Family Dinners #2 – Cheese and Ham stuffed Chicken Breasts

Another family dinner favourite! As I type, our 6-year-old is on my lap eagerly asking ” OOhhh we love those! Can we have them for dinner?!”

I make these rolls with either turkey or chicken breast and as a meal it is quite economical seeing that you want the meat cut ever so thinly in order to be able to roll it. A pack of 400-500g of meat therefore feeds all five of us, and all three children are good eaters!

Serve the meat with hand cut chips, feta cheese and tomato cous cous, lots of greens (pak choi is a grown up household favourite and the children like broccoli, corn) or a big plate of fresh peppers/cucumber/carrots with hummus.

The meat cooks in the oven, no frying involved, and because of the ham and cheese it is ever so tender when ready, not to mention full of flavour. The bread crumbs add a nice crisp to each bite but is not necessary.

Cheese and Ham Stuffed Chicken Breasts

500g chicken breast (will make about 8-10 rolls)
2 pieces of sliced bread – to make bread crumbs (you can buy these if you want of course)
A few tablespoons of olive oil
A few fresh basil leaves per meat roll
2 slices of cheese per meat roll
1 slice of ham per meat roll
 
  • Pre-heat your oven to 200C
  • Place the slices of bread in the oven as it heats up – keep an eye on them as you want them very crisp but not burnt!
  • On a cutting board, and with a very sharp knife, slice the chicken breast pieces in half. Ideally you want each piece to be no thicker than 1cm.
  • On each slice of meat, lay a slice of ham and cheese as well as some basil leaves (to make some of them more “grown up” you can spice them up with some fresh chilli or spread a layer of pesto on the inside)
  • Roll the meat up – no need to fasten them but if you want you can put a tooth pick at each end to ensure they remain shut
  • Your bread pieces will now be crisp – place them in a food processor and blend them on high speed for a few seconds – add salt and pepper and spread the bread crumbs out evenly on a large, flat plate
  • Coat each chicken roll with olive oil (easiest done by putting oil in a plate and rolling the chicken in it)
  • Then transfer the chicken rolls to the breadcrumbs and coat evenly with these.
  • Lay the finished rolls on a lined baking tray and cook in the oven for 25 minutes
  • The cheese will be runny and the bread crumbs crisp – so nice!

Rye #4 – Stress Free Carrot and Rye Breakfast Rolls

The reason these are called stress free buns is that you make the dough the day before and leave it to cool overnight – then grab it when you want it, shape your rolls and place them in a cold oven, turn it on and cook for 35 minutes – the result being amazing! While they are cooking you can go for a short run, take a shower or bath, play with the children, read the paper…what ever you fancy! And when your timer goes off, breakfast is served – stress free! Combine with a big mug of coffee, some orange juice, slice of cheese with a dollop of strawberry compote…heaven!!!!

As with all my rye recipes they are jam-packed with goodness! The seeds and carrot only add to it – and the children absolutely adore them.

I like to make the dough on a Friday afternoon – sometimes a double portion – then Saturday and Sunday breakfast becomes a treat and a really lovely time where we can sit together as a family and enjoy. There is nothing like a freshly baked roll in the morning.

This recipe is a mix of my Dad’s and my Mum’s – thank you both!

300ml (ish) luke warm water
15g fresh yeast or 1.5 tsp dry yeast
Drizzle of honey
250g rye flour
150g plain flour
1.5 carrots – grated
Handful sunflower seeds or more
Salt
1 tbsp olive oil
 
  • Pour luke warm water into a big bowl and dissolve the yeast – fresh or dry – in it with a wooden spoon
  • Drizzle honey in and stir
  • Add the flour – both types – stir to combine. What you want is a dough that is sticky but not runny. It should make your hands messy…but not too wet. You definitely do not want it too dry. So add the flour slowly and stir as you go.

  • Throw in the grated carrot and seeds, season with salt and add a bit of olive oil – about 1 tbsp
  • Put a lid or tea towel over the bowl and leave in a cool place. If you have a larder, great, if not the fridge is good. Walk away!
  • The day after, the dough will have risen and be spongy, it may also smell slightly sour and yeasty. That is fine! It will not have risen a lot as the rye flour is heavy.

  • Shape small dough balls with your hands and place the rolls on a lined baking tray – as mentioned earlier the dough will be sticky. Rolling each bun in a little flour will make it easier and neater – for a more rustic appearance, see note further down!

  • Pop in a cold oven, turn it to 225C and bake for 30-35 minutes
  • Let cool for about 10 minutes before eating

If you are lazy, or do not want to get your hands sticky, you can simply drop the batter onto the baking tray with a wooden spoon – this will give you a more rustic looking bun and it does not affect the flavour at all!

Bites of Gold

Every now and again something so tasty comes along that it stays with you – it creates memories and tradition! This recipe is one of those “somethings”.

Imagine this – it is the 24th of December and the snow is a thick, white blanket outside. Candles are lit, the house is warm and the smell of turkey roasting is making its way to your nostrils. Having just returned from Church, it is dark outside, and excitement is building. A glass of champagne is served while your nutty aunt does her crazy laugh in the background, the salmon toast goes round the room…And then – out come the little Christmas Tree trays with THE bites of gold on them…. The tastiest little cheese bites you will ever have, I promise! And you know it is Christmas Eve.

They are home-made by Oldefar – great-grandfather – who at 86 still makes them like no one else can. We all fight (politely of course!) to ensure we get our share – the children are learning fast and even my 1-year-old was at them last year! They partner Champagne perfectly, they are light, they crunch, they melt…little puffs of magic! Christmas would not be right without them…tradition is tradition!

Emmenthal Bites

200g flour
200g grated emmenthal
200g butter – softened
1 egg yolk – the egg white is saved for brushing the biscuits prior to baking them
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
 
  • Combine all the ingredients
  • Leave in the fridge for an hour
  • Roll out rather thinly – they puff up in the oven
  • Cut to your desired shape – small is great as it makes them really delicate
  • Lay on baking sheet and brush with egg white
  • Bake in oven for 10 minutes at 175C
  • Let cool completely on wire rack before storing air tightly – will keep for a week (probably more but mine never lasted that long!)