Sunday, October 12, 2008

Macaroni Grill Dinner in a Box

Because I work full time and have an hour commute one way on a good day, I’m always looking for good food I can throw together quickly. As it is now, I get home between 6:15 and 6:30 p.m. and by the time I cook dinner, it’s usually around 8:00 p.m. before we’re done eating and we can start homework or relax for a minute.

About a month ago, I was shopping and came across this:

Romano’s Macaroni Grill Creamy Basil Parmesan Chicken & Pasta. I thought what the heck, I’ll try it out. I usually shy away from meals in a box because years ago, we ate a lot of a certain beef helper in a box. A Whole Lot of it. So much so that the thought of it now makes me gag just a little.

Anyway, one day I was running late and when I got home, my youngest daughter wanted chicken alfredo for dinner. I had chicken, just no alfredo. As I was searching the pantry for something I could throw together quickly, I remembered the Macaroni Grill stuff. I pulled it out and read the box. 1 pound raw chicken. Check. 2 tablespoons butter. Check. ¾ cup milk. Check.

I didn’t add any extra spices like I normally would (except I did spice up my chicken as I cooked it because there is something so wrong to me when I see raw, naked meat in a pan without anything good sticking to it like garlic or pepper or Italian seasoning). Once the chicken was done, I added the milk and seasonings and simmered away:

While the noodles were boiling I threw together a quick salad and tossed some frozen garlic bread in the oven. Dinner was done in under 30 minutes and OMG was it good.

Romano’s Macaroni Grill is my second favorite restaurant (and they would be my first if they offered salad WITH the meal instead of for an extra five bucks) and this food was damn near restaurant quality. I usually find home box meals to be bland and if I cook them again, I add seasonings and whatnot. However, the only thing I’d change with this particular meal would be to add a little more garlic and let it simmer a bit longer to get the seasonings really meshing. Otherwise, I have no complaints and I would recommend this meal if you’re looking for something under 30 minutes that is NOT hot dogs and macaroni & cheese.

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