The problem with having a food blog is that people always expect good food from you. When I visited B, his numerous male roommates were waiting for “Chef Uy’s gourmet cooking.” I needed to make something good for Le Chateau Advanced Degree” (also known as Le CAD). Yes, they named their apartment that.
Well, I was limited to whatever was in B’s kitchen – chicken breast – because is this Texas girl going out in -30 degree F Chicago weather to buy groceries? Nope nope nope.
Granted, later in the week, my crisis for dark chocolate did prompt me to venture into the blizzard, but I digress.
The cold is something I really need to consider when applying for residency. When I arrived at B’s new apartment, no one was home because everyone was at work. I was freezing, but I couldn’t get in because 1) I thought mat which he hid the key under was frozen solid so I kicked it futilely for 15 minutes 2) when I finally got the key, the door wouldn’t open because it was frozen shut. Alas, B was in the operating room, so my pleas for help went unanswered.
In desperation for shelter, I hid nonchalantly at a nearby CVS drugstore (oh yes, er, I always carry a fat red luggage with me when buying beauty products). B finally got out of the OR and told me to breathe on the door to warm it up. I kid you not, that did the trick.
I decided I don’t want to live in a place where I have to breath hot air on the door to enter.
I adapted this beautiful stuffed chicken breast recipe from Jo Cooks. It has very basic ingredients, yet is stylish enough for company dinner. I don’t have a meat mallet, but a banging the meat with a ladle works perfectly fine (the neighbors, on the otherhand, might not think you’re fine). Pounding the meat makes it very even and thin so you can roll it easily, so don’t skimp in this step.
No need to venture into the blizzard for fine dining when one can relax in the comforts of Le Chateau Advanced Degree.
2 boneless chicken breast halves
¼ cup neufchatel or cream cheese (I used light)
4 thin slices bacon
2 tbsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes or peppers
handful basil leaves
2 tbsp olive oil
paprika, to taste
salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 F degrees.
Pound the chicken breasts (meat mallet or back of a pan/ladle) until even, about 1/2 inch in thickness. Season all over with paprika, salt and pepper to taste. Spread the cheese on each chicken breast. Top with basil leaves, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes /peppers on each breast.
Carefully roll up the breasts and secure with toothpicks (with the seam side up). Brown the chicken in a skillet over the stove top with olive oil. Roll the chicken using the toothpicks to brown the tops and sides (if you want, you can remove toothpicks to brown the bottom). Place skillet in oven and bake chicken for an additional 20-30 minutes, until cooked. Broil for 5 min to get a nice golden brown.
Remove chicken from oven. On a cutting board, slice each chicken breasts or you can serve as a whole piece.