It’s a snow day in Atlanta, and I am kicking myself. I’ve been pretty sure since Monday when I noticed the weather forecast that I would be working from home today. Why didn’t I pick a recipe earlier in the week so that I could get the ingredients from the store and cook a new dish today? Probably still recovering from some PTSD with making all of those Pot Stickers last week. Ah well, at least I have some time to research my books for future blog posts now that I have finished working for the day.
On a side note- what is going on with the weather in the south? The first week of December we got 10 inches in Marietta. 10 INCHES. Metro Atlanta is not made for that. And now, we have like an inch of ice. What is this, Vermont? Anyway…
While I totally blew it on having something to cook from one of my books today, I am fully prepared to make what my sister in law Claire says is my best dish: stuffed chicken. I don’t remember how I initially came up with this recipe. But, since she is currently living with us, and we are all inside for the day, that is what we are having for dinner. I still remember the first time I made this for her, I served it with green beans and cheddar bay biscuits. After she tried the chicken, she looked at my husband and said “What did you marry?” Not who. What.
Speaking of cheddar bay biscuits, I should probably come clean about something. Claire – if you are reading this – I did not steal the recipe from Red Lobster. You can buy it in a box at Publix. You’re welcome.
So, to make up for that. Here it is Claire:
Alliey’s Stuffed Chicken
4 chicken breasts (slightly on the thicker side)
2 containers chive cream cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
¼ cup thawed frozen spinach, chopped.
Onion powder (optional)
Garlic powder (optional)
3-4 tablespoons of butter (softened)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Take your two chicken breasts.
Cut chicken breasts in half across the width of the breast so as to create two triangle-shaped halves from each chicken breast.
Then with a sharp paring knife, create a pocket in each of the chicken breast halves by inserting the knife into the middle of chicken breast and cutting gently in either direction. Try to not break through the chicken completely.
(If you prefer, you can butterfly each of the four chicken breasts. However, I find that this method prevents the majority of the stuffing from melting out of the chicken during baking)
In a bowl, mix together the chive cream cheese, mozzarella, and spinach. Add garlic powder and onion powder to taste. Once mixed, take roughly 1-2 tablespoons of the mixture and insert it into the pockets of the chicken breast. Use toothpicks to seal the openings. Warm a skillet/ pan on the stove over medium high heat. Zest the lemon. Take the lemon zest and combine it with 3-4 tablespoons of butter. Once combined, spread it over the outsides of the chicken. Brown the stuffed chicken pieces on each side for 2-3 minutes/ side then place in a casserole dish. Once all chicken has been browned, add the lemon butter from the skillet over top of the chicken. Bake uncovered for 25-30 minutes or until the chicken is cooked through. Squeeze juice from lemon on top of chicken as they come out of the oven.
Even though it is eight chicken breast halves, we hardly every can just eat one half. If you are cooking for two however, cutting the ingredients in half works just fine. Also – since everyone reading this knows I am not a professional chef, I have never quite gotten the proportions down quite right with the mixture. When I am making 4 whole (8 half) chicken breasts, I usually make the proportions listed above with 2 cream cheese, etc. But I always have significant amounts left over.
However, when I make with just one tub of cream cheese, it just doesn’t quite go far enough. I find that I can usually make the above listed ingredients for 4 chicken breasts, and save the remainder for just Will and myself a week later.
I usually serve this with some sort of baked vegetable. Tonight we are having asparagus and preparing for yet another snow day here in metro Atlanta. Looks like everything will be closed tomorrow as well.
So far through this project I have enjoyed the cooking (and the eating, let’s face it) extremely. However, my inner marketer is starting to twitch over this website. Why oh why did I choose a platform I have NO experience with. I build websites all the time. In fact, it’s a very large portion of my day job. Why didn’t I pick a platform I had used before?? I have no answers to these questions. The other day I was making some adjustments and lost all my comments from my first few blog posts!! I had so many comments and support from you all, it was very discouraging to lose them. I also learned from one of my biggest fans – hi mom – that one of the emails that went out to my subscribers had a link that didn’t actually take her to the blog post! Luckily, I think both of these issues are fixed. All this to say, stick with me guys. I’ll continue to try and make this an enjoyable process.