Chicken Kiev… Land of Liz style.

Every year I make the same New Years resolution; Lose weight and get fit.  I search through my back issues of Cooking Light magazine and compile an arsenal of recipes that are guaranteed to get me back to my “before I had the children” weight. With grocery list in hand I march confidently into the grocery store ready to conquer the food world. I just know THIS will be the year I fit back in my favorite jeans (the ones at the back of the closet, covered in a layer of dust).

When my cart is full of fresh fruits and veggies, whole grains and healthy snacks I stroll up to the checkout counter. As I put my groceries on the conveyor belt, I have this fantasy that the checker and the other housewives around me are admiring just how healthy my family must be with all of this wonderful food in the house. I can just tell they are thinking “What a good wife and mother she must be!” To add to this delusion, I even browse through a fitness magazine before paying my bill. I walk out of the store feeling very good about myself and my new healthy lifestyle.

Then it happens….about a week after bingeing on carrots, spinach, fiber muffins and Special K cereal I hear a little voice calling from inside the fridge. It says to me “Psst…Liz….come here. I miss you! Please don’t abandon me. Come back!”.  It is the sweet voice of my dear friend, butter. I curse The Land O Lakes Indian and swear she is an evil little temptress. One thing leads to another and I come up with a recipe like this: Chicken Kiev, Land of Liz style.

The Betty Crocker cookbook has a basic recipe for Chicken Kiev that involves parsley and tarragon but, I didn’t have those things. I improvised this recipe and I’m really happy with how it turned out. Hubby even said it was ‘blog worthy’! It’s a little more labor intensive than some of my other recipes but it’s totally worth it. I’d be proud to make this meal for guests.

Here’s the cast of characters:

  • Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • all purpose flour
  • seasoned salt
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 6 thinly sliced chicken breasts (or you can go through the trouble of pounding regular chicken breasts with a mallet…I’m too lazy for that)
  • 1 stick of butter
  • two cloves minced garlic
  • 12 basil leaves, minced
  • two mozzarella string cheese sticks (or, if you want to get fancy….use fresh mozzarella)
  • salt and pepper

Step 1:  Get out three shallow bowls. In the first bowl mix eggs and 1 tbsp water. In the second, put in the bread crumbs. I the third, mix flour and seasoned salt.

Step 2: Cut butter into quarters, lengthwise and then in half (you’ll have 8 little rectangles of lovely butter). Do the same with the mozzarella cheese sticks.

Step 3: place a little bit of the minced garlic, basil, 1 butter rectangle and one of the pieces of mozzarella into the center of the chicken breast and roll it up into a tight little bundle.

Step 4: Dredge chicken roll in flour, then dip in egg, dip in bread crumbs, back in the egg again and one more time in the bread crumbs. Got that? The double dip in the crumbs makes for an extra crispy crust.  Repeat steps 3 and four until all six chicken breasts are rolled.

Step 5: Heat up oil in a frying pan and fry up the chicken breasts for about 5 minutes (or until all sides are browned).

Step 6: Place all six rolls in a baking dish and place in a preheated 400 degree oven for 15 minutes (or until chicken is cooked through). Pour any drippings over the top when serving. You don’t want to waste any of that fabulous butter. It’s a sin!

Mmmm.... look at that glorious butter and cheese! When I fall off the wagon, I fall HARD!

Enjoy….you can always return to the diet the next day!

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White Bean and Roasted Garlic Spread

There are few things in life I like more than the smell of roasted garlic. If I had my way I would have a roasted garlic air freshener hanging from my rear view mirror and large bowls of garlic, basil and onion potpourri in my living room. The smell of garlic warms my soul and makes me feel at peace with the world. Other people in the Land of Liz don’t feel quite so passionate about these delightful little bulbs of joy, so I limit my love of garlic to cooking.

Ordinarily I’m perfectly happy just roasting up a bulb of garlic and spreading it on a loaf of crusty Italian bread, but today I decided to get a bit more creative. I made a big batch of white bean and roasted garlic spread. This is a very simple recipe but it tastes out of this world!

The first step is roasting up the garlic!

  • Crank up your oven to 400. 
  • Cut off the top half of two bulbs of garlic
  • place them on a square of foil
  • drizzle on some olive oil and wrap them up
  •  Once the oven is heated up, roast those babies for 45 minutes.

When they are done they will be soft, easy to spread and delicious. 

When your kitchen starts to smell like a high-end Italian restaurant, open up a can of Great Northern beans. Rinse, drain and heat them on low on the stove top.

When the garlic is ready, squeeze it out from its paper shell into the bowl of a food processor.

Add the following:

  • warm beans
  •  a handful of cilantro (omit if you are not a cilantro fan….I am a BIG fan so I added extra!),
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • a drizzle of olive oil

 Mix it up in the food processor until it’s smooth.

Bean really liked it on her sandwich!

Peanut really liked it on her sandwich!

This is a great dip for veggies! I’m using it as a sandwich spread this week. It also stores really well in the fridge. It should be good for up to two weeks. Keep some on hand for any unexpected guests. They’ll think you eat like a gourmet every day!