Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Mmmmm, Chicken!

Once upon a time, I promised this blog would have occasional recipes. And I As of today, we are going to have 100% MORE recipes! Meaning, I'm posting another and now there will be TWO.

With holiday travel coming up, I realized I had a ton of food in my tiny fridge that needed to be eaten ASAP. So what's a girl do? Invite The Boyfriend to dinner and hit up Google for something tasty to make with what I have on hand. And it turned out amazing!

I made a few tweeks. I used baby bellas and not shiitakes, since that was what I had. I was also missing shallots, so I added a little onion and garlic power for zing. And lastly, the chicken that I had was tenders, so I pounded them out thin, layered them in the pan, covered them with the stuffing, and then added a second layer of chicken. And I cooked it all at 400 degrees.  Who cooks at 500???

I'll be making this again for sure!

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Shiitakes and Provolone

When cutting the pockets for the stuffing, make them as large as possible on the inside without enlarging the 3-inch-long incision on the outside.
Yield: Makes 4 servings
Active Time: 20 min
Total Time: 45 min

1 (6-oz) piece provolone
6 oz fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems discarded
1/4 cup chopped shallot (1 large)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 chicken breast halves with skin and bones (2 1/2 to 3 lb total)
  • Put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 500°F. Line a shallow baking pan with foil.
  • Coarsely grate cheese and set aside in a medium bowl. Pulse mushrooms and shallot in a food processor with thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper until finely chopped.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until foam subsides, then sauté mushroom mixture, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir into cheese (some cheese will melt).
  • Pat chicken dry, then cut a deep 3-inch-long pocket horizontally in long curved side of each chicken breast half and fill each pocket with one fourth of cheese mixture (some filling will be visible).
  • Put chicken in baking pan, then melt remaining tablespoon butter and brush over chicken. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Roast until cooked through and cheese is melted (filling will ooze), 20 to 25 minutes.

Original recipe may be found at:

Friday, December 9, 2011

HAPPY New Years!

I wrote about Christmas during the first half of November and Thanksgiving the Monday after, so I figured the first half of December was a great time to write about New Years!  Sound about right?

One of my biggest complaints about all of the above holidays is that they all happen so close together. I never fly home for Thanksgiving since I'll be home again a scant 4 weeks later. And I never have enough time to plan for NYE because I'm busy with Christmas. And mostly, I miss the opportunity to ponder the coming year properly. In my perfect world, I'd spend 2-3 weeks contemplating and praying about the new year while reviewing the old year. Thus, I'm taking a moment to pause here and do just that.

If I had to choose one word to describe 2011 in my life, the word I'd choose is RENEWAL. There were so many parts of my spiritual and emotional life that were tired and dry and I didn't even know it. So many places begging for renewal, for fresh life. God spent the year answering prayers I didn't know how to pray. He is so good to me when I have done nothing to deserve it.

I'm not a superstitious person, but I love how my birthday sounds this coming year. It's making me feel like it will be an amazing year overall. Like the whole year will be a birthday gift (my 2011 birthday was pretty sweet, so I'm down for that!)  10/12/2012  Ten twelve twenty twelve. See what I mean? It just sounds cool.

With the renewal that has been happening in me, I feel a sense of HOPE for the coming year that I haven't felt in some time. HOPE combating all the sadness and darkness and everydayness.

Take some time to still your heart this Christmas season and ponder the coming and going years.

My prayer for you:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields.
And until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of His hand.
 ~Traditional Irish Blessing