People have been talking a lot about deflated things lately. The deflated Patriots balls proved for some good fodder on Twitter with #TomBradyHasSaggyBalls and #DeflateGate ruling online.
And things have been inflated too. This past week’s ‘epic’ ‘historic’ ‘monster’ snow storm is a great example of an inflated forecast – for NYC anyway.
But my most amazing recent encounter with inflation came from ConEd. Today I received my e-bill from the Electric Company – not the ’70’s singing kind. Now, I do look at these emails, but what happened today made me think of all the people who never do. See, today’s invoice was for $288.56 for electric charges since December 22 and not 12/22/12, 12/22/14. To put this in perspective, last month’s bill was $58.27 AND I’ve been away much of this billing period. I called – pressed a lot of buttons – and finally got an agent – Tony. Tony explained that because of the ‘storm’ the meters weren’t read and ConEd just estimates the wattage used….uhmmmm, based on what? Me running a neon sign company out of my apartment? After I went and read my own meter (now I know where that is) – the massive inflation error was corrected and my bill deflated down to $52.21.
Lesson here? Sometimes things are erroneously deflated and sometimes things are erroneously inflated.
One thing that you should not deflate but should inflate the taste of is chicken breast. Just pump it up with Ricotta Cheese and Spinach.
Ricotta-Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts (serves 2 – more if your breasts are inflated….)
Tiny Apartment Tips:
- You’re going to dirty a bowl, a plate, a fry pan and a baking dish – so clean as you go
- Don’t get over zealous with the flour – you just need enough to lightly coat the breasts – any more and flour will end up all over your counter(s) and floor
- Chicken goes on sale – but, please, I beg you, do not buy a store brand unless that store is Fairway, Trader Joe’s or WholeFoods. I recently had an unfortunate bad chicken incident when I stopped and shopped somewhere I won’t name.
- 2 Medium Sized Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breast
- 1 10oz Package of Chopped Frozen Spinach
- 1/2 Cup of Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese – I like the Polly-O brand
- 2 Slices of Prosciutto – thinly sliced – don’t go crazy, just buy the Boars Head
- Olive Oil – you know the drill, really good extra virgin olive oil
- Salt / Pepper – or Dad Salt – message me for where to find it
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
1. Defrost the spinach – just take it from the package, put it in a microwave safe dish/bowl and zap it for 6-7 minutes
2. Drain the spinach – I wrap it in a clean kitchen towel and wring it out. Just be careful as the spinach is hot (duh) and will burn your hands
3. Once the spinach is wholly cooled – take about 1/2 of it and mix it with the 1/2 cup of Ricotta Cheese – set aside. You can use all the spinach with more ricotta (like I did) and then save the rest of the mixture for a great Spinach Maria side.
4. Butterfly the chicken breasts – this is a little tricky if you’ve never done it. Best advice is to place one hand on top of the breast, slice slowly into the flesh and continue to move your knife down the center and open the breast until it’s a perfect butterfly shape
5. Place the breasts one at a time on a large piece of plastic wrap on top of a cutting board
6. Place a second piece of plastic wrap on top of the butterflied breast
7. Pound the chicken breast to about 1/4 inch thick – You’re not trying to kill the chicken, it’s already dead – Best method is to come down on the chicken with your mallet and then move the mallet to the outside of the breast. Be careful not to rip the breast open – though really no worries if this happens
8. Salt and Pepper or DadSalt the inside of the pounded breasts
9. On one side of the butterflied and pounded breast, place a heaping tablespoon plus a little more of the ricotta-spinach mixture and use your fingers to press it into an even layer. Leave a little space on the edges – don’t overstuff.
10. Fold the un-spinach/ricotta half of the breast over the spinach-ricotta half and gently press the edges together
11. Dredge the stuffed, sealed breasts in flour just to coat
12. Take one slice of the prosciutto and lay it on top of the dredged, stuffed chicken breast
13. Heat about 2 TBSP of Olive Oil and 1 TSP of butter in a large pan over medium/high heat
14. Prepare a 9×9 or 8×8 or whatever sized baking dish will fit the breasts with cooking spray – set aside
15. Once the oil, butter is melted and sizzling hot, place the chicken breasts prosciutto side down on the hot pan
16. Brown the chicken until the prosciutto is browned and crisped and adhered to the chicken – about 4 minutes
17. Flip the chicken and brown the alternate side – about another 4 minutes
18. Remove the breasts from the pan and place in the prepared baking dish.
19. Place the baking dish into the oven for :20 minutes – until cooked through and chicken meat is completely white
20. Remove and serve
Some things are meant to be deflated – huge egos, beach balls at the end of the day, giant Santas after christmas is over. And, some are meant to be inflated – not my ConEd bill, mind you – but rather a chicken dinner sumptuously inflated with spinach and ricotta cheese.