Well-seasoned cuisine: Stuffed or sautéed, chicken breast can have a lot of flavor

This chicken breast is stuffed with a broccoli and cheese mixture, then baked with a sherry sauce on top.

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I cook a lot of chicken breast in my house. It is a relatively healthy cut of meat and it is often quick to cook up. But it can get boring to eat several times a week so I try to mix it up with a variety of different sauces and preparations.

I tried two recipes last week that have a lot of flavor but maintain a healthy mix of ingredients. The best part of these recipes is that they include a lot of vegetables so I didn’t have to prepare any side dishes to go along with the meals. The Roman-style chicken gets a little extra flavor from some prosciutto and the fresh herbs added just the right mix to the dish. The chicken divan has a flavorful sauce that goes on top, made with sherry, parmesan cheese and Dijon mustard. The sauce is kept low calorie and low fat with low-fat, evaporated milk and corn starch as the thickening agents instead of butter and flour.

Both recipes offered a tasty way to eat chicken breast. The Roman-style chicken recipe was quick to put together while the stuffed chicken divan took a little bit longer to make.

Roman-style chicken

By Giada de Laurentiis

4 skinless chicken breast halves, with ribs

2 skinless chicken thighs, with bones

1/2 tsp. salt, plus 1 teaspoon

1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper, plus 1 teaspoon

1/4 c. olive oil

1 red bell pepper, sliced

1 yellow bell pepper, sliced

3 oz. prosciutto, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (15-oz.) can diced tomatoes

1/2 c. white wine

1 tbsp. fresh thyme leaves

1 tsp. fresh oregano leaves

1/2 c. chicken stock

2 tbsp. capers

1/4 c. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves

Season the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. In a heavy, large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. When the oil is hot, cook the chicken until browned on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside.

Keeping the same pan over medium heat, add the peppers and prosciutto and cook until the peppers have browned and the prosciutto is crisp, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, wine, and herbs. Using a wooden spoon, scrape the browned bits off the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pan, add the stock, and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the chicken is cooked through, about 20 to 30 minutes.

If serving immediately, add the capers and the parsley. Stir to combine and serve. If making ahead of time, transfer the chicken and sauce to a storage container, cool, and refrigerate. The next day, reheat the chicken to a simmer over medium heat. Stir in the capers and the parsley and serve.

SERVES 6; Calories: 266; Total Fat 13 grams; Saturated Fat: 2 grams; Protein: 28 grams; Total carbohydrates: 8 grams; Sugar: 4 grams; Fiber 1.5 grams; Cholesterol: 76 milligrams; Sodium: 1,307 milligrams

Stuffed Chicken Divan with a Sherry Dijon Sauce

Recipe courtesy of Food Network

Cooking spray

2 c. (4 oz.) fresh broccoli florets

1/2 c. (2 oz.) grated Gruyere cheese

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

4 (6 to 8-oz.) boneless skinless chicken breast halves

2 tsp. olive oil

2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 c. low-fat evaporated milk

1/2 c. low-sodium chicken broth

1/4 c. dry sherry

1 1/2 tsp. cornstarch

2 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese

1 tsp. Dijon mustard

Preheat the broiler. Mist a shallow rectangular baking dish with cooking spray. Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the broccoli and cook until bright green and crisp tender, about 5 minutes. Drain well and run under cold water until cold. Drain well again and squeeze dry in paper towels.

Chop the broccoli and toss in a bowl with the Gruyere and garlic. Insert a paring knife into the thickest part of each chicken breast to make a 3-inch deep pocket. Stuff each chicken breast with equal amounts of the broccoli mixture. Rub both sides of the chicken breasts with oil and thyme and season with salt and pepper.

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until very hot, about 5 minutes. Put the chicken in the pan and cook until golden brown and just cooked through, about 6 minutes per side. If the chicken begins to brown too quickly, turn the heat down to medium to finish cooking through. Transfer to the baking dish.

Meanwhile, combine the milk and stock in a small pot, season with salt and pepper and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Stir the sherry and cornstarch until smooth and pour, whisking constantly, into the sauce. Cook until just thickened, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in the Parmesan. Top each chicken breast with 2 tablespoons of sauce and place under the broiler. Broil until lightly browned, 2 to 3 minutes.

Let the chicken rest for 5 minutes and then cut each breast in half on an angle. Whisk the mustard into the remaining sauce and spread a few tablespoons on each plate. Top with a halved chicken breast.

Calories 347; Total Fat 11g (Sat Fat 5.1g, Mono Fat 3.9g, Poly Fat 1.1g) ; Protein 50g; Carb 10g; Fiber 1g; Cholesterol 126.5mg; Sodium 433.5mg

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