Friday, April 6, 2012

Friday Food: Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken and Melted Strawberries

It's still too early for fresh strawberries in these parts, but I succumbed to the lure of bright red California strawberries in the grocery store this week. They weren't quite as good as the local berries that haven't traveled thousands of miles, but they weren't a bad reminder that Spring is here. Since it was a two-fer deal and I bought more than we could eat this week, I decided to try a recipe from an old Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The original recipe is here, but as usual I'll give it to you the way I made it. Enjoy!




Cheddar-Stuffed Chicken and Melted Strawberries

3 cups fresh strawberries (halve or quarter large berries)
2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup strawberry jam
salt and black pepper
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 3 lb)
3 oz white cheddar cheese
6 large fresh basil leaves (or dried basil)
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced

Heat oven to 400 degrees. In 3-quart baking dish, combine strawberries, vinegar, and jam. Sprinkle salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut a horizontal pocket in each chicken breast half by cutting from one side almost, but not through, to the other side. Cut cheddar cheese into 6- 3 x 1/2 inch pieces. Wrap a basil leaf around each piece of cheese (or sprinkle with dried basil); stuff into chicken breast pocket. Secure pockets closed with wooden toothpicks or skewers. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

In 12-inch skillet, cook garlic in oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add chicken and cook for 5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Transfer to oven-safe dish and bake in oven, uncovered for 5 minutes.

Add baking dish with the strawberry-jam mixture to oven. Bake 10-13 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink (170 degrees) and the berries are softened and jam mixture has thickened.

Serve chicken with melted strawberries. Sprinkle with basil.

Makes 6 servings.

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