Chicken breast fancied up, yet simple


January 13, 1993|By Rita Calvert | Rita Calvert,Contributing Writer

If you, like many other people, resolved that this was the year you would try to streamline and simplify your life -- in order to enjoy the things that really matter -- this delicious, simple menu will have great appeal.

The main dish takes advantage of that contemporary favorite, the boneless chicken breast, fancied up with sumptuous stuffing. The baking time may seem surprisingly short, but basically you are popping the entree at room temperature into a very hot oven (if you prepare the chicken ahead and then refrigerate it, you'll need to allow additional baking time). Also, splitting the breast reduces time because you are not baking a dense cut of poultry. Partnering the entree with an abundant saute of fresh vegetables from the supermarket salad bar adds vegetables and a starch. Garbanzos (or other preferred beans) are usually available and add a nice dimension to the stir-fry. Offer warm apple pie with ice cream for dessert.

Items you should have in your pantry are: scallions, spicy-sweet mustard, salt and pepper, ice cream.

Your 10-item-or-less shopping list:

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 ounces garlic-herb spreadable cheese

1/4 cup pine nuts

salad bar vegetable mixture including garbanzo beans (chick peas)

apple pie

Treasure Pocket Poulet

Serves 4

4 (6-ounce) boneless, skinless chicken breast halves

1 (4-ounce) package garlic and herb spreadable cheese

2 scallions, finely chopped

1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted

3 tablespoons spicy-sweet mustard (or 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard mixed with 1 tablespoon honey)

salt and pepper

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Blot chicken breasts dry with a paper towel; with a very sharp knife, make a horizontal cut halving chicken breast but leaving one side attached. Each breast will open like a book. Season with salt and pepper inside and out.

Mix cheese, scallions and pine nuts and place a generous tablespoon of this mixture in the pocket of each chicken breast. Reclose the chicken breast to envelop the filling, pressing gently around the edges. Spread the top of each stuffed chicken breast with two heaping teaspoons of mustard.

Place chicken breasts on a flat greased baking sheet and bake 15-17 minutes.

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