Thursday, February 28, 2013

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese

I was perusing Pinterest a while back, and found a picture of this recipe.  So, I looked it up and found that is “fits” exactly what I’ve been making lately.  When I was planning the grocery list this week, I noticed that we had everything to make it, so on the menu it went.

It’s really an easy recipe, the hardest part being pounding the chicken breasts. Notice I made 5 portions, out of 2 large breasts. I chopped up some fresh mozzarella we had in place of the shredded mozzarella.  Please make note that I didn’t measure the almond flour, and went heavy, and still ran out, so plan to go HEAVY!!

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese

2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T
your favorite pesto
2 T
sour cream
2 T
grated mozzarella cheese (I used heaping tablespoons of pesto, sour cream and cheese)
2 eggs, beaten (or if they're large eggs one will probably be enough)
3 T
 finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 T almond flour
black pepper to taste

Instructions: Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray. Trim any visible fat from chicken breasts, then put them one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag and pound with meat mallet until the chicken is as thin as you can get it. Don't worry too much about the shape or whether there are some loose pieces, you can tuck them in when you roll up the chicken.

In a small bowl mix together the basil pesto, sour cream, and mozzarella.

Use a rubber scraper to spread a thin layer of this mixture over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the chicken (so it doesn't run out so much as it cooks.) Roll up the chicken breasts and secure them with a couple of toothpicks. (I roll them so the finished piece is as thin as I can get it so they will cook quickly.)

Prepare two bowls, one with the beaten egg and the other with the grated Parmesan-almond flour mixture, seasoned with black pepper to taste. Dip each chicken breast roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan-almond flour mixture, patting it on so the chicken breast roll is well-coated with the mixture.

Put chicken breasts into the casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and lightly browned. (Start checking after about 25-30 minutes; total baking time will be 40-45 minutes.) Serve hot.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Italian Torta

Years ago I used to buy a Torta, which was an Italian appetizer, or layered treat.  It’s layered with Cream cheese, pesto and sundried tomatoes.  I used to mix it up and spread it on bread.  It was SO YUMMY!!

A few days ago, we were invited to an “appetizer and game” night. I was going back and forth between making empanadas, baking a savory cheese and making this torta.  Well, the torta won, because of time.

Italian Torta
Ingredients:  (quantites are based on the size you want to make-for the pictured torta, below is what I used)  

16 oz Mascarpone (separated into 1/3rds)
8 oz Pesto
8 oz Sundried Tomato Pesto (or chopped sundried tomatoes)
Pinenuts, roughly chopped

If you’re layering this torta “upside down” as pictured, spray Bundt pan with pan spray.  Spread 1/3 cheese into bottom of pan.  Layer tomato mixture onto cheese. 

For the next layer: spread 1/3 cheese on top of sun dried tomatoes.

Next layer:  Spread pesto on top of cheese, and finish torta off with the remaining 1/3 cheese. Top (the bottom) the torta off with the pine nuts.  Place Bundt pan in the freezer for 3-4 hours, or over night.

To serve, flip the torta over onto a serving plate, and garnish with fresh basil.

Unused portions of the torta can be frozen and used at a later date.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Vodka Cream Pasta

Looking for a perfect idea for Valentine's Day Dinner?  Well, here you are.  I made this for Craig, and he loved it, and he's pretty picky!  Recently I asked him for some dinner ideas, you know something we haven't had in a while, and this recipe came first t his mind!  I know something was good, when Craig asks for it again!

Vodka Cream Pasta
    1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
    1 tablespoon butter
    2 cloves garlic , minced
    2 shallots , minced
    1 cup vodka
    1 cup chicken stock
    1 can crushed tomatoes (32 ounces)
    Coarse salt and pepper
    16 ounces pasta , such as penne rigate
    1/2 cup heavy cream
    20 leaves fresh basil , shredded or torn
Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Add oil, butter, garlic and shallots. Gently sauté shallots for 3 to 5 minutes to develop their sweetness. Add vodka to the pan (3 turns around the pan in a steady stream will equal about 1 cup). Reduce vodka by half, this will take 2 or 3 minutes. Add chicken stock, tomatoes. Bring sauce to a bubble and reduce heat to simmer. Season with salt and pepper.

While sauce simmers, cook pasta in salted boiling water until cooked to al dente (with a bite to it). While pasta cooks, prepare your salad or other side dishes.

Stir cream into sauce. When sauce returns to a bubble, remove it from heat. Drain pasta. Toss hot pasta with sauce and basil leaves. Pass pasta with crusty bread.