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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quick & Easy Dinner: Goat Cheese and Prosciutto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Here is yet another easy, quick, and relatively light weeknight dinner recipe: chicken breasts stuffed with goat cheese and prosciutto. As with other quick chicken recipes I make, these are with thinly sliced breasts folded over a filling, but you can adapt it to work with full-sized breast halves by slicing into the breast and creating a pocket, then adjusting the cooking time accordingly (and perhaps finishing it in the oven for 10-15 minutes at 350F after sauteing)

Quick & Easy Dinner: Olive and Pimento-Stuffed Chicken Breast

Here is another quick and light weeknight chicken meal: chicken breasts stuffed with pimentos/olives, cheese and bacon.

The original recipe, which I modified a bit, calls for just pimentos. However, I had never bought "just pimentos" before, and didn't have a clue where the supermarket by my house was hiding them. I looked by the olives, which seemed logical, and also by the jars of roasted red peppers, garlic, sundried tomatoes, etc etc and no dice. So I bought a jar of sliced Spanish olives with pimentos (I think this is called "olive salad" sometimes), and this is why there are olives in my pictures. I have since discovered that jars of just pimentos were hiding in the Spanish food aisle, which was probably the only aisle I didn't go down for some reason. I think the recipe was very yummy with the olive/pimento mix, although the taste of olives was strong...and salty. If you don't particularly like green olives, I'd recommend using pimentos only.

Quick & Easy Dinner: Hawaiian Chicken (Light)

I've been trying to cook lighter lately, in a concerted effort to lose weight. Because of my working hours, I've been trying to concentrate on entrees that are not only light, but also quick and easy. Many nights, this means some variation on chicken, because it cooks quickly (especially if you pound it out thin, or buy the breasts that are sliced extra thin).

The great thing about chicken is that it is so versatile -- you can completely change the meal just by changing the sauce and or accompaniments.

This meal, Hawaiian chicken, I modified off of the Cooking Light site. It is a recipe for chicken breasts which have been marinated and basted in a soy sauce-pineapple glaze, and quite easy to put together.  If you are interested in some lighter versions of meals, I suggest giving this site a try. Just make sure to check out the serving size of any recipe you intend to try, because I've noticed that some of the "light" recipes have less fat and calories because the portion size is a lot smaller, not because of adjustments to the recipe. But in most cases, Cooking Light is a great resource, and most of the recipes seem fairly simple and fairly adjustable to your individual tastes.

French Toast Casserole

My friend Allie, of Grover Cookie fame, recently hosted a brunch get-together so that we could all spend some time with her new little man. So I decided that now would be a great time to try one of those overnight breakfast casseroles I keep reading about -- you know, the kind that you assemble the night before, pop in the fridge overnight, and then just pop in the oven the next morning? I read about people who make such casseroles for Christmas morning, because all you do in the morning is bake it, which leaves you free to enjoy Christmas morning with the fam while breakfast takes care of itself. So with visions of being a domestic goddess on Christmas morning dancing in my head, I decided to take one of these breakfast casseroles for a test drive.

There are two main categories of breakfast casseroles that I have encountered: sweet, meaning that it is more along the lines of waffles, pancakes, etc; or savory, meaning it is usually egg based, with meat, cheese and occasionally potatoes. Since eggs were already on the menu, I decided to save an egg-based casserole for another time, and concentrate on the sweet, in this case, a French Toast Casserole recipe modified from Paula Deen.

It has very simple ingredients: eggs, cream, milk, vanilla, sugar, cinnamon and nutmeg, all assembled the night before, and the recipe also calls for a wonderful pecan praline topping that you sprinkle on right before baking. It is, essentially, a French Toast bread pudding.