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Hello dear readers.  I have moved to a new website.  The look is the same, I’m still faithful to my WordPress support!  I just wanted more capabilities, so I have a new dedicated web page.

I greatly appreciate and value all of you who read my postings.  I find immense enjoyment and inspiration from sharing my successes (and failures) with all of you!

Please just click the following link and keep coming back for more!  And don’t forget to resubscribe your RSS or Feed Readers to the new website if that’s how you roll.

http://doctordomestic.com

Yours faithfully, Becky

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Herb and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

I came upon the recipe that inspired this in my latest “Cooking Light” magazine issue. Indeed it may not be quite the “lightest” dinner ever.  Chicken – good, herbs – good, goat cheese – eh…But you know what?  Goat cheese is certainly better than stuffing it with cheddar or fontina (which I have done and loved), so if you want a stuffed chicken breast, this probably is still on the “light” side.  And hey, speaking of “light side”, I did have a light side dish.  What’s healthier than steamed asparagus?

I started this dish by digging out my seldom used and under appreciated Cuisinart mini-prep.  It has become the ugly step-child of the kitchen ever since its big brother entered the picture.  Nonetheless, it works extremely well for small applications like this.  Here, I have combined a few fresh basil leaves, some thyme, black pepper, and about 2 oz plain goat cheese.

cheese mix

Blitz it up with a tiny bit of olive oil to make it slightly more pliable.

Herbed Goat Cheese

Herbed Goat Cheese

Then move on to prepping the chicken.  I used boneless skinless chicken breasts which I then butterflied and pounded out.

Pounded Chicken

Pounded Chicken

A small cast-iron skillet is the perfect meat-pounder if you don’t own a “real” meat pounder.  Its flat, heavy, and has a large surface area.  Just don’t forget the plastic wrap!

Cast-Iron Meat Pounder

Cast-Iron Meat Pounder

Once the chicken is evenly flattened, spread the goat cheese mixture on in an even, thin layer.  Cover only 1/2 or 1/3 of the chicken so that you can fold it over to cover the cheese.

Spread the Cheese

Folded over Chicken

Folded over Chicken

Try to make sure that not too much cheese is going to melt out, although so melting is inevitable.  Luckily, the cheese doesn’t burn if it melts out, just gets oozy.

And after all that fussiness, I needed a super simple side-dish!  Have I ever mentioned how much I love my Farberware Steamer Pot?  I do, I love it.

Steamed Asparagus

Steamed Asparagus

And that’s all folks.  It turned out to be too much food, the chicken was very filling!

Lovely Springtime Dinner

Perfect Springtime Dinner

Prep Ranking: #2 – Weeknight Fare
Tastiness Grade: 6/10
– the flavor was delicious, however, the chicken was a bit tough by the time it was cooked.

Simple recipe after the break.

Continue Reading »

Magical Mulch

What a different mulch makes!  Its truly amazing the transformation my novice garden has undergone with a simple layer of mulch.  It…actually…looks…GOOD!

Mulched Tomatoes

Mulched Tomatoes

I also uprooted the zucchini corpses and planted some broccoli.  It looks much prettier!

Broccoli

beautiful broccoli

beautiful broccoli

And while I was at it, I planted the eggplant and butternut squash.  The squash is still very little, I hope it fares well outside.

Eggplant

Eggplant

Baby Butternut

Baby Butternut

We are just pleased as punch with how the mulch has transformed the garden.  I am glad we took advantage of the few hours of sunlight to work outside.  It has been so rainy here with more to come.  Its what Spring is all about!

south garden

Have You Ever…

boiled Balsamic Vinegar into a charcoal-like hockey puck?  Did you even know that boiling Balsamic Vinegar leads to the production of a charcoal-like hocky puck?

I read a comment on another blog’s comment thread that prompted me to think about blogging my mistakes as well as my successes.  This could mean a less-than-tasty pasta dish, an undercooked roasted chicken (which I am an expert at making, by the way) or any number of ways to mess up perfectly well-meaning baked goods.  But, I realized it can also mean those disasters which set of fire alarms, ruin cookware, and cause you to have to replace the vent filter over your cook-top.

To sum it up, over-boiling Balsamic vinegar will cause you to (a) set off fire alarms, (b) ruin cookware, and (c) cause you to have to replace the vent filter over your cook-top.  It will also leave a stench in your home, the likes of which you will not soon forget.

It was the 4th of July last year, and we had recently moved into our new (and first) home.  We were absolutely so excited to entertain since we finally had a nice home and furniture consisting of more than a futon and an old crate.  We invited my brother and sister-in-law over for some roasted vegetables and good steaks.  I had big plans to make a fancy topping for the steaks by reducing some Balsamic Vinegar.  So I poured a bunch of vinegar in a sauce pan…and then the door-bell rang.  I got lost in the fun of showing my family around our lovely home and completely forgot about the ticking time-bomb on the stove until the stinking smoke came billowing up the stairs.

Oh shit.

What I found on the stove defied logic.  The seemingly innocent vinegar had turned into a solid, porous structure, very closely resembling pumice rock, except much blacker, stinkier and more menacing.

Pumice...or is it???

Pumice...or is it???

After I got over the initial shock of it, I ran the pan outside and dumped the vinegar stone onto our back patio.  There it remained for weeks, slowly being whittled down by the Summer rains.

I will say that on the up side, this gave my husband ammunition for making fun of me for months.  Lets be honest, he will probably be bringing this one up at our 50th Anniversary.  My brother also viewed the episode as Christmas-in-July as far as getting to poke fun at my stupidity.

This episode qualifies as my most costly kitchen disaster, because not only did I waste food (which I hate) but as I mentioned before, we actually had to replace the entire filter that is installed in the microwave vent hood over the cook-top.  I was told this ran upwards of $30 and had to be special ordered.  The pan was salvaged, but I am weary of using it to this day, because sometimes when I wash it, I still get a brownish film off of it.  Burnt vinegar, the gift that keeps on giving.

I would love to hear that I’m not alone in my catastrophic idiocy in the kitchen.  Any funny stories?

Planting up a Storm

The Garden

The Garden

The day has come.  Some plants are finally IN THE GROUND.  Such excitement around the homestead.  Now here, I must be completely honest.  The seedling project has not worked out well.  It makes me so sad that my time and energy has gone down in flames, but I’m not gonna sugar-coat it.  The seedlings did not fare well when taken out of their cushy garage dwelling.

I made an honest effort to put my zucchini plants (the ones whose stems hadn’t yet snapped, which was only 2, well, 2.5) but after a couple of Spring-time Kansas storms, those stems had also snapped.  Clearly I’m doing something wrong.  Oh boy this picture is sad.  Tips???  Please???

A Zucchini Corpse

A Zucchini Corpse

And as I mentioned before, the seedlings were not doing well in the natural sunlight.  The tomatoes were brown and wilted and I just didn’t see them coming back to life.  So we did the next best thing.  We went to our favorite local, family owned farm (that just happened to beautifully do our wedding flower arrangments) Pendleton’s, and stocked up on vegetable plants.  I was fearing the worst as far as the money we’d be spending.  We had scouted out plant prices at the local big-box hardware store and were looking at spending $3-7 per plant.  And for as many plants as I wanted, this would have run the price up pretty fast.  But Pendleton’s really came through for us.  We got beautiful tomato and pepper (many varieties of each) plants for $0.99/plant.  That’s right, less money than I’d spend at the grocery store for 1 stupid bell pepper for a whole, big, beautiful plant!!

Tomato plant (Patio variety)

Tomato plant (Patio variety)

So although I made every effort to save money by growing my own plants from seedlings, in the end, we found another cost-saving measure.  Find a local nursery/farm/gardener and get some high quality plants for a more than reasonable price.

Tomatillos

Tomatillos

We also visited another local nursery, Sunrise Garden Center, and purchased Okra, Eggplant, Cucumbers,Tomatillos and Banana Peppers, as well as some tomato stakes and bone/blood meal.

Okra

Okra

And I got the official word from Grandma, my family’s expert gardener (and MAN did that woman have a beautiful garden) – BLOOD MEAL = BUNNY REPELLENT.

Tomatoes, Mountain Fresh Variety

Tomatoes, Mountain Fresh Variety

And last but not least, we planted three deck planters for the herbs.  Basil, Rosemary, Cilantro, Parsely, Peppermint and Thyme.

Herb Planters

Herb Planters

The Rosemary and Basil Forrest

The Rosemary and Basil Forrest

And then the rains came.  And they kept coming, with a vengance.  But my plants remained standing.  They are marvelous creatures!

The Morning Dew

The Morning Dew

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

Roasted Vegetable Pasta

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband just got his wisdom teeth out.  He’s doing fine, sipping down Instant Breakfasts like a champ, however, he’s still off solid foods for at least one more day.  So he told me to go ahead and make a meal that I love that he doesn’t.  I immediately decided on my Roasted Broccoli and Cauliflower Pasta.  I made this one up about a year ago after the raging success of the Summer Squash Spaghetti.  However, the reviews of my new recipe brought me back down to earth and reminded me that I couldn’t just pass any old veggie/pasta dish by my husband and expect him to love it.  I did NOT have carte blanche with noodles and vegetables.

However, I thought the dish was delicious.  Before trying this, I had never experienced the wonders of roasting broccoli and cauliflower.  It is amazing the transformation these vegetables undergo when roasted.  They get slightly brown and caramelized, sweet, nutty, so delicious!

Veggies, Pre-Roasting

Roasted Veggies

Want to see that transformation close up? Here you go.

Pre-Rosting, close up

Roasted Veggies, close-up

Now I know what you’re thinking.  THEY’RE BURNED!!! You MESSED UP!!  But I promise you, dear readers, they are not burned.  They don’t taste burned, they taste delicious!  This is what you want – would I lie to you?  Never.

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

Lemon Herb Vinaigrette

I pair the roasted vegetables with a vinagrette made with lemon juice and zest, thyme, rosemary, and olive oil.  The lemony brightness goes beautifully with the nutty roasted vegetables.

Zesty!

Zesty!

This is one of the few dishes where I actually prefer whole wheat pasta.  I know I should eat it all the time.  High protein, high fiber, blah blah blah.  But I just don’t like the flavor or texture of it with traditional red or white sauces.  But with this dish, it works perfectly.

So if you’re up for another vegetarian pasta dish, give this one a whirl, especially if you have never tried roasted broccoli and cauliflower.

Dinner for One

Dinner for One

Prep Ranking: #2 – Weeknight Fare
Tastiness Grade: 8.5/10

Get the recipe after the break:

Continue Reading »

Post-Surgery Cravings

J-E-L-L-O

J-E-L-L-O

Remember when I was complaining back when my mouth was hurting that all the good food are crunchy? Toast, chips, cereal, crackers…Well, now I’m having a hankering for the softer side. Its all about wanting what you shouldn’t have.  So trite, yet so true.  Let me explain.

My husband got his wisdom teeth extracted today, so I’ve been preparing soft and slurpable foods for him.  And of course now I want nothing more than to eat all of his soft foods.  Jello, pudding, ice cream…even those instant-breakfast shakes.  Its nothing but processed sugar, but now that I’m surrounded by it, it all looks so good!

A few days ago I was at the store shopping for the slurp-ables and I called the Hubby to ask what flavor of  pudding and Jello he preferred.  He said “I like brown pudding and red Jello.”  Its the cute things that make life so enjoyable!

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