Monday, April 5, 2010

Spring Break Means Time to Try New Recipes

The saying goes, and I can't argue, that the best part of teaching is summer vacation. Well, I'm here to tell you that spring break is a close second! Today we got to sleep in, go out to breakfast with family, and even hit a matinee at the cheap theater. I can already tell that going back to work next week is going to be tough!
One of the things I am most looking forward to is the opportunity to try new recipes- something I don't always have time for during the school year.
The recipe I experimented with today I'll admit was born out of pure food snobbery. A few months ago I decided to try stuffed chicken breast from Trader Joe's. Being that I am a huge fan of Trader Joe's and find even their pre-prepared food great (it passes both the real and good test of my food snobbery) I had complete confidence that the stuffed chicken breast would surpass my expectations. I was sorely disappointed. Not only did the meat come out dry, the whole thing was bland and rather flavorless. I knew I could make it better.
And just to show you how well my husband knows me, when I announced that I was making stuffed chicken breast with cornbread stuffing for dinner, the first thing he asked was, "Are you trying to prove you can make it better than Trader Joe's?" I was caught, but in the was definitely better!
In order to stuff the chicken I cut the top of the breast length-wise and then again the other direction to form a cross. I then cut back each of the corners created by the cross cut, in order to stuff the chicken. Before stuffing I seasoned it with olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh Rosemary.

I'm usually not a fan of packaged stuffing, but Trader Joe's does have a good cornbread stuffing mix. I used this to stuff the chicken, adding cranberries to give it additional flavor. After stuffing each breast, I filled the rest of the pan with the leftover stuffing and baked at 350 for about 40 minutes.

The other new recipe I tried tonight was Quick Zucchini Saute. I got this recipe from the the blog Smitten Kitchen, which is quickly becoming one of my favorites. The thing I love about this recipe is how absolutely simple it is. All you need to do is brown thinly sliced almonds in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. After cutting Zucchini into 1/8 inch matchsticks, add to the almonds and saute for one minute only. The result is an easy and delicious vegetable side dish!

One day of break down and two new recipes tried- I'll keep you posted on anything else I come up with this week!

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