making this meal frugal and full of flavor.

Take from your pantry:
Olive Oil
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
Garlic Cloves
Garlic Powder
Red Pepper Flakes
*Dried herb seasoning
  rosemary, mint and oregano

Turn on your oven to F400. Drizzle olive oil into a glass baking dish. Dice a clove or two of garlic into the dish and then take your chicken thighs and lay them in skin side up. Generously sprinkle all seasonings listed above, including salt following your taste preference and any diet restriction. Once you have your temperature, slide them in the oven. After ten minutes turn them over. You can now start your risotto. Since I have stock, I will use some to boil the rice in. I also had made a simple tomato soup with rice for lunch yesterday using some stock and thus I will use that also. Firstly, I want to saute a bit of fresh garlic. I the stock pot that I will make the risotto, I will drizzle in some olive oil and diced garlic. On low flame, allow that to brown on the edges only. Add a pinch of dried herb seasoning and then pour in your stock (2 cups) turning the flame to high.  Once that begins to roll, add your rice, 1 generous cup, keeping in mind that I will be adding in the tomato soup I have from yesterday which also contains some rice. In case you don't have left over tomato rice soup. Don't worry, just make a risotto in the way I described. You will be adding a small can of tomato sauce on the end while I add my soup with rice. Which is quite thick now that it sat in the fridge. Hence, time for it to morph into risotto. Return to the chicken, by now both sides should be nicely browned. Add to the chicken a package of fresh thawed tomatoes or canned if you don't have. Use one can of whole canned tomatoes 28oz. Return to the oven for 30 min. uncovered. I also sprinkled additional dried herb seasoning on top of the tomatoes now covering the chicken thighs.
Check your rice, it should be nearly cooked. Once it is fully cooked, and I mean it has totally absorbed the stock, you can add your tomato sauce or as I will the tomato rice soup. This rice has great flavor with the garlic cloves and seasonings cooked right in.  You can add a pinch of salt but taste first. While stirring on a med. flame,add fresh grated parmesan. Then turn off the heat and cover. Take a look in on the chicken cacciatore, it should be bubbling. Now is the time to add as many dried plums as you like and I love em. Turn off the oven, cover the cacciatore with foil and close the door. Prepare to set the table. Once you have done that, dish out your risotto and grate some parmesan on top and a dash of dried parsley. Take the cacciatore from the oven and ladle it onto a serving platter. Gather round the table for a blessing and to give thanks, then indulge. The taste is incredible! My Sweetie loves this dish.

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