stuffed chicken breasts

My favorite homecooked meal {when I was a kid and still to this day} is this stuffed chicken breast recipe my mom makes. It was passed down through my family from my great-grandmother to my grandma to my mom, who learned to make it when she married my dad. It is the meal I always request on my birthday and whenever I go home and my mom asks me what I would like her to make for a special “welcome home” dinner. 

I wanted to share the recipe with you in case you are looking for a special and delicious recipe to serve for a nice night in with your sweetie, family or friends!

Great-Grandma Rahn’s Special Stuffed Chicken Breasts

For the chicken:
-8 chicken breast halves {though this recipe can easily be halved}
-7 oz can diced green chiles divided into 8 equal portions
-1/4 lb Monterrey Jack cheese cut into 8 strips
-1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
-1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
-1 tbsp chili powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-1/4 tsp cumin
-1/4 tsp pepper
-6 tbsp butter

For the sauce:
-15 oz can tomato sauce
-1/3 cup green onions/scallions
-1/2 tsp cumin
-salt & pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

2. Pound each chicken breast to about a quarter-inch thickness. Put the chilies and cheese strips in the center of each chicken breast, then roll them, tucking the ends under.

3. Combine the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper into a pie tin or shallow bowl. Melt the butter in another shallow bowl. Then dip each chicken breast into the butter and roll it in the crumb mixture.

4. Place the chicken, seam side down, in a glass baking dish. Once all eight have been done, drizzle with the remaining of the melted butter.

5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes, or until chicken is done.

6. While chicken is baking, make your tomato sauce: in a small saucepan, combine the can of tomato sauce, cumin, sliced green onions, salt and pepper. Heat over medium-low heat.

7. To serve, top the chicken with tomato sauce. I like to serve this dish with mashed potatoes and some sort of vegetable, though it is also nice over rice.

Hope you enjoy!

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Time spent: 1 hour
Cost: about $10

10 ways to save money on date night

Happy Friday, everyone! For many people {including my sweet parents!} Friday tends to be date night. Date night is a wonderful way to have some special one-on-one time with your sweetie and remember what it was like when the two of your first started dating and you walked around with butterflies constantly flitting around in your belly.

The downside to date night is that it can get pretty expensive! However, here are some small ways to save money while still having a super fun and romantic time together.

1. Instead of dinner then a movie, try going to a movie first and then having dinner. Most movie theaters offer matinee prices, and a late-afternoon movie rather than a nighttime movie can save you a few bucks a pop. Over the course of a month or a year of movie outings, those few bucks add up!

2. Cook a romantic dinner at home and rent a movie to watch. Because I tend to cook tried-and-true, quick-and-easy recipes during the busy workweek, date night in is a fun time to try making a new recipe I’ve had my eye on. A recent favorite was turkey enchiladas updated with green chile enchilada sauce and bell pepper. And for movie rentals, Redbox charges only a dollar or so for a night’s rental {extra money-saving tip: there are one-time-use free-rental codes available online for most major retail chains that have Redbox kiosks}

3. Whether having date night in or out, an inexpensive bouquet of fresh flowers is a guaranteed way to make the night feel special.

4. Going out to eat? Instead of ordering wine or beer at the restaurant, why not order water instead and have a glass of wine or beer when you get home? In college, my roommates and I had fun concocting homemade margaritas or Kalua milkshakes or fruit-filled sangria. This can also be a way to tweak the ingredients of your drinks to be slightly healthier, and also to ensure that you don’t order one drink too many and then get behind the wheel when you shouldn’t.

5. Same goes for dessert — get more bang for your buck by making something to satisfy your sweet tooth at home rather than splurging on an expensive dessert in a restaurant. I am a huge fan of Betty Crocker mix brownies — it only takes five minutes tops to pour the mix and water and oil in a bowl, crack in an egg or two, mix everything up and pour it into the baking pan. Then curl up on the couch with your honey to watch a movie {maybe in your jammies with a glass of wine, too!} and in about half an hour the brownies will be ready!

6. If you do get dessert out somewhere — like, say, ice cream — why not split a medium size instead of getting two small sizes? For example, at my local Cold Stone, the “love it” size is only about a dollar more than the “like it” size, so getting one “love it” instead of two “like it”s saves a few dollars … which, like the matinee movie tickets, does add up over time!

7. You don’t need a restaurant for a special date night… at least, not in the summertime! Why not pack dinner in a cooler and go for a picnic?

8. A lot of restaurants, especially chain places, will occasionally offer gift card deals — most often I’ve seen them around holidays. As an incentive to buy their gift cards as gifts for people in your life, restaurants will throw in something extra for you — say, a free $10 gift card when you buy $50 worth of gift cards. If the restaurant is a place you go often, and the gift cards don’t expire, this can be a great deal for you to buy and then use yourself.

9. Google the restaurant to see if they have coupons available online — many do!

10. Be on the lookout for fun, alternative date-night ideas. Groupons are often terrific deals! In the past, I have gotten amazingly discounted deals for dates like dinner and a magic show, a murder mystery dinner, and an art museum.