Feta & Herb Stuffed Chicken x

Feta & Herb Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Grapes

I have to thank both Ina Garten and Tyler Florence for this one – I saw Ina do a Chicken Breast with Goat Cheese, and I saw Tyler make Fontina & Prosciutto Stuffed Pork Chops with Roasted Grapes. Both five star recipes on FoodNetwork, but what are ya gonna do if you don’t have access to good goat cheese and prosciutto blows your budget?

Feta & Herb Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Grapes
Feta & Herb Stuffed Chicken with Roasted Grapes

I riffed – and came up with Feta Stuffed Chicken with Red Grapes:  I can hear it in my head:  Tyler would say, you got Chicken in my Pork Chops and Ina would say you got Grapes in my Chicken!

Tyler does, perhaps, seem to be a bit overly enamoured of the grape these days, but they’re wonderful roasted – the flavor concentrates and they’re a perfect foil for the rich, moist chicken and slightly tangy sauce. A little Risotto and a fresh salad (I used my Greek Dressing, olives, feta and tomato) makes for a gorgeous dinner.

Cost for the chicken, $4.15, and for the dinner, about $5.55. What a gorgeous dinner on a budget and truly a new family favorite.

Roasted Chicken with Red Grapes, serves 4
  • 4 chicken breast halves, bone in, about 5 ounces each.
  • 4 ounces Feta cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 3/4 pound red grapes, divided into four clusters
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • chives or parsley as garnish

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Place the chicken breasts into an oven proof skillet.  Loosen the skin carefully your fingers, from the bottom portion working upward, leaving the skin attached.  Mix the feta with the basil and mash into a creamy paste.  Add a bit of milk if it’s too dry or lumpy – if it’s not creamy it may poke through your chicken skin.  Place a bit between two fingers and carefully work up under the breast skin, pulling your fingers out and leaving the cheese mixture behind.

Rub each breast with olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.  Bake the breasts for 35 to 40 minutes, until just cooked through.  With about 7 – 10 minutes left in the cooking time, nestle the grapes into the pan.  Drizzle with a bit of the olive oil, season with salt and pepper and roast along with the chicken.  (Watch the bottom of the pan during the cooking process – you don’t want any drippings to burn – add a bit of butter if necessary.)  You want the grapes just slightly soft and barely wrinkled – remove them in the last few minutes of cooking time if your chicken takes a bit longer.

Remove the chicken and grapes from the pan, set on a plate and tent lightly to keep warm.  Pour off any excess oil from the pan and deglaze pan with the wine,  working any browned bits off the bottom – simmer until the wine is nearly gone.  Add chicken stock and bring to a simmer (which should be almost immediately.)  Turn off heat and whisk cold butter in a tablespoon at a time to slightly thicken sauce.  Add in any juices accumulated on the plate the chicken was resting on.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and spoon the sauce over the chicken when serving.

Let’s talk about how to save money/time on this recipe:

  • Use a coupon matching site! One of my favorites in my area is Pocket Your Dollars, but every store has a group of enthusiastic Coupon Matchers. Do not discount the savings! I check their site every week, even if I don’t “need” to go to the store and often find bargains I can’t pass up.
  • Follow my 12 Strategies – You’ll see them on the upper drop down menu of every page and how I apply them, below.
  • Don’t get discouraged if your prices don’t match mine! Keep shopping at the best prices and your fridge/freezer and pantry will be stocked with sales priced ingredients.
  • Read below for additional tips as well as throughout the recipe, for saving time and managing food.

Strategies Applied:

  • Chicken:  On sale this week for $179 a pound, I’ll pull it from my freezer – I buy at 99 cents a pound and package in sizes for my family.  I don’t think there’s any reason to buy chicken at less than a stellar price.  When I plan on using bone in chicken, I look for several packages with smaller breasts – portion control!  If you have larger breasts, and the budget, go for it – you could certainly take it off the bone and slice and portion out if you need to stretch it.  (This allows you to save those bones for stock, too, and to tell you the truth, my kids ate so many boneless chicken breasts that they’ve become a bit squeamish about bones and prefer their meat off – shame on me, I know, but they’re such a quick dinner option I maybe over did them for years!)  Cost for 20 ounces, about $1.25.
  • Feta Cheese:  Really watch for sale prices on grocery store feta – generally I find these types of cheeses go on sale often around holidays and literally keep for weeks and weeks.  I look for manufacturer’s coupons, too, in the “packaged” deli cheese area or on their websites – they often have long expiration dates, so I pick those coupons up even when I don’t plan to buy and then I’m poised to buy at the best price.  If your package is larger or smaller, don’t sweat it, but do save a bit for the salad!  Cost for a six ounce package is about $1.25 with a good sale and coupon.
  • Grapes:  On sale this week for $1.29, I often find them now and then for 89 or 99 cents a pound.  Use the rest as a snack or throw together a Fruited Chicken Salad with any leftovers.  Make sure to wash your grapes very well, and make sure they’re dry before roasting. Cost for 3/4 pound is 97 cents.
  • Olive Oil:  See my strategies for buying Olive oil, but basically watch for sales and coupons!  My buy price (I pick it up whether I need it or not when it’s at my ‘buy’ price!) is about 8 cents an ounce, so two tablespoons runs about 18 cents.
  • Chicken Stock:  If you read me regularly, I make my own with scraps of vegetables and bones – here’s the basic recipe I use for Best Turkey or Chicken Stock – it’s not particular and though it simmers for a long time, the burner is barely on – I just count it as free.
  • Wine:  I really shop the sales and speak to the employees – I find I can find great wines for a pittance.  If you have a wine shop you like, I find you can get mailings or emails for their best sales – often in the fall and spring.  My last bottle of a basic white was $2.99 – I know, I know, they say always buy a wine you’d drink to cook with, but you’d be surprised at the bargains you can get and how long you can use a bottle for quick little recipes like this and my bargain wine really is quaffable.   If I were making a recipe with a long, slow reduction like a stew, especially with a red wine, I’d be a lot more careful, because any tannins or off flavors might be even more exaggerated, but all I want here is a well rounded flavor and a bit of acidity.  I’ll even throw the wine in if it’s starting to turn to vinegar, and if I didn’t have any wine, I’d add a bit more stock and a few teaspoons of white wine or champagne vinegar, or even a red wine vinegar, or a squeeze of lemon juice.  Cost for 1/4 cup is pennies, about 40 cents.
  • Butter:  On sale for Easter last week, 1 pound is $1.49 – stock up as much as you can during Holiday weeks and freeze.  Ours was a limit 1 sale, but I stopped by the store more than once.  I cut the butter in this recipe, but didn’t even notice the difference.  Two tablespoon is about 10 cents.
  • Chives or Parsley:  I grow a few herbs outside every year and bring them in during the fall see Vegetables and Fruits. Green onion thinly sliced is fine for this, too – I use mine and save a bit of the white in a glass and it grows back.  Thank goodness it’s spring – I’ve killed off my thyme and parsley, but my chives are still going and it’s April, now.  If you don’t have don’t worry – it’s pretty but not essential.  Cost:  Free.
  • Risotto:  See details under recipe for Asparagus Risotto – I went a little cheap and used the cheap Parmesan and vinegar, partially for cost, and partially because I used my last dribble of wine in the sauce!  Cost:  about 40 cents.
  • Salad:  I opted for a kind of Greek salad, mainly because I used Feta.  I always look for the heads of Romaine rather than the packages – it tastes better and lasts a lot longer and costs a LOT less!  A head of Romaine is around $1.49 in my area; a bag at the sale price of $2.50 runs about $4.00 a pound!  See Vegetables and Fruits for details.  I just used part of it, threw in a few olives, a little cucumber and tomato and the rest of the feta.  I drizzled it with a little Greek Vinaigrette.  (This is a great way to use up a leftover Greek salad of Tomatoes, Cucumber, Peppers and Olives – another great use for that type of leftover salad is to combine it with a bit of pasta for a quick pasta salad.)  Cost for the salad is about a dollar.
Kitchen & Cooking Hacks:

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Nutrition:  1/4 of recipe.

Cal 462, Cal fr Fat 199, 49%; Tot fat 22g; Sat Fat 9.72g; chol 131mg; sod 576mg; carb 18g; fib 1g; sug 15g; prot35g

Put Your own Spin on It:

  • Seriously, I wouldn’t change a thing about Roasted Chicken with Red Grapes, or the sides.  Everyone loved it, and I can see this being a go to meal at our house.
  • I think you could certainly change up the stuffing in the chicken breast with goat cheese, cream cheese, fontina, Asiago, ricotta and Parmesan or any herbs and spices you wish, but this works for us!

Recipe for Roasted Chicken with Red Grapes made April 2012

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