Hi Monday. Back so soon? You shouldn’t have. Really.
I’m extra sad it’s Monday because I had the most amazing weekend. We went out to dinner twice this weekend. TWICE! So fun. We also went to see the Phantom of the Opera. Yes. And um, can I just say…IT WAS AMAZING!!! I was on the fence for sure (opera isn’t something I listen to on the reg), but I am so glad we went. Such a wonderful show. So much talent. Such a good story. There’s many reasons why it remains one of the most popular shows of all time. I get it now.
Our first delicious meal out was at a popular Philly restaurant, The Farm and Fisherman. Beautiful, seasonal dishes with flavors that really popped. It was great, too, because I didn’t leave feeling super-duper stuffed. It was the perfect amount of food, which made staying awake for the show easier (not that I could have fallen asleep anyway…it was just so good). It was the perfect way to kick start our weekend.
Then, on Saturday night, we went to Modo Mio (another Philly gem) with one of our favorite couples. Lots of incredible food, wine (on their end…don’t worry, I stuck with water), laughter, and good convo. The best kind of night.
Then, to top things off, yesterday was one of the best spring days we’ve had yet. My husband and I worked outside in the yard, soaking up the sun and warmth, while the dogs chased squirrels and sunbathed. I planted some herbs (the only thing I can manage to keep alive. Black thumbs over here) and potted some flowers for our patio (black thumbs and fingers crossed they survive). Then, we topped off the night with some delicious grilled burgers (recipe coming soon), more wine (again, none for me. Sad face), and our favorite Sunday night shows.
It was just one of those perfect weekends. It felt like a deep breath of fresh air. So relaxing and rejuvenating. Just what we needed.
And then today came. Boo.
BUT to ease us into the week, I made a delicious chicken dish. Yeah, I know, chicken can be so boring sometimes. I love it but am always trying to come up with ways to keep it fun and interesting. Especially when it comes to boneless, skinless chicken breasts. The most boring chicken of all. But it’s the healthiest! So I do my best to figure out ways to keep it moist and flavorful.
I find that stuffing chicken breasts is usually a good way to go. Also, simmering them in some sort of liquid as they cook through works wonders. So, I took both those methods and applied them to this dish. The stuffed chicken rolls stay moist and tender throughout the cooking process. The filling melts slightly and adds a spicy, creamy bite (like that of a jalapeño popper – hence the name for this dish). I finish them off with a smoky, light sauce and then go to town. Serve this with a light salad and you have dinner! Quick and easy. Healthy and flavorful. All the good stuff.
This chicken dish is anything but boring. It kinda makes me want to break out into song…an opera song… but I’ll spare you that.
To put it more simply, it makes this Monday a little less painful. A little.
Jalapeño Popper Chicken with Bacon & Smoky Pan Sauce (makes 4-6 servings)
For the Chicken:
6 chicken breasts, pounded thin
Salt and pepper, to taste
6 oz softened cream cheese
½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
4 slices bacon, cooked and finely chopped
½ cup scallions, finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
For the Pan Sauce:
1 shallot, finely minced
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
½ cup dry white wine
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
½ teaspoon smoked paprika
½ teaspoon cumin
Pinch of sugar
½ cup low-sodium chicken stock
1 teaspoon cornstarch
¼ cup chopped scallions
For the Chicken:
Take each chicken breast and place between two pieces of wax paper. Using a small skillet or meat tenderizer, flatten the meat. Season with salt and pepper.
To make the filling, mix the softened cream cheese, mozzarella, jalapeño, crispy bacon, and scallions. Place a dollop of the mixture on the end of each chicken breast. Roll the chicken to enclose the cream cheese mixture. Secure with toothpicks.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high and add the oil. When it shimmers, add the chicken rolls. Sear on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from pan and set aside (the chicken will not be cooked through at this point).
For the Sauce:
To the same pan, add the shallot and garlic and cook for 1 minute until soft. Deglaze the pan with the wine. When the wine has mostly cooked off, whisk in the mustard, the smoked paprika, cumin, and a pinch of sugar. Place the chicken rolls into the sauce, cover, and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan again.
Whisk the cornstarch and chicken stock together in a small bowl and then slowly whisk it into the pan. Simmer for a couple minutes or until the sauce is thickened.
Place the chicken on plates and spoon some of the sauce on top. Garnish with more scallions, if desired.