We hunkered down on this incredibly cold night with a gorgeous cheese plate. The plate included parmesan, havarti and goat cheese. I also took a brie and covered the top with a bit of thyme and honey, baked it till it was gooey and delicious. We made a slow cooker queso recipe, which included canned tomatoes, green chilies, Velveeta cheese and ground chicken. You simply place the mixture in a slow cooker and let it stay on warm during the evening, so everyone can enjoy the hot queso. It's basically like your own personal fondue. I think this was everyone's favorite! It was warm, gooey and delicious to scoop the sliced French bread into. Since we bought so much French bread we though we'd pair the bread with not just the cheese, but some bruschetta topping and olive tapenade. Of course taking some assistance from the grocery store with some premade tapenade and bruschetta topping. After a long day of work, you can't expect homemade everything!
A few of our friends brought games with them to share with everyone. We spent the night playing Scene It and Cards Against Humanity, but most of the night was spent talking. The major topic of discussion was the Serial podcast. If you haven't heard of it, it's definitely one to check out. It involves the question of wrongful conviction, and is full of suspense. A nice evening in, after a long work week :)
A quick shot as we were getting the food ready...
The delicious queso...
In last week's post I made a Pickled Carrot and Cucumber salad. I mentioned pairing this with a "five spice" chicken. Five spice is a spice mixture most commonly used in Chinese and Vietnamese cooking. There are many variations of the spice powder mixture which include licorice, orange peel, ginger root or cardamom, but the most common version includes: (1) star anise; (2) cloves; (3) cinnamon; (4) szechuan pepper; and, (5) fennel seeds. I call my version "five-spice," because it is a variation of the typical powder, including nutmeg, cinnamon, salt, pepper and paprika. It should really be "five spice +" for that matter, because of the addition of sriracha sauce (or rooster sauce) to the mix.
In Vietnam the rub is most commonly used in cooking broiled chicken, and so I got the idea for this "five spice" rubbed chicken. The goat cheese addition is certainly not traditional to Vietnam, but I thought this change would give an interesting modification to the dish and a surprise when you bite in. Hope you all enjoy!
"Five Spice" Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts - Serves 2
2 chicken breasts
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
11/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsps coconut oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp goat cheese
- Flatten out the chicken breasts by placing on cutting board with a sheet of plastic wrap over the chicken. "Hammer" down with a can or rolling pin, in a "hit and roll" type of motion. Do this until each breast is about 1/4 inch thick.
- Place 1 tbsp of goat cheese on each breast and spread to cover one side of the breast. Fold or roll the chicken over so that none of the goat cheese is exposed, and instead it is all held in the inside of the rolled chicken breast.
- Melt coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl on high for 20 seconds. Then to the melted coconut mixture add the cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, salt, and pepper (the "Five Spices") and also add the Sriracha or Rooster Sauce. Mix this together with a spoon until well blended.
- Place each stuffed chicken into the oil and spice mixture. Roll around so the chicken is coated in the mixture on all sides.
- Place the chicken on an aluminum foil lined pan.
- Bake the chicken in a 400 degrees Fahrenheit oven for 20 minutes. Turn the oven off and let sit in the heat for 5 minutes. Then you are ready to serve.