Tuscan Stuffed Chicken

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First disclaimer: this dish perhaps cannot be called “Tuscan” in a strict sense of the word. What is Tuscan cooking specifically, as opposed to our sanitized American version of Italian food? I’m not totally sure. Frances Maye’s fabulous Under the Tuscan Sun would have me believe…not this.

This dinner originated from one of those, “I have a lot of random in the fridge – what can I do?” kind of moments that make cooking so great. And what I found was that the earthy flavors of the mushroom, combined with the bloomy blue cheese (or bleu cheese, if you’re into pretentious spelling) and the garlicky sauce all combine to make a hearty dish that recalls long days hiking the hills, sun warmed cobblestone streets, and un bicchiere di vino at the end of the day.

What do true Tuscan people eat? I have no idea. What I ate in Tuscany (pizza/pasta/wine/repeat) is not sustainable for a nice long life, unlike this dish I’m about to share. But there is something about this dish – it’s rusticity, it’s simplicity – that makes me think (or hope?) that calling it Tuscan isn’t too far off the mark.

TUSCAN STUFFED CHICKEN (serves four)

Ingredients:

. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

. 2 tablespoons each feta cheese and blue cheese

. 1 large handful of fresh spinach, chopped or chiffonaded

. 1/2 cup chopped cremini mushrooms

. 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

. 1/2 cup red wine

. 1 jar of prepared marinara sauce OR equivalent amount of homemade sauce

. EVOO, salt and pepper

. Optional add-ins: dried shallots, sun-dried tomatoes, glug of balsamic vinegar, red pepper flakes

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Instructions:

1. Pre-heat the oven to 425, then coat the bottom of a glass pan or baking dish with EVOO and a little bit of marinara sauce. Just cover the bottom so the chicken won’t stick.

2. In a mixing bowl, combine the feta, blue cheese, mushrooms, spinach, Italian seasoning and any of the add-in ingredients you’d like. Cover everything with 1/2 cup of marinara sauce and a small glug of EVOO. Mix well until it’s all combined.

3. Prep the chicken by trimming any fat and making two slits down the middle. I cut mine all the way through so the stuffing mix can really cook in.

Prepped chicken breasts

4. Lay the chicken in a pan and stuff away!

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5. Layer extra stuffing mixture on top. The cheese will melt in and the spinach will wilt nicely, so don’t be dainty about it – use it all, as the top photo shows.

6. Cover the pan with more sauce (you can be more or less saucy based on personal preference) and then add some red wine over the top and around the sides. The wine gives it a subtle depth not unlike chicken marsala, though less heavy handed.

7. Bake at 425 for 30 minutes covered, then the final 10 uncovered. If the liquid in the bottom is bubbling and the chickens are simmering slightly, you’ll know you’re done.

8. Serve over a bed of quinoa, brown rice, pasta, or just eat!

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Weekly Menu: July 28

Royal Blue on Regent St

{Royal Blue on Regent Street – From last week’s adventure to London!}

With summer, pool days, the wedding and a trip to Hawaii all coming up, Le Fiance and I have started to have more serious conversations about health and fitness. Not just our usual, which is like, “We totally shouldn’t eat these cookies, NOM NOM NOM.” And then we maybe run around the block once. No! We are getting serious over here.  WE WILL NOT EAT YOUR COOKIES NOSIREE!

I even resisted putting this on the menu for this week, which I feel both brave and sad about, for obvious reasons. I mean seriously: read this recipe, then tell yourself no, and then tell me you don’t feel a little sad about it.

Because of all this health and fitness business, this week shall henceforth be known as the week of greens and protein. We actually eat like this most of the time anyway, for the record. We don’t buy processed foods or things that can only be cooked in the microwave. We don’t even have a microwave, like the rogue hippies you’d expect us to be. BUT! Ohhh but. And it’s a big but (ha!) Our love for ice-cream and homemade baked goods and wine knows no bounds. Especially me (wine) and especially when I’m traveling. So this week is about getting some bounds. I’ll let you know how it goes…

Monday – Seared filet mignon + homemade chimichurri and sweet potato wedges
Tuesday – Stuffed Tuscan Chicken (recipe coming up next week!)
Wednesday – Baked fish + brussels, carrots, tomatoes
Thursday – One pot faro with tomatoes +  jalapeño sausages
What are you eating this week?

Pool Side!

Pool Side!

We are fortunate enough to be going on a little wine country weekend in a few days. It’s the perfect chance to swim, read by the pool, eat a gourmet dinner and have a glorious sleep in without those oh-so-special city sounds waking us up in the middle of the night.

We have a neighbor with a blender that sounds very much like Jason and his chainsaw and a trash man who relishes nothing more than waking us all up at 5 a.m. because he’s awake too. Or so I imagine. Maybe the trash man really is just enjoying the hell out of his morning and banging cans brings him great joy? We’ll never know because I will never ask him. Mostly because that conversation would go like this:

Me: grumblegrumbleGRUMBLE! 5AM! Grumblegrumble

Him: BANGBANGBANGBANG !!!

Me: OHFORGETITGRUMBLEgrumble

My two most important beach bag categories are sun protection and reading material. Pale nerds, unite! As long as I have SPF 45 (aka, liquid snowsuit), lip balm with sunscreen, a hat, and about seven books loaded on my nook, I’m all good. Cute sandals, trashy magazines, and face wipes that keep me looking like a dainty lady are all bonus. Even the swimming suit is a bonus, really. I’m very content to lay about reading in whatever outfit, this is what a bad style blogger I am.

In real life, I’m going to load up my trusty monogrammed L.L. Bean bag with an assortment of things. But in blog life, I thought it would be fun to design a beautiful dream beach bag.

What do you put in your beach bag? 

The Bachelorette Finale!

Andi

GUYS! The night has arrived! Bachelorette Finale night! Who is she going to pick? For the first time ever, I think it’s going to be a surprise, which makes it way more fun to watch.

I’m Team Nick all the way. Not because I like him though – I just think that’s who she’s going to pick, however ill-advised it may be. Josh is a derp and Nick’s an even derper derp and it’s probably best if we all just move our attentions forward and start promoting #MarquelforBachelor and Chris for handsome neighbor/farmer eye candy next door. Window shopping is totally allowed when the goods on display have a megawatt smile and understand about threshing wheat from chaff and working the land and oh my Lord the Steinbeck fantasies are just too much to handle.

Josh or Nick – who do you think?

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s post, wherein we shall have all the deets about our themed viewing party here in SF. Rosé puns need not apply because I used ’em all up already.