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DIY holiday dinner date menu that’s ready on a dime

Posted on Tuesday, December 17, 2013 at 2:47 pm



Staff WriterTurkey 1

John Coffelt


Cooking for two is often not worth the effort, but for a special occasion, dinning out is seldom as special as a home-cooked meal.

This oven-less stuffed chicken breast roast is quick, easy and designed to impress.

To start off do a little prep work before hand. Prepare a box of Stove Top stuffing, adding some chopped onion and celery for some bite. Hold back a little on the water or don’t put the lid on after adding the breadcrumbs. You’re going to want it a little dry.

The idea for the chicken roast comes from a “Bon Appétit” slideshow that I scaled and worked into a more manageable dinner-for-two size.

First, find whole split chicken breast packs at the grocery – the overlooked ones that cost less per unit, sitting past the boneless, skinless ones. Most packs contain a larger and smaller, “his-and-her,” halves.

Lay one chicken on a large cutting board that will give you plenty of room to work. Using a narrow boning or filet knife, separate the breast meat from the bone by cutting along the meat. Normally, I would remove the skin, but leave it attached for roasting.

Slice the chicken parallel to the board but leave a small strip of meat along the side, and open the chicken like a book. It is easier to make a shallow cut, about 1 ½ inch deep, and then open more as you fold the meat back.

Scoop a moderate amount of stuffing onto the opened chicken.

Food safety should be mentioned here. You will not use the whole package of stuffing so either separate about half for the chicken or have a helper handy with clean hands to help avoid touching anything cooked after touching raw meat.

Fold the chicken halves around the stuffing and secure with cooking twine. Again, to avoid cross-contamination, cut about six, eight-inch lengths of twine beforehand.

Sprinkle rolled chicken halves with seasoned salt or Creole seasoning.

Cook for about 5-7 minutes in a pressure cooker according to the device’s instructions. The Presto booklet suggested cooking cut up whole chicken for 8 minutes and chicken breasts for 3-4, so I halved the difference.

Pressure cookers aren’t just for your grandma’s canning. They have come a long way as far as safety and are wonderful for cooking beans, roast and allsorts of veggies.

Once the pressure has dropped, and Presto has a rapid cool procedure, transfer the chicken to a toaster oven pan and spray with vegetable oil. Brown roasts in toaster oven.

Canned turnip greens, drained and seasoned with cider vinegar and real bacon bits, and Bota Box merlot pair well with the meal.

Altogether the meal costs just over $10, not counting the wine, and takes about 30 minute to prepare.