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Chicken Cordon Bleu
April 6, 2011
By Jennifer Chandler

Behind its fancy name, Chicken Cordon Bleu is an easy, family-pleasing dish for home cooks. It is the basic cooking technique for stuffing a chicken breast, and it readily adapts to experiments with some of your favorite ingredients.

NATALIE ROOT/SPECIAL TO THE COMMERCIAL APPEAL

Behind its fancy name, Chicken Cordon Bleu is an easy, family-pleasing dish for home cooks. It is the basic cooking technique for stuffing a chicken breast, and it readily adapts to experiments with some of your favorite ingredients.

This cheesy stuffed chicken breast sounds and looks fancy, but it's a cinch to make at home. Best of all, it is a tasty dish that my whole family enjoys.

This is the basic cooking technique for stuffing a chicken breast. Experiment with some of your favorite ingredients. For an Italian twist, I like to substitute prosciutto, spinach and mozzarella. Spicy pepper jack cheese adds a fun kick. For an even crunchier (and more savory) coating, try substituting crushed french- fried onions for the bread crumbs.

Whether you are following the recipe or are making your own variation, this simple dish will be sure to make the folks at your dinner table think you are a Cordon Bleu-trained chef.

Jennifer Chandler is the author of "Simply Salads" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99) and "Simply Suppers: Easy Comfort Food Your Whole Family Will Love" (Thomas Nelson, $24.99). She is the national spokeswoman for French's Mustard and French's French Fried Onions. She lives in East Memphis with her husband and two daughters.

Chicken Cordon Bleu

2 tbsp. olive oil, plus extra to grease the pan

1 cup Italian-style bread crumbs

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 1 1/2 lbs.)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

8 thin slices Swiss cheese

4 thin slices baked ham

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom of a baking dish with olive oil. Place the bread crumbs in a shallow bowl and set aside.

Rinse the chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Place the chicken between two pieces of wax paper or plastic wrap and, using a meat mallet or rolling pin, pound to 1/4 -inch thickness. Generously season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper. On each breast, layer 2 slices of cheese and 1 slice of ham. Tightly roll up each breast and secure with a toothpick. Drizzle the breasts lightly with olive oil and roll them in the bread crumbs to lightly, but evenly, coat. Place the chicken, seam-side down, into the prepared baking dish and transfer to the oven. Bake until browned and cooked through, about 30 to 35 minutes. To serve, remove the toothpicks and slice crosswise. Serve hot. Serves 4.

-- Source: "Simply Suppers"

Do ahead: The chicken can be prepped the night before, tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, and refrigerated. This dish also freezes well; thaw before baking.


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