I am a great cook and I love to cook. Especially since I decided to stop catering to my kids' tastes -- like when I make a honey/balsamic vinaigrette pasta with peppers and broccoli and onion and olives and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes, I figure they can pick around the veggies they don't like. Although if I am feeling especially benevolent, I might heat up some tomato-based sauce for them instead of forcing them to eat my much better stuff.
My newest recipe, and one I made up (based on but very different from something I saw Gordon Ramsay do)...It's insanely fussy. The last time I made it it took me an hour and a half, but damn it is worth it. (When I have my son and his girlfriend in the kitchen, it goes much more quickly.)
Chicken stuffed with mushrooms with a honey/balsamic glaze.
Butterfly and flatten 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Ikea has a great meat tenderizer that is really cheap. Otherwise cover the chicken with waxed paper and whack it with something til it's pretty flat.)
the filling: sliced fresh white mushrooms, sun-dried tomatoes, fresh chopped parsley, fresh grated Parmesan cheese, and a couple cloves of garlic run through a garlic press.
Here's where it gets a little complicated. Take a sheet of aluminum foil (maybe 16"?) and lay 4 slices of bacon (not thick sliced) on it, with the long edges of the bacon touching. Put some of the filling on the flattened chicken, roll the chicken up around the filling, and place it in the middle of the bacon. Wrap the bacon around the chicken roll, and then wrap the whole thing in foil. Wrap it tight and seal the edges.
notes: make sure the bacon covers the whole thing. don't worry about the bacon overlapping. use plenty of filling. roll the chicken up as tight as you can, but don't worry. the parboiling really cooks the whole thing together, so when you slice it later, it stays in rolls. although last time I used thick sliced bacon and it didn't work as well. I told you, this is an insanely complicated recipe...
Drop the foil package in boiling water for 20 to 25 minutes. That fully cooks the food, but the bacon is pale and floppy, not good and crispy.
So you have to unwrap them (carefully, the little suckers are hot) and slice the rolls. Probably an inch and a half wide slices. Now you have little bacon-wrapped chicken pinwheels. Brown them in a frying pan to crisp up the bacon.
Except I am going to try broiling them next time I make it, since that way you can do all the slices at once and perhaps lose some of the fat.
Whew. Now the chicken is done, but while you are doing the chicken, you must also make the pasta side and the honey balsamic glaze...
I use farfalle or rotini whole wheat pasta. Boil it while the chicken is finishing up. I never manage to get the pasta and glaze and veggies and chicken done all at exactly the same time. Nobody's perfect.
Saute in olive oil peppers (I use the mini sweet vine peppers from Costco, or bell peppers) and onions. This is kind of a timing thing, the leftover mushroom filling, fresh tomato -- I use grape tomatoes sliced in half -- chopped up broccoli, black and/or green olives, whatever other veggie I have laying around, get tossed into the pan with the sauted onions and peppers just long enough to heat them up (I hate overcooked broccoli). Then I add balsamic vinegar, a little honey, a dash of soy sauce, and a tablespoon or so of brown sugar to the sauted vegetables. This is a taste thing, if you add too much honey or brown sugar, it gets a little too sweet.
I know I am annoying, because I never measure anything when I am cooking. Ever.
Toss the vegetables with the pasta. Make an extra bit of the glaze with the vinegar, honey, soy sauce and brown sugar to pour over the chicken slices, or make the vegetables without the glaze and make the glaze separately.
Serve with garlic bread and a decent wine. Maybe a spinach salad. And sit back and wait for the raves.
(Obviously, the honey/balsamic vinaigrette pasta with peppers and broccoli and onion and olives and mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes and fresh tomatoes is the recipe above without all the chicken fuss.)