spinach and feta stuffed chicken breasts with roasted carrots

Consider this any night of the week because it’s fast and easy.  But, don’t overlook it as an entertaining option either.  Creamy and cheesy [stuffing] always compliments chicken and roasted carrots make for a perfect side.

hope this makes your belly smile…

Adapted from Rachael Ray Magazine 

Timing Tips: First prep. the carrots and the chicken stuffing.  Roast the carrots.  In the meantime, finishing preparing the chicken.  The carrots and chicken will end up in the oven at the same time.

Roasted Carrots

Ingredients
Bag of organic carrots, rinsed and peeled
1-2 T. olive oil
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. black pepper, freshly ground
1/4 t. paprika
1/4 t. cumin

Directions: Preheat the oven 450 degrees.  Slice the carrots in half lengthwise and then quarter the halves.  In a large bowl, toss the carrots in the olive oil, sea salt, black pepper, paprika, and cumin.  On a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil, and arrange carrots in a single layer.  Bake for 20 minutes (flipping over with a spatula halfway through roasting).

Spinach and Feta Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Ingredients
3/4 c. feta, crumbled
(Note: store bought “crumbled” feta has several questionable added ingredients you can avoid by buying a block of feta and using a kitchen grater to achieve “crumbles”)
1/2 c. thawed frozen chopped spinach, squeezed dry
3 T. organic cream cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 T. extra virgin olive oil

4 organic boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.  In a small bowl stir together the stuffing ingredients.  In the thickest part of the chicken breast, slice a pocket (be careful not to slice all the way through).  Stuff ¼ of the mixture into each chicken breast. If needed, secure the stuffing with a toothpick.

Heat an oven-safe skillet to medium heat.  Add the olive oil to coat the skillet.  Pan sear the chicken (4 minutes on each side).  Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake 5 additional minutes or until the chicken is done.

Note: Whatever you do, do not cut the chicken for doneness.  You should be able to see the chicken cooking up the sides.  When it is no longer pink on the sides, the center should be done as well.

If you must cut, wait at least 5 minutes after removing from the oven before doing so.  A premature cut will result in bone dry chicken.

chicken fire roasted tomato & avocado soup

If soup with a slight kick on a cold, winter night is what you’re after, you’ve come to the right spot. Fire roasted tomatoes add a little spice, lime adds a citrusy kick, and avocado adds a creaminess that pulls it all together.

This soup is a great source of protein and healthy fat. If you’d prefer fewer carbs, reduce the fire roasted tomatoes or omit them altogether. If you go sans tomatoes, you’ll want to kick up the flavors with extra seasoning and lime.

Chicken Fire Roasted Tomato & Avocado Soup

Adapted from Cooking Classy

Directions (if using fresh chicken breasts): Heat a large stock pot to medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, and salt/pepper.  Cook until softened slightly (about 2 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Add broth, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, chili lime seasoning (optional), and chicken.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and cook until the chicken is done (about 15 minutes).  Remove chicken to a cutting board and allow to rest (5 minutes).  Use two forks to shred (or simply cut it into bite size pieces) before returning it to the soup. Add fresh cilantro and lime juice.  Season to taste. To individual bowls, add diced avocado. Garnish to your liking.

*Directions (if using precooked chicken breasts): Heat a large stock pot to medium heat.  Add olive oil, onion, and salt/pepper.  Cook until softened slightly (about 2 minutes), stirring occasionally.  Add garlic and cook until fragrant (about a minute).  Add broth, fire roasted tomatoes, cumin, chili lime seasoning (optional), and cut up chicken.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer.  Add fresh cilantro and lime juice. Season to taste.  To individual bowls, add diced avocado. Garnish to your liking.

Faster method with an Instant Pot (is using fresh chicken) – Add all ingredients (except avocado and cilantro). Refer to Instant Pot directions for cooking chicken breasts. Once the chicken is done, place on cutting board and allow to rest (5 minutes).  Use two forks to shred (or cut into bite size pieces) before returning it to the soup. Add fresh cilantro and lime juice.  Season to taste. To individual bowls, add diced avocado. Garnish to your liking.