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Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken
Recipes, Uncategorized

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

Dear Diary,

Hasselback potatoes are an old Swedish favorite that has recently made a come back. Hasselback basically means making several slices part of the way through the potato and stuffing those slices with something delicious. The “stuffing” is traditionally butter and some type of cheese which is what most people like on their potatoes. Not all that healthy of a side dish, but it does spark some healthy inspiration.

I recently found a recipe that used the same method on a chicken breast. By using a lean protein source, it can become a main dish star instead of a side dish. I had to give it a try and put my own twist on it. Plus, the name is fun to say so when people ask about it I can say, “It’s Hassleback Chicken of course!”

I used goat cheese, big surprise there I’m sure, with tomatoes and artichokes but any “stuffing” can be used. A mixture of ricotta cheese, spinach, and garlic would be delicious or light cream cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, and fresh basil. The possibilities are truly endless! For a vegetarian version, a sweet potato could be used in place of the chicken breast. Mmmm…a Fall inspired Hasselback Sweet Potato…stuffed with dried cherries, apple slices, nutmeg and cinnamon. Yum!

Tomato Artichoke Hasselback Chicken

  • 4 boneless, skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 2-3 Tablespoons Olive oil
  • Italian Blend of seasonings (dried basil, thyme, oregano)
  • Salt and pepper
  • Goat or Feta Cheese
  • Marinated Artichoke Hearts, quartered
  • Tomatoes, chopped

Directions: Clean, trim, and pat dry chicken breasts. On a cutting board, lay the chicken breast lengthwise right to left. Pinch the top and bottom so that the middle comes up a little. Make 6-7 vertical slices, 3/4 of the way through the chicken to create a “pocket,” and place in a glass baking dish that has been prepped with a generous tablespoon of olive oil. DO NOT CUT ALL THE WAY THROUGH THE CHICKEN BREAST. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Once all 4 breasts are sliced and in the baking dish, sprinkle with Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper. Stuff each pocket with goat cheese, artichoke hearts, and tomato. Drizzle with another tablespoon of olive oil and bake, covered with foil, for 20 minutes at 375 degrees. Remove foil and bake an additional 12-15 mins depending on the size of the chicken breasts. Serve on a bed of mixed greens with a couple of spoonfuls of tzatziki (cucumber yogurt sauce).

Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta
Holiday Recipes, Recipes, Uncategorized

Goat Cheese Bruschetta Two Ways

Dear Diary,

How do I love thee? I don’t need to count the ways like the poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, I simply feed you delicious morsels that I created from my heart. While I was in Michigan, I planned a kid-free evening to cook for a few close friends. We could have easily gone out, but I opted to sip wine, catch up, and cook for these lovely ladies. It was food for my soul both literally and figuratively. Three hours later we were full, relaxed, and still chit-chatting the night away.

One of the secrets I shared while I cooked was what I like to call my magic sauce. Balsamic Glaze can be made by reducing a good balsamic vinegar or you can purchase it in most major grocery stores. My favorite is from Trader Joe’s since it has less sugar and more flavor than others I’ve tried. Most major grocery stores have Balsamic Glaze or Balsamic Reduction available, usually found in the olive oil and vinegar aisle. A generous squeeze of this dark and delicious magic sauce over the bruschetta made all the flavors pop. Needless to say, both recipes got rave reviews in the form of ohhhing and ahhhing while reaching for another one.

Caramelized Onion Prosciutto Bruschetta

  • 2-4 sweet onions, carmelized (click below for recipe)
  • Cherry or Grape Tomatoes quartered, heirloom if available
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch of Salt and Black PepperProsciuttoCarmelizedOnionBrucshetta2
  • French baguette, sliced 1 inch thick
  • Goat cheese
  • Fresh Spinach
  • Jalapeno Pepper Jelly
  • Prosciutto
  • Balsamic Glaze

First caramelize the onions, place in an oven safe bowl, cover with foil, and leave in a 250 degree oven or toaster oven until ready to use. I always make extra and use them the next day since they are a bit time consuming to make. In a bowl, combine tomatoes, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt, and pepper (to taste). Set tomato mixture aside. Slice baguette into 1 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in 400 degree oven for 6-8 mins or until toasted to a golden brown on the edges. Spread goat cheese onto the baguette slices, layer 2-3 spinach leaves, add a 1 teaspoon of Jalapeno Pepper Jelly, 1/2 slice of prosciutto, 1 teaspoon of caramelized onions, and top with tomato mixture. Arrange on a plate and drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Heirloom Tomato Goat Cheese Bruschetta

  • French baguette, sliced 1 inch thick
  • Crumbled herb goat cheese
  • Cherry or Grape Tomato mixture
  • Fresh Garlic
  • Fresh Basil
  • Balsamic Glaze

Slice baguette into 1 inch thick pieces and place on a cookie sheet covered in foil or parchment paper. Brush baguette slices with olive oil and place in 400 degree oven for 6-8 mins or until toasted to a golden brown on the edges. Sprinkle each baguette slice with crumbled goat cheese, use tomato mixture from above recipe adding in crushed garlic (1-2 cloves) and chopped fresh basil. Drizzle with balsamic glaze.

Both bruschetta recipes are very versatile. Playing around with a different cheese like feta instead of goat or leaving out the jalapeno pepper jelly is part of the joy of creating a dish versus just cooking it. I purposely leave out some measurements because cooking and baking are not the same. In baking, measurements are very important. Cooking on the other hand is about experimenting, creating, and sometimes throwing the whole thing out. Have FUN with it!

Recipes, Soup Recipes

Utah Memories

Dear Diary,

All of us have memories that are attached to food. I remember my Mom baking chocolate chip bar cookies (we called them congo squares…where did that name come from anyways?) and my Gramma making buttermilk pancakes topped with homemade strawberry jam.

I also grew up knowing what 10 degrees with a wind chill felt like and there is nothing (NOTHING I SAY!) like a steaming hot bowl of tomato soup on a snowy day. This memory used to be attached to Campbell’s and Michigan, but now it has become attached to an AH-mazing cabin in Utah where I spent this past Christmas with family and friends.

Following a great day of skiing, my friend Erin cooked up “Nordstrom’s Café Roma Tomato Soup.” After the first spoonful, I knew I would be making my own version when we arrived back in California. The soup is not only approved by a finicky 7 year old, but it is also low-calorie and packed with nutrients.

So, thank you Erin for inspiring me to create my own homemade version of Tomato Veggie Soup!

Tomato Veggie Soup

  • 2 Tablespoons of Olive Oil
  • 6 large carrots, chopped
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 large stalks celery, chopped
  • 3 small or 2 large zucchini, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon Dried Basil
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 large cans* (28-32oz) or cartons whole Roma Tomatoes
  • 2 cups low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  • 6 ounces light cream cheese

Directions:  In a large pot, heat olive oil slightly over medium heat.  Add all vegetables, basil, black pepper, salt; sauté for 10-12 minutes or until vegetables start to soften.  Add tomatoes and broth; simmer for 30 -35 minutes or until carrots become very soft.  Remove from heat and add cream cheese.  Blend to a smooth, pureed texture in the pot with a hand blender (I use the Cuisinart Smart Stick Hand Blender).  Serve with a salad and enjoy!

*If you are able to find tomatoes in a carton versus a can (or use fresh tomatoes) this is considered a better option as cans (especially with acidic fruits and vegetables) have potential for high levels of BPA.