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Mother’s Day Idea: Make Dinner for Around $20

Mother’s Day is right around the corner and if you haven’t had time to go shopping (or just forgot), then why not give her a day off from cooking and make dinner yourself? Not only will you save yourself the hassle of making reservations (that may already be booked up) and give your mother a break, you will also save money by spending about $20 on dinner for the whole family. That’s probably less expensive than most gifts. Below is a dinner idea and cooking instructions. Keep in mind that the directions are for 4 servings, but you can multiply or divide the amount for more or less people.

Parmesan and Ranch Breaded Chicken with Alfredo Pasta, Pear (or Apple) Crisp Dessert:


For Chicken:

  • 2 eight ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half
  • 1 cup of flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons of ranch
  • 1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 slices of bread
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • Non-stick spray or 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil

For Alfredo Pasta:

  • Box of Pasta (Preferably Bowtie or Penne)
  • Packet of Alfredo Sauce Mix
  • Milk (however much the packet calls for)
  • Water

For Pear (or Apple Crisp):

  • 1/4 cup & 1 tablespoon of all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup of quick-cooking or old-fashioned (not instant) oats
  • 1/4 sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ginger (optional)
  • 1 dash of salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter, diced (preferably unsalted)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of water
  • 1 1/2 pounds of pears, peeled and thinly sliced (or equivalent in cans, drained and sliced) OR
  • 1 1/2 pounds of Golden Delicious apples, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Non-stick spray



  1. Grab 3 deep dishes (or plastic food storage containers). Put flour in the first one, egg white and ranch (mixed together with a fork) in the second, and the Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, salt, and pepper in the third.

  2. Toast the bread, then either use a blender or your hands to turn it into fine crumbs. Add the crumbs to the third container. Mix all the ingredients together.

  3. Prepare your skillet by adding non-stick spray or extra virgin olive oil and putting the burner on medium-low to medium heat.

  4. Using one piece of chicken at a time, cover the piece of chicken in flour, egg white mixture, then bread crumbs and cheese. Make sure to cover the entire piece of chicken in every step.

  5. Place the breaded chicken into the skillet and cook (turning it over every few minutes) until the middle of the chicken reaches a temperature of 165 degrees.

Alfredo Pasta:

This part of the recipe is quite simple. Read the directions of the sauce packet and pasta. Use the amounts of water, milk, and pasta as listed. I will run through the basic steps without mentioning how much of each ingredient to use.

  1. Add water to pot and bring to boil. Add pasta and let cook as long as the directions on the box indicate, stirring occasionally.

  2. When pasta is cooked, strain the water out and set the pasta aside. You can use the same pot to prepare the Alfredo sauce.

  3. Follow directions on sauce packet, then after the directions are complete, add the pasta and mix it together with the sauce.

Pear (or Apple) Crisp (Recipe from WeightWatchers: My TurnAround Program Cookbook):

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a baking dish with nonstick spray.

  2. To make the topping, combine 1/4 cup flour, oats, 1/8 cup of the sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of the cinnamon, 1/8 teaspoon of the sugar, 1/8 teaspoon of the ginger (optional), and the salt in a medium bowl. Add the butter (in pieces) and pinch with your fingers to form coarse crumbs. Add the water and firmly press the mixture to form clumps.

  3. To make the filling, combine the pears (or apples), the remaining sugar, 2 tablespoons flour, the remaining cinnamon and ginger (if using), and the vanilla in a large bowl; mix well. Transfer to the baking dish. Sprinkle the topping over the filling. Bake until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden, 55-60 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Hopefully, this recipe is something you will use to surprise your mother with on her special day. Even if you have already gotten her a gift, this would be an excellent bonus! I’m sure she would appreciate it. Happy Mother’s Day to all the moms out there, and good luck to everyone trying this recipe!

About Nicole Kramer

Nicole Kramer is a student at WVU, majoring in English and planning to continue her education to receive her master's in Public Administration. Her hometown is in Webster County, West Virginia, where she grew up in poverty, as many from the county do. She is concerned with issues in the state such as poverty, welfare, and assistance awareness and money-saving information for the public.

Category: Monongalia County  Tags: , ,  Comments off

Hunger is a Crime. STOP Throwing Away Food!

foodtrashHunger is a crime in a country that throws away $165 billion worth of food each year.  That is equivalent to 20 pounds of food per month per person in the US.  How can our government let people go hungry when this much food is going to waste?  The answer is MONEY.  By manufacturing the myth of scarcity, prices can be driven up and more profits made.  We are sold on the idea that resources are limited and there is not enough for everyone.  This is a lie.  There is enough it is just controlled by corporations.

  • 7% of fields in the US are not harvested each year. The produce is left to rot in the filed or be plowed under because market prices as too low and farmers can’t afford to take a loss. “If market prices are too low at the time of harvest, growers may leave some crops in the field because they will not cover their costs after accounting for the costs of labor and transport.”
  • Food is thrown away based on looks not whether it is edible. “Culling is the removal of products based on quality or appearance criteria, including specifications for size, color, weight, blemish level, and Brix (a measure of sugar content).”

A large tomato-packing house reported that in mid-season it can fill a dump truck with 22,000 pounds of discarded tomatoes every 40 minutes.30 And a packer of citrus, stone fruit, and grapes estimated that 20 to 50 percent of the produce he handles is unmarketable but perfectly edible.

  • Supermarkets throw away 1 in seven truckloads of perishable foods delivered “supermarkets on average discard $2,300 per store worth of out-of-date food every day. Almost all of this food is still consumable but may have a limited shelf life left.”
  • As much as 10% of food purchased by restaurants becomes kitchen loss, both edible and inedible, before reaching the consumer.
  • Restaurant diners leave 17 % of meals uneaten and 55 % of these potential leftovers are not taken home.
  • American families throw out approximately 25% of the food and beverages they buy. The cost estimate for the average family of four is $1,365 to $2,275 a year.

Source http://www.nrdc.org/food/files/wasted-food-IP.pdf


What YOU Can Do!

  • Stop throwing away food!!  If you have something you don’t want or its going to go bad before you will eat it give it to a friend or neighbor.
  • If you don’t like to eat leftovers make a plate and take it to an elderly neighbor or invite some friends over for dinner.
  • Talk to your local grocery store about donating to a food bank or soup kitchen
  • Hit the dumpsters.  Store dumpsters are full of perfectly good food that is thrown away every day.
  • Talk to a local farmer about opening the fields not being harvested to a gleaning project or to local residents to come and pick their own.
  • Talk to your restaurants and caterers about donating unused food to a homeless shelter.
  • Start a weekly food swap.

Please leave a comment below and let me know what ideas you have for saving food from the trash bin and feeding the hungry.


About Vizi

"The mother of revolution and crime is poverty” ~Aristotle

Category: Appalachia  Tags: , ,  Comments off