Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Chicken creation

When I make these meals I usually make them for just two people, but when I post the recipes I will consider the fact most people have kids or other family members, so I'll post for 3-4 servings. I hope that's kosher!

First, you'll want to get a good sized acorn squash. I usually make two of them just because I'm majorly into squash. What you'll want to do is let it sit until it changes in color. I like mine orange, since it's easier to cut.
It takes a bunch to make a squash go bad.
Cut the squash in half and scoop out the seeds.
Get a cookie sheet and cover it in foil. sprinkle a little water on it and set the halves scooped side down and try to get some water underneath.
Again I don't really cook by times, but I preset the oven 425 and usually let them back about 20 minutes, and then flip them over. Stick a fork in, and if it goes in and out easily it's pretty much done.

When the squash are done, set them aside and let them cool. It's really not worth burning your fingers over.
For the chicken it all depends on what your time frame is. If  you worked a long day and want the faster version follow below.
Get 3-4 nice sized frozen chicken breasts and boil them until they turn white and the fat melts off.
Again you can throw this broth out or use it for a soup. I will be posting a future recipe involving this process.
After the chicken cools off, you will want to slice into them so that there's a pocket to stuff things in.
If you are doing this with raw chicken you will want to cut a pocket into the side of the chicken to stuff it, like the picture below.

You can stuff chicken with so many yummy things but one of my favorites looks like the above picture.
Get one large container of low fat or regular ricotta (depends on what kind of diet you are on. I prefer regular because it binds better)
One package of frozen spinach (or two cups of fresh spinach). If you are using frozen defrost it, and squeeze as much water out of it as you can then chop roughly.
If you are using fresh, just lightly chop the spinach but don't overdue it or it will bruise.
Add this to the ricotta in a mixing bowl.
I like to add about 6-7 pieces of sun dried tomato chopped small but you can add fresh garlic, half a cup of onions, or pretty much any vegetable you like, or you can leave it with just ricotta and spinach.
Add 1/2 cup of low fat or regular mozzarella (again depending on your dietary needs).
Add one egg lightly beaten. This will help to bind the mix as it cooks so it doesn't just ooze out.
Stuff into the chicken depending on the size of the breasts. There's no real measurement.
You can either tie the chicken breasts shut with some cooking friendly twine or you can use toothpicks.

Now if you are doing this with the precooked chicken you should only bake it for about 10-15 minutes or the chicken will get super tough.
If you are doing this with raw chicken, I'd give it 25-30 minutes. It depends on the outside color. I cook mine until slightly golden or until the meat is white and no opaque color is seen.
If you are unsure, just cut into one and make sure the meat doesn't run pink.
If you want to get a nice color on them, you can pan fry them first before putting them in the oven.
I just do a lot of boiling and oven baking because it's less fattening that way.
If you've done this correctly, your chicken will look like this:

While the chicken is near the last few minutes of cooking, you will want to spoon out the squash meat.
Put it in a good sized bowl, and smash like you are mashing potato's.
I like to add a tablespoon of crushed garlic but if you have oven roasted garlic, that's even better.
Add a pinch of kosher salt. If you like pepper (and aren't allergic like I am), add a couple of pinches.
Add one tablespoon of olive oil (if you don't care about fat content, add two pats of butter).
Add a splash of half and half or heavy cream and stir the mixture. It should look like yellow mashed potato's.
In an oven safe dish put the squash mixture in, and depending on your taste, you can make one of two mixtures to sprinkle on top.
Sweet: 1/4 cup of brown sugar Splenda, one teaspoon cinnamon, 1/4 cup chopped nuts (i use almonds or cashews)
Savory: 1/8th of a cup chopped basil or parsley (fresh is best) and 1/4 cup Parmesan
Sprinkle either one over the mix, and bake it 10 min or so. You are just heating it up, and letting the cheese or sugar melt.

You can leave the chicken whole and let people cut it themselves, or slice it into medallions and serve a cup of the squash mixture.
This meal is pretty carb free. If you wanted to add carbs, you could dredge the chicken in egg, and roll it around in breadcrumbs and fry it in a pan with a little olive oil and repeat the oven process.
This might sound like only a little bit of food, but squash is high in fiber and you can have as much as you want, especially if you don't use sugar.
Remember, you can have as much fiber as you want.
So if this isn't enough, make some steamed broccoli or whatever vegetable you like on the side.
I love asparagus or green beans as long as they're not overcooked.
Again you can experiment with fillings, and what you do. I create most of these recipes to be versatile and easy to work with!

Other things that mix well with ricotta are, broccoli, cauliflower, broccolirab, kale, collar greens, cabbage, and    sun dried tomatoes.
Let me know if anyone tries this and if you like it :)
If you have any suggestions or ideas for me on what to post next let me know!


  1. Yes! This sounds fab! Thank you for adjusting the recipe servings too--Nathan is a veggie-lovin' kid, so I bet he will love this one. I'm going to try this one this week!

  2. I hope you do make it, and if you do, let me know how it turns out. I love love love spinach and squash dishes. I've made it before when babysitting and the non veggieheads loved it. Until I told them it was good for them ;)