This is all that is left of my "epiphany". I fully intended to have a picture of the dish straight out of the oven, but we were so hungry and it was SO good, that it was gone before I knew it. In fact, my husband ate the last bit of chicken that was originally in this, for breakfast!
This is all I get for lunch.
So what was this "epiphany"? As I was walking out the door from work, it hit! Usually the "what's for dinner tonight" question leaves me stumped at this time of day, but not yesterday. It hit me like a bolt of lightening. Chicken breasts! Cheese! Sauce! It all rumbled around in my head and wavered between salsa and marinara, but definitely provolone. I tried to work it all around what I had at home, but then I thought of at least three things I needed to buy at the store, so next thing I know I find myself walking around the grocery store in some kind of possessed daze. First I stopped by the gourmet cheese section. I see sliced smoked fontina. Not something I recommend you buy if you're on a budget (which I am), but I went for it. I was not in control at this moment. I know I originally planned provolone, and I waffled for several seconds. The fontina was a dollar more then the provolone, but both were expensive. I usually consider buying presliced cheese a waste of money, but I'm a working mom and I needed to cut corners somewhere. (I was slightly panicked when I found sliced provolone in the "low end" cheese section for half the price. I let the dizzy spell pass and kept the fontina.
Then I headed for the veggie section. I needed tomatoes to go in the salad I planned to make. I needed to use up my head of lettuce and I had just bought marinated artichokes at a discount grocery place that I was itching to use. Then I saw the mushrooms. I tried to stop myself. "You don't need mushrooms! You have canned ones at home" But I did it. My hand reached out uncontrollably and grabbed the button mushrooms, and then a English cucumber.
Then the sauce. I finally settled on marinara. I perused the almost endless varieties of spaghetti sauce and settled on a cheep can of hunts and decided to soup it up. Next I grabbed a can of "rolled anchovie's" a jar of capers and a jar of pitted calamat olives. There goes the budget! And home I went.
I started the sauce first. I poured the whole can of Hunts spaghetti sauce into a sauce pan and prceeded to create my witches brew. I added a little over half a can of the anchovies. My husband ate the rest of the can. About a third cup of the pitted calamatas and several tablespoons of capers. A can of button mushrooms, then I chopped up a big handfull of fresh basil and grabbed fresh oregano, thyme and rosemary and chopped up several teaspoons of each and tossed them in. I didn't put in ANY salt. There was plenty already in the ingredients. I let this sauce simmer for about an hour. Man did the house smell good!
Next I pulled out the frozen chicken breasts and thawed them. I thought I had 4 but only had 2. Fortunately, this was rich and filling enough that that was enough. Once thawed I sliced them in half, but leaving them "hinged". I placed a slice of fontina in each. Then I took th fresh mushrooms and sauted them in butter, garlic and a pinch of kosher salt. I spooned that on top of the cheese. Then I wrapped the chicken breasts in prosciuto that I had bought at the discount grocery place and put them in a baking dish. I spooned my "souped up sauce" over the top and placed it in the oven at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
While that cooked I proceeded to nag my husband to make the salad. He just makes a better one then me, and he made a salad that was yummy enough for me to eat some for breakfast this morning. Especially with those marinated artichokes!
Besides the nagging I cooked up some corkscrew pasta. While that boiled I sauted some chopped garlic in olive oil. when the pasta was done I tossed that with the pasta and mixed in some freshly shredded parmesan. I dished the parmesan noodles on the dishes and topped with the chicken (which I sliced each stuffed breast into 3 pieces) and sauce. My husband and I had salad on the side and the girls ate raw sugar snap peas. It was delicious!
One of my better food epiphanies!
Here are some of the ingredients I used:
You could take this recipe and turn it a million different directions. Next time I think I'll lean towards the Mexican side, and reduce the sodium. How would you do it? I bet my friend Annie Oakie could take this to a whole new level, and it wouldn't surprise me to hear that okra and mayonaise were involved, and it would be DELISH!