Stuffed Chicken Breast a la Caprese

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Serves 4

Ingredients:
Four 7-ounce chicken breasts
Salt, to taste
Ground black pepper, to taste
1 teaspoon each of dried oregano and dried basil
2 roma tomatoes, sliced thinly
¼ cup sun dried tomato strips in oil
4 mozzarella cheese slices
12 basil leaves, divided

For the Sauce:
4 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
⅓ cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons brown sugar

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Using a sharp knife, cut a pocket about ¾ quarter of the way through on the thickest side of each breast, being careful not to cut all the way.

Season chicken with salt, pepper, and dried herbs. Pour 1 teaspoon of sun dried tomato oil over each breast, rubbing some of the seasoning inside the pockets.

Fill each with 2 slices fresh tomato, 2 teaspoons sun dried tomato strips, one slice mozzarella cheese and basil leaves.

Seal with 3-4 toothpicks diagonally to keep the filling inside while cooking.

Heat 2 teaspoons of sun dried tomato oil (or olive oil) in a cast iron skillet or non stick pan over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook for 2 minutes on each side until golden brown.

While the chicken is cooking, mix together the garlic, balsamic vinegar and brown sugar in a small mixing cup. Pour the mixture into the pan around the chicken; bring to a simmer while stirring occasionally, until the glaze has slightly thickened, about 2-3 minutes.

Transfer pan to the preheated oven and continue to cook the chicken for a another 10-15 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese has melted.

Remove the chicken from the oven and allow to rest 8-10 minutes. Remove the  toothpicks.

To serve, slice the chicken breast in half and place on the center of a dinner plate. Drizzle with pan juices and garnish with basil.

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Sautéed Mushrooms with Polenta

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A savory appetizer or main dish full with of flavorful mushrooms sautéed in herbs and a rich balsamic vinegar sauce, spooned over creamy polenta with melted  smoked gouda cheese.

Serves 4 to 6

Ingredients:

For the  mushrooms:
4 Tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 pounds Baby Bella  mushrooms, sliced
3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
3/4 teaspoon black pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3/4 cup chicken broth
3 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Salt, to taste

For the  polenta  (See Cook’s Notes):
2 1/2 cups milk
2 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
8 ounces  smoked gouda  cheese, shredded (See Cook’s Notes)
Salt, to taste

Directions:

For  the mushrooms:Warm a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. When oil begins to shimmer, add mushrooms; and cook stirring occasionally for 7 minutes. Stir in thyme, oregano, pepper and garlic; continue to cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in balsamic vinegar, scraping up any brown bits from bottom of pan, stirring constantly about 30 seconds. Stir in chicken broth, reduce to low. Stir in butter.  Adjust the seasoning with salt to taste. Keep warm.

For polenta: In a saucepan, bring 2 1/2 cups milk and 2 1/4 cups chicken broth to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; gradually stir in polenta; cook, stirring constantly until mixture thickens, about 3 minutes. Add more liquid (broth, milk or water) as needed to achieve desired consistency. Remove from heat. Add shredded cheese; stir to combine until smooth. Salt to taste. Serve polenta warm topped with mushrooms.

*Cook’s Notes:
Other cheeses may be substituted. A few recommendations: Gouda, Gruyère, Havarti, Fontina,  or Cheddar.

For a homemade polenta, follow the link here: Creamy Polenta

 

 

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TODAY.com Parenting Team FC Contributor

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Steak with Green Tomato, Black Plum, and Red Cherry Salsa

664-1Tomatoes are in the peak of the Summer Season……and every one who thinks of green tomatoes, think that the only way to enjoy them is to fry them…..not so.The acidity of green tomatoes lend themselves to be a perfect addition to a fruit salsa that is not too sweet for the flavors of beef. I had an abundance of green tomatoes in my back yard garden, along with fresh herbs and green onions. I really enjoy this time of year, when you can go to your backyard for really FRESH produce.

Looking through my pantry ,  I had the following items on hand:
DSC03885a black plum, cherries, green Spanish olives, a green tomato, cilantro, balsamic vinegar, green onions, basil, flat leaf parsley,curly parsley , soy sauce, garlic, and Ethiopian pepper sauce. The only thing I had to pick up at the local grocery store was the steak. Some people like flank steak, but I decided on a top round steak with just enough lean. I am pretty sure that you can add red wine vinegar or a good burgundy to the  salsa mix, if you do not have any balsamic vinegar on hand.

So, I had enough ingredients…..now on with the show………….In a large glass bowl,  I add the balsamic vinegar, the garlic and the Ethiopian pepper sauce and mix and I set aside, for the moment.DSC03889

Next, the green tomato was roughly chopped up. The herbs were finely minced and the green onions were thinly sliced.  The fruit was prepared, in wDSC03891hich the cherries were  stemmed, pitted and   quartered. The black plum was chopped into small chunks.

The green tomato, the herbs, the onion, the fruit, and the olives were added to the bowl with the vinegar and EthiopianDSC03894 pepper sauce.  I added salt and pepper to taste and allowed to stand at room temperature.

In preparing the steak, I heated a cast  iron skillet on high. It is important to have a hot skillet in order to get a perfect sear on the meat. Removing the steak from the packaging , I  patted it  dry with paper towels. I like my steak simply seasoned, so I sprinkled both sides of the meDSC03896at with salt and pepper. Adding the steak to the skillet, you can hear the sizzling sound at first contact. I cooked each side for 3 minutes each to achieve  medium rare status.  So  I removed the steak from the skillet and allowed the meat to rest for 5 minutes. It is really important to allow cooked meat to rest, even if it is chicken, turkey, veal, etc. It allows the natural juices to be retained and prevents the meat from drying out.

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Slicing the steak on the bias , I  fanned it  out on the plate. I topped the steak with the green tomato fruit salsa and I  enjoyed a perfect summer meal, prepared in less than 20 minutes.

  DSC03900And there you  have it…….The finished plate……………….