Cooking to Impress: Chicken with Goat Cheese

This past year, we have started doing “Family Dinner” each week, something Leah explained in detail before revealing her delicious dark chocolate and coconut cookie recipe.


So my first time through, I made my go-to dish, the already-covered Penne a la Vodka.  There are a few other dishes in my arsenal, but nothing that would be easy to serve to 7-8 people.  So I started digging.


I wanted something that would stand up to all the outstanding food everyone else has made, but was also easy enough for me to make after my once-every-other-week chemistry lab. (I promise I washed my hands afterward!) I settled on my mother’s chicken with goat cheese, toasted almonds, and roasted peppers. Honestly, I don’t care for peppers with this dish and I picked them off as a child so when it came my turn to cook, I didn’t include them. I’ve kept them in the recipe for anyone who might like them.


Chicken with Goat Cheese


1 bell pepper

4 oz. goat cheese, cut into 8 slices

Toasted sliced almonds

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness

¼ cup plus 2 Tbsp. olive oil

2 Tbsp. chopped shallots

1 tsp. garlic

½ cup white wine

2 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary or ½ tsp. dried, crumbled

½ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces


Toast almonds: place in heavy ungreased pan over medium heat and stir until lightly browned.


Place chicken breast(s) between two sheets of plastic wrap and pound to an even thickness. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and garlic powder to taste.


Preheat broiler. Arrange pepper on baking sheet and broil until skin blackens. Place in a plastic bag and let stand for 10 minutes. Remove, peel peppers and cut into strips.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put 2 Tbsp. olive oil in fry pan and cook chicken just until cooked through, about 4 minutes a side. Transfer chicken to a foil covered baking sheet.


Top with pepper strips, cheese rounds and toasted almond slices. Bake chicken just until cheese is heated through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to plates.

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Meanwhile, heat remaining ¼ cup olive oil in the fry pan over high heat. Add shallots and garlic and sauté 30 seconds. Add wine and rosemary and boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Gradually whisk in butter. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Spoon sauce over chicken and serve.


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Egg Boats!

One of the special things about owning a restaurant is the opportunity to bless others through what we have to offer. I love getting to be part of our community and of people’s lives just by doing what I do. We are often arranging dine-to-donate nights to benefit local charities and organizations.  (some examples)

We are also able to donate meals to those less fortunate through the Salvation Army and my church. It is such a great thing to be able to meet people’s needs through my daily work.

One of the things we do is to provide a breakfast meal for the worship leaders at my church. My church has been such a blessing to me. It has supported and loved me through some really difficult times and they are great supporters of The Olive Branch. This Sunday morning breakfast is a small way to give back to a really special community.

We try to be creative in the meals we offer them. It is really easy to get stuck in the pastry rut. I mean, doesn’t everyone eat donuts on Sunday mornings? LOL To combat repetition we try to get as inventive as possible with what we have in the kitchen. Sometimes it is a little like pretending to be on “Chopped…” But, you know, with normal ingredients!

One Sunday morning I opened the refrigerator to find some leftover twice baked potatoes. Score!!! I scooped out the seasoned filling,


lined the potato with a strip of cooked bacon,

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shredded cheese and cracked an egg on top.

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I popped the potato/egg “boats” into the oven and cooked them until the egg was done and the potato was reheated.  While baking, I reheated the potato filling in the microwave and scooped it back on top of the egg boat.  An instant breakfast favorite!

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These would be perfect for a breakfast buffet or a kid friendly brunch. Next time you are baking potatoes toss a couple of extra into the oven. They will keep (unwrapped) in the frig for several days. Then you can create some of these breakfast treats “on a whim” one Saturday morning. Your family and friends will think you’re a genius!