Italian Stuffed Chicken

I pretty much love anything stuffed. Stuffed animals, stuffed mushrooms, stuffing at Thanksgiving, etc. And I love meat stuffed with other things. Keeps it so moist and makes it so much more flavorful! Without really having to work very hard.

I saw the original recipe here – at Maestro Recipes. It was a little vague but allows for you to personalize it to your liking. I found a jar of chopped kalamata olives, Brent’s favorite, and used them for the stuffing.
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Here is my recipe, and you can easily alter it to your preferences.

Ingredients
4 Boneless Chicken Breasts
1-2 Tbsp of Chopped olives or tapenade
2 Tbsp of Sundried tomatoes (optional)
Minced Garlic or Garlic Powder
Italian Seasoning
4 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 tomatoes (thinly sliced)
Salt and Pepper
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Directions:
Mix the olives, sundried tomatoes, and whatever else you choose into the softened cream cheese. Add some garlic or garlic powder to your liking, and Italian seasoning. Mx well and set aside.

Preheat the oven to 425. Take the chicken and cut a slit down one of the long sides to make a pocket. Put a quarter of the mixture into the chicken. Stuff all the breasts, then salt and pepper the tops. Lay the tomato slices across the top and drizzle some EVOO over them right before popping it in the oven. Bake for 25-30 minutes (depending on how thick the chicken breasts are).
Each Stuffed Chicken Breast has about 5 carbs.
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I roasted some broccoli to have with it, and made a cheese sauce to make it a little more appealing for the kids.

Cheese Sauce
2 Tbsp Butter
2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
3 Tbsp water
4 ounces cheese (I used mozzarella for broccoli, but any cheese you like is fine!)
1/2 tsp Salt

Melt the butter in a saucepan, then add the heavy cream and water. Whisk to mix and then add in the cheese. Sliced, cubed, or shredded all melts the same. Whisk until melted and add a Tbsp of water at a time to get the consistency you prefer. Per quarter cup, this has 1 carb per serving.

Everyone ate ALL of their dinner, including Truett who also at about half of my leftovers for lunch today. Hadley even ate her broccoli, and Truett ate some of his. I was actually proud that he just put it in his mouth! The fact that he chewed and swallowed a couple of pieces was amazing. He is in a no vegetable phase at the moment, unless I hide it or disguise it as something else (Pepperoni Pizza Casserole).

Today we are going to the gym, a play date, lunch, and then home for naps while I finish the cake topper for Hadley’s birthday cake. Then maybe a little pool time if I can swing it before having to start on tonight’s dinner, Chile Relleno Casserole!!

Pepperoni Pizza Casserole

Yes, you read that right. And maybe you’ve seen this recipe circulating Pinterest, but I just saw it two days ago, and I made it last night for dinner. It was from I Breathe I’m Hungry.

She starts with steaming the cauliflower, and then pureeing it in the food processor with cheese and pepperoni. This was easy and delicious, but instead of pureeing the entire head of cauliflower, I only did about half, and left the other half in florets. I placed them in the baking dish and poured the puree over it, then cheese, black olives, and pepperoni. It was soooooo good. Really cured my pizza craving! And to be honest, easier than cauliflower crust pizza. You could make this with any and all toppings. Next time I will definitely add in some italian sausage, or even ricotta as well. The options are endless. I may have to make two, because I could eat this every day for lunch and feel like I’m getting pizza, as well as my husband, the “Pizza Purist” who only likes pepperoni and cheese pizza. Did I mention both kids cleaned their plates and had no idea they were eating cauliflower? After Hadley was done, I asked her if she knew what her dinner was and she said, “pizza!”. Yes, I told her, but what was in it? She had no idea, and when I told her cauliflower she made this face like, are you kidding me? But she loved it!

Original recipe is from www.ibreatheimhungry.com and I’ve added my changes!
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Ingredients

For the Puree
  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 Tbsp Heavy Cream
  • 1 Tbsp Butter
  • 8 slices pepperoni
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste

For the Casserole

  • 1/2 large head of cauliflower
  • sliced pepperoni
  • sliced black olives
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Instructions

For the Puree
  • Clean and trim the cauliflower, breaking it into medium sized pieces. Place in a microwave safe bowl with 2 Tbl of cream and 1 Tbl of butter. Microwave, uncovered, on high for 10 minutes. Stir to coat cauliflower with cream/butter mixture. Microwave for another six minutes on high (or until tender.) Remove from the microwave and put into a high speed blender or food processor along with the 8 slices of pepperoni and 1/4 cup mozzarella cheese. Puree until smooth. Season with salt and pepper to taste. You can adjust the cream and butter to your preference for consistency (I added a few more Tbsp of cream and 1 Tbsp of butter).

For the Casserole

  • Place the cauliflower florets into an 8 x 8 oven proof casserole dish.
  • Spread the cauliflower puree over the florets. Cover with 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, and layer with olives, pepperoni and toppings of choice. Bake at 375 degrees (F) for about 20 minutes. Alternatively you could microwave this for 5 minutes. Serve hot.

Notes

Approximate nutrition info per serving: 207 calories, 15g fat, 4.75g net carbs, 10g protein

 

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Please make this! I’m telling you, your kids and husband will thank you, as well as you will know that you are making them eat so many vegetables and they have no idea! It is a tricky game, and you’ll win! We also topped ours with a few spoonfuls of warm marinara. Like I said, next time (next week??) I am going to add some ricotta, italian sausage, basil, who knows what else, and it is going to be amazing. I love how cauliflower is so versatile!! Let me know if you make it and how it turns out!

Turkey Burgers with Avocado Aioli

Let me just tell you that Hadley has asked if we could have these burgers for dinner every night since I made them. If that doesn’t tell you how good they are, I don’t know what will! They were so.stinkin.good. Seriously.

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Ingredients:
Hamburger buns or big lettuce leaves
1 lb Ground Turkey
1 ripe avocado
1 Tbsp Sour Cream
1 Tbsp Mayo
1 Tbsp fresh lime juice
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/3 c chopped seeded tomato
Salt and Pepper
Alfalfa Sprouts

Directions:
Place half of the avocado in the bowl and mash it as if you were making guacamole. Add the sour cream, mayo, lime juice, cumin and garlic powder and stir to combine. Dice the other half of the avocado and add it in, but don’t mash it. Then add the tomato and salt and stir gently. You could add in cilantro or a jalapeño here if you wanted as well.

After making the turkey patties, sprinkle them with salt and pepper. Cook the turkey patties on the grill or however you like to cook your burgers. Toast the buns for about a minute on the grill as well.

Place sprouts on the bottom of your bun (or lettuce leaf) and lay your turkey patty on top. Load it with a quarter of the Avocado mixture and the other half of your bun. I am also the mom that serves broccoli with burgers, but it was delicious and there were no leftovers.

I made mine with large lettuce leaves, and it was just so amazingly good. Light and summery, but different than our regular old burgers. Although, this might become our regular old burger!!!

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Stuffed Chicken Bacon Bites

For years I have been making this chicken dish, and it has always been one of my favorites. As my kids are getting a little older, and I really dislike making the same dishes continuously (even though I feel like I do), I have been trying to get creative with presentation so they don’t get picky or bored. Normally I pound out chicken breasts, stuff them with cream cheese and green chiles, wrap them in bacon and grill them. No matter how you slice it, these are delicious. So last night I decided to slice the breasts into tenders, and make mini “bite size” versions of these in hopes that the kids would have fun with it. I also used a fresh poblano pepper instead of green chiles or jalapeños, just to change it up. They have no heat to them, and have a really yummy flavor.

I sliced up the pepper into strips and set them on a plate. Then I put a big dollop of cream cheese on the plate, then I took bacon slices and cut them in thirds and put them on the same plate. I put the chicken breasts in a plastic bag and pounded them until they were about a half inch thick. Cut them into about 6 tenders each. Grab one, spread some cream cheese on it, lay a pepper on that, fold it over and wrap it in a slice of the bacon. This is where I realized I was out of toothpicks. Make sure you have toothpicks. Instead, I pulled out the big metal shishkabob skewers and decided to stack them up. I made 12 little poppers and put them on 3 skewers. I also realized I was out of charcoal for the grill. It’s fun cooking with me, isn’t it?? On goes the oven, to about 400. I layed the skewers in a baking dish, drizzled them lightly with EVOO and sprinkled them with the ever so versatile, Cavenders Greek Seasoning. I cooked them for about 20 minutes, and then turned on the broiler to crisp up the bacon.
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While these were cooking I boiled some cauliflower, drained it and set it aside. Then I made a cheese sauce with a little half and half and some cheddar cheese. I poured it over the cauliflower, sprinkled it with mozzarella and put it in the oven to melt while the bacon was crisping.
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Do you know what it’s like to have your kids eat their cauliflower before any other item on their plate? Neither did I – until last night. They loved it! Besides their chicken they also got grapes, and still finished the cauliflower first. Needless to say, I will be making that often. They cleaned their plates and my almost four year old told me that’s the only way she wanted to eat chicken anymore. Ha! Brent said he preferred the poblano peppers to the others I have used before.

The whole meal was easy and turned out delicious, and once again there are no leftovers. Super low carb, and low calorie depending on how much cheese you put into your cauliflower. But hey, it’s better than macaroni! For me, the smaller chicken bites really helped me control my portion size better. Normally I would eat a whole small chicken breast with lots of stuffing and probably 2 slices of bacon wrapped around it. I had 4 pieces, which would be 2/3 of one of these breasts, less than an ounce of cream cheese, and only 1 and 1/3 slices of bacon. Crazy, but it looked like more food, and was actually less. And I definitely didn’t need anymore.

Hope you like it!

Cucumber Salad on a Warm Summer Night

Yesterday was a “Get-back-in-the-swing-of-things” kind of day. After my family coming up to visit a few days last week and then going down to Texas for 4 days, I was super unmotivated and tired. It is so daunting to have all of your “vacation laundry” to do, on top of the normal everyday stuff. I had to get to the gym, because I really didn’t want to. Those are usually the days I need it the most. I did feel pretty good afterwards, and I enjoy starting my day feeling productive after a good workout. It sets the tone for the rest of my afternoon to get things done and stay in a good mood.

After my workout the kids and I headed to one of my favorite sandwich shops, Jimmy John’s! It was their first visit, so I had a #12 Unwich (Low Carb) and they split a turkey sandwich. I also picked one up for Brent and ran it over to his office for him, since he was having a really busy day. I really like the Unwich option for any sandwich, not only does it cut all the calories and carbs from the bread, but it still has all the flavor and deliciousness of a sandwich. An Unwich is basically your sandwich wrapped in its lettuce, rather than on bread. YUM.
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I brought the kids home afterwards and they took fantastic naps, which was not a big surprise as they are both still exhausted from our trip. I showered and started working on my grocery list, which includes planning a weekly menu, and usually takes me about an hour.

This weeks menu:
Grilled Chicken with Cucumber Salad
Spaghetti Squash with Meatballs and Marinara
Chicken Bacon Poppers and Grilled Broccoli
Shrimp and Avocado Salad
Pesto Apple Chicken with Roasted Cauliflower

I usually only plan 5 meals per week, because inevitably one night we will decide to eat out, and one night we will do leftovers.

Last night I grabbed two of the chicken breasts and seasoned them up for the grill, and since it was so warm out I knew Brent would rather have a cold side than a hot one. I had seen a cucumber salad recipe on Pinterest, so I thought I would try that. It has a little greek flare to it, which I love. And it is very light and summery, it could go with almost any protein.
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Cucumber Salad

2 large cucmbers
1/3 cup of sour cream or Fage Greek Yogurt
2 Tbsp of dried dill
2 Tbsp of Lemon juice
Garlic powder to taste
Salt and Pepper to taste

Slice the cucumbers in half longways, and then use a mandolin to slice them very thin. Set aside.
Mix all the remaining ingredients together in a bowl and whisk or stir until smooth. Pour over the cucumbers and combine well. Serve immediately or chill in the fridge.

This turned out great and we actually topped it with some kalamata olives. It would also be good with some feta sprinkled on top.

This was a great low carb summer dinner that my husband loved! My kids ate up the cucumber salad too! I would definitely take that to a barbecue… Maybe that means its time to have one!

Do you have a favorite summer dinner?