Have any of you guys ever come across a recipe on television, in a magazine or cookbook and been super excited to try it out, then looked at the ingredients list and did a little sigh inside. Not because you thought that the recipe looked too difficult, but because one (or maybe even more than one) of the ingredients was just a liiiittle bit more pricey than you were willing to pay? That happens to me quite a bit, especially in some of my more ‘swanky’ cookbooks, or also in recipes from the ‘swanky’ chefs.
I did a quick Google search of some of the more common ingredients that I see in recipes that I really want to try, but haven’t as of yet because my wallet is still giving me a resounding “No, Jess!”
- 1 Gram of Saffron: $8.95 , 2 Grams of Saffron: $13.00, 1 Ounce of Saffron: $58.00 (I get it: a little of this stuff goes a long way, but come ON!)
- 2 Vanilla Bean Pods: $9.95 (I know that the comparison of vanilla beans to vanilla extract is like comparing cubic zirconia to diamonds. I also know that $9.95 is enough for me to buy two jars of vanilla extract that will last me more than just two uses.)
- 8 oz. Pine Nuts: $12.63 (No. Just…just no.)
While for the most part, I’m willing to remain frugal on certain ingredients, there are others that I’m willing to be more flexible about- it all depends on the day and what kind of mood I’m in, honestly. If I’m caught on a good day, I’ll probably be more willing to splurge. If I’m having a bad day, then Scrooge is my middle name.
Confession alert: I’m one of those idiots that usually buys and settles for the cheap ‘syrup’ from Hungry Jack, Aunt Jemima or Log Cabin when eating her pancakes and waffles. I know, I know. Feel free to pelt me with tomatoes for that one. I deserve it. But here’s the thing: maple syrup- the REAL Grade A and B maple syrup, isn’t cheap where I come from. I’m talking a bare minimum of $10.00 dollars for a 12 oz bottle. And if you want to buy it Organic? An automatic average of $10-$15, and that’s only at the general grocery store. The Better Health store thinks they have the right to charge $20.00. It’s rough out here in these Lansing streets, you guys just don’t know.
Maybe some of you are thinking: “Well , gosh Jess, isn’t 12 oz enough to eat with waffles/pancakes?” My answer would be, maybe if I lived by myself. But I don’t. I live with a whole house full of other people who happen to share my habit of dousing her pancakes or waffles in puddles of syrup. When there are three other people that are doing this at the table, that 12 oz bottle of maple syrup doesn’t last very long. So typically, I just don’t buy it.
However, I recently had a very good day where I was smiling and feel like a Super Foodie and I happened to come across this recipe when brainstorming what I was going to cook for dinner. Long story short, I suckered myself into buying a $12.00 bottle of maple syrup. On the way home, I consoled myself with the thought that so long as I reserve it for very important recipes (and not just for my pancake/waffle baths), it was a worthwhile investment.
After eating this dish, I strongly second that consolation. And third it. And fourth it.
Real maple syrup is worth the money, if only to make Maple Chicken. I’m Jess(ica) and I approve this message.
Recipe Courtesy of Great American Recipes
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 6 oz each)
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- 1 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp ground cumin
- 1/2 tsp. dried tarragon
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- 2 tbsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp. butter, melted
1. Preheat oven to 400°. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet and brush with the vegetable oil.
2. Combine the paprika, salt, cinnamon, cumin, tarragon and pepper in a medium bowl; mix well. Coat the chicken evenly with the paprika mixture and bake for 15 minutes.
3. Combine the maple syrup and butter in a small bowl. Brush half of the mixture evenly over the chicken, return to oven and bake for 5 minutes.
4. Turn the chicken over and brush with the remaining maple syrup mixture. Bake until juices run clear when the chicken is pierced with a knife, about 5 minutes longer. Serve hot.