Cooking On A Budget: Herb Cheese Chicken with Pan Sauce

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Herb Cheese Chicken with Pan Sauce


There are times when I have the least amount of ingredients available between refrigerator, freezer and pantry that from sheer desperation of what to put together for dinner that my creative side kicks in and a new recipe (at least new to me) is born. This is what happened this past week when I made this herb cheese chicken with pan sauce.

What I created was this delicious chicken dinner complete with baked potatoes and roasted orange cauliflower and it was scrumptious. Not bad for having to scrounge around to come up with a different chicken dinner. The key element in the dish was the garlic herbed cream cheese dip of which I had some available in my refrigerator from a Sunday ago. I decided to place that spread under the skin of the chicken rather than an herbed butter and hoped for good results.

I had two large bone-in chicken breasts which had plenty of skin on so I was able to get a tablespoon or two of the spread under the skin, simple salt and pepper on the outside of the breasts and into a skillet with some butter and olive oil to get that skin nice and crispy before finishing it off in the oven. When the chicken was done I built a pan sauce with white wine, chicken broth, and some lemon juice with a touch of additional seasoning. You could after cooking split the breast in half to get four portions of chicken if you don't have hefty appetites.
  • 2 large bone-in chicken breasts
  • 2-3 tbsp. garlic herb cream cheese (make my recipe or purchase one from the store)
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • juice from 1/2 lemon (if it's really juicy) or from a whole lemon
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  1. Wash the chicken under cold water and dry it thoroughly with some paper towels. It must be dry or the skin will not brown properly.
  2. Take a longer knife like a filet knife and under the skin stroke the knife through the silver skin all under the outer skin of the breast so you have a clear pocket to fill with the herb cheese.
  3. Fill as much as you want of the herb spread under the skin and pull the skin back over the breast. Salt and pepper both sides.
  4. Heat up a skillet over medium high heat. Add in the butter and oil. Add in the breasts skin side down. Brown them for about 8-10 minutes, turning the heat down to medium so they don't burn.
  5. While the chicken is browning, turn your oven to preheat to 350°. Prep your vegetables.
  6. Turn the chicken over in the pan. Turn the heat off. If your oven has not finished preheating continue with vegetable preparations.
  7. Place the chicken in a preheated 350° oven and cook for about 35-40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°.
  8. When the chicken is done remove from the skillet to a waiting plate and keep warm with foil.
  9. Place the skillet on the stove top and heat over medium high heat. Add in the white wine and de-glaze the pan by scrapping up all the good bits. Reduce the wine by about half.
  10. Next add in the chicken broth and lemon and let this bubble and cook for a few minutes. Adjust for salt and pepper to taste. When you are satisfied, call the troops in for dinner!

Crispy skin, the herb cheese just kind of oozes out a little - scrumptious!

The chicken is moist, tender and perfectly cooked. The pan sauce just adds another element of flavor to the dish.

I was able to make this entire dinner for $13.65. I figured in two more baking potatoes and splitting the breasts in half for four portions making this $3.41 for each person. As a bonus here's a photograph of the cauliflower and simple preparation.

All you do is separate the florets of the cauliflower and lay them on a sheet pan with aluminum foil. Drizzle some olive oil over the top, sprinkle on salt, pepper and some Parmesan cheese. Go light on the salt because the cheese is salty. Bake right along side the chicken for the same amount of time and it comes out like this. Delicious flavor, caramelized - just so yummy. And if you are doing baked potatoes - give them a head start in your microwave then a bit of a head start in the oven. You can bake all of it at the same temperature!

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