Friday, January 08, 2010

Resolutions or lack thereof

I never make new years resolutions, mainly because I can't stick to things like that. I can try to stick to something or promise myself something, but I know I won't be able to see it through. Instead I make little resolutions every once in a while like "mmmm, I ate salad this week and now I can eat chocolate" which the following week becomes "oh man, I ate so much chocolate, must eat salad...". I like to reward myself when I'm good. But I've been really really really really bad.

So I got back from Brazil on December 24th. I stepped on the scale January 7th. +9.4lbs since I returned. Oh dear oh dear. But fear not! My excuse is New Years, mama's bday, and eating a whole lot of delicious restaurant food which will continue into this weekend (dinner Friday night at Azul Bistro, brunch Saturday with the family + JP at Churrascaria Plataforma, brunch Sunday with the kiddies at Mercadito for endless guava mimosas, dinner Sunday with JP at Maialino...and that doesn't include the pork butt I have in the fridge and the lasagna rolls I promised to make). So I conclude I ate a lot of salty food and am retaining water and that's at least half that weight. Yogurt + salad when I get back to Paris, but for now, I will enjoy myself.

We had chicken breasts stuffed with ricotta, spinach and mushrooms, along with a side salad tonight, which is my idea of healthy. Not sure how healthy it is, but at least lets pretend! I've been wanted to try stuffing chicken for a while and this was the perfect time to do it.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1/2 cup part skim ricotta
1/2 cup chopped frozen (or fresh) spinach, thawed in the microwave
Handful of cremini mushrooms (lets say 8 small or 6 large), diced finely
1/2 shallot, diced finely
1 clove of garlic, diced finely
Salt and whatever other spices you want

Preheat oven to 400F. Thaw the spinach in the microwave and wring out as much water as you can using a paper towel. I like to put the spinach in a paper towel, making a little bundle, put it in a seive and just press on top of squeeze out the water, otherwise my hands get scalded with hot spinach water...

Put an oven-proof medium-sized pan (if you don't have one its OK) over medium-high heat with a turn of olive oil (thats once around the pan). Dice the shallot and garlic, turn down the heat to medium-low and add to the pan (I used to burn onions and garlic all the time until I realized I just need to turn down the heat...). Sautee for a few minutes until translucent. Add diced cremini and sautee until nicely browned. While the cremini and onions are in the pan (turn the heat off when they're done), pound out your chicken breasts to no more than 1/2 inch thickness. Put the ricotta into a medium sized bowl, add the spinach and mix until incorporated. Add the cremini mixture, salt, and whatever spices you want to use (I used a little cayenne pepper). Mix until incorporated and then add a few squirts of sriracha to taste.

Put the same pan as before on medium-high heat with three turns of olive oil (bottom should be coated). Take the chicken breasts and put a heap of the ricotta spinach mixture into the center (make sure the inside part of the breast is facing up). Fold up the sides and secure each with a toothpick. When the oil is hot, place the chicken bottom side down into the pan and let it pan fry for about 6 - 7 minutes until you see that the sides of the chicken are turning white. Place the pan in the pre-heated oven for about 15 minutes (if you didn't use an oven-proof skillet, you can put the chicken on a baking tray / cookie sheet lined with foil). Serve with a side salad, and don't forget about the toothpicks...

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