Bringing the bacon to boring chicken
Raise your hand if you're tired of chicken. Actually, raise your hand if you're tired of thinking about what's for dinner every bloody night of the week. Even for those of us who love to cook, it can get old. And you look in your pantry and you go, "yeah, yeah, same old, same old." You go through your regular litany of things, which for me goes like this: "Stir fry? No — had that on Tuesday. Pasta? Ugh. Mexican? Nope, had that last night. Steaks? Oh, had those on Friday." And then we're back to chicken.
When you're cooking on a budget, sometimes chicken happens. Like, a lot. I get tired of trying to find ways to make chicken interesting. For starters, chicken breasts are pretty much my least favorite protein. They're bland, usually dry and generally unappetizing — at least to me.
But they are inexpensive, and when they're on sale I find myself picking up a bunch and figuring I'll find something to do with them that doesn't make me want to cry when I sit down to dinner.
Granted, this particular meal takes away any vestige of healthiness that the chicken breast can offer, which is pretty much its only saving grace, but it does include bacon and cheese, so well, bacon. What can I say? It makes my family happy.
This looks pretty fancy, but it actually didn't take long at all to put together, so it has that (and bacon) going for it. Really, it was delicious. Even my 4-year-old said so and he's a pretty tough audience. When he looks at me during dinner and says in a very serious voice, "Mama, I love you," I know my meal has done its work.
Chicken Mozzarella Bundles
4 large chicken breasts
4 strips of bacon
4 slices of mozzarella 3 inches by 1/2 inch (or 2 cheese sticks, cut in half)
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Begin by pounding the chicken breasts a little thinner, and sprinkling both sides with salt and pepper.
Lay the cheese in the middle of the breast and pull both sides up around it. Then wrap the whole thing several times with a long strip of bacon. Secure the whole thing with a skewer. (A toothpick just won't cut it.)
In a large skillet, brown the bundles on all sides. Then transfer them to a baking dish and cook through, about 30 minutes.
I served this with mashed potatoes and green beans and happiness abounded. Even on chicken night.