I figured it’s high time I learned how to cook. I mean, I already bake, my mother was a professional cook for a good portion of her adult life, I already spend way too much of my time watching competitive cooking shows on the Food Network, and seeing as I am disabled and don’t have a job right now, I have a lot of time on my hands to learn this valuable life skill. So, when my mother came home from work and wanted to cook a fairly complicated dinner, I decided that I would look over her shoulder, take pictures, and pester her with way too many questions. I would like to think that I helped, but I think I slowed her up more than anything else.
So my mom had a nice packet of fresh, refrigerated chicken breasts (boneless) and a box of Stove Top Stuffing. My mom decided to make this meal, which she had first made when a friend had a famous writer coming over to her house and couldn’t afford to hire a caterer. I would have named this dish something witty having to do with writing, but seeing as how I got unbridled usage of a meat tenderizer during the making of this meal, I couldn’t name it anything else but “slammin'”!
So there are really 3 components to this dish that all end up coming together and going into the oven in the end.
- The stuffing: you can really choose to make this from scratch (or from any recipe, really), but my mother likes Stove Top because it’s so easy, it’s tasty and delicious, and, did I mention that it’s easy?
- The chicken: You’re going to need boneless chicken breasts that are fresh or fully thawed. The chicken gets pounded, salted, dredged, pinned together, browned, and baked. Can you keep up with the steps? I’ll try to make it easy as possible.
- The sauce: a delightful and easy to make sauce. A welcome relief from the intricate chicken dance
- 3 Large boneless chicken breasts
- 1 cup flour
- 2 teaspoons salt
- Stuffing. Stove Top or otherwise. If you use Stove Top, you’ll need: 1 packet of Stove Top Stuffing, 1-1/2 cups water and 1/4 cup vegetable oil
- 1/4 cup of vegetable oil (in addition to what you use for the stuffing)
- 1 teaspoon of Emeril Essence (or your preferred spice mix)
- Cayenne Pepper to taste (optional)
- 1-1/4 cup milk
- 1/4 cup white wine
Pre-heat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Ok, your next step is to make the stuffing. Since we decided to go for Stove Top and the directions are really very self-explanatory.
Then, take each chicken breast and butcher them into single pieces slightly smaller than the size of your palm. Note: Make sure to wash your hands thoroughly after handling raw chicken.
Place a piece of saran wrap under the chicken and another piece over the chicken. Then proceed to use the flat side of the meat tenderizer to pound the chicken until it is roughly twice the size or a quarter of an inch thick. Try not to mash or break it.
As you finish flattening each piece of chicken, lightly sprinkle them with salt and put them aside. If you stack them on top of each other, make sure you separate them with saran wrap so they don’t stick to each other.
When you are done pounding the chicken breasts, it’s time to stuff them. Have your stuffing handy as well as some wooden toothpicks. Note: these toothpicks stay in the breasts until they are done cooking. Make sure to remove them. It is probably a good idea to alert your guests that there might be toothpicks as well, just to be safe.
Spread flour over your work area so the meat doesn’t stick to your surface. Then, take a piece of chicken breast, spoon some stuffing into the middle, roll-up the chicken breast, and secure it closed with a toothpick.
The next thing my mom does is dredge the roll-ups (roll them in a flour mixture) and brown them in oil before baking them. Theoretically, you could just bake them at this point, but dredging and browning them gives them a nice firm, light crust. If you skip these steps, they’re going to have the consistency of boiled chicken and, under the heavy sauce that this recipe calls for, they’re just going to taste soggy.
The next step is to dredge the roll-ups. Mix together the dredge mixture in a shallow bowl.
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon Emeril Essence or your preferred spice mixture
Gently roll each of the roll-ups in the dredge mixture so the outside is covered with the mixture.
Next, lightly brown the outside of the roll-ups. In a large, shallow pan, pour just enough vegetable oil for it to just barely cover the bottom. Make sure you are not frying the roll-ups (ie. they are not swimming in hot oil). Wait for the oil to get hot and gently put your roll-ups into the pan, spacing them at least 1″ apart.
Don’t worry about cooking the chicken all the way through, you’re going to finish off the chicken in the oven. What you want here is a nice golden color. Once you see gold, take the chicken out of the pan, wipe off the excess oil on a paper towel, and place the roll-up in a baking dish. Do this for all your roll ups. Add any extra stuffing to the baking dish if you would like. You can also add raw spinach or green beans to the baking dish at this time.
Before you put the chicken in the oven, it’s time to make the sauce. The sauce has 4 ingredients.
Chicken White-Wine Sauce Ingredients:
- 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1 can Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
- 1-1/4 cup milk (you can use skim milk if you want)
- 1/4 cup white drinking wine
My mother never uses cooking wine. She thinks it’s a waste of money. When my mom uses wine in her cooking, she’ll use a lower-end drinking wine. It has always worked for her.
Add both soups and the milk to a sauce pan. Wisk and put over a medium flame until it begins to simmer. Lower the heat and add the wine. Leave on the lower heat for a minute or two longer. Make sure the sauce is a consistent, creamy texture before taking it off the flame.
Gently pour the sauce over the chicken in your baking dish.
Cook for 30 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit or until the chicken is fully cooked. Here’s what it looks like when it comes out of the oven:
It makes a very pretty plate, especially if you serve it with some of the extra stuffing and something green on the side.
So that’s my first cooked-and-blogged dinner. Bon Appetit!