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Photo Courtesy of Food Network

Since my son was born this April, cooking with two kids has been HARD.  Although I have always loved baking – the honest truth is that I am not a great cook.  So these past nine months, my hubby rose up like a fine man and decided to do the cooking.  You can imagine what I was thinking then when he went out of town last week and I was left to feed us by myself.  Here’s what that looked like:

It was 3 o’ clock.  The time when I know I must defrost some form of meat and make it into a meal.  Having NO idea what would be for dinner in the next few hours, I decided it would be chicken thighs.  I defrosted some chicken and prayed and asked God that there be something good on my cooking DVR shows that would involve chicken!

I turned on my DVR around 4 o’ clock and was very happy to find Rachael Ray make a recipe in.. yes 30 minutes!… with chicken!  And looked yummy!  Florentine Prosciutto Wrapped Chicken.  Except I hate prosciutto… but I had some bacon to substitute.  And she used ricotta cheese in her recipe… and I didn’t have that.  A quick google search fixed that – I could substitute tofu instead!  And I had that!  Phew. That was settled.  Now we could eat.

Can I just say it was amazing?  My daughter gave it 10 stars and 10 thumbs up!  On top of that – Rachael Ray’s filling made way more than I could stuff my chicken.  So I saved the filling and made Chicken Manicotti (recipe below) the next night – which was double yum!  Manicotti has been a childhood favorite of mine, but this time I found a way to make it my own.  My parents came in and loved both dishes too!  They didn’t even know there was tofu inside, replacing the fat of ricotta cheese with 7 grams of protein!

My kinda meal!  Great one night and transformed as another meal the next!

Here’s the recipe for:

Florentine Bacon Wrapped Chicken


  • 1 box frozen spinach, defrosted
  • 3 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup tofu
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • A few grates nutmeg
  • 6 chicken breasts
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Wring out defrosted spinach in clean kitchen towel.

Toast nuts and combine with spinach in a bowl, mix in cheeses, garlic, salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Cut into and across but not all the way through the chicken breasts, opening them up like a book with a sharp knife. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Fill each with a small mound of stuffing. Flap chicken breasts back over stuffing and wrap each breast with prosciutto to seal them, carefully covering the whole breast. Brush chicken all over with some extra-virgin olive oil and roast 18 to 20 minutes until cooked through.


Chicken Manicotti


6 Chicken Thighs

12 Manicotti Shells

Spinach, Tofu, Pine Nut, Parmesean Cheese Filling from Above Recipe

Tomato Sauce

Fresh mozzarella (optional)


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

Get a medium sized bowl filled with shallow ice (prevents shells from breaking).

Boil Manicotti Shells for about 8 minutes or until al dente.

Carefully remove each shell from water with tongs and place in ice to cool for approx. 5 min.

Stuff shells with filling.

Pour tomato sauce over top of shells.  Put strips of mozzarella cheese over top (optional).

Bake for 30 minutes.  Yum!