Unfortunately my diet and exercise regimen has been taking away from my cooking time and variations and because of this I have not blogged nearly frequently enough.  However, today after an intense 60 minutes of plyometrics, well actually about half way through, I started thinking about what kind of chicken we would be having tonight.  We have been eating chicken nearly everyday since the 1st of the year and creativity is the name of the game.  Most nights we just rub something on the chicken breasts, beat em out a bit with the mallet and throw them in the broiler.  Tonight though I got to thinking that we had a little spinach left in the fridge and a little swiss cheese.

Upon further inspection of the fridge and surrounding cupboards I found the rest of my ingredients to make a rather tasty, yet still fairly healthy dinner.

2 chicken breasts
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp pesto
20 spinach leaves stems removed
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 tsp grated parmesan
12 postage stamp size slices of swiss cheese
olive oil
black pepper
dried basil leaves

I started by combining spinach, garlic (minced), parmesan, 1/4 tsp black pepper and pesto in a mortar and pestle I recently got from Amazon.  I crushed all of these ingredients to a pulp and set aside.  I then poured about a tablespoon of olive oil in a glass baking dish and spread it around.  I proceeded to wash each of the chicken breast, butterfly them open and stuff them with half of pesto mixture and 6 of the pieces of cheese, I then rubbed them with olive oil, closed them up with toothpick sprinkled with salt, pepper and dried basil and placed them in the oven at 400ºF for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reached 180ºF.  It was a little shy of 45 minutes.

For such an easy and relatively healthy dish it was quite tasty and we will be making it again.

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Ok well maybe not jerked but, at least jerk seasoned with Penzey’s Jerk Pork seasoning after being bathed in tangerine juice, lime juice, a little oil and a little Dale’s Seasoning, grilled over charcoal with a chunk of hickory and a couple sticks of cherry. Grilled to 160°F.

Jerked Pork SteakFor the record they didn’t look that big when I pulled them out of the freezer this morning.

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Last weekend my wife came home with a leek, the biggest leek I have ever seen, and as soon as I saw it I knew what I would be cooking with it a favorite I have not had in quite some time until tonight.  Potato and Leek soup and after a little emergency last second seasoning, it came out quite nicely.

Creamy Potatoe and Leek Soup

3 Medium Cooking Potatoes peeled and finely chopped (I used my SlapChop)
1 Leek finely chopped, green and white parts only
12 oz chicken broth
2 tbsp margarine
1 1/2 c half and half
1/2 c milk
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 tsp ground thyme
pepper and salt to taste
parsley for garnish

In a medium pot over medium heat cook potatoes with broth and garlic until tender (about 20 minutes), stirring occasionally
Meanwhile in a separate skillet over medium heat, saute leeks in margarine until tender.  Transfer leeks to a food processor, add thyme, chop until uniform.
Combine leeks with potatoes in potato pan, add half and half, milk, salt, pepper and parsley, mix well over medium heat until heated through.

The soup was good on its own but we were also have sausage and stirred that in as well as a little cheese, it was delicious and I am looking forward to eating some more for lunch tomorrow.

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Well after our healthy meal yesterday we had a few extra black beans….my bad, so we decided to make some soup with it today and it was incredible, flavorful, hearty, easy to make and wife approved. We topped it with cilantro and a dollop of sour cream.  However it was not very photogenic so we forwent to photo.  Here is the recipe we used:

3/4 c dry black beans
4 strips of bacon (4oz), chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 red bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chopped dried jalapenos
1 carrot chopped
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 ground thyme
1/2 bay leaf
48oz chicken broth
1/2 tsp black pepper
sour cream and cilantro for garnish

Place beans in a bowl and cover by 3 inches of cold water, soak overnight.

Cook bacon in a large pot until golden, remove bacon from pan and discard all but 1 tbsp of bacon grease.

Add bacon back into pan with onion, garlic, jalapeno, thyme, oregano and bay leaf, saute until onion is softened, stirring frequently.

Add beans, chicken broth, and pepper.  Simmer partially covered stirring occasionally until beans are tender usually 2-2 1/2 hours.

Serve with a dollop of sour cream and cilantro and possibly a little cheese.