Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Recipe on the Fly

Some days things are so chaotic at work that I'm halfway home, trying to decompress, and realize, "I have no idea what to make for dinner".  Yesterday was one of those days.  I started ticking through ingredients I knew I had on hand at home, made a quick swing by the store near me and managed to get everything on the table fairly quickly.

My inspiration was this...

This is the jalapeño popper dip I make for Offspring 2 when she begs (it's good leverage to get her to clean the bathroom).  Not terribly healthy, so I don't make it all that often.  Anyway, I was thinking of this but not wanting to go full-on chips and dip.  So I decided on an alternative.  We'll call it...  Popper Stuffed Chicken.  Eh.  Name doesn't do much for me.  How about JalaPopper Chicken? {sigh}  Ok, I'll work on it.

Basically, I ended up with this...

JalaPopper Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
4 oz light cream cheese (Neufchatel)
1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced
1 strip bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 egg mixed with an equal amount of milk (I had buttermilk on hand and that's what I used)
1 cup finely crushed crackers

Heat oven to 400º.  Line a small baking sheet with foil (I'm partial to the non-stick variety, but you could also use the regular stuff and just use a bit of cooking spray).

Pound the chicken breasts thin.  Season with salt and pepper.  Place egg mixture in one bowl and the crushed cracker crumbs in another dish.  Set aside 4 toothpicks (trust me, if you already have them out of their package and placed nearby, it will save you some time having to wash your hands later).

Combine cream cheese, Cheddar, jalapeño and crumbled bacon.  Add a bit of pepper if desired.

Spread mixture evenly on each chicken breast, leaving about 1/2" all around to keep the mixture from escaping during cooking.

Beginning at smaller end, roll the chicken up tightly.  Secure with toothpicks (See?  If you didn't have them set aside already, you'd have to stop, wash your hands, then go right back to the chicken.  Just saved you a step.  You're welcome.)  Dip each piece in egg mixture and then in crumbs, pressing crumbs into the chicken and including each end (this will also help keep the cheese mixture inside).  Place seam-side down on baking sheet.

I'd like to say that I accurately timed how long this took to cook.  But...  didn't.  It was in the neighborhood of 20 minutes, and the coating was crisp and brown.  Allow to sit for about 5 minutes and then slice into roulades.

Oh, and the creamed corn at the bottom?  Another one of Offspring's favorites and super simple. 

Bourbon Creamed Corn

3 strips of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1 shallot, finely diced
2 Tbs. jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely diced (I actually used one large pepper for both dishes and just shared between the two)
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 small package frozen corn
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs (?) bourbon (it was 2 'glugs', so I'm guesstimating)
1 cup milk
1/2 cup half and half

After cooking bacon, drain off all but about 1 tsp of the bacon grease.  Add olive oil, shallot and pepper and sauté about 5 minutes, or until shallot is tender.  Add frozen corn and turn temperature up to medium high.  Cook and stir 5 - 10 minutes, or just until there's some color on the corn.  Season with parsley, salt and pepper.  Add bacon.

Deglaze pan with bourbon and allow to cook until the liquid is almost evaporated.  Stir in milk and half and half.  Reduce heat to medium.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until milk is reduced and thickened.

This was pre-dairy, so it's not 'creamed' just yet.


  1. These two recipes sound great! It's 7am and I am trying to figure out how I could make this for breakfast in the next 30 minutes before I leave for work....after reading this, I don't think my oatmeal and pineapple is going to cut it.

  2. LOL! You're fortunate that you're coordinated enough in the mornings to actually get a fork to your mouth! Me, I have to wait until the coffee kicks in. :-))