Saturday, February 11, 2012

Cooking and the Pantry Frugal

Now that I have cleaned out my pantry and organized it so pretty, I am firmly committed to using it well. To that end, this week I ate salad twice daily (using the celery, peppers, and green oinions I chopped last weekend, as well as the greens mix and romaine hearts I have stocked up.

I also cooked one of my favorite quick/frugal meals: Chicken breasts with goat cheese, capers, and roasted red peppers. So simple!

1. thaw 2-4 boneless chicken breasts (depending on # of guests)
2. pound them flat (fun time!)
3. using approximately 1-2 oz. of goat cheese* per chicken breast (more if the breast is big, less if it is small), spread the goat cheese across the center width of the breast.
4. lay 3-4 slices of roasted red pepper on top of the cheese, lengthwise
5. roll up the breast and stick closed with toothpicks
6. set in Pyrex or earthenware rectangular dish sprayed with olive oil cooking spray
7. sprinkle 1 Tbsp. of capers, 1 tsp. each of basil, oregano, and thyme across breasts; grind black pepper to taste on top
8. pour 1/4-1/2 cup dry white wine (or chicken broth) over breasts and cover with aluminum
9. put in over and cook 40-45 minutes at 350 degrees; remove from oven, remove foil, and let cool slightly. Serve with vegetable, salad, and a spoonful of sauce poured over top.


*Use any kind of cheese: I like goat cheese because the soft texture works well with the red peppers, but you can use slices of any kind of Swiss cheese, Cheddar cheese, Monterey Jack (excellent!). Just don't use too much cheese in a single breast roll-up, because it raises the fat content immediately.

With nothing more than a jar of roasted red peppers, capers, and some cheese, you're good to go with a protein-rich, low-fat meal. If the breasts are big enough, you can actually cut them in half and find that a filling choice with side dishes.

I am also making a quinoa and black bean salad, found on Epicurious (originally from Gourmet) because, hey, I have 1.5 pints of quinoa and a jr of dried back beans... pick up some coriander and I'm good to go.

I also have a few older apples that need to be used rather than thrown out. I'm thinking applesauce or an apple cake. We'll see what happens this afternoon between me and my slow cooker.

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