Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Zucchini and Walnut Stuffed Chicken

I got a little crazy with dinner tonight. Chicken had been thawed, and I wasn't excited about it, so I set the creative wheels turning. Luckily, I went grocery shopping today, so I had a fully stocked kitchen to work with!

Ingredients:
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
1 small zuchinni, shredded
4 thin sliced chicken breasts
salt, pepper, spices of choice

To begin, I toasted the walnuts in a dry pan. While those were working, I shredded a small zucchini with the small holes of my box grater. It produced about 3/4 cup, but then I squeezed out all of the liquid, and it reduced to about 1/2 cup. Set both aside, but keep the pan - that's what we're going to cook the chicken in.

I layed my 4 chicken breasts out on my cutting board and divided the shredded zucchini and toasted walnuts into 4 piles. First, I smeared the zucchini over the chicken breast, then seasoned with salt, pepper, and some various spices. Next, I put the walnuts. Here's what they looked like - pre-wrap.

I toasted whole walnuts, but really should have chopped them first. I wasn't thinking ahead and with the whole walnuts they were a little hard to wrap and the toothpicks couldn't slide easily through without hitting some walnut obstacles. I just did a loose wrap and threaded the toothpicks in seams to hold it together. I wasn't looking for a complete neat little package, basically I just wanted it held together.

I cut up 2 whole carrots and put them in a small saucepan with 2 cups of vegetable stock. Then, I added 1 cup of quinoa and cooked for 10 minutes, following package directions.

After I finished rolling the chicken, I put them in the previously used pan with a little bit of olive oil, over medium heat. Because I wanted to make sure the chicken was cooked on the inside, I threw a lid on it. Some of the walnuts fell out during cooking, but I think that would be eliminated if they were chopped, not whole.

Because the quinoa took 10 minutes, I cooked the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side. I love when everything can be timed to finish right on top of one another. Sometimes I forget to get something started and end up with a couple minutes to kill, trying to keep something warm, or turning the heat way up to try and hurry something along.

The chicken was really juicy, the walnuts were a good crunch, and the zucchini was full of flavor and I think what kept the chicken moist. I just served with a big spoonful of the carrot quinoa on the side.

The great thing about a dish like this, is that if you like it - you can re-make it over and over, but different each time! I could easily substitute any vegetable or nut I had on hand and the cooking process would be the same, but an entirely different flavor each time. I love adding new twists to existing recipes so I don't tire them out!

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My give-away is here(at the bottom), and ends Sunday, March 29th.

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4 comments:

Mara @ What's For Dinner? said...

LOVE the recipe!

Christina said...

I know! As I was making it, I was kicking myself in the butt for not thinking of this during the walnut or zucchini BSI's!

Nowheymama said...

This looks great!

Missy said...

Thanks for the shout out! Great blog!