When Thirty Minute Thursdays meets a Floptimist Birthday: Herbed Chicken Tapas, Stuffed Mushrooms & Wordpress!

Today is a big day for Floptimism. You see, today, Floptimism turns 2 years old! I can’t believe I’ve stuck with this blog for 2 years, when my childhood diaries consisted of maybe one half-hearted entry once every 6-8 months. But here I am – here Floptimism is – and for some reason not only am I still writing, but you wonderful people are still reading. I have to thank you for that, sincerely.

I considered baking a cake or some sort of extravagant dessert to share with you today in honor of Floptimism’s special day, but I have a slight problem in the dessert department – my freezer is stuffed to the brim with homemade desserts that I’m trying desperately to work my way through (such a burdensome problem to have, I know). My roommates might have a conniption if I tried to justify baking something new when our freezer just about turns into an avalanche of cookies and cakes every time you open it. I hope you understand. (And I hope that image of chocolate cake above wasn't too cruel of a tease!)

Instead, I have even bigger news – in honor of the two years I’ve been blogging, I’m moving over to Wordpress! I’m a little nervous to make the change – I don’t quite understand the ins and outs of the new site or the exact logistics of redirecting one blog to another, but I know that I’ve outgrown quaint little blogger. It’s time that I move on to greener pastures, so to speak, and I hope that you will be so kind as to make the move with me. For right now, I’ll still be using blogger, since I want to take my time and be sure that the transition is a smooth one. However, you can officially find Floptimism at floptimism.wordpress.com, and I will be sure to let you know when the move is complete. If anyone has any wordpress and/or blog moving advice, I would love to hear from you!

Now, onto the recipe that I do have for you today. I should correct myself, actually – I have two recipes, though only one is from Rachael Ray. The one from Rachael Ray – what she calls Herbed Chicken Tapas – is a nice meal. A standard meal, if you will. If you like rosemary and thyme, you’ll enjoy this chicken recipe; if not, well, maybe not so much (but you can certainly sub in whatever herbs you do like). The recipe didn’t call to marinate the chicken but I think I will in the future – I mean, why not? It couldn’t hurt.

It was what I chose to pair the chicken with that tasted truly phenomenal. The mushrooms were savory with a rich crunch from the pine nut, a slight cheesy flavor from the parmesan, and overall lightness that allowed me to enjoy each bite. I had a little too much filling for my tiny little mushrooms that I was trying to stuff, so I just piled it all on and had it overflow a little bit. That last part wouldn’t make for the cleanest eating process if you’re making them as appetizers (aka finger food), but I certainly didn’t care. I will definitely be making these again!

Herbed Chicken Tapas with Spinach & Pine Nut Stuffed Mushrooms, adapted from Rachael Ray’s Classic Thirty Minute Meals and Aggie’s Kitchen
Yield: 4 servings

The Ingredients
1 pound thin-sliced chicken breasts
¼ cup walnut oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, leaves stripped and minced
1-2 teaspoons dried thyme
6 whole mushroom caps
walnut oil
freshly ground black pepper
½ small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
3-4 tablespoons whole wheat bread crumbs
parmesan cheese, grated, for topping mushrooms

The Method
Preheat the oven to 400° Fahrenheit and grease a baking dish or sheet (line with foil for even easier clean up). Slice the chicken into 1-inch strips. Toss the chicken in the oil, lemon juice, rosemary, and thyme; allow to marinate up to several hours.

Wash the mushrooms, remove and chop (but set aside) the stems, and sprinkle the mushroom caps with pepper and a small drizzle of olive oil.

Meanwhile, heat the garlic, onion, chopped mushroom stems, and spinach in a skillet along with a drizzle of oil to grease the pan. Saute for approximately 8 minutes and season with freshly ground black pepper. Stir in the pine nuts, followed by the bread crumbs.

Stuff the filling evenly amongst all 6 caps, pressing down to pack in as much filling as possible. Place in the preheated oven for approximately 10 minutes, then sprinkle with parmesan cheese and return to the oven to cook an additional 5-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

While the mushrooms cook, heat the pan from the filling again and add a touch more oil to coat. When hot, add the chicken strips, cooking approximately 6-7 minutes per side. Optionally, return the extra marinade to the pan after the chicken has cooked to scrape up the debris and pour over the finished chicken.

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