Well, I had good intentions, so that should count for something, right? To make a long story short, I had to give up my computer to our church secretary for a few days, leaving me no way to blog! Oops! When I got it back, I was just out of the habit, and didn't take the time to sit down and catch up. I'm not going to try and go back and write 6 blogs, but what I will do is write 2 recipes each day for the next 5 days so that we're back on track at least for that part. It amazes me how quickly we drop back into old habits, even when we were doing so well with the new ones! It can be true for any part of your life, so just remember that when you're cooking! Just like it would be so much easier to sleep in than to get up and go running (for those of us who are NOT runners!), the same is true for cooking! If you don't regularly cook for your family, then trying to make that a habit isn't going to happen over night! It's going to take discipline and the understanding that you're going to stumble a few times. Just like we tell our kids, you've got to keep getting back up and trying again! You can do it! It would have been a lot easier for me to just quit blogging, but it's something I started and I want to finish it. If you've stopped cooking for a few days, get back in the saddle and finish the month! It's better than nothing, right?! To give you a little inspiration, here are two new favorites in my house, Stuffed Chicken and Butternut Squash Soup.
I have a new love interest that shows up often at our house recently. Ian wasn't so sure at first, but now he's more than ok with it. Who? No, it's a what, goat cheese. I LOVE it! It's got such a great tang, but it's soft, which makes it great for so many things, like stuffing chicken breasts!
- 3-4 chicken breasts (as many as your family needs)
- 2-4 ounces goat cheese
- spice blend (Italian, steak seasoning, Greek, whatever you have!)
- chicken stock
- 1 tablespoon flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
Ok, so you can do this one of two ways, and it's totally up to you. You can cut a slit in the middle of your chicken breast (the length of the breast, not the width) to make a pocket in the majority of your chicken or you can pound it out thin and roll your cheese up inside. I made the pocket, because I don't have a mallet for pounding and have to use my rolling pin. That gets old, so a knife works much better for me. : ) If you roll it be sure to skewer to hold it closed and brown all sides. Bring a skillet to a medium high heat. Stuff each chicken breast with about an ounce of goat cheese and be sure to spread it into all the corners and crevices of the pocket. Now sprinkle one side with a little bit of salt, pepper and your spice blend. You won't the chicken to be lightly covered in spices to give plenty of flavor. Now, lightly coat your skillet in olive oil and put the chicken spice side down in a skillet and let brown for a few minutes. You want a nice caramelized brown before flipping. Flip and do the same on the other side. As soon as it's browned, turn the heat down to a medium low, cover and let it finish cooking for 10-15 minutes depending on the thickness of your chicken. Now set your chicken aside and put your reserved liquid into a bowl. Turn the heat back up to a medium heat, then put your butter in the pan and let it melt. Next add your flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Don't let it burn, but make sure to whisk up the little browned bits in the bottom of your pan. Slowly add the reserve liquid into the pan, whisking as you pour. If it is too thick, then continue to thin with chicken stock. This is the sauce to go on top of your chicken so make it as thick or as thin as you want it. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, then lower the heat and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. You can also add some wine or lemon juice to your sauce for a different taste.
I will admit that this one is a little more time intensive, but oh so worth it! This soup is wonderful, hearty and screams fall in a bowl! : ) You can also add chicken to this, if you have some leftover roast chicken in the fridge.
Butternut Squash Soup
- 1 medium butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 inch chunks
- 3 slices of bacon
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup rice
- 1/2 of a smoked sausage, such as kielbasa, cut into 1/4 inch pieces
- 1 cup corn kernels
- 3/4 cup half and half (or milk)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Season the squash with 1 tablespoon of the oil, salt and pepper. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until tender. Remove from the oven and cool. In a blender or food processor, puree the squash with 1 cup of the chicken stock. When smooth set aside.
While the squash is roasting, bring 2 cups of chicken stock and a 1/4 cup of onion to a boil and then add your rice, cover and reduce to simmer. Cook for about 20 minutes, until all the liquid has been absorbed and the rice is tender, then set aside. In a large pot, cook the bacon until crisp. Pull the bacon out and leave just enough bacon grease to cover the bottom of the pan. Saute the sausage for about 3 minutes. Next add the onion and corn, lightly salt and pepper and saute for 3 more minutes. Add the remaining chicken stock and squash puree (as well as cooked chicken if you're using it) and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 5 minutes, skimming off any fat that rises to the top. Add the rice and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and add your half and half (or milk and stir until well combined. Salt and pepper to taste.