Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chicken for dinner!

I'm freezing. The weather has gotten quite cold in the last day and the chill in our house has me convinced that I won't feel warm again until March, possibly April. A bit dramatic I know, considering the forecast will be back up to 60 degrees by Friday. Anyway, Matt's laptop always gives off a lot of heat so it gives me an excuse to blog while I warm myself up.

What's on my mind tonight? Chicken!

Chicken was on sale this week. Any ideas for healthier recipes? I'm kind of sick of the usuals, and haven't seen anything lately that interests me. Last night was chicken pot pie and later in the week we're having chicken enchiladas and on Halloween some yummy homemade vegetable beef soup (a break from chicken).

Also I like making chicken salads with the precooked/grilled chicken you buy in those little packs (I am having a mental block on the various brands so I hope someone knows what I'm talking about). I bought some extra chicken and would love to be able to get a similar taste on my own and save some money at the same time. Any ideas or suggestions on how to cook it or at least attempt to cook so it is flavorful and not too dry? The key being not dry. It's boneless skinless chicken breast - I don't have high expectations on flavor. I add it to a salad of mixed greens, craisins, pecans and feta cheese and top with a little raspberry pecan vinegarette - so that takes care of the flavor!

I really doubt anyone will be interested in my thoughts on chicken. I really did have some other thoughts when I initially sat down. I give you no excuses but just throwing it out there that I was watching The Mentalist (anyone, anyone?) while I typed this and had to concentrate so I wasn't up to my usual multi-tasking ability.

To make up for a rather mundane post (as opposed to my typical posts which are just BURSTING WITH EXCITEMENT) I will share you the latest favorite chicken (surprise!) recipe. It's yummy, not too hard, but also it can be kind of fancy and good for impressing dinner guests!

Stuffed Tomato Basil Chicken from Allrecipes

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 bottle garlic herb marinade
16 fresh basil leaves
1 large tomato, thinly sliced
4 slices provolone cheese
12 slices bacon
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Place chicken breasts on a cutting board. With a sharp knife, slice chicken breasts horizontally, without slicing them completely in half. Open the chicken breasts like a book. Place chicken and marinade into a large resealable plastic bag. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F (260 degrees C).
Place opened chicken breasts on a broiler pan. Place 4 basil leaves on the bottom half of each chicken breast. Top each with 2 or 3 tomato slices and 1 slice of cheese, and fold over top half of chicken (if necessary, fasten with toothpicks). Wrap 3 slices bacon around each chicken breast.
Cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Turn chicken, and cook 15 minutes more. Remove from oven, and sprinkle chicken with Parmesan. Return to oven, and cook until cheese is melted, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Ok, the first time I made this chicken I used the bacon and it was delicious. BUT, I don't feel that it' necessary and since then I haven't added the bacon and haven't missed it at all. Just a simple way to make it a bit healthier. Or just use turkey bacon.

The great thing about this recipe is it's versatility. I've made it using mozarella, provolone (per the recipe) and this time around I'm trying feta. Many many options and combinations and the garlic herb marinade (I used a store brand) added good flavor but wasn't overpowering.

Well I'm all warmed up, thanks in part to the heated corn bag at my feet. Now I need to go pick out a bathroom vanity combination so in two weeks we might almost have our bathroom back to normal. I promise pictures eventually!


renee said...

Your salad description is almost exactly what we have been addicted to - literally having it with almost every dinner - I was actually going to blog about it! We use spinach, tart apple slices, walnuts (although i love pecans), & craisins - with raspberry walnut dressing! Yum!
I often use those perdue chicken cuts (or similar versions) to save time.... not sure the best way to cook it, but I'm guessing you could put it in a crockpot with some water to keep it juicy? You could also add whatever seasoning you want to add (mrs. dash, taco seasoning, italian...)

Crafty P said...

ironically, I cooked a WHOLE chicken on Sunday for the first time...ever. It was way too much work.
However, I had gads of leftover chicken and was planning on making chicken salad, but then found this simple recipe for Christina's Salsa Chicken. I couldn't resist. It sounded warm and creamy and yummy. I added in some black beans for color and more protein! If you're in the area, stop over for a taste test! ha. just kidding. I know you're no where near the area.

Here's the recipe (from The Aldi Queen):
Christina’s Salsa Chicken- The Aldi Queen
1 pound chicken, cooked & shredded
1 packet taco seasoning
16 oz wide egg noodles
24 oz salsa
16 oz sour cream
Boil noodles. Drain & return to pot. Add sour cream & salsa. In a separate bowl, mix shredded chicken with taco seasoning. Add to the noodle mixture & cook for five to seven minutes on medium heat.
Serve with a tossed salad.

Makes eight servings.

Amy’s Tips:
This is my girlfriend’s (Christina) recipe and it is so yummy! She tells me that it freezes beautifully too. Make a double batch and throw half of it in the freezer for a night when you don’t feel like cooking. I would cook the noodles only to al dente just to make sure you don’t end up with mushy noodles after reheating.

ps. I make my chicken salad with pickles, onion, celery and mayo. Add a bit of S&P, celery salt and lemon juice. It's the way my mom always makes it and I love it!

LifeAtTheCircus said...

I am def going to have to bookmark this post b/c that chicken dish sounded delightful!

Here is a super easy chicken dish that I love....

Fiesta Chicken
Place frozen, boneless skinless breasts into crockpot, top with salsa. Cook on low all day.

Serve over rice and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese.

Rebecca said...

I've got one thing to say...put the bacon back in that chicken! Bacon is my love language. I heart bacon. I put bacon in everything.

Who was it that said, "pork fat rules?"

Well, whoever it was, I heart them too.

I'm really hungry for chicken (and bacon) now. But it's only 9am so I doubt I can get anything for awhile.

Love the BURSTING WITH EXCITEMENT part...that made me laugh out loud. What a hoot.

Have a good day and get pictures for us of all these home improvement projects, k?

Kerri Smith said...

www.cookinglight.com. i cook almost exclusively from recipes from there anymore (and read the ratings first! they'll save you lots of time!)

Teri said...

The recipe sounds awesome! I make a great (kid-friendly!) chicken-noodle casserole that I can send you the recipe for if you're interested! Chicken Parm is always a winner around here, too!

I made a whole roasted chicken on Tuesday for our first meal in the new house & we've been using it for other meals ever since. I made my chicken noodle casserole on Wednesday & I still had some leftovers so I made chicken salad from that, which I ate on crackers since we still have no bread (haha). I just used mayo, mustard, salt, pepper, celery, thawed peas & apples. It's so tasty!

Cori said...

Hi Megan-I was actually very interested in your "chicken thoughts" as I make it most nights out of the week and am ALWAYS looking for new recipes. Every few weeks I cook chicken in the crockpot and shred it and freeze some and use some for my chicken salad. I typically use the split chicken breasts (very economical) and cook it for about 7 hours with a little water. It's done when it is falling off the bone. You can shred it and use it for whatever or freeze it and also save the broth for and awesome soup base. The chx salad I make is 4 cups cooked chx, 1 cup mayo, 1 cup pineapple tidbits, 2 Tbsp mustard, 1 cup celery and 1 cup of halved red grapes. It is always a big hit! As for whole breast recipes, I love the "slow cooker chicken taco soup" on allrecipes.com. it is fantastic! Pecan topped chx is great too. You dip 4 chx breast in 3 Tbsp honey mustard mixed with 1 tsp lemon juice. Then mix together 1/2 cup pecans, 3 Tbsp bread crumbs and 1T butter. Press this mixture on top of the chx and bake at 375 for 25 min. Be sure to pound your chicken first and line your pan with foil for easy clean up. I love, love, love trying and trading recipes so if you ever find anything good, send them my way!

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