Friday, January 18, 2008

Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts & Cheesy Harvest Vegetables

Both of these dishes are "so last season"--meaning they just taste like Fall--very October-November. Between the apples in in the chicken dish and the Fall vegetables seasoned with a hint of nutmeg, you can't help but think of crunchy leaves and crisp sunny days with wood burning fireplaces scenting the air. OK, enough reminiscing about the East coast....this meal was just as good mid-January in Texas.
(notice how I am not quoting Marc in my review...he was feeling too much pressure as my food critic)

Gouda Stuffed Chicken
(Light & Tasty, Feb/March 2008)

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (6 ounces each)
2 ounces smoked Gouda
cheese, cut into thin pieces
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons canola oil, divided
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 cup apple cider or unsweetened apple
2 large tart apples, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey

Cut a slit lengthwise through the thickest part of each chicken breast; fill with cheese. In a shallow bowl, combine the flour, salt and pepper. Dip chicken in flour mixture on both sides; shake off excess. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1-1/2 teaspoons oil over medium heat for 8-10 minutes on each side or until juices run clear. Remove and keep warm.
In the same skillet, saute garlic in remaining oil for 30 seconds. Add broth and cider, stirring to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 12-14 minutes or until mixture is reduced to about 1 cup.
Stir in apples and honey; return to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until apples are crisp-tender. Serve over chicken.
4 Servings.

Cheesy Harvest Vegetables
(Kraft Foods, Fall 2006)

2 lb. mixed fall vegetables (butternut squash, sweet potatoes, turnips, parsnips and carrots), peeled, cut into 1-inch cubes (about 6 cups)
3 cups milk
1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream Cheese, cubed
1 cup shredded Parmesan Cheese
1/8 tsp. ground nutmeg
8 RITZ Crackers, crushed (about 1/3 cup crumbs)

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Place vegetables and milk in large saucepan. Bring to boil on medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 20 min. or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally.
Add cream cheese; cook until completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring frequently. Stir in Parmesan cheese and nutmeg.
Pour into greased 2-qt. casserole dish; sprinkle with cracker crumbs.
Bake 30 min. or until top is golden brown and vegetable mixture is heated through.

(I used slightly less than 6 cups of veggies and ended up with a little too much sauce, so don't be afraid to be generous with your veggies, plus that will feed more. If you have a small family, cut the entire recipe in half. I also used about 1lb. carrots, 1/2 lb. butternut squash and 1/2 lb sweet potatoes (to equal the 2 lb.), just because I knew that's what my family was more likely to eat)