Monday, March 22, 2010

Ricotta, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato-Stuffed Chicken and Balsamic Mushrooms

Now that I'm officially a week behind in my blog posts I figured I should start catching up!

By the time Matt and I got up from our nap, after our JFK flight diversion, it was time to make dinner. Luckily I had enough ingredients in the house so that I could make a proper dinner. Our Monday night entree was Ricotta, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato-Stuffed Chicken from Cooking Light, June 2006. For our vegetable we had Balsamic Mushrooms from Martha Stewart Living, June 2007.

While I was making dinner Matt went for a little walk. He came back with a good bottle of wine and a box of chocolates from Beacon Hill Chocolates. I love my man!

Dinner was a lot of work! It's really hard to stuff a chicken breast! I am NOT good at it! In the end my chicken sort of just fell apart with melted stuffing every where. I ended up serving it over a bed of mashed potatoes and topped it with marinara sauce, per the recipe recommendation. The balsamic mushrooms were the opposite of the chicken, easy!

Lauren's review: The chicken was delicious but I wouldn't make it again. It was difficult and messy. The mushrooms were good but a little too salty.
Matt's review: I don't like wilted spinach. The mushrooms were good
Final decision: Trash the chicken recipe but keep the mushroom.

After dinner it was time for chocolates! Yippee! There were two kinds just waiting to be eaten. One was an olive oil, sea salt chocolate truffle which was unexpectedly delicious! The other was a Bailey's Guinness Whiskey chocolate truffle which made me think of heaven! They were so festive too with the Bailey's truffle decorated for St. Patrick's day! Matt's little gift of chocolates made my night!

Ricotta, Spinach & Sun-Dried Tomato-Stuffed Chicken

2 cups boiling water
10 sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
1 1/2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained, and squeezed dry
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
2/3 cup fat-free ricotta cheese
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon black pepper, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
3 quarts water

Combine boiling water and sun-dried tomatoes in a bowl; let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and chop.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion, oregano, and garlic; cook 3 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring occasionally. Add spinach; cook 3 minutes or until liquid almost evaporates. Add tomatoes; cook 1 minute. Place spinach mixture in a bowl; cool 5 minutes. Stir in cheeses, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Slice each breast half lengthwise, cutting to, but not through, other side. Open halves, laying breast flat. Place each breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Sprinkle chicken with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper.

Divide spinach mixture into 4 equal portions; spoon each down center of each breast half, leaving a 1/2-inch border at each end. Fold breast sides over filling.

Place a 2-foot-long sheet of heavy-duty plastic wrap on a work surface with 1 long side hanging over the counter's edge by 2 inches. Place a stuffed breast half, seam side down, on the end farthest from you, and tightly roll the chicken toward you, jelly-roll fashion. Twist the ends in opposite directions to form a cylinder. Tie plastic wrap in tight knots against the chicken on each end. Trim off excess wrap close to the knots. Place a second 2-foot-long sheet of heavy-duty plastic wrap on the work surface; place rolled chicken on wrap, and repeat procedure. Repeat with remaining breast halves.

Bring 3 quarts water to a boil in a large stockpot; add chicken. Simmer 15 minutes (do not boil), turning occasionally. Remove from water, and let stand 10 minutes before unwrapping and cutting into 1/2-inch-thick slices.

Serves 4

Balsamic Mushrooms


1/4 cup olive oil
12 ounces white mushrooms, halved (quartered if large)
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes
Freshly ground pepper

Heat oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, and cook until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, salt, and red-pepper flakes, and season with pepper. Cook 1 minute more. Transfer to a bowl, and serve.

Serves 4

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