Family News and Bacon-Wrapped Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Three weeks have passed since I last posted here. I can’t believe it has been that long! I seriously try to write more frequently, but it seems like 3 weeks is the norm these days! Here is what’s been happening on the home front.

Last week we did indeed get the freezing temperatures that I was afraid of. Most of the gorgeous blossoms that I showed in the previous post froze when our spring-like temperatures dropped into the 20s for several nights in a row. Our plum trees had bloomed a few weeks earlier than the peaches and were already showing tiny plums. They also froze and turned black in the freezing temperatures.

We had a bridal shower for Ben’s lady. I am so glad my sister was able to come for it! And we had a birthday party for Little Miss Mia’s daddy! She really wanted to blow out all the candles by herself, so he had to discourage her!

But the best news of all was that my girl’s man came home safely from his deployment! I just love this picture!

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Now for the recipe! I had never made stuffed chicken breast before this try, and the guys loved it! It was not as hard as I had thought it might be. I didn’t follow a recipe, but just went by what I have read online about stuffed chicken breasts. I am sure that there are people out there who know tricks to make it easier!

  • 3-4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp. heavy cream
  • several large hands full of fresh spinach (sorry! I didn’t measure!)
  • salt and pepper
  • 12-16 slices of bacon

Carefully slice open the chicken breasts making a small pocket in the side of each.Be careful not to slice all the way through. Set aside. In a mixing bowl, combine the two cheeses and the heavy cream and mix well. Lightly steam the spinach to soften. Squeeze all the moisture out of the spinach and stir it into the cheese mixture. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture into the chicken breasts. Wrap each chicken breast with bacon, using about 3 slices per piece of chicken. The amount of bacon will depend on the size of each chicken breast. Place wrapped chicken in a slightly oiled pan. Bake at 350 degrees until juices are no longer pink and the bacon looks crispy, about 40 minutes. Again, baking time will depend upon the size of the chicken breasts. Thicker pieces will require longer baking time. Serve with a green salad on the side!

 

 

 

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Of Chicken Soup and Missing Forks

I can’t believe that we are 10 days away from Thanksgiving! And finally, we have weather that actually matches the season. We’ve had temps in the 80’s for weeks on end and little to no rain since July. We are finally having night time temps in the 40’s, and we actually got 1/4 inch of rain yesterday. I know that isn’t much, but we’ll take it!

One of my favorite activities with my children when they were small was the time spent reading aloud. I loved reading out loud to my kiddos! We read book after book each morning after we had our Bible time and before we started our school lessons. One of the series of books I read was called  The Borrowers by Mary Norton. It was a fun series to read. I thought of these books recently when I discovered that some of my forks are missing. Seriously, why should my forks be missing? It makes absolutely no sense at all unless my house is infested with borrowers! Years ago, my parents bought me 12 place settings of my flatware. They did it over time…a place setting for my birthday, another one for Christmas until I had the complete set including the serving pieces. Over the summer, I began to think that I was missing some forks. I mean, really…there were only 2 of us living here for over 3 months when Sam was deployed, but I noticed that I didn’t have all the forks. I  searched other drawers thinking that someone had put them in the wrong place, and that gave me one of my dessert forks, but the dinner forks are short by 4. Instead of 12, I have only 8. And even the 2-piece child set of spoon and fork that I used with my own children, and carefully saved for my grand babies is now missing the fork. It was not missing the fork 3 months ago! It has to be the borrowers, I tell ya!

One more thing before I share the new recipe for chicken soup. This, ya’ll!!!

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I am beyond excited to have a new little pumpkin join the family in April!!

Ok, now to the recipe. I found this recipe in our local paper a few weeks ago. It is actually supposed to be chicken in a sauce to serve over pasta or rice, but as I read the recipe, I realized that it would make a wonderful creamy chicken soup…and it did!

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces

2 large shallots, chopped

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. heavy cream

1 tsp. minced fresh oregano (I used dried)

1/2 tsp. minced fresh thyme (dried)

1/2 c. cream cheese

1/2 c. finely grated Parmesan cheese

2 c. roughly chopped spinach

1/2 c. chopped tomatoes

In a large pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Sear the chicken for several minutes on each side, or until browned and just barely pink in the center. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Saute the shallots for a few minutes until they start to become tender. Add the broth and bring to a simmer, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in the cream, oregano, and thyme. Heat until the edges of the sauce start to bubble. Stir in the cheeses until they melt. Stir in spinach and tomatoes and lightly simmer until the spinach wilts.

Return the chicken to the pan and allow it to heat through. If soup is too thick, add more chicken broth. If it isn’t creamy enough for you, add more heavy cream. Adjust flavors to your taste with salt and pepper!

 

Low-Carb BBQ Sauce

Yesterday was the hubby’s birthday. He has now caught up to me! I was having trouble deciding what to prepare for dinner last night and finally decided to do something with chicken. One of our grocery stores had chicken breasts on sale, so I was able to get several packages for a great price. Barbecue chicken was sounding pretty good to me.

Since we’ve been trying to eat the Trim Healthy way for over a year now, I have not bought any barbecue sauce. Most of the BBQ sauces on the market today are full of high fructose corn syrup. If you do some research, you will discover that high fructose corn syrup is NOT good for the body!

I did a little web searching and found this recipe that I thought I could work with since I had most of the ingredients on-hand.

I had no unseasoned tomato sauce, but I did have a small can of tomato paste. I mixed it with water to get my tomato sauce. Probably should have used less of it, but it turned out ok.

The recipe also calls for a chicken wing sauce. I asked Sam which of the hot sauces that we have would be the best for this recipe, and he pulled one out for me. He did warn me to be careful and not use a lot since it is very hot. I cut back on the amount, but it was still too hot for me. Thankfully, Tim and the boys don’t mine hot and spicy foods!

For the sweetener, I used a THM friendly truvia instead of Splenda.

Chicken Burritos

This is a wonderfully easy recipe for chicken burritos.  I made it up as I went along after seeing a recipe for fajitas.    It is a great way to use up extra chicken you might have! Sorry that I don’t have a picture…they all got eaten before I remembered to snap a pic!

2 tbsp. olive oil

1 small onion,  minced

1 tsp. minced garlic

1 hot pepper, minced (or more to taste)

3-4 cups cooked chicken in bite-sized pieces

11 oz. can southwestern style corn

1 pkg. taco seasoning

3/4 c. water

1-1/2 c. grated cheddar cheese

6 soft shell tortillas

In a skillet heat the olive oil.  Add the onion, garlic, and hot pepper. Stir and saute until tender.  Add chicken and corn. Stir and cook until chicken is lightly browned.  Add taco seasoning and water.  Stir and cook for about 8 minutes.  Spoon meat mixture onto the tortilla shells. Top with grated cheese and roll up.  Serve with sour cream and salsa.  If you desire, you can also add about 1 c. of black beans to the mixture.

Mediterranean Chicken Skillet Dinner

This skillet dinner is a quick and easy meal to prepare and a great way to use up leftovers which may be in your fridge.  You would think that after a year of having fewer children in my house that I would be used to preparing smaller amounts of food for our meals.  Not so!  I am still over-preparing and find that I have leftovers which no one wants to eat!  I got the idea for this skillet dinner from the bag of a package of wide egg noodles.  As I read the recipe, I realized that I could touch it up with a taste of Mediterranean and use up some leftovers at the same time.  The result was a very tasty dish!  I didn’t measure most of the ingredients, but will try to estimate them here for you.

2-3 tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 bell pepper or hot pepper if you prefer, chopped

3-4 mushrooms, chopped

1 c. cooked broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces

1 tsp. minced garlic

salt and pepper to taste

2 c. chopped, cooked chicken

3 cups cooked egg noodles, drained

1/4 to 1/2  c. raspberry-hazelnut vinaigrette or vinaigrette of your choice

1 c. seasoned fetta cheese

In a large skillet, heat olive oil.  Add onions and peppers and saute until tender.  Add mushroom pieces and cook until tender.  Add broccoli, salt and pepper, chicken and egg noodles.  Cook until heated through.  Add vinaigrette and cook for just a few more minutes.  Stir in fetta cheese.   Serve with a hard-crusted bread.

Like the South Loves Bar-b-Q

Few dishes are as fundamentally southern as barbeque. Spelled a variety of ways (bbq, bar-b-que, bar-b-q), and served for any occasion (parties, cookouts, weddings, even funerals), barbeque is easily the most-consumed summer meal. Don’t quote us, but we’re pretty sure.
BBQ is a great way to use left-over chicken breasts and the recipe we used was fairly simple. Definitely a win-win! Serve it with hamburger or hotdog buns, plain toast, flour tortillas, lettuce, sandwich bread, bagels, etc, etc, etc. Just don’t forget the sweet tea.

B-B-Q Chicken Sandwiches

5-6 chicken breasts, cooked
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-1/4 cups ketchup
1/3 c. cider vinegar
1/3 c. Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 c. brown sugar
2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
8 large sandwich buns

Using 2 forks, shred the chicken into thin pieces (this is the most time consuming part!).

Set aside in large mixing bowl. Pour oil into large skillet. Add the onion and garlic. Cook gently for about 10 minutes or until tender. Add ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, chili powder and cayenne pepper. Stir well; simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally, until slightly thickened.
Pour sauce over the shredded chicken and mix well. Return chicken to skillet and heat through.

 Serve on anything listed above, or get creative. 🙂

Tricky Tuesday

Tuesday is usually the one night of the week when everyone is at the table for dinner. With exams throwing the college kids into a frenzy (hence the lack of posts), I thought at least 3/4 of the family would be eating dinner at home.  Being the thoughtful mom I am, I searched the cookbook for a main dish which would be fun and easy to make, using what was already on hand.  I rarely follow any recipe exactly, but making an extra trip out to the grocery store was out of the question.  I came across  this great chicken with fettuccine recipe which not only sounded delicious, but also included ingredients that I either had or could substitute. Bingo!

Knowing that the boys would have to leave for work shortly after dinner, I planned to have the meal a little early.  I was feeling rather pleased with myself for my resourcefulness and hard work on this meal, when son #1 walked in the kitchen and said, “Bye Mom!”

“Where are you going?” I asked, confused…

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have to go back to campus tonight.”  

OK, well that still leaves half of us, I thought. This incredible culinary achievement would not be entirely wasted..

Around 5:45, son #2 came into the kitchen.  “Bye, Mom, see ya later.”

“And where are YOU going?” I asked, seeing the ratio of family enjoyment to awesome meal quickly shrinking.

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?  I have to go in to work early tonight. Sam is, too.   We’re  meeting Ed by 6:00.”

Time to get my Mom face on.

 “No,” I told him,” can’t you call Ed and change it to 6:30?  I haven’t spent time on this meal for none of you to be here to eat it.”   After a little bit of persuasion, he managed to change the work time and he was glad he did (not just for the sake of his well-being either..)!

Chicken With Fettuccine

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

1 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 tbsp. vegetable oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1/2 cup minced fresh basil or 1 tbsp. dried basil

4 garlic cloves, minced

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

3/4 c. chicken broth

1/2 c. whipping cream or half and half

2 tbsp. dried parsley

2 large tomatoes, diced

1 lb. fettuccine

Flatten chicken to 1/2-inch thickness.  In a skillet, brown chicken on both sides in butter and oil; remove and set aside. In the same skillet, saute onion until tender.  Add basil, garlic, salt, and pepper.  cook and stir for 2-3 minutes. Stir in broth, cream, parsley, and tomatoes.  Return chicken to pan.  Cover and simmer until tender.  Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions; drain.  Place pasta on large serving platter.  Arrange chicken over top of pasta; pour sauce over all.  Serve with garden salad  and enjoy!

My substitutions:  I used about 2 tsp. powdered garlic for the fresh garlic;  1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes instead of fresh tomatoes; and egg noodles instead of fettuccine.  I also thickened the sauce with cornstarch before pouring it over the chicken.