Zucchini Stuffed Chicken

We’re trying to use just the food we have on hand this week because this is a poor week for us. Yes, we live paycheck to paycheck and have tight weeks, budget-wise. I realize how bad that is financially.

I admit to not being creative in the kitchen. I pulled some frozen boneless skinless chicken breasts and some shredded zucchini out of the freezer and tried to find a recipe to fit that.

After searching through about six books, I finally found a recipe. It’s from a church cookbook that’s been so well used that the cover and first 12 pages have disappeared and don’t know what church it’s from anymore. The recipe is courtesy of Mrs. Wm. Nussbaum. Bless her soul, I have no idea who she is but I’m sure she’s long gone from this earth. I’ve made other recipes of hers and they are delicious.

I made Zucchini Stuffed Chicken tonight for supper. It was actually a hit with K. Big surprise because he does not like vegetables especially zucchini. I was okay with it. It didn’t knock my socks off. Don’t get me wrong. It was good but if I can find something with veggies in it that my family will eat, it will be made again.

I wish I had a picture to post but my camera seems to have been misplaced. It’s not the prettiest meal anyway so maybe it’s better if you use your imagination. I’m not one of those food bloggers with beautiful tableware and a pretty kitchen to take photos of anyway.

I also made Maple Butterscotch Brownies tonight. Good but I have to tweak the baking time and temp before I can post it on here.

Zucchini Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients

3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley or 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
2 cups shredded zucchini
3 slices bread, torn into coarse crumbs (I just zipped it about in my food processor)
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever you have on hand)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper or a bit more if you like things with pepper
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts

In skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Sauté onion, parsley and basil until onion is tender. Add zucchini and cook 2 minutes longer. Remove from heat; stir in bread crumbs, egg, cheese, salt and pepper. Slice the breasts lengthwise on one side about 3/4 way in so it makes a pocket. Stuff each breast with the zucchini mixture and place in a greased 9 x 13 x 2 inch pan. Bake at 375* for 45-55 minutes or until juices run clear.

(I adapted this from a recipe that used bone-in breasts with skin. If you use those, stuff filling underneath skin and bake 50-60 minutes or until juices run clear.)

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Homemade Bread

I am trying to learn to make homemade bread to save us some money. The bread is turning out very tasty but I can’t slice it worth a darn. I have some that are the size of normal store-bought slices and others that are like Texas toast. Then there are the weirdos that start out thin on the top and slowly get thicker and thicker towards the bottom. It looks like a kindergartner sliced them.

I really want to purchase one of these but I don’t know if I can justify the $60 price tag. I will probably save up for it.

I’m hoping someday to switch to making whole wheat bread but it was hard enough switching my family over to homemade white bread.

I’ve put my recipe below. I combined a few recipes and adjusted the directions so I could mix it in my KitchenAid mixer.

Homemade White Bread

Ingredients

3 cups warm water
2 Tbsps yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp salt
9 cups flour

Directions

I use a KitchenAid mixer to make the dough. Rinse mixer bowl with hot water. Place 3 cups warm water in mixer bowl. I gauge the temperature with my wrist. It should feel a bit warmer than a baby’s bathwater.

Sprinkle yeast and sugar in water. Wait 5 minutes. The yeast should be foamy and bubbly. Add oil and salt and give it a quick mix. Add flour.

Using dough hook, let mixer knead dough for 7 to 10 minutes on 1st speed. When done kneading, cover bowl with clean cloth and let rise for about 1 hour.

When done rising, use dough hook to punch down and knead for a few minutes to get air bubbles out.

Cut dough into 3 parts and shape into loaves. Place into greased loaf pans and let rise for 1/2 an hour.

When dough is almost done rising, preheat oven to 350*.

Bake loaves for 30 to 35 minutes. They should make a hollow sound when you tap on them.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooker Pea Soup (or how, once again, I show my husband how much I love him)

Back during my childhood, my mother made pea soup quite often. Everyone loved it and asked for seconds and thirds. Everyone but me. The first few times it was served, I sat at the table until bedtime because I threw big hissy fits. Finally, my parents gave up trying to get me to eat it and just fed me a peanut butter sandwich on pea soup nights.

Before you comment on my parents’ abuse of me (by using the you can’t leave the table until you eat rule), it was the mid-eighties. I wasn’t abused. I was one of nine kids. My mother was not a short order cook. I grew up very well adjusted.

My entire family knows how much I hate pea soup. K loves it. He has asked multiple times for me to make it. I always refused. The idea of making then eating something that looked like vomit repulses me.

I came home last night and just decided to make it since we had ham and dried peas on hand. See how much I love K. It was just like his Mother’s chicken soup recipe. I hate it but since I love K, I made it.

Here’s the recipe.

Slow Cooker Pea Soup

1 medium onion, diced
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 lb bag dried peas, rinsed
1 large russet potato, diced
3 carrots, diced
2 ribs celery, diced
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
1 Tbsp parsley flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
7-8 cups diced ham
6-8 cups broth (I used chicken)

Sauté onions in olive until just soft. Layer ingredients in slow cooker. Cook on low for 8 hours. Remove bay leaf before serving. If it is too thick for you, add more broth until it reaches desired consistency.

I had to omit somethings and substitute others because I decided to make this at 9:00 last night.
I didn’t have any celery on hand so that was left out. My big jar of garlic disappeared from the fridge so I just sprinkled some garlic powder in it. There was also no chicken bouillon so I just used plain water.

The ham was given to us by somebody. It was the best ham ever. I could have eaten the whole chunk of it. The cats were at my feet begging for a piece while I diced it up. I may have given in to their demands. I’ll never tell.

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I’m embarrassed that my kitchen floor is dirty. But better the floor than the surface I prepare or serve the food on.

Here’s a picture of some of the ingredients.

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Here’s what it looked like after everything was in the slow cooker.

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When K’s alarm went off at 5:30, it smelled so good. He took some to work and hasn’t come back home yet so I don’t know what his opinion is.

This is what the finished product looked like.

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I tried it when I got home from work this morning. I was very surprised but I really liked it. I guess I finally found a recipe I liked. I just had to add just a little bit more salt and pepper to it.

I know what you will say. That just because I didn’t like pea soup as a child, my tastes could have changed as an adult and I could like it. I did try a handful of different pea soups over the last five years or so. I did not like any of those recipes.

Just awaiting K’s opinion for the final verdict, but I think this will be served again in our house.