Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

In honor of Mother’s Day,  I am reposting a recipe inspired by my mother-in-law Sheila who was a particularly extraordinary woman and mother.    I wish all of you a day filled with love and gratitude.

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My mother-in-law Sheila made the first chicken cordon bleu that I was willing to try.   healthier chicken cordon bleu-0431It was always delicious and one of my husband’s favorite meals.  Of course I enjoyed eating it but making it was a whole different ballgame.  Mixing two different kinds of meat together never made a whole lot of sense to me.   Additionally, how about the intimidation factor of trying to cook one of the favorite things his mom used to make for him?!?

Since this is the thing he asks for on his birthday most years so I had no choice but to conquer this beast.  healthier chicken cordon bleu-0496Bless his heart, Mike eats whatever I cook – vegan dishes, stews with lentils, pasta four times a week, and a noticeable lack of steak.   If he wants two kinds of meat baked with cheese then that’s what we will do!

I’ve made a few adjustments to the traditional preparation to give it more flavor and less salt and saturated fat in the interest of trying  to make up for that mac and cheese recipe I posted two weeks ago.   Lightly browning the seasoned breadcrumbs in melted butter gives them a fragrant crunch  that pairs beautifully with the gooey cheese.    healthier chicken cordon bleu-0292In fact, the most coveted part of this dish is the melted cheese and breadcrumbs surrounding the chicken in the pan.   This recipe makes no attempt to keep the cheese in lest there be no cheesy crunchies in the pan to argue over.  The birthday boy, or the first to the table, gets the best piece!

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Healthier Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 8 oz package Hillshire Farms Honey Ham (lower sodium)
  • 4 slices of swiss cheese (I use Sargento Baby Swiss)
  • 1 cup Italian Seasoned Panko breadcrumbs (I use Progresso)
  • 2 T stick butter
  • Italian seasoning mix (I use Badia)
  • Spice Island Garlic and Herb grinder
  • Pepper (I use a mixed four peppercorn grinder)

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spray a cookie sheet or baking dish with nonstick spray.
  3. Melt butter in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once completely melted, add panko. Sprinkle with Badia Italian seasoning (1/2 tsp or more). Stir every minute until breadcrumbs are lightly toasted and fragrant. Remove from heat and cool.
  4. Trim and pound chicken breasts to 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick; place in baking dish
  5. Sprinkle each piece of chicken with a light coating of pepper and Garlic and Herb grinder
  6. Put three slices of ham and one slice of cheese on one side of each piece of chicken; fold in half to make a sandwich (not a roll) and secure with toothpicks.
  7. Using your hands, put 1/4 of the breadcrumb mixture on the top of
  8. each piece of chicken. Pack the breadcrumbs on tightly and be sure to try to get them on the edges of the chicken too.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes or until tops are lightly browned and chicken is cooked through.
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