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February 2012

Chicken Karista's Kitchen Kid Friendly

Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

Have you ever sat down to a meal and felt a deep sense of pleasure?

Hunger enticing aromas swirling about your place at the table and causing a most soul filled joy.  And at first bite you pause, relishing the beauty of the flavors dancing on your tongue.

Fresh Sage

Fresh Sage

My culinary students often hear me say  “food should  not only satisfy our hunger, it should feed our soul, nourish our body, while delighting our senses”.

My favorite Brie… Le Chatelain

This dish completely delights my senses.

Apples, shallots and fresh sage

Filled with fresh diced tart apples, sweet, spicy shallots, earthy sage and best of all… stinky cheese.

I love stinky cheese.  Just ask the Bennett Crew.

On occasion they’ll open the refrigerator door and get a huge whiff of my stinky cheese.  Of course, moaning and quickly closing the frig door for fear they might pass out from the overpowering  scent.

But once that stinky cheese makes it into stuffed chicken breasts with apples, shallots and sage… all is forgiven. :)

Brie and Apple Stuffed Chicken with Apple Cider Pan Sauce

Stuffing chicken breasts is a simple task.  Just takes a little patience and a little practice and you’ll have it mastered in no time at all.  I promise!  I’ve attached two demonstration photos at the end of the recipe. 

If you love this recipe, you’ll absolutely love the recipe Baked Chicken Breasts with Cream Cheese Stuffing and Tomato Sauce from my new blogging friend Chica Andaluza.  While you’re there, check out Chica’s other delicious recipes!  Happy Cooking!

Serves 4


4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, preferably organic or locally naturally raised

3 tablespoons high heat oil

1 heaping tablespoon diced shallot

2 apples, peeled, cored and small diced

1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage

Salt and fresh ground pepper

1 – 1 1/2 cup apple cider

1 tablespoon brandy (optional)

4 ounces Brie cheese, sliced


Preheat the oven to 400F.

For the apples: Heat one tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat.

Add the shallots and let them cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Then add the diced apples.  Cook the apples until somewhat golden and tender about 5-7 minutes.

Mix in the chopped fresh sage and sauté a minute longer.  Season with a little salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

For the chicken:  At the largest end of each chicken breast, make a deep horizontal cut (pocket).  Stuff each chicken breast with a slice of brie and then the apple mixture.

Season the outside of the chicken breasts with salt and Pepper.

To cook the Chicken:

In an ovenproof skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of oil on medium high.  When the oil is hot brown the chicken breasts on both sides, being careful when turning so the filling doesn’t fall out.  If needed use toothpicks to secure pocket.  If you do not have an ovenproof skillet, brown the chicken breasts and then transfer to a baking dish and proceed with apple cider and bake according to directions below. This method also works well if preparing 6 stuffed chicken breasts.

Once the chicken is browned, add the apple cider and place in a preheated oven and let them cook until done, about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160-165F.

When the chicken is done, remove from the oven.  Place the chicken on a platter and keep warm.  Heat the remaining pan juices and sauce from the cooked chicken and apple cider and bring it to a lively simmer.  Add a bit more apple cider if needed (I like extra sauce).  Add a splash of brandy or a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to pull all those delicious flavors together.

Taste for seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper if needed.

Pour the sauce over the chicken.  Garnish with fresh chopped Italian parsley and serve immediately.

I love this dish served with simple roasted brussel sprouts or broccoli.  Also, in the spring this is delightful with roasted or steamed fresh spring asparagus.

Stuffing a Chicken Breast

At the plumpest end of a chicken breast, cut a deep pocket.  Cut slowly, and if for some reason you cut through the opposite side, not too worry.  You can still stuff your chicken breast.  It will just need some extra care and patience when browning.

Stuffing a chicken breast

Once you’ve made your pocket, slide the cheese in first.  With a small teaspoon fill the pocket with the apples.  Using your fingers to “fully stuff” the chicken and make sure the filling is secure.

Use this method for any type filling.  Ham and Swiss or Gruyère, chopped sun-dried tomatoes and feta, olive tapenade, fresh herbs and Gruyère, fresh rosemary and cheddar.  Yum!

Stuffing a Chicken Breast

Karista's Kitchen Seafood Shrimp

Crawfish Etouffee

Crawfish Etouffee

When I lived in Louisiana I worked in healthcare (my first career… or maybe it was my second).  To say thank you, one of my patients brought me a beautiful Cajun chicken stew, sweet potato biscuits and braised greens.  Ranger Craig and I ate for a week on that delicious meal!

Mrs. Breaux’s kindness touched my heart.  Her meal was divine.  A born and bred Cajun lady who cooked the best chicken stew I’ve ever tasted.  The sweet potato biscuits were soft as pillows and the greens were silky and perfectly seasoned.  It’s been 20 years.  I still remember her sweet face and that beautiful meal.

Sweet Potato Biscuits from

Mrs. Breaux not only touched my heart, she peeked my taste buds.  I became obsessed with Cajun food.  I tried cooking it, but we all know how that turned out.  I was hands down the worst cook in the history of cooks.  Even one of my chef instructors said he thought I might be hopeless.  But, practice makes perfect!

I mastered the chicken stew, although still not as good as Mrs. Breaux’s, and I learned to prepare one mean and spicy gumbo.  Etouffee is icing on the cake after mastering gumbo.

My First Chef Crush

And it’s icing on the cake when the recipe just happens to be written by my very first chef crush, Emeril Lagasse.  That man couldn’t create a bad recipe if he tried.

Yes, Ranger Craig knows he’s got some competition.  But he doesn’t mind.  As long as the food is delicious!

Emeril Lagasse’s Crawfish Etouffee


1 stick unsalted butter

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 cup chopped yellow onions

1/2 cup chopped celery

1/2 cup chopped green bell peppers

1/4 cup chopped green onions (I like extra for garnish)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 bay leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon cayenne

2 tablespoons dry sherry

1 1/2 cups shrimp stock or water (I used seafood stock)

1 pound crawfish tails

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice (I squeeze half a lemon)

3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley, plus more for garnish

Cooked long grain white rice


In a large pot, melt the butter over medium-high heat.  Add the flour and cook, stirring to make a light roux.  This will take a few minutes.  I cook the roux until it looks the color of peanut butter.

Add the onions, celery, bell peppers, green onions, garlic, bay leaves, salt and cayenne pepper and cook, stirring, until the vegetables are soft.  About 5 minutes.

Add the sherry and cook for 2-3 minutes longer.  Add the stock and crawfish tails and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat and simmer until thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add the lemon juice.

Stir in the parsley and remove from the heat.

Adjust the seasoning to taste.  Serve over rice and garnish with additional parsley or green onions.

I love this dish after it’s sat on the stove for about 30 minutes.  And it’s even better the next day.  If you want to prepare this the day before, follow all directions as listed above.  Cook and store the etouffee in a separate container from the rice.  Reheat them separately the next day and then serve them together.

Appetizers Contact Grilling Kid Friendly Pork

Superbowl Sliders! Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sliders with Sauteed Sweet Onions and Hot Mustard

Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sliders with Sweet Onions and Hot Mustard

My sister emailed me this morning asking if I had any Superbowl Sunday recipes to share.  “When is Superbowl Sunday?” I emailed back.  “Sunday”  My sister replies.

Superbowl Sliders

Oh shoot!  Where have I been?  Hiding under a rock somewhere? I have obviously not been paying attention.  And yes, I’ve seen Ranger Craig watching football since the season began.  But it didn’t occur to me that Superbowl is a few days away.   Honestly, I think I’m way past Superbowl and Groundhog day.  I’ve moved onto Valentines already!

My new cutting board from my friend Heidi

Although I seem to be oblivious of football season, I’m not oblivious about the food involved.  So into my recipe vaults I went and pulled out this delish little dish.

Simply prepared and packed with flavor.  It’ll be a knockout with all the football fans in your home!  Hmmm… I think that’s a boxing term.   How about… it’ll be a roaring touchdown with all the football fans in your home!  I think that’ll work. :)

Grilled Asian Marinated Pork Tenderloin Sliders with Sautéed Sweet Onions and Swiss Cheese

Serves 12


2 lbs Pork Tenderloin (not marinated) Each whole tenderloin is about 1lb each.

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1/2 cup low sodium soy sauce

1/4 cup mirin (Japanese cooking wine)

1/4 cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon (or more to taste) Asian chili paste or hot sauce (I like Thai Kitchen Roasted Red Chili Paste)

1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger

6-8 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped

Dash of sesame oil

1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Serve with:

Sautéed Sweet Onions (recipe below)

Hot mustard

Slices of Swiss cheese (optional)

Mini or slider buns, or Hawaiin Bread Rolls


Combine marinade ingredients in a large ziploc bag or glass baking dish.  Add the tenderloins to the marinade and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

To prepare:

Pre-heat the grill to 375F (The pork can also be oven roasted. See below).  Place the tenderloins on the grill and cook for about 15-20 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145F.

You may need to flip the tenderloins a time or two to keep the marinade from burning and evenly brown the pork.

When the pork is done remove from the heat and place on a cutting board to rest for 10 minutes.

Thinly slice the pork and assemble on slider buns, topped with a small slice of Swiss cheese and warm sautéed sweet onions.

Serve with Asian hot sauce or hot mustard mixed

*The pork can also be roasted in a 375F oven until the internal temperature reaches 145F.  About 20 minutes.

Add a little of the marinade in the roasting pan or baking dish to keep the tenderloin moist.

Sautéed Sweet Onions


3 large sweet onions, halved and thin sliced (Walla Walla, Vidalia, Maui, Texas Sweet)

4 tablespoons clarified butter or oil


Heat the butter over medium heat in a large sauté pan or skillet.  When the butter is melted and/or oil is hot, add all the onions. Keep turning the onions in the pan for the first few minutes to keep them from burning.  Turn down the heat to medium low if needed.

Let the onions cook down, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and caramelized.  This usually takes about 20 – 30 minutes.  Once they are nicely golden brown remove them from the heat.

Season with a pinch of salt and serve with the pork sliders.