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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.

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