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Chicken Breast Roll-ups

I am home from vacation and ready to get back into my kitchen. How I have missed it. I am tired of processed junk food. I am ready for a home cooked meal. I think that Mr. Crumbs is ready too. He purchased a Cooking Light magazine for me at the airport. He stated that there are a lot of recipes in here that look really good. I think that he is tired of eating out EVERY DAY as well. This week we are dedicating our menu to Cooking Light.  Our dinners each night this week are recipes or variations of a recipe from Cooking Light September 2010. Sunday we both sat down at the table, looked through the magazine, together (believe it or not Mr. Crumbs helps out quite a bit in the decision and prepartion of our meals), and decided that the Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts on page 96 was the meal we were going to start out our week with.

The recipe looked easy and stated that it would be ready in 40 minutes. That is not too bad. Well the night we were going to prepare this meal turned out too hectic and our schedules did not allow it. Since the chicken was thawed I figured why not go ahead and stuff them and prepare it for the following night. The filling was easy enough, even though I was out of Feta (oh the drama, no feta in the house). I found a bar of high quality (kidding) store brand Monterey Jack cheese and shredded to substitute for the Feta. The recipe also recommends to cut a slit in the chicken breasts to form a pouch and insert the stuffing. I had a little extra time on my hands.  I decided to butterfly the chicken, pound it out, add the stuffing, and roll them up securing with kitchen string. It worked well. I then set them on a plate and refrigerated until the next evening. The recipe does not call for this, but it added another layer of flavor to the dish.

Mr. Crumbs says that this dish is a keeper. The chicken was moist, juicy, and tender. The side of couscous was flavorful as well, the dried cranberries and raisins I added were a nice touch. The mushrooms were an added extra that the recipe did not call for, but I had a plethora in the fridge and decided to throw them in to the final baking step.  Omit or add whatever flavor combinations that will suite your tastes. And as always, make this recipe yours.

STUFFED CHICKEN BREASTS (adapted from Cooking Light)

8 oz. chopped spinach
1/2 c. feta cheese (or whatever cheese may tickle your fancy at the moment)
2 Tbsp. pine nuts, toasted
1 tsp. fresh thyme, minced
2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cloves of garlic, minced
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 c. chicken broth
8 oz. fresh mushrooms, quartered

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat a large nonstick oven proof skillet over a med-high heat. Add spinich until it starts to wilt. Remove and squeeze out excess moisture. Wipe pan clean. Combine spinach, cheese, nuts, thyme, lemon, and garlic.  Cut a horizontal slipt through the thickest portion of the each breast to form a pocket. (This is the part I butterflied and rolled up). Stuff with 3Tbs of filling into each pocket. Secure with picks (as in toothpicks) or kitchen string. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper (at this point I covered and refrigerated my rollups until the following day).  
Heat oil in pan over med-high heat. Add chicken, cook for 3 mins on each side, until brown. Add broth and mushrooms cover pan, and place in oven. Bake for 15 minutes until done.

Cranberry and Raisin Couscous

1c. couscous
2 tsp. olive oil
1c. water
1/4c. dried cranberries and raisins (mixed)
1/4c. fresh parsley, chopped
salt and pepper

Heat oil over a med-high heat in a saucepan, add the couscous and toast for 2 minutes. Add water and fruit, cover, and reduce heat to med-low. Cook 5 minutes until water is absorbed and grains are heated through. Add the parsley, salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork. Serve.


Banana Fro Yo

It has been amazingly hot this summer. Cool treats are the "IN" thing right now. I had stumbled across this post from Gena at Choosing Raw and thought that it sounded interesting. It was easy, cool, and refreshing; not to mention healthy. Yes, I said healthy (it is a good thing). She stated in her post that this is not really a recipe and she is right. It is more of a process than anything. Anyway, I wanted to share it with you, because of the simplicity of this.

Last night I decided to try it out. I handed a dish to Mr. Crumbs and at first he said "This isn't popcorn." I replied "Popcorn?" He said "Yes, I thought that you were making me popcorn." Let me explained that popcorn was never a conversation topic last night. My response to him was "Sorry, no popcorn. Instead we are having Banana Frozen Yogurt." His response "Oh, that sounds good too." He ate it and was amazed. He asked where I got banana frozen yogurt. I told him that I made it and explained the process. The process is taking frozen banans and putting them in a food processor, pulsing to break up the bananas, scraping down the sides and then giving the bananas a whirl until they become a frozen soft serve icecream consistancy. He was like "Really? I could do that." I replied "Yes, you can!" There you have it, if Mr. Crumbs thinks that he can do it, then you can.

Here is Gena's post from Choosing Raw, I encourage everyone to check out her site, she has interesting recipes and lots of words of wisdom. She lives a semi-raw and vegan lifestyle, but please do not be discouraged by this. She has a lot of information to share and presents it in a sublte but effective way.