Monday, October 17, 2016

Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts

About 10 years ago I stumbled on a recipe for cheddar and apple stuffed chicken breasts. It sounded delicious, and very autumnal, so I was sold. At that point I was a beginner cook, at best. The recipe called for chicken breasts for be pounded thin, stuffed with filling, then rolled up and baked. It was a disaster. Picture raw chicken pieces flying from under my meat mallet, while those poor breasts were torn to bits by an overzealous beating. Then there was my brilliant attempt to save them by piling what poultry scraps were left onto a baking sheet and plopping gobs of cheesy apple stuffing on top. They may be the worst thing to ever come out of my kitchen. So, when I came across a picture of a gorgeous platter of apple stuffed chicken breasts on Pinterest, I decided that I needed a chance at redemption.

Sans meat mallet.

It pleases me down to my perfectionist soul to be able to present a relatively easy, delicious recipe for Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts. Which, to my amazement, came together on the first try. Even with my aversion to touching raw meat. 

Let’s get down to business.

You will need…

 Four boneless skinless chicken breasts.

One or two apples, depending on their size. I used Macintosh, because they are my favorite, but any slightly tart, firm baking apple will work.

Four ounces of Gouda cheese, shredded.

A half of a cup of seasoned bread crumbs. Store bought can be used, but I find that making my own saves money and taste better. I use the leftover ends of our bread loaves. Just zip them together in a food processor with some dried thyme and parsley flakes. They can be spread out on a cookie sheet and left in a cool, dry place, such as a pantry shelf, for two or three days, or until all of their moisture has evaporated. Store them in a tightly closed container for up to a month.

Two shallots, sliced to about a quarter inch thickness…

and sautè over medium-low heat in a tablespoon of butter (I use Kerrygold, a good grassfed butter, for all of my cooking and baking), until tender and golden.

In a small bowl combine bread crumbs, diced apples, shredded gouda, and slightly cooled sautéed scallions, with a few pinches of sea salt. 

Gently toss together until the stuffing is evenly mixed. Set aside and move on to preparing the chicken breasts.

 This here made all the difference. 

In lieu of pounding and rolling the chicken, I decided to cut pockets. I’m a genius! (Not really…I read this on a similar recipe.)
Using a sharp knife cut a deep pocket into each breast. Be careful not to butterfly or cut through it. Leave at least a half inch on the sides and bottom, so the filling won’t be able escape.

Fill each pocket with 1/4 of the stuffing mix.

Pack it as full as possible, without tearing the chicken.

Secure each breast with toothpicks. I used between 4 and 5 per breast. If you have areas that do tear, you can use the toothpicks to mend the holes. Simply insert the toothpick through one end of the hole and secure it to the opposite end. Just remember that it is there when it comes time to remove the toothpicks. That could be an unpleasant surprise.

Season each side of the chicken breasts with salt and pepper.

Once the chicken is prepared, heat two tablespoons of butter over medium to medium-high heat in a large cast iron (or other ovenproof) skillet.

I prefer butter over olive oil because of its ability to withstand heat without degrading…and it just tastes better. 

Add the chicken to the skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes, or until it is a nice golden brown. (Note: I put mine on bottom side up first…I should have done the opposite.)

Carefully flip each breast and cook for another 5 minutes.

Using a potholder, transfer the entire pan to a 425 degree oven for an additional 30 minutes...or until the internal temperature of the breasts reach 165 degrees.

While the chicken bakes, pour 1/2 cup of apple cider and 1/4 cup of a good white wine (that is so Ina, of me) into a measuring glass.

Once the chicken comes out of the oven, immediately plate it, leaving all of the buttery juices and chicken bits in the skillet. Transfer the skillet to the stovetop and bring contents to a bubble over medium-high heat. 

If the bottom of the pan seems to be lacking in butter, add another tablespoon.

Pour the cider and wine mixture into the skillet, whisking into it the contents of the bottom of the pan.

Whisking frequently, cook until reduced by at least half, and forms a thick, syrupy sauce.

While the sauce is reducing, remove the toothpicks from each breast.

Pour sauce over the plated Chicken breasts and they are ready to serve.

Apple & Gouda Stuffed Chicken Breasts
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 1-2 apples, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 2 shallots, sliced
  • 1 cup (4 oz.) Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup seasoned bead crumbs (recipe below)
  • 2-3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup apple cider
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Seasoned Bread Crumbs
  • 2 slices of day old bread (The ends from a loaf of bread work well!)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
Preheat oven to 425°
1. Over medium heat, sauté sliced shallots in about one tablespoon of butter, until tender and golden. Set aside to cool.
2. Combine diced apples, Gouda, bread crumbs, cooled shallots and a few pinches of salt in a medium mixing bowl. Toss together gently.
3. Cut pockets into each chicken breast, leaving at least 1/2 inch of space around the edges.
4. Fill each breast with 1/4 of the stuffing mixture, and secure closed with toothpicks.
5. Over medium to medium-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter in an ovenproof skillet.
6. Carefully add stuffed chicken breasts to the skillet. Cook for 5-7 minutes per side, or until golden brown.
7. Place the entire skillet on the middle rack of the preheated oven.
8. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the chicken reaches 165°.
9. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove form the oven and place on a platter.
10. Immediately transfer the skillet, with juices and chicken bits, to the stovetop and bring back to a bubble over medium-high heat.
11. Add apple cider and white wine to the skillet and whisking briskly. Cook until reduced by half and forms a syrupy sauce.
12. Pour the sauce over the plated chicken breasts.
Serve immediately.



Sunday, March 16, 2014

Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches


Ice Cream Cookie Sandwiches 10


Last week, while digging in our chest freezer, I found our forgotten ice cream maker. And, because I have food on the brain ALL OF THE TIME, I started dreaming up yummy ideas.

Since my kids have been begging me to make chocolate chip cookie sandwiches…with buttercream frosting…I decided that ice cream would be so much better. Especially now that we will be entering the summer season.

I mean, cookies AND ice cream…come on! One of the best combos ever, right?

Here is how I did it…completely from scratch…


cookie collage


This is my go-to chocolate chip cookie recipe. It is based on a recipe that I found on All Recipes, and have tweaked a bit.

The BEST Chocolate Chip Cookies

Preheat oven 350 degrees.

  • 1 cup pasture raised butter
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 1 cup organic brown sugar
  • 2 eggs (preferably pasture raised)
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 1/2 cups mini chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)

In a large bowl (or in the bowl of a stand mixer) cream butter and sugars with a mixer, Add eggs one at a time, scraping down the edges as you go. Add vanilla. Sift together flour, baking soda and salt into a medium size bowl. Pour dry ingredients into the wet mixture, and mix until well combined. Add the chocolate chips, and fold in with a spatula.

Bake for 10-12 minutes on a parchment lined baking pan.


Chocolate Chip Cookies


Now for my favorite part…

The Ice cream!


Easy Vanilla Ice Cream

  • 4 cups half & half
  • 1 cup organic sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Combine all ingredients in a medium size bowl. Stir until sugar dissolves completely. Follow the directions on your ice cream freezer.



ice cream 1


ice cream 2


We have the Kitchen Aid Ice Cream Maker attachment for our stand mixer. LOVE it! It is super simple to use…and does an awesome job. It is a little pricey, but we got ours at Bed Bath & Beyond a few years ago using a 20% off coupon. (FYI: The June issue of Better Homes and Gardens contains a 20% BB&B off coupon.)


ice cream 3


ice cream 4


ice cream 6


When your ice cream is finished…


ice cream 5


Transfer to a BPA free plastic container with a lid, and freeze for at least 4 hours.


ice cream 8


I couldn’t wait that long, so the first batch on cookie sandwiches were a little on the soft side.

To assemble, take one of your delicious homemade cookies…


ice cream 9


place a big scoop of ice cream in the center…


ice cream 12


and top with a second cookie.


I ce cream cookie sandwiches


Devour all that yumminess!

Now that I have busted out the ice cream maker, I foresee a lot of deliciousness this summer.

What is your favorite way to enjoy ice cream?


Sunday, March 9, 2014

Whole Wheat Coconut Carrot Apple Muffins


A few weeks ago I was experimenting with different muffin recipes to include in my kids’ lunches. I like to make a few dozen on Sundays, then freeze them in plastic bags, so I can pull them out in the morning and add to their lunch boxes throughout the week.

This recipe was surprisingly delicious. It was kind of a “dump” muffin. I had a sorry looking Granny Smith apple, some limp carrots and a bag of coconut taking up room in my fridge. The combination was spot on! They may even be the best muffins I have ever eaten…and as an added bonus…they are healthy!


cocnut apple carro muffins 2

Coconut Carrot Apple Muffins

2 cups organic whole wheat flour (I love King Arthur flours)

1 teaspoon aluminum free baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons cinnamon

2 eggs (room temperature)

1/2 cup coconut oil (melted)

1/2 cup whole milk

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup organic coconut palm sugar (or organic brown sugar)

1/2 cup organic shredded coconut

1 cup organic shredded carrots

1 cup organic shredded Granny Smith apples


  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a 12 cup muffin pan with muffin liners.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon. Stir lightly to incorporate.
  • In a medium bowl, beat eggs, then add coconut oil, milk, syrup and coconut palm sugar. Whisk wet ingredients until well combined.
  • Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients. Add wet mixture. Fold gently until just incorporated.
  • Add shredded coconut, carrots and apples. Fold with a spatula until ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the batter.
  • Pour into muffin cups.
  • Bake for 16-20 minutes.

Happy muffin making!


Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Little Of This…A Little Of That…Catching Up…and a Recipe!


Phew! We have been really busy this summer! I feel like I hardly get a chance to catch my breath…before we are on to the next thing. Luckily, I am back to “normal” work weeks (no more overtime…I hope). Last weekend I even enjoyed my first FULL weekend off in 3 summers!

I will get right to it!

This is what our garden looks like right now…

garden 2013

The Lord has certainly blessed us with an abundant crop! We are currently harvesting cabbage, lettuce, green beans, peas, cucumbers, kale, beets, green peppers, jalapeños dill, cilantro and basil. We look forward to tomatoes, eggplant, corn, squash and pie pumpkins soon!

Everything was planted and tended by my green-thumbed husband. He is AMAZING! We do not use any pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Eric goes through the garden every night and squashes bugs and eggs by hand…sometimes it takes him hours. Love that man.

canning 1

Canning has become a main focus lately. With all of those delicious veggies, we simply can not eat the amount we produce. Preserving and freezing seem to be the best way to save some of the summer goodness for winter. We are also looking into fermentation…

When we are not working, gardening, cooking, canning and cleaning…

bike trail 1

We enjoy taking our kiddos on a local bike trail, which is right on Lake Michigan’s Little Traverse Bay. Gabe loves to ride his scooter, while Lily practices for the day we remove her training wheels (next month!)…and Eric and I walk.  I take a ton of pictures, making everyone CRAZY. But…come on! We are BLESSED to live in one of the most beautiful areas in this state! (And my kids are way too adorable not to constantly be snapping pictures ofWinking smile)

Unfortunately…the stress of summer has caused some major acne issues for me. So, a few weeks ago I decided to purchase a Clarisonic Mia2. The cost initially freaked me out a bit. But, I went to the Sephora website, and read all of the reviews. Yep. ALL of them (it took a few days). I decided to give it a try. There was a Sephora money-back guarantee…so I figured I did not have anything to lose.

clear skin

Here are my results this far! I am using it on the high speed, with a normal brush. I also use Philosophy’s Clear Days Ahead cleanser. I really happy! I have noticed some smaller breakouts…that only last for a day…but I think that my skin is just getting rid of impurities and all of the gross stuff.

I can not wait to see my 4 week results Smile 

Sidenote: I am not being compensated in any way for this post. These opinions are 100% mine. These companies do not know me, from Adam Winking smile I just genuinely like the products and companies.

For my last trick…not really a trick, just a recipe. My brain is whacking out right now…haha!

Italian style bake

My mom suggested that I try this recipe. It is in the new issue of All Recipes Magazine (the one I have a PUBLISHED recipe in…not bragging at allWinking smile). She told me that she left out the crescent rolls (ICKY, processed nattiness) and baked it as a casserole. I took it a step farther (maybe two) and added some extra cheese…and tweaked the seasoning a bit.

Italian Style Zucchini Bake

  • 2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced (4 cups)
  • 1 cup of sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 tablespoons butter (please use grass fed, pasture raised…if not…use extra virgin olive oil)
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella (6 oz.) (grass-fed, pastured)
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar (4 oz.) (again, pastured and grass-fed…pretty please)
  • 1/4-1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan (2-4 oz.) (At this point do I even have to tell you what kind? Hehe!)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a cast iron skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add the sliced zucchini and onions. Cook for about 8-10 minutes over medium heat, until veggies are tender. While the veggies are cooking (remember to stir them occasionally), shred the cheeses. Beat 2 eggs into a medium size bowl. Add the cheeses to the eggs, and stir.

When the veggies are tender, add the seasonings. Remove skillet from heat. Pour the egg and cheese mixture over top and stir a bit to combine.

Using oven mitts (very important…I am now nursing a blistered thumb…doh!), put the skillet into the preheated oven.

Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until golden and bubbly.

This was REALLY killer delicious!

I hope you are all enjoying your summer! I know some of you are already dealing with the back to school season. We do not start until after Labor Day (thankfully!)…but I have already started shopping…

back to school

Zappos is my lifesaver when it comes to shoes for Gabe. His autism interferes with his fine motor function…and the DiGeorge Syndrome is at fault for low muscle tone…so I have to find him “cool” shoes with velcro…or laced shoes that he can just slip on. We always love Vans…and this year we are trying Merrells. For the past few years we have gotten him New Balance, but last year they frayed in the first week! I know…they are spendy…but we pay for quality in our house. Other, less expensive shoes, can not take the beating that child doles out!

That’s all I have for you people. I am writing down endless ideas for posts this fall (Sunday Suppers, anyone?)…so I am hoping the stars will align, and the angels will sing (going a little far?), and I will finally be able to make my blog a priority!


Saturday, March 1, 2014

Sunday Supper: Burgers on the Grill and Vanilla Ice Cream with Caramel Sauce



I have been craving a big juicy burger like crazy lately! And when Eric showed me this recipe from Men’s Health Magazine…I knew we had to give the healthy burgers a go.

Sundays are the perfect grilling day in our family. We use an old fossil of a Weber charcoal  grill (I gave it to Eric for his birthday the first year we were married), natural charcoal, and absolutely no lighter fluid or chemical starter. Which takes a bit longer…but the taste is well worth it!

I started by mixing up my burger ingredients…

Best Burger

I deviated a tad from the recipe…I used 1/2 cup of cheese, instead of 2 tablespoons…which seems hardly worth the effort. In my humble opinion.


My least favorite part…

Have I mentioned that I HATE touching raw meat?

Four gorgeous organic beef patties…


The spinach came straight from our garden. LOVE it!

Cover burgers and place in the fridge until ready to grill. Mine ended up being in there for about three hours.

Next, it is on to the Secret Burger Sauce, adapted from this recipe. I am telling you is the bomb! (Do people even say that anymore??? Probably not…haha!)

burger sauce


Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl, and let sit in the fridge for a few hours…the longer the better on this one.

I had a fridge full of veggies, so I decided to make both hummus and ranch dip, and serve a crudité plate as my “side dish”.

Here is my Garlic Hummus Recipe…

garlic hummus

  • 2 cans BPA free garbanzo beans, drained with 3/4 cup of the liquid reserved
  • 3 tablespoons tahini paste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt (or to taste)
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  • Olive oil
  • Paprika

Combine all ingredients, including reserved liquid, in blender or food processor. Blend/process for one minute, or until smooth. Pour into a serving bowl, sprinkle with paprika, and drizzle with olive oil.

Cover and refrigerate..

Onto the ranch dip..

ranch dip

I use 1 1/2 tablespoons of my homemade ranch seasoning mix, added to 1/2 cup mayo, 1/2 cup of sour cream, and a little milk to thin it out to the right consistency for dipping. As with the previous recipes. refrigerate…the longer the better.

I am not going to lie…the prep for this dinner was a few hours.I personally kinda like doing the whole “Susie Homemaker” thing Winking smile But…there is hope if you do not want to spend half a day slaving in your kitchen. Make everything ahead of time! The dips can be made up to a week in advance…and the burgers can be pattied up the day before.

After a few hours in the fridge…and a sprinkle with a little sea salt, fresh ground pepper and garlic powder…

grilling 1

it’s time for the grill!

The amount of time these take to cook will depend on how hot you grill is, and the level of doneness you prefer. Ours too about 8 minutes per side.

While the burgers were cooking, I cut my veggies for the crudité plate.


grilling 4

I prepped the buns and a serving plate…

grilling 2

and carried them out to the grill master (aka…my husband).

We like our buns toasted…so he threw those on for a few minutes as well.

burgers 1

I ran back inside (yep…I did run…don’t know why…that’s just how I roll), to start setting the table.

I made the table runner and napkins last summer…and LOVE them!

burgers 4

burgers 5

I finished just in time for the Eric to carry these beauties inside…

burgers 2

burger 7

And then I made my family wait as I took pictures…HA! I am so mean!

I thought I would humor you with what I am pretty sure each was thinking at the time of this photo…

family 1


burger 5

Chow time!

The burgers were excellent! We will definitely make them again.


On to the dessert…

ice cream

I made the ice cream the day before.  I just mixed the ingredients and waited for the sugar to dissolve. Then added it to my ice cream maker, followed the manufacturers instructions, and let it freeze overnight.

caramel sauce

After supper, I made the caramel sauce by bringing the butter, cream and brown sugar to a boil, and boiling for about 4 minutes. Stirring constantly. I added the vanilla and poured into a cute little mason jar.

I let it cool for about 10 minutes…

dessert 1

and served it over the ice cream. TO. DIE. FOR.

There you have it…another Sunday Supper!

I hope you are enjoying these posts Smile