Brian’s Quick Chick

Budget Recipe Under 20/20

Whether you’re on a budget for time or cash, we’ve got you covered! A whole meal in under 20 minutes and under $20! This meal is plenty for my family of two adults and three kids but can be adjusted of course.

Breakdown of times and costs below, along with a quick story of how I stumbled upon this recipe. But let’s cut to the cooking!


  • 2 lbs of chicken (two pretty meaty chicken breasts)
  • 4 tb spoons for all-purpose flour
  • 1 pat of unsalted butter (or get the salted kind. I’m not the boss of you!)
  • Couple pinches of salt
  • Couple pinches of ground black pepper
  • Good amount of paprika
  • 1 tb spoon of olive oil


  1. Cut breasts in half length-wise so you now have four chicken cutlets (see photo below, but go ahead and cut all the way through, I kept them together to show you how I was cutting)
  2. Season both sides of breasts with salt, pepper, and paprika. Exact amount depends on your tastes. I use a generous pinch or two of salt on all four breasts, then another pinch or two on the other side. Half a pinch of pepper on each side (again for all four breasts together, not each!). Then get pretty generous with the paprika so the breasts have plenty color. Give those breasts a quick rub to make sure the spices are spread around!
  3. In a shallow bowl, scoop in about 4 tablespoons of flour. You can always add more if you need, but you cannot reuse any leftover. If our goal is budget, then you can be little stingy here. Only use what you need!
  4. One at a time, dredge each chicken breast in the flour, coating evenly and giving it a good press. Then shake off excess and place to the side.
  5. In a large pan (I use a 12×12 cast iron, but use what you got!) pour in about one table spoon of olive oil and heat it up to medium-high.
  6. Once the oil is shimmery and slick (about a minute or two), throw in the pat of butter (adjust depending on your preference) and let it melt, Rotate the pan to coat with butter.
  7. Place chicken into pan and pan fry for about 5-6 minutes per side until internal temp of at least 165.
  8. Pull if off and you’re done!
  9. Optional add-ins. This chicken is very good with some nice BBQ sauce, some mozzarella cheese, could be served on a bun with some onions and lettuce and tomato for a nice chicken sandwich. Lots of options!

“But wait, that’s not a full meal!”

Okay to make this into a whole meal without adding time, here we go.

  1. Before you start slicing chicken, throw a pot of water onto a different burner and get it going (pro tip: always salt your pasta water and more than you might think you need. I mean that literally by the way. I was given this tip by a professional chef!). By the time you’re done prepping the chicken, the water will probably be just about ready for pasta. Throw in the pasta once the water is ready!
  2. Make sure to stir the pasta occasionally while the chicken is frying.
  3. While the chicken is cooking and pasta is boiling, get your veggies going. Make things easier for yourself and just microwave some frozen veggies. I promise I won’t tell! You can jazz up the veggies by mixing in a bit of salt and butter.
  4. Basically, by the time the chicken is done cooking, the pasta is probably done along with the veggies.
  5. Now just drain that pasta and plate it all up.
  6. I can do this in about 20 minutes, but I have made this a few times so have learned a few short cuts that work in my own kitchen, Your first time might take a bit longer, but this really is a quick and easy meal once you’re used to it. But it tastes like there was some real effort involved!


How much is all this?

2 lbs chicken: $11.00 (I got it on sale, but this is the regular price at my supermarket currently)

4 tbsp of flour: about $0.09 (assuming you bought the 5 lb bag)

1 pat of butter (about 0.5 tbsp) about $0.10

2 pinches of salt about $0.03

1 pinch of pepper about $0.02

Generous dash of paprika $0.15

1 tbsp of olive oil about $0.35 (I use the Costco brand!)

Pasta (Barilla spaghetti in this case) $2.00

Frozen chopped broccoli 16 oz $2.00

Total: $15.74 (without tax, so call it $17.00)


Chicken prep: about 5 minutes (most of the time is just finding all the ingredients in my kitchen!)

Chicken cook: 10-15 minutes

Pasta (concurrent with chicken): about 10-15 minutes including warming up water (salt that water! Also, use a lid on pot to reach boil faster)

Veggies (concurrent with chicken and pasta): about 6-8 minutes in microwave

The story!

I really hate recipe sites with a ten-page story before the recipe, so I flipped it here! Honestly there is not much to this story, but I guess this is part of the genre of recipe writing. This recipe is a modified version of a recipe is found on another site that was actually about creating a chicken garlic sauce single pan meal which you can find here. That is also a very good recipe by the way! Basically, the first step was to prepare and cook the chicken pretty similar to how I lay out above, and then you make the sauce and return the chicken and do a few more steps. I was running late for dinner and the kids were restless, so I just served them up some of the cooked chicken without the sauce and they really enjoyed it just as it was. I did enjoy the sauce, but this “unsauced” version has become a staple in our house, especially when time (and funding) is tight. I will say the sauce does add depth and creaminess to the dish and is lovely with some crusty bread and a nice glass of wine, but it does add to the time, though not a whole lot to the cost. Please feel welcome to try that out too!

Also let us know if you have tried out this “quick chick” or if you have other quick meal recipes!

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