Food, recipe

Chicken Caprese Brunch

The other night I made a delicious Caprese Chicken Bake and we had a couple of leftover breasts. Not enough for a full meal and I already dinner plans for the next couple of days. So I decided to turn them into brunch. Lloyd and I firmly believe that you can turn anything into brunch with a side of bacon and eggs.

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They looked pretty good at dinner time. But by the next time and a night spent in the fridge they were decidedly unappetizing. The challenge was going to be heating them up without drying out the breasts. The oven would have dried them out so I just put them in a non-stick pan and covered them.

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See, not particularly pretty. But stay with me, it does get better! While the chicken was being reheated I put the last of my delicious Woodbury Farms bacon in the oven. I prefer to cook bacon in the oven because it’s a no muss, no fuss situation this way.

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Another little trick I like to use when making a meal with a couple of different items coming off the stove/oven at different times is heating my plates in the microwave and storing food in their while the next item is being prepared.

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Once the chicken was heated through I put that in the microwave and checked on my bacon. Poor little lonely guy all alone. Don’t worry buddy, your friends are coming.

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When it was about five minutes from being ready I started making eggs. I used my Woodbury Farms eggs. Don’t mind the straw, not washing them keeps them fresh on the counter for much longer than washed eggs will hold up in the fridge.

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Now I had bacon, eggs and a reheated chicken breast. But I still had this plate of soggy chicken juice leftover from the pan the night before. It was tasty if gooey-looking but what was I going to do with it?

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I decided to reduce it down with a healthy splash of white balsamic vinegar and use it as a sauce over my eggs. The balsamic also balances out your caprese flavors. I cranked the heat right up in my pan and added the vinegar. I use Figone’s white balsamic vinegar. If you ever find yourself in Sonoma, CA I would head to their tasting room and check them out!

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I stirred constantly because I didn’t want this to burn and in about a minute it had thickened up and was nicely sticky. Once you see these great big bubbles and your sauce has achieved a uniform color you know it’s ready.

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Now take your plate with the chicken, bacon and eggs and just spoon it on!

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To make a long story short, anything can be brunch as long as you add bacon and eggs. Remember that.

Ingredients:

  1. Last night’s chicken breasts
  2. Last night’s chicken sauce
  3. Bacon
  4. Eggs
  5. White balsamic vinegar

Recipe:

  1. Place bacon on a rack and put in cold oven set to 400 degrees fahrenheit. As the oven heats, so does the bacon given you a perfect cook on your bacon. This usually takes about 20-30 minutes.
  2. Heat chicken breasts (covered) in a non stick pan and then place on heated plates in the microwave.
  3. Cook eggs in same pan and place on plates in microwave.
  4. Reduce chicken sauce down with some white balsamic vinegar. Try to use a ratio of 1/3 vinegar to 2/3 of your sauce.
  5. Once sauce is bubbling spoon onto the eggs and add your bacon to the plate.
  6. Serve with salt, pepper and hot sauce if that’s how you roll.
Food, recipe

Shrimp Stuffed Jalapeños Wrapped in Bacon

I was tooling around Trader Joe’s when I saw these frozen tiger shrimp and inspiration struck! I had some fancy Woodbury Farms bacon at home as well as some jalapeños. I was going to take that shrimp and make something delicious!

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So, I knew from personal experience that these Jalapeños are super spicy so I wanted to neutralize some of the spice.

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I do this with a mix of vinegar and water and letting them soak. I’ve read that you can use lemon-lime soda (like Sprite) but have never tried that. To get started you need to halve and remove the pith from your peppers.

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Removing the pith is much easier if you use a spoon. It’s dull it hurts more to quote Alan Rickman in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves. All joking aside the pith is where the spice hides so remove it.

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Next place them in a bowl and let them soak for about an hour in a 1:3 vinegar to water mix. The longer they soak the less spicy they will become.

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Don’t worry about getting all the seeds off before you soaking. They will rinse off easily at the end.

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Take advantage of that soaking time by letting your cream cheese soften, your bacon come to room temperature and your shrimp defrost. Once your cream cheese is soft you can go ahead and make your filling mix.

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I used chopped parsley, fine diced shallot and red bell pepper as well as some minced garlic, salt and pepper.

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I gave it a really good stir and then once everything was at room temp I got myself all set up to prep my peppers.

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I arranged my peppers so they were reasonably back together, or at least so that the sizes matched up and filled them with the cream cheese.

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Next I sandwiched a shrimp that best matched the jalapeño in size and shape in between the two halves. It was so cute all snuggled up in there.

Next it’s time to wrap your bacon around your peppers. In retrospect I would have used toothpicks to hold this all together. Live and learn.

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Put in a cold oven and set to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. They will cook in about 30-40 minutes. Just remember that the cheese inside will be like molten lava so wait a few minutes before you chomp down.

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Ingredients (makes 6):

  1. 6 large jalapeños
  2. 6 tiger shrimp
  3. 6 slices of thick cut bacon

Filling ingredients:

  1. 4 oz of cream cheese
  2. 1 Tbsp of fine diced shallots
  3. 1 Tbsp of fine diced bell pepper
  4. 1 Tbsp fine chopped parlsey
  5. 1 Tbsp minced garlic
  6. 1 Tsp salt
  7. 1 Tsp pepper

Recipe:

  1. Prep your jalapeños by slicing in half and removing pith. Soak in a 1:3 mix of vinegar to water and leave for 1-2 hours.
  2. Mix your filling.
  3. Stuff each half with cream cheese.
  4. Place shrimp inside of two halves of jalapeño.
  5. Place in cold oven and set to 400. Start checking after twenty minutes. Usually takes 30-40 minutes to cook but you don’t want to let them burn.
Food, recipe

Savory Overnight Crockpot Oatmeal

We are absolutely a savory over sweet breakfast family in the Gallinaik house. You may have read my post on Savory Brunch Oatmeal which is perfect for one or two people. But if you have to feed a crowd than it’s time to bust out that crockpot!

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This is so amazingly easy. I poured in oats, unsalted chicken stock and some butternut squash to give it some extra texture/flavor. Next I added in some leftover seasonings I had lying around the kitchen. I tossed in some italian seasoning as well as the usual salt, pepper and garlic.

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I shaved up the last of the gruyere cheese I had and added in some smoked sun dried tomatoes for color and flavor.

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All that was left to cover and let cook on low for five hours. My crockpot automatically switches to warm so we were all set for delicious aromas come the next morning. This is what I came down to, the butternut squash was fully cooked but not very well incorporated.

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After some brisk stirring I got it all smoothed out. It took a little elbow grease and I scraped down the slightly charred sides and stirred that in as well. I did add in some extra unsalted chicken stock to help loosen things up.

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We had a special treat for topping this time around. Lloyd’s best friend and best man, Steve, makes his own honey and sugar smoked bacon so he fried some up for us. As well as some home made sausage and fresh chicken eggs. In fact his family have a little farm where these amazing things are for sale. Check out Woodbury Farms if you ever get a chance.

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We laid out the breakfast meat next to the crockpot and let people help themselves. It was a great way to serve a large group breakfast with very little effort.

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All in all it was a yummy and simple way to break our fast. It’s very easy to make this sweet if that’s what you prefer. Sub the squash for apples/pears. And the spices I used for cinnamon and sugar. I would switch out the cheese for a little maple syrup as well. And definitely avoid the chicken stock, water and milk will do you just fine. Enjoy! And as usual, please tell me how you would make this your way!

Ingredients (serves 8):

  1. 2. cups of rolled oats
  2. 1 box of unsalted or low sodium chicken stock
  3. 2 cups of cubed butternut squash
  4. 8 oz sun-dried tomatoes
  5. 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  6. Salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste
  7. Eggs and breakfast meats as wanted

Recipe:

  1. Add all ingredients to a crockpot and give it a good stir. Don’t be afraid to taste for salt. Crockpots are notorious for producing under salted meals so don’t be worried if it tastes a little salty.
  2. Set on low and let cook for five hours. If your crockpot switches to warm that’s great. Otherwise plan to get up 20 minutes early to turn it back on ad let it heat up before serving.
  3. Serve with eggs, breakfast meats. Feel free to top with chopped cherry tomatoes, avocado or anything else for garnish.