Friday, January 27, 2012

What’s in the fridge…?

I find myself coming home from work these days with no plan of what I am going to make for dinner. This situation invariably leads to me playing a little game we’ll call “What’s in the Fridge?” Premise of the game is easy: open up the fridge/cupboard, see what you have, come up with something on the spot. To be honest, I prefer cooking this way; I’m forced to come up with something drawing inspiration from that recipe I read, that meal someone told me about, that style I saw on TV… you get the picture.

Now, with a full fridge the game can take you a lot of different places. Today wasn’t one of those days.

Fridge contents:
- 2 chicken breasts
- a couple of bell peppers
- a couple of jalapeños
- 1 slice of monterrey jack cheese

That’s it. Ok, let’s check the cupboard. Cupboard contents:
- brown rice

Again, that’s it. It’s the end of the grocery week; I haven’t had time to replenish. So now my mind springs to action, what am I going to do? Stir fry? No. Too easy, not enough vegetables, had it two days ago. Well what if… bingo. Roasted red pepper stuffed chicken breasts over brown rice. The process goes as follows:

1. Put together a quick marinade (chicken and marinade just go together… more on this another time). Marinade ingredients:

· ½ cup of lemon juice (freshly squeezed is best, bottled had to suffice this time)
· ¼ cup of cider vinegar
· a couple splashes of hot sauce (ok, it was more than that)
· ½ tbsp. each of red pepper flakes, paprika, cumin, kosher salt
· splash of olive oil
· 1 jalapeno roughly chopped

2. While the chicken is marinating and the BBQ is heating up roast 1 red bell pepper. Roasting peppers is as easy as it sounds: rub a thin layer of olive oil all over the pepper, put it on the grill, burn. Yes, burn it. When the skin is black all over put the pepper in a bowl, cover with plastic wrap and put the bowl in the freezer. In 5 minutes the flesh of the pepper will have pulled back from the burnt skin making it easy to separate. Remove the burnt skin and seeds in the pepper. Roasting the pepper adds a whole new dimension of flavour to the pepper.

3. After about 20 minutes soaking remove the chicken from the marinade and butterfly. Place a thick slice (or 2) of the roasted pepper in the chicken breast along with half a slice (full slice if you have the supply) of cheese. Fold the breast back over. You now have a stuffed chicken breast.

4. Toss on a preheated grill around 450-500° F. Flip every 3-4 minutes for your grill marks. The breasts should take around 12 minutes to finish at this temperature, depending on thickness. (The chicken should have no pink left in it. If you’re uncomfortable going by time, use a meat thermometer – 165° F is done for a boneless, skinless chicken breast. Ensure you are measuring the temperature of the meat, not the cheese stuffed in it.)

5. Serve over a bed of prepared rice. Enjoy!

Try opening your fridge and playing the game sometime (hopefully with more options than I was faced with); you’ll be surprised how quickly no plan can turn into gourmet with a little imagination.



1 comment:

  1. Ben,

    Interested is possibly sending you a free Griddle to review. Couldn't find your contact information. If you could email me at when you have time.