Category Archives for "Recipes"

November 7, 2009

Cooking with Connie: Pizza Stuffed Chicken

I don’t know one kid who doesn’t love pizza.  Our family has “pizza & a movie” every Friday night.  We usually make our own pizza, sometimes we bake a frozen pizza, and occasionally we’ll order out.  Pizza is so popular because of the perfection of the flavors.  The perfect crust, spicy sauce, cheeses and toppings make for a unique hand-held meal that we all love.  My family loves pizza so much, I wanted to create other meals with the same classic flavors of pizza.  My friend, Kristin, created a pizza casserole that layers the classic baked spaghetti with pepperoni slices.  I loved this concept, so I turned the flavors into a stuffed chicken.  The beauty of this method is the versatility of the ingredients.  The pepperoni can be substituted and other fillings added; and you’ll create a whole new taste.  Try olives, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, any of your favorite pizza toppings.  Just stuff them in the chicken to create your family’s own Pizza-Stuffed Chicken.

Pizza-Stuffed Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)

salt, pepper, Italian seasoning

8 (1-2 inch) pepperoni slices

4 slices mozzarella cheese

1/2 c. chicken breader

2 T. butter, melted

1/2 c. bread crumbs

4-6 T. Pizza sauce, divided

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Fresh chopped parsley

Place each breast between 2 sheets of waxed paper or place in a gallon-size storage bag without sealing.  Use a meat mallet to pound each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness.  Remove waxed paper and sprinkle each breast with salt & pepper and Italian seasoning, 1-2 slices of pepperoni, and 1 slice of cheese.  Fold top of chicken breast over pepperoni & cheese; fold in edges and roll.  Roll each stuffed breast in chicken breader; dip in melted butter and roll in bread crumbs.  Place seam side down on a plate; cover and chill for several hours or overnight.  Place on prepared rack on broiler pan; top each stuffed breast with pizza sauce and parmesan cheese.  Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 17-20 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Top baked chicken with fresh chopped parsley.

October 31, 2009

Cooking with Connie: Apple-Cornbread Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Apple-Cornbread Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Stuffing Your Breasts will get Quite a Reaction!

Now that I have your attention…let’s talk about boneless, skinless chicken breasts.  This meat is quite easy to prepare, as there is virtually no trimming or cleaning involved.  It is a lean cut and there are many, many ways to cook the breasts.  However, they can be pricey, especially when you are looking to cut down on your grocery bill. This Apple-Cornbread Stuffed Chicken Breasts recipe is so delicious. Makes for a nice chance from the average chicken dish but so easy to make!

It is prudent to stock up when these treasures are on sale at the grocery store.  They freeze well up to 9 months.  A great tip: Thaw boneless, skinless chicken breasts naturally, not in the microwave.  We’ve all tried to rush the process in the microwave and ended up cooking the edges of the breasts turning them rubbery and yucky.  Place frozen breasts in a dish and let them thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Another tip is to cook just until done and avoid over-cooking, as that robs the chicken of its juiciness and tenderness.

In order to Make the Most Out of Every Meal, I used leftover cornbread and a bruised apple to make an Apple-Cornbread Stuffing for butterflied chicken breasts.  Sounds fancy and complicated, but it’s easy to throw together and has a sweet flavor (so kids will like it).  Perfect for fall, this dish is pretty enough to serve to guests.  Serve with sauteed green beans and butternut squash for a tasty, fall meal.

Apple-Cornbread Stuffed Chicken Breasts


1 lb. Boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 c. cornbread, crumbled

2-3 T apple juice

½ Granny Smith apple, diced

2 T maple syrup or honey

1 ½ T brown sugar

1 T Dijon mustard

½ T maple syrup

Butterfly chicken breasts by splitting them in half horizontally, cutting them almost, but not all the way, through.  Then, open each breast flat to create a “pocket”.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper and set aside.  In a medium bowl, combine cornbread and next 3 ingredients until the mixture forms a stuffing.  In a small bowl, combine the brown sugar and next 2 ingredients; set aside.  Divide the cornbread stuffing equally among the chicken breasts and fold each breast over.  Place the stuffed breasts in a prepared baking dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Pour brown sugar glaze over stuffed breasts.  Bake in a 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

This post is linked at The Sassy Saver. Hop on over to her site for ideas on a Season of Cooking!

October 24, 2009

Classic Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

Classic Chicken Tetrazzini Recipe

Spaghetti is one of America’s favorite go-to dinners.  The next time you are planning to serve spaghetti, cook an extra half-pound of pasta to use for Chicken Tetrazzini. Use leftover roasted chicken, and all you have to do is toss the ingredients together and bake.  It’s so easy: You could serve spaghetti & meatballs one night, roasted chicken the next night, and Chicken Tetrazzini on the third night.  You’ve saved time and money just by planning a few nights of meals.Continue reading

October 17, 2009

Cooking with Connie: Chicken "n" Dumplings

Making every MEAL count!

Fall means Comfort Food…Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

Once the weather starts to get a little cooler, I want comfort food.  Soups, stews, chowders, warm, cozy, and hearty meals that remind me of crisp fall evenings.  With the burning leaves, football games, warm sweaters, sweet scents of cinnamon and nutmeg…fall is absolutely my favorite season.  The harvest is over, and it’s time to cozy-up inside with loved ones.

One of my favorite fall stew recipes is Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings.  This dish reminds me of being a little girl in my grandma’s kitchen.  She would spread newspaper on the floor, give me a flour sifter and some flour, and let me “help” her sift the flour for her remarkable dumplings.  I would sift and sift and sift some more while feeling very helpful and important in her kitchen.

I make three different versions of dumplings, depending on how much time I have and what ingredients I need to use up.  The easiest dumpling is actually cut-up flour tortillas.  I also make a drop biscuit dumpling and a dumpling that I roll out and cut into 1-inch strips.  Either of these dumplings could be added to any boiling stew.   Just pick which one appeals to you and your family.  You can’t beat Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings for a heart-warming fall stew.  A green salad rounds out his homey meal.

Chicken ‘n’ Dumplings

½ c. onion, chopped
1 c. carrots, diced
½ c. celery, diced
2 c. cooked, chopped chicken (use leftovers from Orange Roasted Chicken)
2 ½ c. chicken broth
1 t. chicken bouillon (or one chicken bouillon cube)
½ t. rotisserie seasoning
1/4 t. dried, crushed thyme
1/4 t. salt

In large saucepan, saute onion, carrots, and celery in 1-2 T. Olive oil over medium-high heat until onions are transparent.  Add remaining ingredients, stir, and bring to a boil.  Cover, reduce heat and simmer 25-30 minutes.  Increase heat to boiling before adding dumplings.

Easy Dumplings

8-10 flour tortillas, cut into 1-inch strips

Add to boiling stew, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Top with 1 T. Fresh chopped parsley before serving, if desired.

Drop Dumplings

½ c. flour
3/4 t. baking powder
3 T milk
1 T canola oil
1 T. Chopped fresh parsley
dash rotisserie seasoning
dash salt

Mix flour and baking powder together, add remaining ingredients and stir until dough forms.  Drop by heaping teaspoons into boiling stew.  Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer about 10 minutes or until dumplings are cooked through.  Top with 1 T. Fresh chopped parsley before serving, if desired.

Country-Style Dumplings

2 c. all-purpose flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. salt
1/3 c. cold butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c. chicken broth

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.  Cut in butter with a pastry blender until mixture is crumbly.  Add chicken broth, stirring with a fork just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead lightly 1 minute.  Roll dough to 1/8-inch thickness; cut dough into 2-inch squares or 2- x 1-inch strips.  Drop dumplings one at a time into boiling stew.  Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25 to 30 minutes.  Top with 1 T. Fresh chopped parsley before serving, if desired.

October 10, 2009

Orange Roasted Chicken Recipe

 Orange Roasted Chicken Recipe

Orange Roasted Chicken Recipe

This week’s Orange Roasted Chicken Recipe uses a meat thermometer, citrus zester, and an oven roasting bag.  You may never have used a meat thermometer, but I always use mine to make sure meats are cooked to the proper internal temperature.   A citrus zester is a small tool that you lightly drag across the peel of citrus fruits to shave off that wonderfully fragrant and tasty zest.  You could also use a microplane by grating the fruit across the edge as you would a cheese grater.  Oven roasting bags trap steam which keeps the meat moist and tender.  Of course, you can use a roasting pan and cover with aluminum foil, but roasting bags make clean-up quick and easy.  If you use a roasting pan, you will need to baste the chicken half-way through baking.Continue reading

October 3, 2009

Classic Enchiladas Recipe

Classic Enchiladas Recipe

As Dora the Explorer would say… “Enchiladas Super Bien Sabrosas”

My cousin’s favorite food is Mexican.  So when she and her girls came over to visit on a week night, I wanted to serve Mexican.  I didn’t want to spend a lot, but I wanted the classic Mexican flavors.  I decided to use cooked beef from a roast in enchiladas rather than the more popular ground beef.  I only had 1 cup of leftover beef, so I added rice and black beans to stretch it and make more classic enchiladas.  I have to say…my cousin and her husband lived in San Diego for awhile and enjoyed delicious and authentic Mexican food while living there.  I even visited once, and we ate in a restaurant where I had the best guacamole I’ve ever eaten.  So, I was nervous about even attempting Mexican food to serve to them.  But, the dish was a success.  Even the kids ate it!  I would have liked it to be a little spicier.  So, I’ve included in the recipe optional ingredients and variations that will add a little kick, if you prefer.  The chipotle pepper will add a smokey-heat flavor and the green chilies will be a milder spicy flavor.Continue reading