Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Chicken with a Detour

Interceptions and Detours. Those are the things to pay attention too. Those things that pull you away from what otherwise would be a normal, controlled, and ordinary life. Those interceptions are what make your life amazing rather than perfect. I prefer amazing. In fact that is really the only choice for me now.

Just the other morning, I woke up planning to get lots of my work accomplished. You know, publish a bog, pay my bills, read and edit my manuscript. Very lofty goals really. And in the end, our house guests woke up and the chatter and surrounding me was so loud that accomplishing anything was impossible. I surrendered my agenda and instead enjoyed the chatter and noise. I know that my house guests are just that.. guests. They won't be here forever and I should enjoy them just as they are as they come and go. 

With my agenda abandoned, we had a wonderful day touring the area, tasting beer, and sight-seeing in the rain.  In the end I was dazzled by the guests and all of their insight and my mind was opened to new ideas, new people, and new experiences. I even found more inspiration for my future dream kitchen!

The interceptions are what brought me to this chicken recipe. Chicken can be one of those boring ingredients that provide healthy and lean protein. That was my goal with this recipe, but I wanted to so something a little different. I wanted to bite into the chicken and be surprised by an interception. What could be better to add flavor and juiciness then bacon! I think you will find that this chicken recipe is delightfully succulent and tender with a perfect interception in the middle.

Please join me and instead of being frazzled by your interceptions, enjoy life's little detours. Who knows you might learn something new or heaven forbid.. Even meet someone special, strengthen a friendship, or make connections that will change your life forever. Those interceptions are put in our paths for a reason. I vow to pay attention to all of them!

Besides, there is always tomorrow for what you can't get completed today. And you know what? Even if tomorrow doesn't come and this blog doesn't make it out into the web, at least I will know that I spent time with the people that matter most in my life.. My friends, my family, and you.

Added bonus: The spinach is packed with vitamins and is succulent alongside this chicken! Enjoy the meal in it's entirety and don't tell anyone you used tofu.. They'll never guess. It will be our little secret!

Stuffed Chicken

3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tsp. Italian Seasonings
1 tsp. dried basil
3 slices low fat mozzarella cheese
3 slices cooked bacon
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~Take each chicken breast and using a sharp knife; slice along the top of each chicken breast to thin out the chicken breast and create a fatter slice of chicken breast. Slice along each side to create 'wings' on the chicken breast. Repeat this process for each chicken breast.

~Sprinkle each raw chicken breast with 1 tsp. of Italian seasonings on both sides of the breast rubbing in using your hands.

~Place a slice of bacon, slice of mozzarella cheese, and a small handful of sun-dried tomatoes in the middle of each chicken breast. Cover the stuffing with the 'wings' of the breast like you are rolling up a tortilla around stuffing. Secure with toothpicks. 

~ Place the chicken breasts in a baking dish and bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve immediately alongside the creamed spinach and Italian Bean Salad.

Creamed Spinach

1 package frozen spinach
1 pound package of silken tofu
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 white onion; diced
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1/4 cup milled flax seed
1 tsp. kosher salt

~Heat a medium sauce pan over medium heat with the one tsp. of olive oil. Once hot add the white onion and minced garlic. Cook until the onions have blonded (become translucent). Then add the flax seed, frozen spinach and package of silken tofu. Continue to stir until all ingredients are incorporated.

~Add one tsp. kosher salt and continue cooking over medium heat until spinach is cooked through and tofu is incorporated. This will take about 10-15 minutes. Serve immediately with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese if desired

Italian Bean Salad

1 medium sized eggplant
4 cloves garlic
1 can garbanzo beans; drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion; diced 
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
1 large tomato; diced
1 bunch fresh basil; minced
1/4 cup Paul Newman's Light Balsamic dressing

~Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

~Slice the eggplant lengthwise into 1/2 inch strips. Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and lay the eggplant in one layer on the cookie sheet. Add the cloves of garlic whole to the baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the eggplant becomes soft and slightly caramel colored on top.

~Allow the eggplant and garlic to cool. Meanwhile place the diced onion, tomato, basil, garbanzo beans, and feta cheese in a large mixing bowl and lightly toss.

~Dice the cooled eggplant into bite-sized pieces and mince the roasted garlic.Toss with the rest of the ingredients in the large bowl.

~Add the balsamic dressing and lightly toss. You can use more or less dressing as desired. This can be served immediately or chilled and served later or even the next day!

Mental Health Benefit:  These recipes are easy, simple, and healthy for the whole family. I made this meal after a long day out in town and was still able to whip it up while talking to my boyfriend and sipping an adult beverage. It was warm, soothing, and healthy. It felt great after a long day out in the rain. Not to mention it looks impressive because you actually stuffed chicken! And this picture I took out of a moving vehicle.. If that isn't inspirational.. I don't know what is!

~Happy Summer from my kitchen to yours!

~ A little Hot Mess in the kitchen

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