Thursday, December 13, 2007

You Gotta Try Goat Cheese

If you have not tried goat cheese, I highly suggest it. It's rich, creamy, and is a perfect partner to chicken. This is a easy, healthy and elegant dish, it's one of my favorites so far. The Chicken with Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomato recipe, as well as the Creamy Parmesan Orzo recipe is from Cooking Light. I added some steamed broccoli tossed with minced garlic and a teaspoon of olive oil & lemon juice.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Goat Cheese & Sun-Dried Tomatoes

1 cup boiling water
1/3 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed without oil
2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1/2 cup chopped shallots, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
1/2 cup (2 ounces) crumbled goat cheese (I used herbed goat cheese)
2 tablespoons fresh basil (I used 2 teaspoons of dried basil)
/4 teaspoon salt, divided
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (I used scallopine style breasts)
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
2 teaspoons cornstarch
2 teaspoons water

Combine boiling water and tomatoes in a bowl; cover and let stand 30 minutes or until soft. Drain and finely chop.

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add 1/3 cup shallots, sugar, and garlic; cook 4 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Spoon into a bowl; stir in 1 1/2 teaspoons vinegar.

Combine chopped tomatoes, shallot mixture, cheese, basil, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring well.

Cut a horizontal slit through thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff about 2 tablespoons cheese mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle chicken evenly with 1/2 teaspoon salt and black pepper. (used thinly sliced breast so I spooned the mixture, rolled, and secured with toothpicks)

Heat 1 teaspoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 6 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan; cover and keep warm. (I put in baking dish covered with foil on 350 for 15 minutes)

Add broth, remaining shallots, 2 tablespoons vinegar, and thyme; bring to a boil. (I added a tbsp of sundried tomatoes) Combine cornstarch and water, stirring with a whisk. Add cornstarch mixture to pan; bring to a boil. Cook 1 minute or until sauce is slightly thick, stirring constantly. Serve sauce over chicken.

Creamy Parmesan Orzo

1 tablespoon butter
1 cup orzo
1 1/4 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth (I used 1.5 cups broth)
1 1/4 cups water (I used 1 cup water)
1/4 cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (I substituted with fresh parsley)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 teaspoons pine nuts, toasted (omitted)

Heat butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add orzo, and cook 3 minutes, stirring constantly. Stir in broth and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer until liquid is absorbed and orzo is done (about 15 minutes).

Remove from heat; stir in cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Serve immediately.

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