This is a guaranteed way to cook chicken breasts that will turn out juicy, tender and delicious. The cheese and tomatoes create a moist and flavorful filling enhanced by the basil leaves.
Resist the urge to over-stuff the breasts. All that extra filling looks beautiful,but most of it will wind up in the bottom of the pan. You should be able to close the pocket and secure it with a toothpick or two.
Searing over high heat insures a nice light crust without the need for breading. The oven finishes the cooking process quickly and evenly.
This is a time when a meat thermometer becomes your best friend. Check at the 15 minute mark. Once it is flirting with 140 degrees remove it from the oven. It will continue to cook as you garnish it with the pesto.
This will lend itself to any filling you can dream up. Just keep the filling moist and the amount in moderation.
Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees. While the oven heats prepare the chicken
Carefully cut a pocket in each of the chicken breasts. Do this at the thickest part being careful not to cut completely through.
Fill each breast pocket with half of the tomatoes, 1/2 ounce of cheese, and 4 of the basil leaves. Gently pull the pocket closed and secure it with tooth picks,
Heat an over proof skillet over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and heat until it begins to ripple.
Sprinkle the Italian herb blend evenly over the chicken. Carefully place the chicken in the skillet. Brown for 3 minutes, turn the breasts, and brown the other side 3 minutes more.
Carefully pour in the chicken stock and transfer to the oven.
Bake 10 minutes. Add the remaining cheese to the top of the chicken and return to the oven for 5-8 minutes. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness (140 degrees).
Remove the chicken to serving plates. Pour a little of the pan drippings over the chicken. divide the pesto evenly on top of the chicken and serve.
Panzanella is a wonderful vehicle for the bounty of summer vegetables, It’s also a bread lover’s best friend. Any assortment of vegetables can be combined with toasted bread cubes. Toss it all with the vinaigrette of your choice and you’ve got a hearty salad that almost eats like a meal. Slice up some grilled meat or an interesting cheese and call it dinner. The ingredients listed below are what I made this time. I honestly make it differently every time. I’ve even grilled the vegetables. Choose a crusty bread that is just a little stale. This go round I used a multi-grain baguette, but sour dough would be wonderful, too. The bottom line for this recipe is use what you like to make the panzanella salad you’ll love.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Spread the bread cubes on a baking sheet that has been lightly sprayed with olive oil cooking spray. Spray the bread cubes lightly with the olive oil spray. Bake 15 minutes until the cubes are lightly browned. Set aside to cool.
Quarter the tomatoes lengthwise. Remove the seeds and cut crosswise into 1/2 slices. Cut the onion in half crosswise. Cut each half in thin vertical strips.
Put the onions and tomatoes in a large bowl. Add the chopped pepper, cucumbers, and the bread cubes. Tear the basil leaves into bite size pieces and add to the bowl.
Dressing: Mash the garlic, anchovy paste and a pinch of salt in a mortar. It should be a fairly smooth paste. Combine the oil, vinegar, herbs, and the garlic anchovy paste in a jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake until the dressing is completely blended.
Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to coat. Cover and chill for several hours. Serve.