Tuesday, January 29, 2019

Baked Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken

Welcome to 2019!  Yes I am aware that it is nearly the end of January so I am a little behind.  To be honest, January has been a very hard and busy month with some days being unforgiving and others allowing us to create some beautiful memories.

As many of you may know, we moved house at the end of October so the last few months of 2018 were kind of busy especially working full time and trying to unpack a house in time for Christmas.  Christmas, my favourite time of the year, was held at our house this year.  It was extra special with several family members arriving from interstate and staying with us.

My mam nearly didn't make it as she is battling (and kicking arse) with Breast Cancer.  She was diagnosed in August and has several operations to remove the tumour, which we have been told was a success.  To ensure that all the gremlins are out of her body her doctor advised that she undergo Chemotherapy more as a preventative measure rather than a treatment.  The chemo sessions were fast tracked and she actually didn't know if she would get to spend Christmas in Melbourne with us.  However mam underwent her first chemo on the 19th December in Brisbane and arrived in Melbourne on the 20th.  She looked fantastic, she was in good spirits and somewhat good heath during her visit.  The chemo didn't really hit her that hard (as you hear horror stories from other people's journeys) but her visit was only short due to having to return to Queensland for her 2nd chemo session on the 7th January.

Not only was my mam with us for Christmas and the New Year but as was my gorgeous sister Clare and niece Charlie.  They live in Sydney and came down for a few weeks, spending most of the time with her's and Noel's parents, but as she does every year celebrates New Years with us.  We also had the pleasure of having my Aunty Maggie, who lives in Anna Bay (near Newcastle, NSW).  Aunty Maggie and I are both January babies with her birthday being on the 7th and mine being on the 8th.  This special year my Aunty turned 80 and even though we haven't celebrated our birthday's together for many years - we did this year and it was beautiful to be able to do so.

Needless to say with everything going on in December and January, I have had to focus on me and my family.  A little selfish but I am sure, totally understandable.  Saying this the house as we know it is starting to return to some sort of normality and while I didn't stop cooking during our absence I am truly looking forward to getting back in to trying new dishes and sharing them with you all.

This said, I had been dying to try this recipe not only due to simple mention of a Jalapeño Poppers but because it's ingredients including several of my favourite foods - bacon, cheese and Jalapeños!  Not to mention it being stuffed chicken dish.  I love cutting into a chicken kiev or really any stuffed chicken dish and watching the fillings ooze out... mmmmmm.

Speaking of Jalapeño Poppers here a few of our favourites:
This dish, as mentioned, is flavoursome due to the bacon, two types of cheese and the ever popular Jalapeño.  The flavours literally melted together and produced this creamy filling the tantalised the taste buds. The coating was crisp and laced with mixed herbs.  I used Gluten Free rice crumbs but you could use normal bread crumbs or even Panko for extra crispiness.  To get the coating to stick to the chicken a combination of lime juice and olive oil did the job perfectly.

Jalapeños, like all chillis, are very interesting as you never know the intensity of the heat that they will produce.  Removing the seeds and the membranes does reduce the heat associated with chillis but then sometimes you just get a bloody hot chilli with or without the seeds and membrane!

Rolling up this parcel of goodness was a little fiddly.  To be honest I probably put too much filling in considering a few of my chicken breast fillets were a little small.  But overall not upset as I created a nice sauce also to serve on the side.

Everyone enjoyed the combination of flavours, the textures and the overall dish.  Every mouthfull was creamy, smoky, and spicy laced with lime and herb crumbs.  Well worth the effort - thank you Gina for sharing this and many more "Skinny Taste" recipes.

Baked Jalapeño Popper Stuffed Chicken
(Recipe adapted from Skinnytaste.com)

Serves: 4
SmartPoints per serve: 6

cooking spray
100 grams center cut bacon
4 skinless chicken breast fillets
2 spring onions, finely sliced
3 jalapeños, chopped (remove seeds for milder)
85 grams reduced fat cream cheese, softened
110 grams reduced fat grated tasty cheese
1/2 cup Gluten Free rice crumbs
2 teaspoons dried mixed herbs
1 1/2 juicy limes, juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
freshly ground pepper

Preheat oven to 220 degrees Celsius.

Lightly spray a baking dish with non-stick spray.

Place one chicken fillet between two pieces of grease proof paper and using a kitchen mallet or rolling bin flatten until each is of an even thickness.

Heat a large frying pan over medium high heat.  Spray with cooking spray and cook bacon until crisp.  Remove from pan to cool.

Finely slice spring onions.

Finely dice jalapenos, removing seeds and membranes if you prefer a milder heat.

Place cream cheese, cheddar, scallions, jalapeño and bacon crumbles in a medium bowl.

Mix well to combine.

Lay chicken fillets on a working surface and evening spread the cream cheese mixture on each fillet.

Loosely roll each one, secure the ends with toothpicks to prevent the cheese from oozing out.

Place breadcrumbs and mixed herbs in a bowl.  Mix well.

In a second bowl combine olive oil, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Mix well.

Dip chicken in lime-oil mixture.

Then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down on a baking dish.

Repeat with the remaining chicken.

When finished, lightly spray the top of the chicken with oil spray.

Bake 22-25 minutes, serve immediately.

Serve with 0 SP salad, if desired.


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