Apolinaras is pretty spoiled in the culinary department. Last weekend I made a bunch of tofu fried rice for my weekday lunches, and also cooked up a separate batch of chicken breasts for him because he likes to loudly proclaim the fried rice is the worst dish I make. Apparently, it’s not spicy enough and of course, he’s biased because it’s vegetarian and he’s not a huge tofu fan. His grumbling always makes me roll my eyes and giggle though – more rice for me to enjoy, right? Is there a dish that you really like but your significant other can’t stand?
I also try to fulfill most of Apolinaras’ dinner requests, since he doesn’t make them very often. One night he told me that he was in the mood for some chicken stuffed with leftover blue cheese and bacon – umm, yes please, what a great idea! I decided to go for a black and blue theme and made a spice rub to coat the outside of the chicken so it was blackened. In addition to the bacon and blue cheese, I also put shallots, garlic, and cream cheese in the stuffing. I loved how the creamy filling provided a yummy built in sauce for the chicken. Hopefully Apolinaras will inspire another tasty dish soon!
Blackened Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Blue Cheese and Bacon
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup chopped shallots (3-4 large shallots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
4 strips turkey bacon, chopped
3 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1 tablespoon ground thyme
1 1/2 teaspoons ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick pan and sauté shallots for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened; add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl. Add bacon to the same pan and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Place bacon in the same bowl with the shallots. Allow to cool to room temperature and stir in cream cheese, blue cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt.
Place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/3-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Place filling evenly lengthwise down each chicken breast, roll up the sides, and secure with toothpicks. Mix thyme, allspice, cayenne pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle chicken breasts evenly with seasoning mix and rub into the chicken.
Heat oven to 350˚F. Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick pan and place two chicken breasts in the pan. Use large tongs to rotate the chicken and sear it on all four sides. Place seared chicken breasts seam side up in a large baking pan and repeat with remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and two chicken breasts. Bake at 350˚F for 18 to 22 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Allow to rest 5 minutes, then remove toothpicks, and cut on a bias. Makes 4 servings.
Nutrition: 541 calories, 26.9g fat, 0.0g fiber, 64.4g protein per serving
Cost: $2.00 per serving