Sunday, January 8, 2017

Hasselback Chicken and Back to Life

          We have started a new family vacation tradition.  We tend to rent a small house/condo or apartment for the week as we have a bit more space and can dine in as opposed to eating out for every meal.  It helps stretch the travel fund and as we (ok, maybe just Jamie and I) love to walk through local grocery stores, we feel a bit more like locals as opposed to visitors or tourists.  Now that Cate is 15, on our week long trips, we assign each person a dinner to cook.  This last vacation, we drew the protein from a hat.  I picked pork, Jamie picked seafood and Cate picked chicken.  Cate's dish was the winner...simple, easy, healthy and you can modify it any way you choose.

          Have you heard of Hasselback Potatoes?  I have actually never made them, but from research, it is a russet potato that has been scored across the length of the potato, filled with goodness and baked.  Cate took the same idea and applied it to chicken with the help of a little Internet research.  What is great about this new tradition is that we have several new dishes to add to our repertoire!  It is a great family experience as we are all in the kitchen, watching or participating.

          But that was vacation...and we are now back into the swing of everyday life.  Cate has mid-term finals this week...for the first time in her life.  Do you remember the "Terrible 2's", where your child exerted his/her independence?  It seemed cute at the time and actually it forward 13 years to the "Terrible 15's" and it is far less cute but the exertion of independence is far more demanding.  Evidently, when you are 15, you know everything and your parents know ABSOLUTELY nothing.  Not to mention that Mom is too controlling (ok...that one may be spot on) but in my defense, "Have you ever taken a mid-term?  Do you have a plan?  Do you realize that you have 2 swim meets next week just before exams? Do you know that these grades count for getting into college?"

          Breathe, Breathe...remember that wonderful vacation tradition.  Close your eyes and go back to it.   Breathe...Breathe...and remember this view.

Hasselback Chicken

4 chicken breasts
3 cups fresh spinach
1/2 cup goat cheese
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/2 cup Mozzarella cheese
1/2 tsp paprika
Salt and Pepper

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees,
2.  Cut slits into each chicken breast being careful not to cut all the way through the breast.   Make the cuts 1/2" apart.
3.  In a skillet, heat 1T olive oil.  Add the spinach and cook until just wilted.  Add the cheese and the red pepper and cook until the cheese has melted.
4.  Spoon the spinach mixture into each slit of the chicken.  Season with salt and pepper.
5.  Cover with shredded mozzarella cheese and sprinkle paprika over the top.
6.  Bake for 25 minutes.  If desired, broil for the last 3-5 minutes so the cheese is extra bubbly.


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