I am quite addicted to Jamie Oliver's Jamie At Home program on Food Network. I was supremely inspired after watching him made the Proper Chicken Salad.
Essentially, he roasted chicken thighs in a pan on top of pieces of ciabatta bread which turned out to be some awesome croutons in the process. He also made his salad dressing from scratch.
By the time I got to the store, I was slightly distracted by a run-in with Brenda and what not. So I decided to buy a bottle of fresh dressing instead of making my own.
And along with that, instead of buying a head of romaine to chop up, I just bought a bag of pre-washed, pre-cut romaine.
Didn't I tell you guys I was lazy?
However, I did follow Jamie's recipe on the chicken and ciabatta almost to the tee, except that I substitute thyme for rosemary (Brandon doesn't like rosemary), added a few lightly smashed clovers of garlic in the mix, and used bacon instead of pancetta. Also, after laying on the bacon, I roasted it up to 30 minutes extra because the bacon refuses to crisp up.
The bacon layer:
The chicken layer:
The crouton layer:
I also served the meal differently. Instead of shredding the chicken for a salad, I featured the chicken thigh, bacon, and the croutons as a main course with salad on the side. It worked out very well that way as well.
Caesar dressing: $1.99
Ciabatta loaf: $2.89
Center-cut bacon: $3.69
Romaine lettuce: $1.98
Chicken leg quarters: $4.61
I already have thyme, garlic, salt, pepper and olive oil at home.
Total with tax: $16.31.
That's $4.08 a person. PLUS 2 extra chicken thigh (which I froze to use in making chicken soup from scratch later...freezer burn doesn't affect the stock that much, heh), 4 strips of bacon (perfect for breakfast for 2), and salad dressing for at least another meal for 4.
Oh, and I don't know how but we ended up with a handful of romaine, a few croutons and strips of bacon leftover to have for lunch the next day.
It's soooooo easy and so cheap!
ETA: When I made this again for the pictures, I also made pan sauce by adding flour to the grease, cooked that up, and deglazed with chicken stock. Yum!
P.S. Fresh Caesar Dressing - Nothing memorable, but definitely tasty. I'd give it an earthbound.