Stuffed Chicken with Roast Peppers, Mozzarella and Basil

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Roasted Peppers and Mozzarella

I’ve been away from my kitchen too long.   Recovery from knee replacement surgery is a slow process, one that must be taken seriously, if you expect to regain full use of the knee.  All that stretching, bending, walking, etc is hard work and very tiring.  I’m glad to report that I’m moving ahead at a steady pace, but in tiny steps.  During the past weeks, we’ve had some wonderful friends who stopped by with meals for us (they took pity on Mr. D.)  so we have enjoyed some great home cooking while I’m recuperating  but today I felt like getting my hands dirty in the kitchen.  So this is what I came up with.

Exploring my freezer, I found a package of boneless chicken breasts, and in my cupboard, a jar of roasted peppers.  What naturally came to mind to accompany these ingredients were mozzarella cheese and basil.  This meal is quick and easy-to-prep, just right for when you want to get out of the kitchen fast, but also elegant enough for a special meal. Keep the side dishes simple with a vegetable and a salad.

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Mr. D. loved it, commenting that it looks like pizza.   It really does because of the colors of peppers and cheese, plus the Italian seasoning.  It smells wonderful as it’s cooking also.  He said it’s become his new favorite way to have chicken.

This is my basic recipe, but it can certainly be changed or added to with some sautéed spinach, sliced fresh tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, etc.

STUFFED CHICKEN WITH ROAST PEPPERS, MOZZARELLA AND BASIL

Yield:  Serves 4

Ingredients:IMG_9274

  • 4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
  • 8 oz. fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
  • 1 12 oz. jar roasted red peppers, sliced into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 bunch fresh basil, whole leaves
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan
  • 1 Tbsp. Italian seasoning
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 400*F.  Grease a broiler-proof baking dish.

2.  Butterfly chicken breasts by cutting into the long side of the breast, stopping about 1/4-inch from the opposite side.  On your work surface, lay the chicken breasts opened up.  Sprinkle the exposed insides with 1/2 of the Italian seasoning, salt and pepper.

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3.  Stack the pepper, 1 slice mozzarella and basil on the bottom side of the chicken.  Fold the top flap of the chicken over, tucking in the contents as necessary.  Sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning.

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4.  Bake for 30 – 40 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink).  Take chicken out of the oven and turn on broiler.  Top each chicken piece with remaining slices mozzarella and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

 

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Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

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Serve with vegetable and a salad.

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SOURCE:  Food Network

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Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Fiesta Cookies

Which do you like better, cookies or cake?    That’s a tough one, I know.  But what if you could have both at the same time?  Sound too good to be true?    The recipe I have for you today is super simple to make from cake batter, yes, cake batter cookies.  So if you make these cookies, you’ll never have to choose again.

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It all starts with a box of cake mix.  Add a few additional ingredients that you most likely already have, toss in some sprinkles for a “funfetti effect”, bake for a mere 10-12 minutes and there they are.    I decided to call these “fiesta cookies” because they are colorful and look as if they’re ready for a party.  There’s only one thing that could make them better:  eat them with ice cream.  After I baked mine and saw how large and round they got, I thought they would work perfectly for ice cream sandwiches.  See if you don’t agree.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

These make yummy ice cream sandwiches.

 

FIESTA COOKIES

Yield:  about 24 cookiesIMG_7145

Ingredients:

  • 1 box vanilla cake mix
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1  1/4 cup sprinkles
  • 1/2 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs + 1 yolk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, whisk the cake mix with the baking powder and sprinkles to combine (be sure to break up any lumps).

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3.  In a small bowl or measuring cup, whisk the oil with the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla to combine.

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Add the oil mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients and mix until fully incorporated.

4.  Scoop out the cookie dough using a cookie scoop measuring about 2 tablespoons, and place mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets leaving at least 3/4-inch between each cookie to allow for spreading.

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5.  Bake until surface is crackly and the cookies are slightly golden around the edges, 10 – 12 minutes.  Cool before serving.

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These cookies are perfect for ice cream sandwiches.  Just scoop some slightly softened ice cream into the center of one cookie and top with another.  Freeze the sandwiches after you’ve assembled them, just until they firm up.    OOOOOH, so good!

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SOURCE:    PureWow

Cheese Garlic Biscuits

Cheese Garlic Bisquits

Cheese Garlic Bisquits

Dinner rolls and biscuits often times join each other on the dinner table.  Some folks prefer rolls while others like biscuits.  I’m a biscuit person when given a choice, although I never turn down a good dinner roll either.  These biscuits are so good that I just had to share them with you just in case your family is like mine and likes a variety of “breads” on the table.

I suppose it doesn’t make much sense to rave about a recipe that starts with a baking mix and includes just a couple of other ingredients.  And it probably doesn’t count that I literally had these mixed up in seconds yet I can’t praise them enough. They are light, fluffy, and reach- for- seconds delicious.  They feel like they are going to float right out of your mouth!

Tender, and fluffy inside.

Tender, and fluffy inside.

These biscuits are also great with a bowl of soup or a salad.

CHEESE GARLIC BISCUITS

Yield:  10 servingsIMG_5736

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups buttermilk baking mix, like Bisquick
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 2/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1/4 cup butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. chopped parsley

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450*F    Have ready a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

2.  Combine baking mix, garlic powder, milk and cheddar cheese in a mixing bowl.  Beat with wooden spoon until soft dough forms.

3.  Drop dough by spoonfuls onto cookie sheet.

I brushed them with butter before baking.

I brushed them with butter before baking.

Bake 8 – 10 minutes until golden brown.

after baking, golden and lightly browned with little crisp edges.

After baking, golden and lightly browned with little crisp edges.

4.  Melt butter and add chopped parsley.**  Brush over warm biscuits before removing from cookie sheet.  Serve warm.

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**I like to brush the butter mixture on before and after baking.  It makes them so much better.

SOURCE:  Allrecipes.com

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

Here we are well into the month of November with Thanksgiving looming just ahead.  If you’re anything like me, you’re probably thinking of your menu for the big day, and maybe trying out a new recipe or two.  That’s what I do.  We seem to want the traditional foods, but I try to give a new twist to one or two of those dishes.

In this case it’s a somewhat different way of enjoying pumpkin pie.  These are individual little “cupcakes” that taste just like pumpkin pie, but without the bother of a crust.  These are pretty easy to make.  They go together in only two steps and are baked in muffin tins.  The only thing you need to be concerned about is to make sure you spray the muffin cups well with non-stick spray or line them with foil liners.  Paper liners make if difficult to remove the “cupcakes” from the muffin tins and are hard to peel away from the pumpkin filling.IMG_5636

I’ve also read a review of this recipe with suggestions for making it very low cal. so I am including those suggestions here for any of you who must maintain a low sugar/calorie intake.

PUMPKIN PIE CUPCAKES

Yield:   Makes 12

Ingredients:

All the  same ingredients as for pumpkin pie filling.

All the same ingredients as for pumpkin pie filling.

wet:

  • 1   15oz.can pumpkin puree
  • 1/2 cup sugar (or 1/2 cup all natural Stevia in the raw)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk, fat free is Ok. (or use 3/4 cup 1% milk with 2 Tbsp. cornstarch whisked in.)

dry:

  • 2/3 cup flour
  • 2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350*F.   Line a 12 cup muffin tin with foil liners, or spray well with non-stick cooking spray.

2. In a bowl with a pouring spout (batter bowl) whisk together all the wet ingredients.   In another bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients.

3.  Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and blend well.  Pour the batter into the muffin cups, filling them almost to the tops.  (mine hold 1/3 cup batter each, and this amount filled them to the top).

4.  Bake for 20 minutes.  They will puff up as they bake, but will fall slightly as they cool.  Cool for 20 minutes, them refrigerate to chill until ready to serve.

See how they puff up in the oven--they will fall a little when you take them out.

See how they puff up in the oven–they will fall a little when you take them out.

5.  Carefully run a knife around the edge of each cupcake to remove from the tin.  Top each serving with whipped cream or whipped topping and a sprinkle of more pie spice.   Delicious!!

Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pie spice.

Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of pie spice.

One is not enough  :D

One is not enough 😀

SOURCE:   Allrecipes.com

Spicy White Bean Dip

Spicy white bean dip with crudités.

Spicy white bean dip with crudités.

Most times when you hear the word “dip” you think, appetizer. Well, so do I, mostly. However I also think of a dip as lunch or on its way to becoming lunch. What I mean is that when you combine a really interesting, tasty dip with raw veggies and some whole-grain crackers, or pitas that becomes lunch; at least for me it does.

Another way to enjoy this dip is to use it to appease your appetite, when you’re starving. Like you just came home from work, ravenous , you could eat shoe leather, but instead here you have a nutritious fill-in to snack on while you make dinner. I know you are going to like this, because I do, and I didn’t think I would. I was so wrong!!!! Give it a try, it might just become you’re new favorite food.

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SPICY WHITE BEAN DIP

YIELD: makes about 2 cups

  • 2 cans canneloni beans, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce ( reduced sodium, if possible)
  • 1/4 cup Sirracha Sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • up to 1/4 cup water, as needed
  • cilantro for garnish

In the work bowl of a food processor, place all the ingredients through lime juice. Process to blend well. Taste and season with salt and pepper. Add water, a little at a time, to achieve a smooth consistency. Spoon into a serving bowl and garnish with cilantro.

Serve with raw vegetables, crackers, pita chips, etc.

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This is sooooo good that once I started on it I did not want to stop. Luckily I was eating it with raw veggies, so I at least got in a fair share of my allotted requirement of vegetables for the day, a la the food pyramid.

Spicy, but not too spicy--just right!

Spicy, but not too spicy–just right!

SOURCE: Annieseats.com

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart

As a hostess gift when I went to visit in North Carolina I brought some apples grown right here in the town where I live.  We who live here are so spoiled by the ease with which we can obtain fresh orchard-grown apples and pears ( at this time of year) as well as other fruits earlier in the season.  Folks who formerly lived here miss that kind of freshness in the fruits they are able to buy in their local grocery stores, and the variety of kinds of apples.  So a gift like the one I brought with me is always welcome.

Coincidentally, my hostess wanted to make a baked gift to give to a friend who had been kind to her and her husband, so together we made this Rustic Autumn Fruit Tart.  Actually we made two;  one to keep and one to give.   We used some of the apples I brought, and some pears that she had on hand, ripe and beautiful.

This is very easy to make, goes together quickly and looks very impressive when completed. It tastes as delicious as it looks.  The recipient of this gift was surprised and delighted to receive it.

RUSTIC AUTUMN FRUIT TART

SERVINGS:   8

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 roll packaged refrigerated pie crust, at room temperature
  • 2 large apples – peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
  • 1 pear – peeled, cored and sliced
  • 1/4 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup apricot jam, warmed

DIRECTIONS

1.  Unroll the pie dough and lightly roll into a 10 – 11″ circle.  Fit into a 9 ” pie pan, or place flat on slightly greased baking sheet.

Tart can be made in a tart/pie pan or flat on a baking sheet.

2.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

3.  Toss the sliced apples and pear with the orange juice.  Whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, cardamom, and cornstarch.  Toss the fruit with the sugar-spice mixture.

Toss sliced fruits with orange juice.

4.  Arrange the fruit decoratively in the pastry shell.  If you’re baking it on a baking sheet, leave a 2-inch rim of dough with the fruit arranged in the middle.

5.  Fold the dough up and over the edge of the fruit ( the pastry folds will overlap).

Fold edges of pastry up and over top of fruits, pleating the excess.

6.  Bake the tart in the preheated oven until the crust is browned and the filling is bubbly, about 30 minutes.  Remove the tart from the oven and brush the whole top with the warmed apricot jam.  This creates a beautiful glaze.

Serve warm with a dab of ice cream——Deeelish!

SOURCE:   allrecipes.com

Oatmeal Pear Scones

I went to the orchard recently to get some fresh apples and pears.  While there I noticed some recipes that were available using some of the products they were selling.  On looking through them I came upon this one for scones that included chopped fresh pears. Unusual, I thought, and worth trying out.  The recipe also called for ground ginger, but I knew immediately that I would put in some crystalized ginger, because pears need something with a little zing to enhance their flavor, and also just because I love candied ginger and use it whenever I can work it in. The recipes were free for the taking, so—I came home and soon began to bake these scones.  There is no rolling of dough or cutting involved.  They are simply dropped by the 1/4 cupful onto a baking sheet.  Quick. Easy.  Try them!

OATMEAL PEAR SCONES

YIELD:  Makes 10 dropped-style scones

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ginger
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped crystalized ginger (optional, my addition)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 Tablespoons unsalted cold butter, cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup unpeeled, finely chopped pear

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Lightly grease a baking sheet or line with parchment paper.

2.  In a large bowl, combine all the dry ingredients, i.e. flour through salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

3.  In a small bowl, combine yogurt, egg and vanilla.  Add to dry ingredients all at once.  Mix until dry ingredients are moistened.  Gently stir in pear.

4.  Place  10  1/4 -cups of dough on the baking sheet, 2 inches apart.

5.  Bake for 17 – 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve warm.

Adding the crystalized ginger worked out very well.  It added an occasional sharp little bite to a very nice, not too sweet accompaniment  to coffee.  I’m so glad to have found this recipe.  I think you will enjoy it, too.

SOURCE:  Courtesy of Belltown Hill Orchards