Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Foiled Again

If you are wondering what happened to the Feeding My Enthusiasms blog that had lots of baked goods, especially sweet ones, well, it seems that with all the cooking I'm doing for work that there is less baking going on! Check back now and then because there will be some baked goods soon. Actually this post contains a recipe for something baked...baked chicken.

This week I'm cooking at work for three dinners. Usually it is only for one and in the past I've done two dinners when clinic starts, but this week the regular Tuesday dinner is being followed by the Thursday / Friday dinners, with only today in between...and today has been filled with scholarship groups work. When I realized that there were three dinners to make, I had a grand time going through cook books, old magazines and the web looking for just the right things to cook.

For Tuesday I had a request for roasted red potatoes with rosemary and red pepper, so I was looking for an entree that would work well with them. I found a recipe for chicken breasts stuffed with a ricotta and herb mixture, then baked. It sounded just right. I also decided to grill late summer veggies - zucchini, mixed colors of bell peppers, and some crookneck squash, too. I even purchased a Japanese eggplant to grill. (The 'even' is because I don't care for eggplant myself and don't usually cook it either.)

There's a TV show called Modern Marvels which talks about things like plywood and plastic bubble wrap...very informative...but in my book some of the modern marvels to be extolled are kitchen items. One that has gotten a lot of use in the last little while is good old aluminum foil. In this case, heavy duty aluminum foil.

This is were the foil comes in. Let me tell you boys and girls, I used a lot of aluminum foil on Tuesday. The foil kept the cooked chicken warm after it came out of the oven. The foil lined the baking pans that held all of the prepped squash and peppers and eggplant. At first it was for easy and quick cleanup (because I' theory...doing my regular job at the same time I'm cooking, so getting out of the kitchen and back to the office quickly is ideal), but later the foil was a blessing for another reason.

At our house, Sweetie does almost all the grilling. Last week when I mentioned the idea of grilling to my boss, he showed me his gas grill and how to use it....very easy. Unfortunately I discovered after all the squash and peppers and eggplant slices were ready to go on the grill that the grill wasn't working yesterday, so the veggies were cooked under the broiler instead...and the foil made that soooo easy. Didn't have quite the same flavor as grilled veggies, but still quite tasty.

I don't have recipes for the veggies or potatoes; all were cut up, shaken in a plastic bag with some olive oil, laid out on the foil lined pans and sprinkled with salt, pepper and a little garlic salt. The potatoes had the addition of fresh rosemary and diced red pepper added to the bag, so the olive oil coated it all. The potatoes were roasted until done and browned in a 450 degree F. oven. I stirred them well once, about half way through the cooking. The veggies were broiled, turned over about half way through the broiling.

Here is the recipe for the chicken. The chicken really benefited from the cheese and herbs and looked nice when sliced and fanned out, too. This makes a nice entree' for a buffet, too.

From Parties! Menus for Easy Good Times by Melanie Barnard and Brooke Dojny

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Basil Ricotta

1 1/3 cup ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup minced scallions, including green tops
1/3 cup slivered fresh basil
1/3 c chopped parsley
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon nutmeg
12 chicken breast halves, about 6 oz each, boneless, with skin intact
3 tablespoon olive oil
Additional salt & pepper

In a mixing bowl, combine the two cheeses, scallions, basil, parsley, salt, pepper & nutmeg. Mix thoroughly. (Can be prepared 2 days in advance.)

Loosen the skin from 1 side of each chicken breast and insert about 1 ½ T of filling under the skin. Smooth skin around the filling and meat, tucking the 2 ends under to form a rounded dome shape.

Place filled chicken breasts side by side, close together, in an oiled 9 by 13 inch baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate.)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Uncover the chicken and bake in the center of the oven for 35 to 40 minutes, until skin is lightly browned and juices run clear when pierced with a sharp knife Baste once during the cooking time with pan juices. Cool for at least 15 minutes before slicing (Can be baked 2 hours ahead. Hold at cool room temperature.)

Serve warm or at room temperature. Cut each breast crosswise into 3 slices and fan out on a serving platter. Garnish lavishly with basil.


  1. We definitely don't have to only have enthusiasm for sweet foods! Grilled veggies are amazingly good!

    The real "modern marvels" are your gorgeous plates! Can't wait 'til the "someday" when I'm in a house again and have actual dishes!

  2. The chicken is lovely but really I would be happiest with just the potatoes - that's why I'm a potato freak.

  3. i adore these kind of meals. the chicken with the ricotta sounds delightful!

  4. It all sounds so amazing!! (And I'm a foil girl myself - I use it all of the time!)

  5. Anonymous12:15 PM

    The stuffed chicken recipe sounds delish, I'll have to try it.

  6. I'm good with the dinner recipes. This on my husband will even eat. ;)

  7. Who's complaining about missing sweets when the food sounds this good? :)

  8. Looking great as usual! Speaking of scholarships, did I mention that my young cousin got a scholarship to Haveard? She's just started and is naturally very excited.

  9. Tadmack, Wish they wer my plates, too...these are the ones I get to use at work...the doc has very good taste. The grilled veggies WERE delish.

    Tanna, the doc agrees with you! He loves the potatoes best, too.

    Meeta, The stuffing in the chicken is simple, but the green onions really make it special.

    Deborah, Yay for the foil!

    Mrs. L, hope you do try it!

    Peabody, glad I found one that hubby appreciates, too. :)

    Susan, You are right...who needs sweets?

    Anna, Congrats to you and your cousin...Harvard is VERY exciting!