Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I live with a pickled jalapeño fiend. He eats them alongside dinner, like a relish tray. I love them too, but only in combination with other things, like cheeseballs, mac ‘n’ cheese, cheese and crackers, and deli sandwiches (with cheese). Sensing a theme here?

I found this recipe in a Rachael Ray magazine and knew it would be a hit with my jalapeño guy. But I wasn’t thrilled with bone-in skin-on chicken breasts. Maybe I can stuff boneless skinless breasts instead? That was my plan until I got to the market. They were completely out of boneless skinless breasts. How does that happen? They did have skinless boneless breast pieces. They were too skinny to stuff, but big enough to top with filling and roll up.

The Rachael recipe continued to change. I added a little cheddar because we had a huge block in the refrigerator and I didn’t think the cream cheese would provide enough flavor. The red onion was another last-minute idea — more color and flavor. I wasn’t just going to pop skinless breasts in the oven so I rolled them in my usual flour-egg-breadcrumbs bowls. Once done with the dredging, I thought they’d be better off with a browning on the stove before finishing in the oven.

I’m pretty sure my jalapeño popper chicken is a heck of a lot more delicious than Rachael’s because mine has a lot more going for it. I’ve made it twice now and even my cream cheese hating guy loves it. It definitely has some heat, so it’s not for chile-phobes. I served it last night with Roasted Butternut Squash Cubes and a sautéed zucchini concoction I made with some leftover lemon zest and breadcrumbs, garlic and fresh oregano. Tasty!

jalapeno cheese stuffed chicken breasts recipe

Jalapeño Popper Chicken

You’ll need a meat pounder, small bowl, toothpicks, and oven-safe skillet or Dutch oven.

  • 1/4 cup chopped pickled jalapeño chiles
  • 4 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/3 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Optional, if time – about 2 tablespoons sautéed red onion
  • 3 skinless, boneless chicken breasts, pounded to 1/4 to 1/3” thickness
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup panko (or regular) bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, herbs to taste

Preheat oven to 350. Stir together the jalapeños, cream cheese and cheddar cheese (and sautéed red onions, if you have time). Spread cheese mixture onto each piece of chicken. Roll up and secure with toothpick(s).

Dredge in flour. Then roll in egg. And finally roll in breadcrumb mixture. Sauté on all sides until brown. Bake for 10 minutes or until cooked through.

Adapted from: Jalapeno Popper Chicken Breasts, Rachael Ray

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