Archive for October, 2010
Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken and Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon and Caramelized Red Onion Dressing
Once I find something I like I try different variations. This is a variation of my recent recipe, Prosciutto and Sage Wrapped Chicken Thighs. Instead of thighs, I used chicken breast, and then stuffed the breasts with herbed goat cheese and spinach. The next time I make this I will include roasted red peppers in the stuffing but did not have any when I originally made this. I love the idea of wrapping things in prosciutto, it provides a great salty addition to the meat and helps to keep the stuffing inside the meat, especially cheese that tends to melt and ooze out. This dish is somewhat labor intensive, but well worth it. I served it along with a Spinach Salad smothered in hot bacon and caramelized red onion dressing. These combined together terrifically and made for a great fall meal. These dishes, served perhaps with another side dish would make for a great dinner party meal. I hope you try this and enjoy it as much as we did.!
Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken
You will need:
- 4 Chicken Breasts
- 12 thin slices of Prosciutto
- 6 0z. herbed goat cheese
- a couple of handfuls of baby spinach
- olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400º. Pat dry the chicken breasts and butterfly them by inserting a sharp knife about halfway through the chicken breast and cutting though the center of the breast. I then used a meat tenderizer and lightly pounded the butterflied chicken breasts so that it was uniform in thickness. Salt and pepper both sides of the breast and then place 1/4 of the spinach leaves and 1/4 of the goat cheese on 1/2 of the breast. Now fold over the other half. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Next, take 3 thin slices of prosciutto and place them along side each other on your work surface, overlapping them slightly. Place one stuffed chicken breast at one end and carefully wrap the breast with the prosciutto slices. Brush the entire wrapped breast with olive oil and place seam side down in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining stuffed breasts and prosciutto. Bake in the oven for about 25-30 minutes, depending on the size of the breasts, and until just cooked through.
While the stuffed chicken is roasting, prepare the Spinach Salad.
Spinach Salad with Hot Bacon and Caramelized Red Onion Dressing
You will need:
- 10-12 oz. fresh spinach or baby spinach
- 1 red onion
- 8 slices of nitrate free thick cut bacon
- 4 hard boiled eggs, sliced
- 6-8 white mushrooms, sliced thinly
- 1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbls. honey (optional)
- salt & pepper to taste
To Prepare the Spinach Salad:
Place the spinach in a large salad bowl along with the sliced hard boiled eggs and sliced mushrooms. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Place the bacon in a skillet and fry until done and the fat renders off. While the bacon is frying, slice the red onion thinly. Remove the cooked bacon and set aside. Add the thinly sliced onion to the hot bacon fat and cook the onions in the bacon fat until soft, about 5 minutes. When the onions have softened and caramelized, add the balsamic vinegar and honey and simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat. Slice the cooked bacon and add to the spinach salad. Pour the hot balsamic and onion mixture over the salad and toss to coat. Divide the salad amongst 4 plates and serve with one Herbed Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast.
The Wisdom of Sage: Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage and Parmesan Smothered Green Beans
While available all year long, the herb Sage is one of those flavors that just reminds me of fall. Its great with roasted meats, vegetables, and of course is a necessity in the kitchen around thanksgiving. Of course, like most herbs, it also is said to have certain health benefits and healing properties. Modern research has shown that sage, while not a panacea, can help reduce excessive perspiration, digestive problems, sore throats, premenstrual cramps, and high blood sugar. Sage is also an active ingredient in some natural mouthwashes because its tannins are thought to help kill the bacteria that cause gingivitis. Sage has traditionally been used to treat canker sores, bleeding gums, sore throat, tonsillitis, and laryngitis. Recent laboratory studies support the use of sage to guard against infection-it has demonstrated an ability to fight against several infection-causing bacteria. Some herbalists and, in Germany physicians, recommend gargling hot sage to soothe pain from sore throat and tonsillitis. Sage has also been linked to improved brain function and has been found successful for treating patients with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s Disease. I say it just tastes good and I’ve created 2 new recipes that I will share with you. I served them together, but this may be sage overload for you. You can serve them together or separately, any way you choose, if you like sage, you will like these recipes a lot.
Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage
For 2-3 servings of this Roasted Chicken Thighs with Prosciutto and Sage, you will need:
- 6 boneless skinless chicken thighs
- 6 wide and thin slices of prosciutto (if the prosciutto is smaller you can overlay 2 pieces)
- Several Stems of fresh sage, leaves removed and stems discarded or saved for other use.
- Olive Oil for brushing
- Salt and pepper to taste
To prepare the chicken, first preheat your oven to 425º. Place one thin slice of prosciutto on a work surface. Scatter torn pieces of the sage on top of the prosciutto. Season one boneless skinless chicken thigh with salt and pepper and place on one end. Roll the chicken thigh in the prosciutto so that the prosciutto overlaps and completely surrounds the chicken thigh. Brush the entire prosciutto wrapped chicken thigh with olive oil and place in a roasting pan or dish. Repeat with the remaining chicken, prosciutto and sage. Bake the chicken in the preheated oven for 25 minutes or until the chicken thigh is cooked through. Remove from oven and serve immediately. You can spoon some of the pan juices over the chicken when serving if you desire.
I placed the chicken thighs on a bed of sliced mushrooms sauted in a little butter and olive oil. I also served this with a side of Smothered Parmesan Green Beans that also incorporates sage. Here’s that recipe.
Smothered Parmesan Green Beans
For 4-6 servings you will need:
- 2 12 oz. bags of frozen frenched green beans
- 2 tbls. butter
- 1 tbls. olive oil
- 4 shallots sliced thinly lengthwise (about 1 cup)
- 2 cloves of garlic minced
- 2/3 cup dry white wine
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup water
- 2 teasp. finely chopped sage
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
To prepare the green beans, heat the butter and olive oil in a 12″ heavy skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and garlic to the hot oil and butter mixture, salt and pepper to taste, and saute for about 5 minutes until shallots are golden. Add wine and boil until reduced by half. Add cream, water, 1/4 teasp. of salt, 1/8 teasp. pepper, and sage and bring to a boil. Add the green beans and simmer, tightly covered until beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Remove liquid and continue to simmer until liquid is thickened, about 5-10 more minutes. Add Parmesan cheese, stir to completely incorporate and serve with the Roasted Chicken Thighs or your favorite roasted chicken or meat.
If you haven’t already figured it out, I love pizza (I considered it a major food group before going primal) and mexican food. I have tried many forms of pizza since going primal and liked them all, but this is one of my favorites. Part of the credit for the success of this recipe has to go to the Primal Matriarch who some time ago posted this recipe for primal cheez-its. I make this delicious crackers all the time. I do have to admit that when I make the crackers I have changed the cooking method a bit which I will explain later. I use a variation of the cheez-it recipe for this taco pizza. I like a thin crispy crust, and 90% of the time I am successful (sometimes the crust turns out a little softer than I like). Experiment yourself to see what works for you. I make the pizza and serve it with a garnish plate that includes fresh made pico de gallo, shredded lettuce and chopped olives and extra taco sauce that you can put on each piece as you eat it. YUMMY! I hope you enjoy it too.
PRIMAL TACO PIZZA
I first make the garnish plate. This can include just about anything you like on tacos. I make fresh pico de gallo, and include shredded lettuce and chopped black olives. Consider also serving fresh chopped onion, cabbage, sour cream and fresh diced jalapeno peppers for a little extra kick. My pico is really easy, I just finely dice a couple of fresh tomatoes (sometimes I use the already diced Rotel Tomatoes if the tomatoes in the market aren’t looking to good), 1/2 red onion, and a large, seeded, jalapeno pepper. I add salt & pepper, a healthy squeeze of fresh lime juice. I then add 2-3 tablespoons of cilantro. I like to make this first to allow the flavors to meld a bit before serving. I prepare the rest of my garnishes so that when the pizza is done, its all ready to go.
To make the pizza, you will need:
- 1/2 recipe of primal cheez-its
- 3/4 – 1 pound of fresh chorizo sausage or taco meat
- 1 cup taco sauce (not salsa)(I use Taco Bell brand because the ingredients are good from a primal standpoint)
- 2 tbls. tomato paste
- 1/2 thinly sliced white or yellow onion
- 1-2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese.
To prepare the pizza you will first need to make the primal cheez-its. The best part of the recipe is that you will also be able to make a batch of the crackers for snacking on later. To make the cheez-its, you will need:
- 2 cups almond meal or blanched almond flour
- 1/2 cup ground flax seed meal
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 3 tbls. oil (I use almond oil but you cn use olive oil or any other of your favorite nut oils)
- 1 1/2 cups finely shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- crushed red pepper flakes (optional if you like it with a bite)
To prepare the cheezit-its you will need a large cookie sheet, 2 pieces of parchment paper the same size as your large cookie sheet and a rolling pin. Preheat the oven to 375º. Now, combine almond meal/flour, flax meal, salt and baking soda. Stir to combine completely. Add cheese and stir to combine again. In a separate bowl beat the eggs and oil together. Add to the dry mixture and stir to combine well. I mostly after a quick stir, use my hands to kind of kneed it all together. Take half of the mixture and place in a zip lock bag and store in the refrigerator. It will last for several days. Take the remaining mixture and place between 2 pieces of parchment paper. Roll out the mixture until its about 1/8″ thick and about the size of your cookie sheet. I like to trim the edges with a pizza cutter as the edges tend to be thinner and will burn. Remove the top layer of parchment paper and trim edges if necessary then place the rolled out dough and bottom parchment paper onto the cookie sheet and bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. keep an eye on it so that it does not burn.
While the crust is baking, brown the chorizo in a skillet. Now combine taco sauce and tomato paste (I use the tomato paste to thicken the sauce so tht it is not to watery and thus won’t make the crust soggy while it bakes) and slice the yellow onion. When the crust is done, take it out of the oven and let it rest for a few minutes. It should crisp up a bit after it rests. When the crust is cooled I like to spray it with my olive oil sprayer to try and keep the sauce from soaking into the crust and making it soggy. I then spread the sauce over the crust, add the chorizo and onions and then spread the shredded cheddar cheeseon top. Place the pizza back in the oven and bake for about 10-15 miunutes until the cheeze is melted, bubbly and slightly browned. If you like it browner turn on the broiler for a few minutes – and Voila -Taco Pizza. slice and serve with garnish.
*Note: when you use the remaining dough to make crackers – roll it out in the same way but before you put it in the oven use a pizza cutter or knife to pre-cut the crackers. When you take them out of the oven they will break apart nicely. I like to take them out after about 15 minutes, break them apart and then put them back in the oven to crisp them up more. I will typically lower the heat to about 325º when I do this. keep an eye on them so that they don’t burn. The crackers around the edge may not need to be put back in the oven. Only put the center pieces back in that still seem to be on the softer side.