Roasted chicken breasts on the bone stuffed with spinach, bacon and mozzarella

There are so many stuffed chicken recipes available and they all look delicious!  Of course, most of them require the chicken to be skinned and boneless (which is good), and covered with bread crumbs and deep fried or baked which is not so good, when you are trying to cut on the carbs.  This recipe should make any person that follows the LCHF (#banting) diet very happy, although I could not resist adding a creamy white mushroom sauce, which the more disciplined among us can leave out, of course.

There is something very comforting about the smell of slow roasted chicken permeating through the house. It reminds me of big family dinners and a warm kitchen and puts me in the mood to invite friends over and open a bottle of wine. It is, of course, also perfect when entertaining- the chicken can be prepared before hand, popped into the oven, and give you a good hour and a half of wine and chatting before serving up.

I decided to keep the chicken on the bone to add more flavour and prevent it from drying out, and made an incision above and along the bone to form a pocket for the stuffing. I served this with a creamy mushroom sauce, but the pan juices that cook out of the chicken is sufficient as a sauce on its own. For this recipe, I only used two chicken breasts but it can easily be increased for more portions.

Stuffing:

8-10 baby spinach leafs, finely chopped

3-4 chives, finely chopped

2 slices smoked shoulder bacon, finely chopped

1 tablespoon butter

1/4 cup grated mozzarella cheese

Melt the butter over moderate heat. Sauté the chives and bacon until done, and add the spinach. Sauté for another 3-4 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Remove from the heat, and add the grated mozzarella. Stir through, until every thing comes together (the cheese doesn’t have to melt completely, you just want everything to stick together). Add black pepper for taste.

Chicken:

2 large chicken breasts on the bone or 4 thighs on the bone

a dash of olive oil

1 tablespoon butter, cut into small blocks

3 small sprigs of thyme

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Make an incision above the bone along the length of the chicken breast to form a pocket. The same can be don for thighs which works just as well.

Remove any excess fat and skin.  Gently lift some of the remaining skin and insert 2 very small blocks of butter just below the skin as well as 2-3 thyme leafs. Insert a tablespoon of stuffing into the pocket, but without overfilling it.  Repeat for each chicken breast or thigh. Rub the top of the chicken with a drop of olive oil, add salt and pepper to taste and place in a prepared oven-proof dish that can be covered.  Cover the dish and place in the oven.  Bake covered for approximately 40 minutes. Remove from the oven, cover the chicken with any juices that has cooked out and bake uncovered for another 40 minutes or until golden brown and crispy.

Mushroom sauce:

125 grams white button mushrooms, sliced

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup double thick Greek yoghurt

Melt the butter over moderate heat before adding the mushrooms. Fry the mushroom until softened and add the yoghurt.  Stir for another 3-4 minutes until heated through and it starts to boil. Remove from the heat.

I served the chicken with cous cous but it can be served with only a green salad on the side, and will still make for a very fulfilling meal!

 

Baby swiss chard omelette

It is Friday and I am looking forward to the weekend!  Although I do not have a lot of plans, this omelette will definitely be on my menu for breakfast-it is quick, easy, packed with protein, contains no carbs, and is a great start to the day. I love the taste of fresh, raw baby spinach or Swiss chard, but it can be pre-cooked with preferred.

This recipe yields one large omelette:

1 tablespoon butter

3 eggs

15 ml milk

salt and pepper to taste

5-6 leafs baby spinach, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely diced

1/4 cup mozzarella of white cheese of your choice

Melt the butter in a large pan over moderate heat.  Whisk the eggs and milk together and add salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Lower the heat and add the whisked egg to the pan, and place a lid on the pan. Cooked covered for 8-10 minutes or until the egg on top is almost done. Add the Swiss chard, tomato and cheese to one half of the omelette and flip the other half over it to form a half moon shape. Cover again, and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the cheese starts to melt.  Remove from the heat and serve.

Bolognaise, feta and rocket pizza

Who does not like pizza?  This is one of my favourite weekend recipes- the bolognaise sauce can simmer and reduce until just right, whilst the home-made pizza dough rise leisurely in the window sill. I aim to use Italian flavours for the bolognaise  just because both pizza and bolognaise are of Italian origin. This also gives me the opportunity to nip back some of my herb plants which encourages new growth.

This is definitely not a low-fat recipe, but, as mentioned in earlier posts, I reduce the amount of sugar and preservatives found in bottled tomato sauce and frozen pizza basis, by rather making my own.  I know precisely what goes into everything that the pizza is made up of, and can make whole wheat or gluten-free pizza basis by replacing the cake flour that I use in this recipe with either whole-wheat or gluten-free flour, which is readily available at health shops these days. You can also of course not add cheese at the end and create a lactose-free pizza, but I honestly don’t know what a pizza without cheese is. This recipe gives approximately three pizzas.

For the base:

1 1/2 cup flour

150 ml luke warm water

5 grams (1/2 sachet) instant yeast

10 ml sugar

pinch salt

45 ml olive oil

Add your flour and salt to a mixing bowl (no need to sift), and make a well in the middle of the flour. Add the olive oil. In a separate measuring jug, add the yeast and sugar and 150 ml lukewarm water.  Mix and leave for 5 minutes until frothy. Add to the flour, and start kneading. The more you knead the softer the dough will become. Knead for 5-10 minutes until your dough feels silky and everything has come together. You should be able to press the dough lightly with your finger and see it return to shape slightly. Rub with a drop or two olive oil (which prevents it to crack and dry when rising) and cover with a damp cloth. Place somewhere warm and sunny and allow to rise for 1 hour. Roll out on a surface that is slightly covered with flour and shape accordingly.

For the bolognaise sauce:

200 gram lean mince

1 brown onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, crushed or finely chopped

1 tin tomato paste

1 can whole peeled tomatoes or cherry tomatoes

2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

1 tablespoon dried oregano

salt and black pepper to taste

Heat a dash of olive oil over moderate heat in a pan. Brown the onion and garlic, and add the mince. Brown the mince, then add the tomato paste and canned tomato. I rinse my cans (for recycling) with 40-50 ml water, and add that to the sauce as well. Allow to simmer gently for 20-30 minutes until reduced. Add the parsley, basil, and oregano, mix well and set aside to cool.

For the pizza:

Prepared pizza base (above)

Prepared bolognaise sauce (above)

1/2 red pepper, thinly sliced

5-6 button mushrooms, thinly sliced

2-3 cups grated mozzarella cheese

1 wheel feta, crumbled

handful fresh shredded rocket

Preheat the oven to 190 degrees Celsius. There is no need for a tomato base as it is already included in the bolognaise sauce. To assemble the pizza I first cover the base with the bolognaise sauce, followed by the peppers and mushrooms. Lastly I cover everything in cheese and feta, and bake in the oven until golden and bubbling. The pizza crust should be golden and crisp. Once the pizza is out of the oven, add shredded rocket to serve. Bon apetit!