My daughter Catherine moved out almost one year ago and lately she’s been calling me to ask about cooking. How do you make this?, What can I do with these ingredients? This makes me happy, as I guess she was watching after all. These calls bring me full circle to myself when I moved out of my parents’ home when I was a mere 18 years old. I had just graduated high school and gotten a job working in Human Resources at Morgan Stanley in midtown. I was attending college at night, working full time and living under my own roof. I was super excited to have my own place and after about the same amount of time as my daughter, started calling my mother to ask these same questions. I still have the index cards I typed at work after speaking to her, all those years ago, to get treasured family recipes. (Yes I know I spelled potato wrong back then.)
My mother was a creature of habit, as was my dad. We ate dinner at the same exact time every single night. We ate the same meals in a weekly rotation and my brothers and I could tell you that Friday was spaghetti night. My Nanny came for dinner after work on Thursday and we usually ate stuffed pepper or meatloaf and had chocolate cream pie for dessert. Grandma came over on Saturday and we always had fudge ripple ice cream for dessert and Goulash for dinner. We had bagels on the one Saturday each month that my dad worked the graveyard shift. He picked them up on his way home, hot from the bagel store. Every Tuesday in the summer we went to Rockaway Beach with the ladies and kids on the block. You could literally set your calendar and watch by the routines my family had. That’s likely why I rebel so much when it comes to structured routines and like to do things differently each week.
Today, on Sunday sauce day – gasp – I was planning to make chicken cutlet. When I opened the package, I noticed the breasts were left whole. I had just seen an idea shared on another website – Cooking with the King Fish – about stuffing these breasts rather than trimming them up for chicken cutlet. I decided to give this a shot today. I had some turkey sausage that I planned to cook with the cutlets and some beautiful mushroom for a gravy. This meal is one of those – a little of this and a little of that and maybe we have a new meal for our rotation.
Change is good and experimenting with cooking is fun. There are just so many meals to try, why limit yourself to the same thing each week. I’m not sure why my mom felt the need to have such a strict schedule. I know she was on her own a lot with dad’s work schedule and likely needed to have a routine with her three young children at home. I also know as she got older she did not enjoy cooking at all. So, maybe it was that all along, maybe she didn’t like to cook and just had her favorite recipes that she kept making. I’m not really sure, but she was such a great cook and I hope she found joy in it.
Stuffed Chicken Breast
- 2 whole boneless chicken breasts
- mozzarella cheese cubed
- hot turkey sausage (1/2 link removed from casing for stuffing)
- 1 mini red pepper cubed for stuffing
- baby spinach rolled and sliced into strips for stuffing
- 1 mushroom chopped (white) for stuffing
- Hot turkey sausage – 5 links sliced (uncooked)
- Chicken broth 1 cup
- 1 medium onion chopped
- cooking twine
- Pour glass of Chardonnay and turn on Alexa for dancing in the kitchen.
- Trim the cutlet almost in half and unfold.
- If still thick start at middle and trim to outer edge but not all the way through. Unfold.
- Repeat on other side
- Cover with plastic wrap and pound to even out
- Place layer of stuffing on in this order, sausage, mushroom, pepper, spinach, mozzarella cheese.
- Roll breast and secure with cooking twine
- Add olive oil to bottom of baking pan
- Place chicken breast in baking pan
- Add chopped onions around
- Add sliced turkey sausage
- Add garlic
- Add chicken broth – 1 cup to baking pan
- Bake for one hour at 350 degrees
I used my Schnitzel mushroom gravy recipe to make a nice pan gravy for this meal. The recipe can be found here – Chicken Schnitzel with Mushroom Gravy & Spaetzle . What I don’t use with this meal I can freeze in a container and have on hand for quick meals during the week. There’s something comforting about having a nice mushroom gravy to top off our chicken cutlet, or steak.
What were the weekly meals your family ate? Please share as I love to try new recipes out. If you try any of these recipes, please drop me a line and let me know how you made out.