Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

These were SO good! I seriously had to give myself a chat about overeating at dinner, because I just wanted to keep eating more of this chicken! Even though it looks and tastes like it took some time to make, this is seriously easy to put together. The original instructions said to grill, but I chose to bake to better contain the cheesy goodness inside the chicken. I also found it easier to just slit the chicken and slather the insides rather than trying to "stuff" them.

6 chicken breasts
1/2 pkg of garlic-and-herb soft cheese (need 3-3.5 oz)
1/4 cup jarred roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
olive oil
salt & pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Put nonstick cooking spray in a 9x13 baking dish.

Mix together cheese, peppers, and basil. Slit each chicken almost in half and put cheese mixture inside. Drizzle chicken with olive oil and season with salt & pepper.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked.

**To freeze: Cover with press-n-seal and foil (or flash freeze each chicken breast and place in gallon freezer bag). Thaw in fridge and bake as directed above.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Cheesy Broccoli Chicken Foil Packets

This was a meal everyone in my family enjoyed, and it was easy to make (and even easier to clean up!). It had such great flavor! I was anticipating the stuffing to take over flavor-wise, but with bacon, broccoli, and ranch so many flavors stood out. My oldest didn't even know there was ranch in it until I told him, so use it even if someone isn't a fan. It just adds great flavor. And of course bacon... it makes everything delicious. :)

1 package chicken-flavor stuffing mix
1-1/4 cup water
6 boneless chicken breast halves (these need to be on the smaller side)
3 cups broccoli florets (I used a small bag frozen florets)
1-1/2 cups cheddar cheese
6 slices bacon, crumbled
6 tbsp ranch dressing
salt & pepper, to taste

Spray six large sheets of foil with nonstick cooking spray. Combine stuffing mix with water. Spoon some stuffing centered onto each foil sheet. Top it with a chicken breast, seasoned with salt & pepper. Top with 1/2 cup broccoli florets. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese and one slice crumbled bacon. Drizzle with 1 tbsp ranch dressing. Bring up the sides and close up foil packet, leaving room for air circulation.

Place on a cookie sheet and bake at 400 for 35-40 minutes.

**To freeze: Freeze each packet separately, then put into gallon freezer bags. Thaw in fridge and follow baking directions above.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Lentil Stew with Bacon

This is one of my favorite stew recipes - easy to make, delicious, and freezes well. I got it from The Scramble, a meal-planning service for which I test recipes. I made it for a friend once and he told me that it was so delicious it knocked his socks off!

1 tbsp olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
3 carrots, thinly sliced
5-6 stalks celery, thinly sliced
8 oz bacon, cut into thin strips
1 bay leaf
1 cup brown or green lentils, rinsed and drained
4 cups water or chicken/veg broth
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)
1/ tsp pepper (or to taste)
2 tbsp red wine (optional)

In a medium to large stockpot, heat oil over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, bacon, and bay leaf and saute them, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes until the onions are translucent.

Add the lentils and the water/broth and bring it to a low boil. Cover and simmer it, stirring occasionally, for about 1 hour and 20 minutes, until the lentils are tender.

Add the salt, pepper, and wine, and simmer it uncovered for about 5 more minutes. Take out the bay leaf and serve.

(If freezing, let it cool and then put in large freezer bag. Lay flat to freeze.)