Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Last week I overdid it on red meat. I had lamb chops, a burger, kubbeh, and steak (and probably more that I can’t really remember). I’m pretty sure I had red meat at least once everyday for the entire week.

Generally, for health and preventing high cholesterol reasons, I limit my red meat intake to twice a week – three times max. But last week was a little out of the ordinary meal-wise. While I’m all about free lunches at work, it’s hard to keep track of what I’m eating when I’m hovering outside of a conference room waiting for leftovers and will honestly be willing to awkwardly stand outside the door of a concluding meeting for leftover Roti –it’s that good. I’m thinking I might have had red meat for lunch and dinner on some days.

In an effort to make things right and detox, somewhat, I’ve planned this week’s menu to include chicken, vegetarian meals and fish. That should right my system for a while.

Chicken can get boring – trust me, I know. So to add some flavor to the dinner table, I whipped up Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken. The bake time is a little long, but that just gives you [read as me] some time to sort through the mail.

 

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Recipe 

Ingredients

4 Chicken Breasts
2 cups Italian Style Breadcrumbs
1 large Egg
1 cup All-Purpose Flour
1 cup Frozen Chopped Broccoli
4 slices American Cheese
4 Slices Swiss Cheese

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F
Set aside 3 separate bowls: one with the flour, one with the whisked egg and a teaspoon of water, and one with the breadcrumbs and set aside
Slit the chicken breasts down the middle, the long way, as to butterfly each filet
Place the butterflied chicken between saran wrap and pound until thinned out, repeat with the rest of the filets
Place the filet on a flat working surface (I used a cutting board) layer 1 slice of Swiss cheese and 1 slice of American cheese, fold like a taco and spoon he broccoli in the folded space
Roll up the cheese and place at the top corner of the chicken breast, them roll up the chicken, cheese and broccoli together, and secure with toothpicks
Dip the rolled chicken in the flour, then the egg wash, then the breadcrumbs
Place on a greased baking sheet, seam side down
Repeat with the other chicken
Bake for 30-40 minutes

 

Servings: 4

 

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Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Strawberry Glaze

Lemon Poppyseed Cake_2

The weather is finally getting beautiful here in DC, which only means one thing… Cherry Blossoms. A gift from the Japanese in 1912 as a token of friendship between the two countries, these beautiful flowers bloom for only as long as 14 days, usually around the end of March/beginning of April. Since my birthday falls on April 4, and I’ve grown up in the DC area, I am absolutely convinced that they bloom just for me!

DC holds an annual Cherry Blossom Festival with tons of activities for all ages. It’s pretty packed, and tourists come from all over the country to see the trees in all their glory. That’s probably why it’s been a couple years since I’ve been down to the Tidal Basin to see the Cherry Blossoms — growing up around here, you find out quickly when tourist season begins and avoid all tourist attractions like the plague. But this year, I wasn’t going to let early spring go by without my photo opp. [Photos of my adventures below]

Note to those who want to avoid the crowds: try to get downtown on the weekend before the crowds descend … 7:30am, at the latest.

So in celebration of everything pink and flowery, I’ve whipped up a light Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Strawberry Glaze.

 

Lemon Poppy Seed Cake with Strawberry Glaze Recipe

Ingredients

3 Tablespoons Poppy Seeds
Juice of 3 large Lemons (roughly 1/3 cup)
1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter, softened
2 cups Granulated Sugar
4 Eggs
3 cups All-Purpose Flour
½ teaspoon Baking Powder
¼ teaspoon Salt
1 cup Milk
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
 
For the Glaze
1/3 cup Strawberries, quartered
Lemon Juice (from concentrate)
1 cup Confectioner’s Sugar

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F
In a large bowl add all the dry ingredients; flour, sugar, poppy seeds, baking powder, and salt
Add in the eggs, milk, vanilla extract, butter and lemon juice and beat until mixed well
Pour into two greased 9 inch baking pans (or one greased bunt pan)
Bake for 40 minutes
In the meantime, heat the quartered strawberries in a small saucepan with a couple drops of concentrated lemon juice until soft
Using a strainer, puree the strawberries into a small bowl so that you’re only getting the pink liquid
Slowly add in confectioner’s sugar and concentrated lemon juice, whisking constantly until the consistency thickens
Pour over cooled cake for best results

 

Servings: 20

Nutrition Information: Cals 285. Carbs 42g. Fat 11g.

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Garlic Rosemary Lamb Chops

Lamb Chops 2

Simplicity is so underrated.

When it comes to cooking, the less steps, the better. At least in my personal opinion. Roasted lamb chops sounds pretty complicated, but in fact, it isn’t. I’m telling you, your friends and family will be so impressed when you bring out this elegant-looking dish. They’ll have no idea that it was actually easier to whip up than some of your side dishes.

So keep it simple with this easy rack of lamb and a couple of your favorite side dishes.

Need ideas? Try out my Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil SaladParmesan Popovers, Arugula Almond Salad, or Parmesan Asparagus.

 

Garlic Rosemary Lamb Chops Recipe

Ingredients

2 lbs Lamb Chops
¼ cup fresh Rosemary Leaves
7 Cloves Garlic, peeled
3 tablespoons Olive Oil
½ teaspoon Cumin
Sea Salt, to taste

Directions

In a mini food processor combine the garlic and rosemary and process until finely chopped
In a large boil, mix together 2 tablespoons olive oil, rosemary, garlic, cumin and salt
Toss the lamb chops and marinate for 30 minutes to an hour
Preheat the oven to 400 F
In a large oven-proof skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil
Carefully place the lamb chops in the skillet and sear for abour 3 minutes on each side, until there is no pink on the surface
Place the skillet in the oven and bake for 20 minutes, more medium-well.
Serve warm.

 

Servings: 4

Nutrition Information: Cals 228. Carbs 2g. Fat 21g.

 

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Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

It’s the first day of spring! Finally. It certainly feels like spring today with the sun shining and temperatures inching up to 60 F.  With warmer weather we’re reminded that we’ll be peeling off our layers and trying to fit into our short shorts in a couple months. I, for one, realize how pale this extra long winter has made me and how badly I need to get back to the gym to work off the nice layer of fat I’ve accumulated to keep me warm (or so I rationalize).

So I’ve started spring off right – with 3 slices of pizza for lunch – balancing it all out with a hearty salad for dinner (I’m not going to even mention the two Lindt chocolate truffles I snacked on). I really do love salads in the spring a summer. They’re light and filling, as long as you add some protein.

I was sitting in the Doctor’s office waiting room a couple weeks ago and I came across a Food and Wine magazine with a really appetizing recipe for Cauliflower salad. Naturally, I took a photo of the recipe with my phone and recreated my version of it tonight.

 

Adapted from Food and Wine

Roasted Cauliflower and Lentil Salad

Ingredients

½  cup Raw Almonds
¼ cup Raw Pine Nuts
1 cup Green Lentils
1 head of Cauliflower, cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch florets
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
½  teaspoon Ground Cumin
¼ teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
¼ teaspoon Ground Ginger
Pinch of Cayenne
Salt, to taste
3 tablespoons Tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
½  Small Red Onion, sliced into long pieces
4 cups Baby Spinach

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F
Spread the almonds and pine nuts in a baking pan and toas for 10 minutes
Let the nuts cool and then coarsely chop the almonds
Increase the oven temperature to 425F
Rinse the lentils, drain and place in a saucepan
Add 2 cups of water and bring to a boil, then simmer for 20 minutes
Drain well and allow to cool
In a large rimmed baking sheet, toss the cauliflower with the 1/4 cup of olive oil and the cumin, cinnamon, ginger and cayenne; season with salt
Roast for 20 minutes, turning, until the cauliflower after 10 minutes
Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whisk the tahini with the lemon juice, the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of water until smooth
Add the lentils and salt to taste, then toss to coat
Add the roasted cauliflower, stir carefully
Add the nuts, onion and spinach
Toss the salad and serve

Servings: 6

Nutrition Information: Cals 397. Carbs Carbs 31g. Fat 25g. Protein 17g.

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Irish Soda Bread

Irish Soda Bread

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

I’m not even 1% Irish, but I love anything worth celebrating. And hey, why not! The DC Metro area is currently covered in snow. Yes, Mid-March and spring doesn’t seem to be anywhere in sight (minus the gorgeous 65F day we had on Saturday). Though the federal government is closed for the day, I threw on my favorite pair of jeans, a comfortable top and topped the festive look off with a green headband, then got to baking.

The last time I had great Irish Soda Bread was while I was getting my master’s degree up at Syracuse. Much like today, it was snowing. Which is not an unusual occurrence at Syracuse, as it snowed pretty much everyday from October through April – you know, with lake effect snow causing much inconvenience to anyone not from Central New York.

That year, we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day at an Irish Pub – I can’t remember the name, but I do remember they had a teeny leprechaun-sized phone booth, bench and even door to get into the pub.

My Photo-1

It had to be the craziest, busiest day to go there, but it was so worth it. My best memory was the soda bread. Lucky for me, I found an easy recipe for Irish Soda Bread.

Adapted from here

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

Ingredients

3 tablespoons Unsalted butter, Softened and cut into 3 squares
2 ½ cups Flour
2 tablespoons Sugar
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
½ teaspoon Salt
¾ – 1 Cup Buttermilk

Directions

Heat oven to 375F.
In a large bowl add four, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt
Add the butter and mix by criss-crossing two knives until it becomes fine crumbs
Add buttermilk and stir until the mixture becomes dough
Knead the dough into a large ball and place on a greased cookie sheet
Cut at X shape through the dough
Bake for 40 minutes

 

Serve with butter.

 

Servings: 8

Nutrition Information: Cals 187. Carbs 32g. Fat 5g.

 

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Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

Cedar Plank Salmon

65 F degrees mid-February … yes please!

I cannot tell you how much I’ve missed the spring. As one of my friends, Ruby, has told me, I get inspired when the weather is nice – that is, any day above 60 F and sunny. And she is absolutely right. That’s why the minute I found out we’d be having a gorgeous 65 F degree day, I planned a low-key afternoon BBQ complete with my favorite Crab Parmesan Dip, burgers, garlic yogurt marinated chicken and cedar plank salmon.

At family BBQs it’s usually my brother that takes over the grilling. He inherited the grilling responsibilities from my dad. But with my brother away at college, I took it upon myself to learn the ways of the grill. Let’s just say, when I asked for help picking up charcoal and the clerk asked what kind of grill I needed it for, I looked at him blankly and proceeded to call my brother up. And let’s also note that it took three girls to actually light the charcoal. Great group effort! Despite the minor hurdles, we got the grill going and I served up a feast.

Cedar Plank Salmon_2

 

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon Recipe

Ingredients

One cedar plank
1 lb Salmon filet
1 tablespoon Fresh Dill, chopped
1 tablespoon of your favorite fish spice [ I used a seafood seasoning we had in the cupboard]
1 lemon, sliced into thin slices for garnish

Directions

Soak the cedar plank for an hour before grilling
After soaking, Place the salmon filet on the cedar plank
Sprinkle with seafood spice and dill
Place the lemons on top of the salmon
Once you’ve started the grill, place the cedar plank directly on the metal grill rack
Cover the grill, but leave the ventilation open, so as not to put out the fire
Grill for 15-20 minutes, until cooked through
Serve warm

 

Servings: 2

Nutrition Information: 168 Cals. 5g Fat. 29g Protein.

 

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