September 28, 2011

Baked Cranberry Goat Cheese Chicken {Naptime Everday}

Stuffed Chicken

What’s Going on Today: Normal school day, feeling very fall-like outside, enjoying the rhythm of the season.

Naptime Goals: Prep chicken, wrap up writing for the day.

Tonight’s Menu: Baked Cranberry Goat Cheese Chicken, herbed couscous, carrot souffle.

The lower temperatures of fall have arrived and they are slowly inspiring me to revisit my cold weather cooking favorites. The weather isn’t terribly cold yet, but it is too cool for gazpacho and cold chicken salad. I am turning the page to warmer soups and heartier baked dinners. This newest weeknight chicken dish was inspired by my daughter’s recent favorite snack, Craisins. I constantly toss them into salads and have always wanted to try them out in more savory dishes. When a bag literally fell out of the cupboard last week as I was reaching for some graham crackers I took it as a sign that it was time to try!

To incorporate cranberries into my everyday baked chicken I decided to cut some together with goat cheese and stuff it under the skin. Then I would use some to sprinkle on top and in the baking dish to absorb all of the great chicken-y juices. I hoped this would play up the savory-sweet flavors of the dish and add a great new twist to an everyday favorite.

During naptime I prepped the chicken by stuffing it with the goat cheese and cranberries, and slathering it with olive oil, salt and pepper. Then, I stuck it in the fridge until dinner. It baked beautifully, the skin crisped up and the goat cheese lazily melted into the chicken. The little craisins that had been scattered in the dish reconstituted a little bit and released tiny bursts of flavor with each bite. I served the chicken alongside herbed couscous – always an easy sauce-absorbing starch – and scattered the juicy berries from the dish on top. I also warmed up the few remaining squares of carrot souffle to nestle alongside. It was the perfect homey fall meal to warm us up on a cool night and fortify us for the next day.

Recipe

Baked Cranberry Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken

Ingredients

2 bone-in split chicken breasts
4 ounces (half a log) plain goat cheese
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon cracked pepper

Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. In a small bowl mix together the goat cheese and ¼ cup of the cranberries. Pull back the skin on the top of each chicken breast and stuff the cheese underneath it. Then place the chicken breasts in a baking sheet and drizzle the olive oil over the top of each chicken breast, making sure it is fully coated in the oil. Sprinkle the tops with the salt and pepper. Scatter the remaining ¼ of cranberries on top and around the sides of the chicken.

3. Bake the chicken for about 30 minutes, or until completely cooked through. Serve!

Naptime Notes

Naptime Recipe Serving ideas

Serve this chicken with an absorbent starch on the side, like couscous, rice or potatoes. You don’t want to miss a second of the chickeny juices!

Naptime Stopwatch

10 minutes to prep, 30 minutes to bake

Naptime Reviews

This is a new favorite weeknight meal for our rotation, just in time for fall!

 

  • Liz the Chef

    This looks like a definite addition to my short list of quickly prepared suppers – thanks!

    • Anonymous

      It is a great one for a short list, Liz, enjoy!

  • Molly@hungryhungryrunner.com

    Beautiful! I love cranberries but have trouble working them into non-dessert recipes! I love how simple – and delicious – this recipe is! Thanks for sharing!

    • Anonymous

      You are welcome Molly, enjoy!

  • Georgia Pellegrini

    Cranberry, goat cheese, and chicken sound like a perfect combination. A little sweet, a little tang…

    • Anonymous

      Exactly, Georgia!!

  • Tina Engberg

    Thanks for the inspiration! I have chicken breasts staring at me from the fridge, and we just got a 5 PM obligation thrown in for good measure! Dinner will be a little late, but it sure will be good!

  • Charity Mathews

    Looks delicious. I have a two year old cranberry fan here so I’ll add this one to our repertoire immediately.

    Love your site in general (the naptime goals are brilliant!) and just added to my blogroll.

    Best to you,

    CCM 

    http://www.foodlets.wordpress.com

    • Anonymous

      Thanks, Charity!

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