To Taste: Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breast

I love Thanksgiving! Family, friends, turkey/stuffing/gravy-filled meals, and four days to fill with whatever I felt like doing. I went Black Friday shopping, but dodging salespeople & shopping bags got old pretty quick. I just wanted to be in my warm kitchen cooking yummy food!

The grocery store was pretty empty (whew!), so I quickly grabbed my ingredients… and some Stoli to get me thru a long evening in the kitchen. I’ve got nothing to do tomorrow! I kicked off my prep work at 4pm-ish to have the meal almost complete when Dre got done work. The components of the main dish took up most of my time: roasting grape tomatoes with garlic & fresh basil; sautéing mushrooms with minced onions & butter; and, gleefully pounding chicken breasts to a 1/4 inch thick. Every smokey, juicy morsel of the resulting Roasted Tomato, Mushroom, & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts reminded me that  it’s always worthwhile.

Tomatoes with Garlic, Basil, & Olive Oil to be Roasted

Just Stuffed

Roasted Tomato, Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Roasted Tomato, Mushroom & Smoked Mozzarella Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Roasted Tomatoes

  • Grape Tomatoes – (1-2) pints, halved
  • Minced Garlic – (2) T or more
  • Fresh Basil – a few chopped leaves
  • Olive Oil – (3-4) T, to grease dish & coat tomatoes
  • S&P
  1. Coat baking dish with olive oil or line with non-stick sprayed foil.
  2. Add all ingredients and toss with olive oil.
  3. Cook 30-40 min in a 400 degree oven. Stir a few times until tomatoes are bubbling, but not burnt.
  4. Make a big batch, leftovers are great on French bread and added to pasta sauce

Sautéed Mushrooms

  • White Mushrooms or Creminis or Baby Bellas -(2-3) cups, cored and sliced
  • White Onion – 1/2 med onion, chopped
  • Butter – (2) T
  1. Melt butter in a saucepan on Med. Add onion & cook about 2 min.
  2. Add mushrooms and give them room to breath. Julia says so.
  3. Stir and cook until tender.
  4. Use leftovers on a quick pizza or in pasta sauce, red or alfredo.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  • Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast – (3-4) breasts – trimmed, sliced lengthwise, & pounded to 1/4 inch thickness
  • Smoked Mozzarella or Gouda – 1 oz per breast
  • Roasted Tomatoes
  • Sautéed Mushrooms
  • Chicken Stock – (1) cup or so
  • S&P
  • Stovetop to Oven Sauté Pan
  • Long toothpicks or Bamboo picks
  1. Pound filleted chicken breasts to 1/4 inch thickness between sheets of plastic wrap.
  2. Add a few spoonsful of tomatoes & mushrooms onto half of each chicken breast.
  3. Layer slices of smoked cheese.
  4. Fold chicken breast in half and secure by sewing a toothpick or bamboo pic to secure. S&P each side of the breast.
  5. Pan sear breast in olive oil on Med-High until golden brown, about 5 min on each side.
  6. Add chicken stock to pan and bring to a boil.
  7. Cover pan with lid or foil and tranfer to 375 degree oven.
  8. Bake for 20 min, let cool for 5 min, and serve with pan jus.
  9. Leftovers make one KILLER sandwich!

To Taste: Chicken under a Bri… Something Heavy

My boyfriend has come to love food porn as much as I do, so when he sent me Pinch My Salt‘s step by step photo blog of Grilled Chicken Under a Brick, I couldn’t wait to get my spatchcock & grill on! Dre & I were both working late on a Friday night, and seeing that I already learned my lesson in grilling in the dark, I decided to at least get my meal prepped that night for a yummy pre-work lunch the next day.

When there’s chicken of any kind on sale, I impulsively pack my already stuffed freezer with as much as I can. I thawed one of the roasting chickens to make some space for my next grocery trip, watched this very helpful video on butterflying a whole chicken, & got to butchering! Call me sadistic (I’ll spare my veggie friends/readers from seeing the pics), but I really enjoyed the whole hands-on process of removing the spine & breast bone of my chicken so it could lay flat for its visit to the grill.

I picked some Fresh Herbs from my garden, chopped, & combined with Olive Oil & Minced Garlic for a simple chicken rub. I coated both sides of the chicken & marinated in the fridge overnight. I also peeled & cubed a butternut squash; to me, its serves as a starch & veggie side to any meal.

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Spatchcocked Chicken w/ a Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Garlic, & EVOO Marinade

Grilled Butternut Squash with Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Grilled Butternut Squash w/ Fresh Herbs, Spices, & Garlic

Saturday morning, we got the grilled warmed to about 350 degrees per the Whole Foods recipe that Pinch My Salt referenced. I seasoned the Butternut Squash with Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil and divided them among 4 foil pouches while the chilled chicken came up to temperature. When it came to grill time, I realized that, uh…  umm… I didn’t have any bricks! So the only troubleshoot I could come up with was a heavy, foil-covered cast iron pan, which proved to be a perfect substitution. The original recipe called for a 3-4lb chicken, but I was working with a 7lb bird, so it took about 20-25 minutes per side. I tossed the squash pouches onto the grill, too, as they were tender after flipping a few times in about 40 minutes. Towards the end of grilling, the drums of the chicken fell off, but it fortunately gave them some extra time to cook when the breast & wings were perfect.

All future birds cooked in my household will surely be spatchcocked & grilled, as this was the juiciest & tastiest one I’ve ever made. Looking forward to a Turkey Under ALOT of Bricks this Thanksgiving!

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Chicken Under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled: Chicken Under a “Brick” & Herb Butternut Squash

Butterflied Whole 7lb Chicken – Rubbed & marinated w/ Basil, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Rosemary, Minced Garlic, & EVOO, grilled under a Cast Iron Pan

Grilled Butternut Squash – Cubed & tossed w/ Fresh & Dried Herbs, Paprika, Red Pepper Flakes, S&P, Garlic, & Olive Oil, grilled in foil packets

Family-Style: Spicy BBQ Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken Sammies

I couldn’t wait to cook for my mom, as she made the trek all the way from beautiful Hawaii to visit Ker & I. Nothing is more comforting after a long travel (especially 3 flights & 14+ hours later) than a home cooked meal. The night before her arrival, I decided to dig out the ol’ Crock Pot. I usually rely on it to keep me warm during the winter months, but I had 6 chicken split-breasts waiting for a simmer.

I’d estimate that I make some version of pulled chicken in my Crock Pot about 4x each year, but never the quite the same recipe. This round, I took a Spicy BBQ approach for some summery flair.I tossed all the ingredients into the pot and set in the fridge with a can of chopped tomatoes on top so I wouldn’t forget to add in the morning. At 830am, I turned the Crock Pot on ‘Lo’ and headed to work. I love coming home to the aroma of a 9-hour simmer! Ker picked the bones out (a scorching & tedious task) & pulled the chicken. It simmered for another hour so the flavors could fully infuse.

I melted sharp cheddar on Whole Foods Onion Focaccia flat-breads, topped with leftover warmed collard greens, & a healthy pile of my Spicy BBQ Slowed Cooked Pull Chicken. I paired the plate with a Summer Roasted Vegetable Salad that I quick prepared the night before and finished with Rice Vinegar & Fresh Herbs before serving.

I always make a ton of chicken when I’m working with my Crock Pot. It works well on sandwiches, tortillas, quesadillas, salads, pizzas, inside a spring roll, & over rice to serve as extended leftovers. Get creative! I freeze a portion of every batch, too, to enjoy on a lazy dinner night!

BBQ Spicy Pulled Chicken, Melted Cheddar, Collard Greens, & Onion Focaccia w/ Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

BBQ Spicy Pulled Chicken, Melted Cheddar, Collard Greens, & Onion Focaccia w/ Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad

Spicy BBQ Chicken Sammies w/ Summer Roasted Vegetable Salad:

Spicy BBQ Slow Cooked Pulled Chicken – BBQ Sauce, Soy Sauce, Worcestershire, Shallots, Garlic, Jalapeno, Olive Oil, Chili Powder & a Can of Chopped Tomatoes, marinated overnight & slow cooked in the Crock Pot for 10 hours

Whole Foods Onion Focaccia Flat Breads

Sharp Cheddar Cheese

Leftover Collard Greens from my Grilled Crab Dinner

Roasted Summer Vegetable Salad – Roasted Yellow Squash, Cherry Tomatoes, & Sweet Peppers w/ Minced Garlic & EVOO, cooled & tossed w/ S&P Lemon-Thyme, Thai Basil, Parsley, & Rice Vinegar

Only regret is forgetting to add chipotles to the chicken. It really could have used a some smokey, spicier layers. Til next time…

Quickie: Whipped by Potatoes

I LOVE LOVE LOVE mashed potatoes, but not the starchy process of peeling, chopping, & boiling the tubers. The best parts are using my prized Cuisinart Stand Mixer and, of course, eating them!

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

Whipped Potatoes w/ Fresh Herbs via my Cuisinart Stand Mixer

I kept the rest of my dinner quick with the entree & side:

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast – Marinated in Italian Salad Dressing & Balsamic Vinegar, Pan-fried

Fresh Snow Peas – Sauteed w/ S&P, Shallots, Garlic, EVOO, & Butter

Whipped Potatoes – White Potatoes, Whipped w/ S&P, Lemon-Thyme, Parsley, Basil, Garlic, Shallots, Milk, & BUTTER! in my Cuininart Stand Mixer

A tall glass of Dr. Dre-2O

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & a Mountain of Whipped Potatoes

Balsamic-Glazed Chicken Breast, Sauteed Snow Peas, & Whipped Potatoes

Weekend Update: Asian Edition – Part 2

Thursday, I made a visit to my favorite (bc it’s close & I’m lazy) Vietnamese supermarket, aptly named Asia Market. Philly’s Washington Ave is lined with your choice of Asian markets, shops, & restaurants directly perpendicular to the famous Italian Market. I was certainly excited on this visit as now that I have a BlackBerry (aka my Frankenberry), I can look up all the crazy products encountered on my Asia Market excursions! This time was a quick trip for familiar dinner items for Friday night & some kitchen staples: Shallots, Fresh Ginger, Snow Peas, baby Bok Choy, Japanese Eggplant, & some chopsticks.

I had “plans” for a Friday night at home, cooking dinner & enjoying some TV/relaxation. A quick Google search for “chicken bok choy recipe” brought me to Food & Wine’s Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms & Bok Choy, and thank goodness I had some fungi in the fridge! I always interpret recipes into my own taste, so I omitted the red peppers, prepared the baby bok choy on the side, & added my own splashes & dashes to the sauce. This recipe will def stay in my back pocket, especially for the brown sauce! I finished the meal with some white rice & good laughs via The Love Guru.

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Ginger-Sesame Chicken w/ Mushrooms

Baby Bok Choy

Baby Bok Choy

Family-Style: Summer Feast

Here in Philly, it’s been raining almost daily for I dunno, 5+ weeks now!! So it was a nice treat to grill a summer dinner on a clear night with my girls. The real anecdote of the evening is strictly girl talk, but we had nothing to hide when it came to our appetites.

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons & Red Curry Chicken Skewers

Our feast included:

Curried Chicken Kebobs ~ marinated overnight in red curry paste & Greek yogurt, skewered, & grilled

Herbed Zucchini Ribbons ~ sliced lengthwise with a mandolin, S&P, fresh herbs (basil, mint, & thyme from my garden), olive oil, & grilled in a pan

Sunshine’s Tangerine Cabbage & Bleu Salad

Sunshine’s Wheat Pellet Puffy Wheels ~ deep-fried in olive oil

Cucumber Mint Yogurt Sauce ~ Greek yogurt mixed with cubed cukes, fresh mint, minced garlic, & salt

Fresh Chopped Tomatoes

Pocketless Pita

Ariel’s Oatmeal Cookies ~ soft & delicious

Sunshine’s Sangria ~ lemon, orange, lime, peach, & plum

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