Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stuffed Chicken in a Lemon-Wine Sauce with Vegetable Risotto

A few years ago I got into risotto. I mean, really, really into risotto.
Mr. Not Your Bubbe's Kitchen would often come home from work, and there I
would be, by our stove in our small kitchen apartment in Somerville, MA stirring away. He never once said, "Risotto, again?" Although, he did sometimes say "Chicken Piccata...again?!" so I took the clue and laid off the lemony chicken deliciousness for a bit.

Fast forward to marriage, new home, a husband and wife team who often like to cook together, and big awesome kitchen...and I had that craving for a light and healthy risotto once again. I also had a craving for some lemony chicken...but wanted to try something new- something not so piccata like (I mean, I really make it a lot)- but I still wanted something that had a bit of some lemony flavor. After browsing the interwebs, I found this stuffed chicken recipe that I switched up just a bit. And just to give credit where credit is due, the base of my risotto recipe was originally adapted from this Ellie Krieger recipe.

So, get your stirring arm out, a glass of white wine (hey, you'll need it for the recipes, anyway), and have your husband, wife, friend, sister, brother, mother, father, children- whoever ready to be your sous chef!

Vegetable Risotto with Spinach, Yellow Squash, and Grape Tomatoes
What you need:
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
1 medium chopped yellow onion
1.5 cups Arborio rice
3 cups lower sodium chicken broth
3 cups water
1/2 cup Sauvignon Blanc
2 cups sliced grape tomatoes
3 cups baby spinach, chopped roughly
1 yellow squash, diced
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

How to make it (skip the gym on risotto days, you get a work out from stirring!):

Bring the broth and water mixture to a simmer in a saucepan.
While this is warming up, in another saucepan, heat up the oil on low/medium heat.
When the oil is warm and ready, add the chopped onion and cook until almost transparent, about 5 minutes.
Next, you want to toss all of the rice in the pot. Stir constantly for one minute.
Add that adult grape juice (that's wine, everybody) and let it simmer, continuing to stir until the wine is absorbed, roughly 1 minute.
Here's where you stir and stir and stir. You want to start by adding 3/4 cup of the hot broth, the salt and a few grinds of fresh pepper and simmer, yes, still stirring, until broth is absorbed into the rice.
Always waiting until the last 3/4 cup of broth is absorbed, you want to continue simmering and adding 3/4 cup of broth at a time. It is done when all the broth is gone, the risotto looks thick, rich, and creamy; Ellie says this takes about 18 minutes. I find it takes me a little longer.
Now you want to add the chopped spinach, diced squash, and sliced tomatoes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese, and you can alter the seasoning (more salt and pepper, etc) if you need to here.

Here's the facts for this dish, which serves about 6 (great for leftovers!):
Serving Size: Give or take, 2/3-1 cup

Amount per Serving

Calories 256
Calories from Fat 27.5
Total Fat 3.06g
Saturated Fat 0.89g
Cholesterol 3.33mg
Sodium 403.69mg
Total Carbohydrate 45.55g
Dietary Fiber 2.99g
Sugars 5.46g
Protein 6.59g

Next, for the stuffed chicken!
What you need:

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (about 4 ounces each, pounded to 1/4" thickness). Thank goodness for Mr. Not Your Bubbe's Kitchen. He's darn good at this.

For the stuffing:
1 cup baby spinach, chopped
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
3 slices turkey bacon
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/8 cup (ish) of egg beaters

How you make the stuffing:
Cook the spinach until it is wilted. Next, mix all the stuffing ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Here's where you could potentially utilize your sous chef! Have them place some of the stuff in the middle of each chicken breast. They'll then want to roll this quite tightly. Now, you (yes you), go grab some kitchen twine. No twine? No problem. You can hold the stuffed chicken with some tooth picks. Your sous chef (or you) will need to wrap the twine on the ends of the chicken breast to hold the roll together.

Meanwhile, while someone, anyone is rolling and pinning the chicken breasts together, heat 1/2 tsp-1 tsp of olive oil in a frying pan.
Place each stuffed breast in the fry pan over medium/high heat for about 3 minutes per side until each side is nice and browned.
When all sides are browned, lower the heat, and place a cover over the frying pan for about 5 minutes to ensure the chicken gets cooked. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan and let them rest for a few minutes.

Next, for the sauciness!
You'll need the following:
1/2 cup of Sauvignon Blanc
1/2 cup lower sodium chicken broth
1-2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
couple cranks of black pepper
cornstarch, as needed.

Watch how easy this is:
Combine the wine and stock in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and reduce to a sauce-like consistency (a few minutes on high heat will do the trick). Whisk in the mustard, lemon juice, and season with salt and pepper. Thicken with cornstarch if you so desire!

Plate your risotto and stuffed chicken on a plate. Spoon your lemony sauce over the chicken (heck, it works over the risotto, too!). Wow your guests.

The facts for the Chicken Breast:

Serving Size: About 4 ounces

Amount per Serving

Calories 110
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 2.5g
Saturated Fat .5g
Cholesterol 65mg
Sodium 120mg
Total Carbohydrate 0
Dietary Fiber 0
Sugars 0
Protein 23g

For the stuffing:

Serving Size: About 1/2 cup

Amount per Serving

Calories 81
Calories from Fat 51.8
Total Fat 5.75g
Saturated Fat 2.75g
Cholesterol 23.75mg
Sodium 323.44mg
Total Carbohydrate 2.31g
Dietary Fiber 0.13g
Sugars 1.63g
Protein 5.75g
For the Lemon-Wine Sauce
Serving Size: About 1/4 cup

Amount per Serving

Calories 27
Calories from Fat 1.2
Total Fat 0.13g
Saturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 155.89mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.76g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 0.17g
Protein 0.24g

Monday, July 12, 2010

Artichoke and Basil Pesto

Here's a delightfully easy pesto recipe (well, all are easy), that is mighty tasty and can be used in a plethora of ways!

For instance, you could shmeer it on some garlic bread.
You could thin it out a bit (just use a bit more olive oil) and use it as a pasta sauce!
Or perhaps you just want to dip some veggies in it?
Or maybe you want to just eat it on a cracker?

What ever you choose, this is so simple and good for you, too.

What you need:
About a cup (two handfuls) of big basil leaves
1 can of artichoke hearts (about 8-9 hearts)
2 cloves of garlic
1/8 cup of pine nuts
1/2 tsp kosher salt
4 tbsp of Parmesan/Romano blend (the stuff in the cannister is fine; ideally you buy a mostly natural- e.g. you can pronounce the ingredients!)
1/8 cup of part skim ricotta cheese
A couple cranks of ground black pepper
1 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil

How you do it (so easy!):
Take food processor.
Take all ingredients, except for oil, and toss them in the food processor.
Pulse about 10 times until all are well blended together.
Next, with the food processor running, slowly add the tablespoon of oil.
Consistency will be thick, not too runny, such that this is more of a dip or a spread than a sauce.

Now, we froze half of this-so when I get my I want fresh pesto craving- all I have to do is open the freezer door. Plus, it makes a good amount, and there are only two of us!

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 tbsp

Amount per Serving

Calories 32
Calories from Fat 20.3
Total Fat 2.25g
Saturated Fat 0.54g
Cholesterol 1.88mg
Sodium 110.83mg
Total Carbohydrate 1.59g
Dietary Fiber 0.47g
Sugars 0.42g
Protein 1.05g