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Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon {Gluten-free, Low-carb}

Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Spinach, Mushrooms and Goat Cheese, Wrapped in Bacon {Gluten-free, Low-carb}
Bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken

Bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken

I don’t know if low-carb, grain-free eating gets much better than this! Beautiful skinless, boneless chicken breasts stuffed with soft chevrie goat cheese, spinach, mushrooms, walnuts and wrapped in bacon… ohmygosh! And to top it off, it’s easy-peasy πŸ™‚ I enjoy recipes that use ingredients that I typically have on hand, or that can be modified easily.

This was a meal that I shared just with my husband on a weekend night at home while our son was spending time with friends, so we used ingredients we really enjoy like mushroom and spinach. (Yay, kitchen time together!)…I think next time I make this for all of us, I will let my son decide what to put inside his, so that he can enjoy as well. Why does pepperoni, tomato, basil and mozzarella come to mind?! πŸ˜‰ Β  Good for 2 of us, I also think that it would be great for a primal-ish dinner party, or even cut up in sections as an appetizer.

Normally, I do keep the skin *on* my chicken as a source of healthy fats, but in this case, I was happy to go without in exchange for some bacon-y goodness!! The filling was easy and could be tweaked in many ways to your own personal tastes (and pantry). I took several pictures along the way to show the process, but to be honest, the recipe amounts will just be a guess, as I made it up as I went along (as usual.) In other words, stuff it with whatever you want! The amount of stuffing you need will vary by the size of the chicken breast, so keep that in mind if you need to add a little more. The minced pork rinds are a great substitute for bread crumbs as a binder in stuffing recipes.

 

Spinach and Mushroom Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Wrapped in Bacon (serves 2-4)

Spinach Filling

Spinach, garlic, mushrooms, onion, and walnuts for the filling

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (butterflied open)
  • coconut oil or butter
  • 1/2 C frozen chopped spinach
  • 1/2 small onion, diced (1/4C or so)
  • 3 mushrooms, sliced thinly (used crimini, baby bellas)
  • 1-2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/4C pork rinds, finely chopped
  • 1/4C chopped walnuts
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 3oz soft goat cheese such as chevrie
  • 6-8 slices raw bacon
Spinach Filling

Chicken breasts: butterflied and filled.

Directions: Preheat oven to 400. Prepare filling ingredients: I put the frozen spinach and chopped onion in a microwave-safe bowl, salt lightly, cover with wrap and microwave on high for about 5 minutes and then drain, but you can saute if you choose not to use a microwave (I just like the gentle sweetness of the onions steamed this way, and I can multi-task.) Meanwhile, saute the mushrooms and garlic in butter or coconut oil until done. Add the cooked spinach and onion, heat through, add the walnuts and pork rinds to complete the stuffing.

Wrapping in bacon

Wrapping in bacon

Lay out each butterflied chicken breast, salt and pepper to taste. Use 1/4 of the cheese on each breast, placing it near the center. Top each with 1/2 the stuffing mixture and the remaining cheese (if you have too much stuffing, don’t use it all.). Carefully fold each breast in half, keeping the stuffing in place with your fingers. Carefully wrap each breast in bacon strips, one at a time, spiraling around, making sure to cover all the stuffing. Bake on a cookie sheet (I used a silicone mat on mine) for about 20-25 minutes, (flipped chicken halfway through bake time.) I then broiled the tops for about 3 minutes per side to ensure bacon was cooked completely, but you may find that baking alone is fine.

 

In the pictures shown, I have a side salad of fresh spinach, tomatoes, swiss cheese topped with a simple vinaigrette of 2Tb warm bacon fat, 2Tb balsamic vinegar and 1Tb orange juice with a touch of tarragon, salt and pepper.

Stuffed chicken wrapped in bacon, and simple spinach salad.

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Pizza: Cheese-Crusted, Gluten-free, Grain-free!

Now, if you are not a low-carber, you may want to avert your eyes…

No really, do it now. I’ll wait.

If you are still reading, I am going to assume that a pizza crust made with 3 kinds of cheese, eggs, and no flour is RIGHT up your alley! I will admit that while I am 99% grain free (other than an occasional delectable sushi roll, oops) even I was feeling a little guilty with this cheesy indulgence, but it sure was good!

Many of you have either found me through my posts on the Wheat Belly blog or Facebook page, and even if you found me through the wonderful world of food and health blogging, you likely know how enthusiastic I am about the wheat free lifestyle! One of the cool things about being part of a thriving Wheat Belly (WB) community online is that everyone is more than happy to share their experiences, advice and recipe tips! In a recent post, after I suggested the Socca Pizza crust with Garbanzo flour, a fellow WB’er shared her favorite gluten-free pizza crust recipe (which is veryyyy low carb), and I gave it a whirl… YUMMO!

So, since one good turn deserves another, I am sharing the link to the original page HERE, at Gluten Free Easily, with pictures of a very classic-looking pepperoni pizza. I will definitely have to make this version when I have pepperoni on hand, but since I didn’t, I improvised with what I did have.

Here you see the crust ingredients spread into a parchment-lined pan.

Cooked up and ready to be decked out!

Sauteed crimini mushrooms

Wilted spinach and garlic.

Our Pizza toppings included: spinach sauteed with minced garlic, sauteed crimini mushrooms, left-over pork chop, thinly diced and crisped in a pan, and some crumbled feta cheese, along with the Organicville spaghetti sauce and some shredded mozzarella cheese mixed with chopped fresh basil.

Our first cheese crust pizza! Mushrooms on one half only πŸ˜‰

 

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FAST FISH! Tahini Lemon Salmon

Salmon is my go-to fish of choice! I love that it is insanely easy to cook (400 degrees, 15-20 minutes), and that you can flavor it in so many ways… PLUS it is healthy! We all know by now that it is a great course of healthy fats and omega 3’s, and to top it off, it’s strongly anti-inflammatory.

This is another one of my recipes that I will call more of a method, because it is so unstructured when I do it…

  • Take a fresh salmon filet, rinsed and patted dry…Β 
  • rub both sides with coconut oil and place skin side down in baking dish…
  • salt and pepper to your taste…
  • smear about a tablespoon of tahini over the flesh side…
  • top with the zest of one lemon and a couple tablespoons of fresh parsley…
  • bake 15-20 minutes at 400 degrees.
  • SIMPLE delicious!

As a side, we sauteed chopped baby broccoli (put in the pan first for 2+ minutes because it takes longer to cook), along with napa cabbage and spinach in coconut oil, finishing with a squeeze of fresh lemon and sesame seeds.

 

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Warm Veggie Salad with Grilled Chicken

If you are like me, you eat plenty of salads, right? I know we love our greens and the health benefits that come with them, but I also get in salad “ruts” sometimes where I know I should eat them, but I also know just how they will taste, and get a little bored with the concept.

This morning I didn’t feel like eggs or a smoothie for breakfast, and decided to have a salad instead, so I started looking through the fridge to see what I had on hand. I knew there was leftover orange ginger grilled chicken breast that I wanted to use, and of course greens. I also had fresh crimini mushrooms, which i love, but the problem is that I only like cooked mushrooms, not raw ones. Cooking the mushrooms led to this delicious and light warm salad… for a vegetarian version, simply omit the chicken and cheese and use coconut oil to saute veggies. Having a late breakfast in the backyard listening to the birds singing up a storm was a refreshing start to my day, but I don’t think I will be hungry at lunch time!

Warm Veggie Salad with Grilled Chicken

  • 1/2 grilled chicken breast, cut up
  • 1 large leaf of napa cabbage
  • handful of fresh spinach leaves
  • 1 carrot, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 stalk celery, thinly sliced
  • handful of crimini musrooms, diced
  • butter or coconut oil to saute veggies
  • sprinkling of shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 lime, juiced

Saute carrot, celery and mushrooms in butter for a few minutes, cooking lightly and maintaining crispness. Add grilled chicken and warm through, remove from heat. Lay the napa down as a base for the salad, either whole for a wrap, or chopped. Add spinach over napa. Top with veggies and then cheese. Squeeze lime over the top and serve immediately.

 

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Napa Boats with Crab (Gluten Free)

We LOVE napa cabbage, and use it almost every day at our house as a salad ingredient, but also as a substitute for bread, wraps and taco shells. It works wonders whether it’s raw or very slightly steamed (which gives it a little more pliability.) You will surely see more recipes featuring napa in future postings. Here, the medium-sized inside leaves were used to make a wonderful raw veggie based snack that was both refreshing and filling! It’s wonderful as it is, but as you can imagine, this is an easy recipe to tweak to your needs or ingredients on hand.

Napa Boats with Crab

Each napa leaf base was layered from the bottom up with:

  • fresh mozzarella
  • avocado
  • spinach
  • crab meat (from claws, refrigerated in a pouch)
  • cucumber slices
  • a squeeze of fresh lime
  • drizzle of coconut oil
  • kosher salt and pepper
 

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Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

I usually determine what we’ll eat by what I find on sale or fresh at the market. I rarely go out looking for specific ingredients unless I am preparing food for guests, or because one of us has a serious craving. The seafood sale at VG’s on jumbo sea scallops is what landed them in my freezer, and pulling them out for Mother’s Day dinner seemed like a brilliant idea! (Except to my son, who won’t eat anything that swims… for him it was crisped ham.) These were particularly large and beautiful, and the 6 scallops weighed just over a pound.

While the weather was stunning on Sunday and I considered grilling, scallops are so delicate (and I only had a few), that I wanted to have more control over the cooking process so that they didn’t end up overcooked. That is one of my biggest pet peeves in the food world, going to a restaurant, ordering something that should be succulent, and ending up with an expensive platter of rubbery food. Not that it doesn’t happen to the best of us at times, but ruined seafood makes me want to cry!

I had fresh spinach and turnip greens in the fridge, along with crimini mushrooms, and decided that they would make an awesome accompaniment to the seared scallops, along with a caprese salad of tomato, fresh mozzarella and herbs. It turned out to be an incredible dinner!

Seared Sea Scallops with Sauteed Greens and Mushrooms

To make the scallops:

  • 1lb sea scallops, fresh or thawed and dried of excess moisture
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • coconut oil

Heat a heavy pan over high heat for several minutes. Add several tablespoons of coconut oil, allowing it to melt and then become hot. Carefully add the scallops one at a time, searing on one side for about 3 minutes, or until they start to brown. (If using smaller scallops, adjust the time accordingly so that they are not overcooked.) Gently turn scallops, carefully loosening from the pan with a sharp spatula if needed; cook another 3 minutes and remove from pan and set aside. Reserve oil and juices in pan and cook mushrooms as below.

To make the mushrooms:

  • 1/2 lb crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • remaining oil and juice, plus more coconut oil if needed
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4C-1/2C white wine to deglaze pan

Keeping the pan hot from searing the scallops, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper to taste, and cook for 5 minutes or so, until they reach the desired doneness. You may need to add a little oil because ‘shrooms can act like little sponges and soak it up. In my case, I hadn’t planned on using the wine, but there was a little stickage at the bottom of the pan (as you can see in the pic) after cooking the scallops, so when the mushrooms were almost done, I just poured in the wine (honey mead actually), and deglazed, working all the stuck bits into a delicious flavoring for the mushrooms. When done, remove mushrooms from pan and set aside. Keeping the pan hot, reserving any remaining juices and oil, and continue to cook the greens as below.

To make the greens:

  • 1lb of fresh, cleaned, greens (I used about half spinach and half turnip greens)
  • coconut oil
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4C pinenuts to garnish

Still using the same pan, melt a little more oil if needed and start adding the greens to the pan. Greens cook down a LOT, so you will want to add them in stages, because they will be overflowing if you dump all of them in at once. When the greens are wilted, add salt and pepper to taste, and cook to your desired doneness.

To assemble the plate: Arrange greens on the plate, top with scallops, surrounded by mushrooms. I added a few pinenuts to add another flavor and texture. This is a very easy and elegant dinner, which cooks up rather quickly, using the same pan for each stage of the cooking process, while keeping the ingredients separate and distinct until they are plated.

 

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2-Egg Spinach Omelet with Tomato

Simple and pretty, adding spinach to the eggs in an omelet makes for a visual treat and extra nutrition as well. I can't wait until I have garden-fresh tomatoes to add in this summer!


To begin with, I heated a 10" non-stock skillet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil, and added a nice handful of fresh organic spinach leaves. Continue to saute until they are wilted nicely.

I love Omelets!

Next, arrange the spinach so that it is spread around the pan, add a teaspoon of butter (allowing it to melt), and pour in the 2 eggs which have been lightly beaten with about a tablespoon of water.

After the eggs have been cooking (covered to steam) for a few minutes over medium-low heat, and the egg is appearing to be firmed with small bubbles, layer the cheese and tomato on one half of the omelet.

They bring to mind crispy hash-browns and good coffee at diners we’ve visited throughout our travels. The variety and possibilities for fillings are endless and I’ve enjoyed so many different combinations. Greek style with lamb, tomato, feta… Philly Steak with mushrooms, onions, peppers and Swiss… Potatoes in, potatoes out… you get the idea!

At our house we enjoy making omelets as well, and they range from something packed with leftovers, to simple and a little elegant. THAT is where the spinach comes in; spinach and eggs are a heavenly combination that should not be reserved only for quiche!

I think the keys to a successful omelet are to use a non-stick pan large enough for the egg to spread out thinly, and to have the patience to cook it slowly over a lower heat so that the bottom doesn’t cook too fast, which leaves the middle gooey. I add water to my omelets instead of milk or cream, I just find that I like the results better, but you can use whatever works for you.

2-Egg Spinach Omelet with Tomato

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • handful off fresh organic spinach leaves
  • 1-2 tsp butter
  • 2 eggs beaten with 1Tb water
  • 1/2 Roma tomato, diced
  • 3Tb finely shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
  • Salt, pepper and herbs to taste
  1. To begin with, heat a 10″ non-stock skillet with a couple teaspoons of olive oil over medium heat, and add a nice handful of fresh organic spinach leaves. Saute these until they are wilted nicely.
  2. Next, change the heat to medium-low, arrange the spinach so that it is spread around the pan, add a teaspoon of butter (allowing it to melt), and pour in the 2 eggs which have been lightly beaten with about a tablespoon of water.Cover and allow to cook slowly for several minutes or until the egg appears semi-firm and may have small bubbles on the surface.
  3. Layer the cheese and tomatoes along with seasonings on one half of the omelet
  4. Replace the lid after adding the fillings, to allow the cheese to melt and the omelet to finish cooking, just another minute or so. Carefully slide a flexible spatula under the edge that doesn’t have fillings, and flip it on top of the tomatoes and cheese. Slide onto a plate and garnish with berries!
 

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