Chicken dishes have a tendency to run a little boring. I rarely order a chicken dish in a restaurant because when presented with steak or fish, chicken often falls by the wayside. It just doesn’t seem worth it when I can create a perfectly flavorful chicken dish at home, for a lot cheaper.

I love this chicken dish because it has roasted tomatoes (cooked right alongside), a delicious cheesy, basil filling AND a crunchy garlic topping. The chicken and tomatoes also look good, which is always a plus when serving food.

Mozzarella-Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Cherry Tomatoes

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1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 cup minced fresh basil

2 tablespoons heavy cream

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 garlic cloves, minced

salt and pepper

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 cup fresh bread crumbs (about 2 slices)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

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Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat to 425 degrees. Combine cheese, 2 tablespoons basil, cream, lemon juice, 1 garlic clove, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper in a medium bowl.

Cut pocket in chicken breasts, stuff with cheese mixture, and seal with a toothpick.

Transfer stuffed chicken breasts to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and spread tops evenly with mayonnaise.

Combine bread crumbs, remaining clove of garlic, remaining basil, and 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle crumb mixture over chicken, pressing lightly to adhere.

Toss tomatoes with remaining oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste.

Arrange in baking dish around chicken. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees thermometer, about 25-30 minutes. Serve.

Serves 4

Source: Cook’s Country February/March 2006

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