Monday, July 9, 2012

Florentine Stuffed Chicken & Menu Post

I don't know about you, but this month is filled with mini weekend getaways and vacation time.  What better way to enjoy summer?  It is not very often that my husband and I get to enjoy these trips.  I am looking forward to every moment!  But, it does make menu planning a bit more difficult.  With all of the warm weather, no one wants to heat the kitchen.  We are also making fewer trips to the grocery store because we are not needing as many items in the fridge.  So, I am relying on pantry staples and freezer items that we always have on hand while freshening them up with the bountiful available summer produce.

My menu looks like this:

Sunday 7/8           Florentine Stuffed Chicken with Polenta and Tomato Salad

Monday 7/9         Slow Cooker Lentil Stuffed Peppers with Garlic Bread

Tuesday 7/10       Left-overs

Wednesday 7/11 Muffuletta Salads with Grilled Potatoes

Thursday 7/12     Left-overs

Groceries and items you will need:

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 container deli ham
1 container deli turkey pastrami
4 roma tomatoes
4 green peppers
4 small Russet potatoes
1 onion
1 bunch celery
1 bag carrots
1 bag romaine lettuce
1 gluten-free baguette or regular baguette
1 bag brown rice or rice of your choice
1 bag lentils
1 can diced tomatoes
1 jar spaghetti sauce
1 jar Italian pickled vegetables
1 jar green olive
1 can black olives
1 bottle fat-free or light Italian salad dressing
1 box frozen spinach
2% shredded mozzarella cheese
1 block Swiss cheese
8 oz. light cream cheese
Olive oil
Garlic powder

Last night's meal utilized frozen chicken breast, stuffed with cream cheese and spinach, and served over creamy Parmesan polenta.  The entree was accompanied by a side of fresh tomatoes dressed with a little basil, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.

This meal was put together quickly and easily, but was an elegant meal for two that could have been made any night of the week.

Florentine Stuffed Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup frozen spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
2 oz. light cream cheese
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Drizzle of olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste

With paper towels, pat the chicken dry.  Cut a 2 inch slit into the side of each chicken breast to form a pocket and set the chicken aside.

In a small dish, combine the spinach, cream cheese, and garlic powder.  Add salt and pepper to taste.  Stir until smooth.  Using a small spoon, stuff one half of the mixture into one of the chicken breasts and secure the slit with a toothpick so the cheese does not melt out of the chicken breast while it cooks.  Repeat with the other chicken breast.  Season both pieces of chicken with salt and pepper and set aside.

Heat a non-stick skillet over medium heat.  Drizzle the olive oil into the skillet and add the chicken breasts.  Cook for 5 to 6 minutes and turn.  Cook another 5 to 6 minutes on the other side or until the chicken is cooked through.  I used a meat thermometer to be on the safe side and cooked my chicken until the thermometer read 165 degrees.  You can serve the chicken over polenta, mashed potatoes, or on its own.

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