Sunday, January 17, 2010

Panko Crusted Onion & Chive Creamcheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Recipe courtesy

The hard part of making this elegant dish is choosing the filling. The basic recipes are below, but you can add your own variations. We went for an Onion & Chive cream cheese stuffing and added panko breadcrumbs for a nice crunchy crust. Making a pocket in the chicken breast to hold the stuffing is easy, particularly if you use a good, sharp, thin-bladed knife. Browning the chicken in a skillet before baking gives it a beautiful golden color. Finishing it in the oven ensures that it cooks evenly throughout. Make sure to use a temp probe so the chicken doesn't end up dried out.

Filling of your choice (see below)

• 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
• 1 egg white
• 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs or PANKO bread crumbs
• 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Cream Cheese-Pesto Filling:
• 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese
• 1 tablespoon basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
Goat Cheese-Olive Filling:
• 2 tablespoons creamy goat cheese
• 1 tablespoon chopped black olives
• Freshly ground pepper to taste
Ham & Cheese Filling:
• 1/4 cup grated Swiss, Monterey Jack or part-skim mozzarella
• 2 tablespoons chopped ham
• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
• Freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.

Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.

Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Summer Thai Mango Salad w/ Asian Grilled Chicken

Summer Thai Mango Salad
This is a nice summer salad that I first had at a Thai restaurant on Yonge Street. Since then it's one of our "go-to" summer salads. We like to have it with asian marinated or spice-rubbed grilled chicken but it goes equally well with grilled shrimp, steak or pork chops.
You can't lose... it's a nice combo of sweet, tart and spice!

• 2 limes
• 1/2 teaspoon fish sauce
• 1 tablespoon sugar
• 1 tablespoon honey
• 1 red Thai peppers (seeded and minced)
• 2 tablespoons peanut (or canola) oil
• 2 ripe but firm mangoes
• 1 red bell pepper
• 2 green onions (thinly sliced)
• 1/2 cup fresh cilantro (chopped)
• 1/4 cup fresh mint (chopped)
• 1/3 cup chopped peanuts (toasted)
• salt

Zest peel from 1 lime and place in a measuring cup along with 1/4 cup of lime juice.
Whisk in fish sauce, sugar, honey and thai pepper until sugar is dissolved.
Gradually whisk in peanut oil until blended.
Set dressing aside.
Peel mangoes, then cut away chunks of fruit from pits then, cut into thin strips (julienne, or use grater) and place in a large bowl.
Seed sweet pepper, cut into very thin strips and add to mangoes.
Add half of green onions, and cilantro. Toss gently until combined.
Add dressing and a pinch of salt, toss until mixed. Let sit for 30 minutes, tossing occasionally.
Serve and sprinkle with nuts and remaining green onions.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Creamy Chicken Penne with Apple, Cheddar & Cranberries

Tangy and sweet apples and cranberries add punch to this chicken and pasta dish. I'd recommend using Granny Smith apples for this one. To change up the cranberries you can substitute them with dried cherries. If you want to save a ton of calories you'll want to use 1/2 and 1/2 cream instead of the 35% whipping cream. One last thing - we made small cubes with the cheese (rather than shredding it) so you get the occasional nice cheesy bite.

Cheddar Chicken Penne
Recipe Courtesy of All You Need is Cheese:


1 tbsp (15 mL) butter, divided
1 lb (500 g) boneless skinless chicken, cut into strips
4 green onions, sliced
2 tart cooking apples, thinly sliced
Pinch ground nutmeg
Salt and pepper
2 tbsp (30 mL) cider vinegar
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) cream or 1/2 and 1/2
1/2 cup (125 mL) dried cranberries
12 oz (375 g) penne or other short pasta
1 cup (250 mL) cubed old Cheddar cheese
Chopped fresh chives


In a large skillet, melt half of the butter over medium-high heat; brown chicken strips, in batches; transfer to a bowl.

Add remaining butter to skillet. Add green onions, apples, nutmeg, 3/4 tsp (4 mL) salt and 1/4 tsp (1 mL) pepper; cook, stirring, for about 3 min or until softened. Add vinegar, scraping any bits stuck to pan. Stir in Cream and cranberries; bring to boil. Reduce heat and boil gently, stirring often, for about 3 min or until slightly thickened.

Meanwhile, in a large pot of boiling, salted water, cook pasta for about 10 min or until tender but firm. Drain and return to pot.

Add chicken and any accumulated juices to sauce; simmer for about 3 min or until chicken is no longer pink inside. Pour over cooked pasta and sprinkle with cheese; toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Serve sprinkled with chives.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Grilled Chicken Cobb Salad

If you're looking for something to do with that leftover BBQ chicken, why not make a Cobb Salad? It's a good excuse to use those perfect summer avocados and tomatoes, and it is low in fat and carbo's.

Cobb salad was created at the Brown Derby Restaurant in Hollywood. As with many "how this began stories" we don't know how much is actual fact, but here is the official story from the Brown Derby themselves:

"One night in 1937, Bob Cobb, then owner of The Brown Derby, prowled hungrily in his restaurant's kitchen for a snack. Opening the huge refrigerator, he pulled out this and that: a head of lettuce, an avocado, some romaine, watercress, tomatoes, some cold breast of chicken, a hard-boiled egg, chives, cheese and some old-fashioned French dressing. He started chopping. Added some crisp bacon -- swiped from a busy chef.

I use chopped smoked ham instead of bacon, and remove one or both of the egg yolks from the hard-boiled eggs to reduce the fat and calories.

Cobb Salad


• 3 slices smoked ham, diced
• 1 ripe avocado, split, pitted, and diced
• 2 ripe tomatoes, diced
• 2 hard-cooked eggs, chopped after yolk(s) removed
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 4 cups mesclun greens
• 2 cups cooked chicken
• 1/2 cup blue cheese


Dice the smoked ham, chicken, egg, tomatoes and avocado, seasoning them with salt and pepper, to taste, as you go. Mix the greens with your favorite balsamic vinaigrette or blue cheese dressing and layer them on the bottom of a plate. Top the mesclun greens with rows of smoked ham, chicken, egg, tomatoes and avocado, then scatter crumbled blue cheese on top. (Optional: you can also top the salad with crumbled bacon bits.)

Serve with some grilled french stick if you want some carbs.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

"Mesa Grill" Inspired Chops with Grilled Peach Salad, Goat Cheese and Toasted Walnuts

I'd love to go to New York City for the weekend sometime and check out both Mesa Grill and Bar Americain. Until I get there, I'll make some of their signature dishes at home.

The secret to this recipe is the dry rub, which Mesa Grill uses on it's steaks. Since the rub works equally well on pork, I got a couple of extra thick, center-cut loin chops to try it with. (If you're barbecuing thick cuts I recommend that you use a temperature probe, or instant read thermometer so you can pull it it at the perfect time.) I used a mortar and pestle to grind the coriander and cumin, and my spice grinder to take care of the dried chilis. By the way, if you can't find ancho chiles than you can substitute them for another low-heat chili such as a New Mexico Red.

Since the rub might be a little spicy, I paired the chop with a sweet and savory Grilled Peach and Goat Cheese Salad. If you have the preparation time it's good to drizzle the salad with a balsamic reduction. To make it just put a 1/2 cup of your favorite balsamic vinegar & 1 tablespoon of honey in a pot and simmer it until it is a thick syrup.

Mesa Grill Steak Rub
• 1 cup ancho chili powder
• 1/3 cup Spanish paprika
• 3 tablespoons ground dried oregano
• 3 tablespoons ground coriander
• 3 tablespoons dry mustard
• 1 tablespoon ground cumin
• 1 tablespoon kosher salt
• 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
Whisk together all ingredients. Store rub in a container with a tight fitting lid in a cool, dark, place.