My husband and I stayed in to watch a movie on pay-per-view Saturday evening. Since we always seem to be on the go, it was a good feeling to know we could enjoy a beautiful day and just relax at home in the evening. With that decision made, it also meant I had to come up with a dinner idea!! I had been looking through my magazine from my Cook's Club and had seen this recipe. Since I didn't want to go to the store, I managed to find everything I needed right in the freezer and pantry. I thawed some chicken breasts and when I was ready to cook, I gathered all my ingredients and started to create. What we ended up with was a delicious and colorful platter of chicken, rice and vegetables....simple, yet with a bit of a flair! And if you have leftover chicken like we did , you can slice it in pieces and serve it over a beautiful salad for dinner the following day, with a dressing of your choice! Sprinkle with toasted pecans and serve with a crusty bread and a cold bottle of white wine! Also, if you have leftover rice, you can add some butter to a frying pan, add an egg, scramble it and add the rice...instanly you have some fried rice!!
Stuffed Chicken with Rice and Vegetables
4 chicken breasts, rinsed and dried
1/2 slice of pancetta (or you can use a strip or two of bacon)
1 shallot, chopped
1/2 cup Italian-style breadcrumbs (if you don't have these, add some dried parsley and oregano to the breadcrumbs)
3-4 slices Deli-sliced provolone cheese, chopped
1-1/2 Tbsp fresh sage (I didn''t have this so I just sprinkled in some dried sage, but not a Tbsp of it...maybe a tsp.)
1to 2 cups cooked rice
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/2-3/4 bag of frozen mixed vegetables
1/2 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 cup non-fat chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a saute pan, saute the chopped pancetta until starting to get crisp and add chopped shallots. Saute until shallots are soft. Add 1 tsp butter and add breadcrumbs. Cook, stirring constantly until breadcrumbs turn toasty brown. Remove from heat and put into a bowl. Let cool 2-3 minutes. Add chopped provolone and mix together.
Cut a pocket in each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through. Salt and pepper each breast inside and out. Stuff each breast with 1/4 of the breadcrumb mixture. Close the pockets with toothpicks. In a frying pan, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil. (you can use the same pan you cook the breadcrumb mixture in). Carefully add the chicken and sear both sides. Place on a foil lined baking sheet and place in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.
Prepare cooked rice according to directions.
While rice is cooking and chicken is in the oven, add chopped onion to large frying pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil. Saute until onion is soft. Add frozen mixed vegetables, add salt and pepper and sage to taste and saute until cooked through.
When rice is done and right before serving. add rice to pan with 1 Tbsp butter and saute for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. You may have to add more salt and pepper.
Remove chicken from oven, and remove toothpicks prior to serving. In the same saute pan you cooked the breadcrumb mixture, add balsamic vinegar and cook until it starts to turn syrupy. Add chicken broth and cook until it starts to look thicker. Remove from heat and whisk in a pat of butter. To serve, place rice mixture on platter, place chicken breasts on top of the rice and spoon the sauce over the top of the entire platter. Garnish with a little fresh parsley and serve.