Feb 9, 2012

Midweek meals - Ricotta stuffed chicken

Mid week dinners is where my enthusiasm for cooking can sometimes wane a little bit (only a little mind you). It's about mid week that the gruelling work week starts to take its toll and I am tempted to crack open a wine bottle and order a takeaway. There's no home delivery where I live, a small but not insignificant side effect of living in a semi rural location, so a delivered takeaway is not an option. Mr Shady Pine and I love to eat out, especially when we can try somewhere new but we tend to leave eating out to a Friday or Saturday night when we can relax and take our time at a restaurant.

On the up side, because of our location, I always have a well stocked fridge and pantry and know that I can whip up a wholesome meal quickly.
The thought of getting back into a car to go and pick up some takeaway loses appeal when I know that in far less time I can pull something together. Sometimes I'm lazy and dinner ends up being a boiled egg and toast or when I really couldn't be bothered it might be a good old toastie.

So in the spirit of drumming up more enthusiasm to cook something more inspired than during the working week, I intend to have a series of mid week meal posts. The guidelines to what I cook will be 1) to use readily available ingredients and 2)to prepare the meal in about 30 minutes (not including any photography time so I can share the results with you back here).

With this in mind, this week's mid week dinner was a stuffed chicken breast with ricotta, spinach,pinenuts and lemon. I liked the fact that I could throw the sealed chicken into the oven and let it do the work from there without a lot of other fussing around.

At any other time of the week, I might take the cooked chicken and slice it on the angle prettily. This was a mid week meal people. Time was short. So instead it was cut in half and served with leftover roast pumpkin and spinach salad made here. It made for a tasty, delicious and quick meal.

What do you do for mid week dinners? Do you rely on takeaway, go out to eat or do you cook at home every night?

Stuffed chicken breast with ricotta, spinach, pine nuts and lemon
Serves 2

2 small chicken breasts (preferably free range with the tenderloin removed)
Large handful of baby spinach leaves
2 Tbs pine nuts (toasted in a non stick pan until golden)
100gm ricotta
Zest from 1 lemon
S&P to taste
1 Tbs olive oil

1. Preheat oven to 180C fan forced or 190C.
2. Cut the chicken breasts in half lengthways taking care not to cut all the way through. Open up each chicken breast and lay flat out.
3. On each chicken breast, place half the ricotta, spinach and pine nuts and S&P.
4. Roll each chicken breast carefully and secure with toothpicks
5. Heat olive oil in a non stick pan on high heat. Seal the chicken in the pan turning to seal all sides.
6. Place chicken on a baking tray covered with baking paper. Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked.
7. Allow the chicken to rest for a few minutes prior to slicing. Serve with a side salad.


yummychunklet said...

Love all the variations you can do with stuffed chicken. Your ricotta mixture looks delicious!

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella said...

This looks fantastic! I know what you mean, sometimes we have omelettes for dinner! :P I must admit that I love eating them so it's not so bad right? ;)

Hotly Spiced said...

That's a lovely mid-week meal. Beautiful. And you've photographed it so well Anna. I love a meal that you can prepare quickly, then put it in the oven and leave alone. This would be perfect for our family. I struggle with mid-week meals too!

Anna @ The Littlest Anchovy said...

I am looking forward to these posts as I really struggle to find quick, tasty and healthy meals to eat during the week. I tend to save up my cooking energy for the weekends! This chicken looks beautiful. I am going to give it a go next week :)

The Hungry Navigatrix said...

That looks yum. With two little ones (who require a separate dinner) sometimes I run out of steam mid-week and we get a takeaway. It's hard to resist the lure of a Bento box when I'm feeling uninspired.

Martyna@WholesomeCook said...

This sounds lovely and simple - I normally stick with pasta with lots of veg, fish with beans, tacos and soups.

marthameetslucy said...

I wish I could get away with serving eggs for dinner. I usually do it when we have chicken or steak leftover. Eggs for me, meat for everyone else. And you had me at pine nuts.