Phyllo dough makes great meals easy

Published Oct. 9, 1997|Updated Oct. 2, 2005

If you're looking for a delicious and creative recipe, Cheese-Stuffed Chicken is a winner. This recipe, from Marcia Henderson of Pismo Beach, Calif., was the grand-prize winner in the 1997 Real California Cheese Recipe Contest.

Henderson's recipe features a cheese filling, rolled into flattened chicken breasts. The stuffed chicken is then rolled in phyllo dough and baked. This dish goes well with rice or pilaf and a medley of sauteed vegetables.

The contest was held by the California Milk Advisory Board and judged by professional chefs from the California Culinary Academy in San Francisco.

For a fun twist on traditional pizza, Cheese and Tomato Phyllo Pie can be made ahead fo game time. A blend of fresh tomatoes and onions is complemented by a flaky pie crust and Parmesan cheese. The recipe feeds eight hungry sports fans.

For a free recipe brochure, send a stamped, self-addressed, business-size envelope to: Kitchen Quarterback, American Dairy Association, P.O. Box 760, Rosemont, IL 60018-7760.

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken

{ cup (3 ounces) grated Monterey Jack cheese

{ cup (3 ounces) grated Cheddar cheese

2 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter

2 tablespoons chopped parsley

\ teaspoon dried tarragon or 2 teaspoons chopped fresh tarragon

Freshly ground black pepper


4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, about 4 ounces to 5 ounces each

8 sheets phyllo dough (paper-thin sheets of pastry sold frozen in many supermarkets)

4 tablespoons melted, unsalted butter

Place the cheeses, softened butter, parsley, tarragon, { teaspoon pepper and \ teaspoon salt in a bowl. Beat and mash the ingredients together until they form a stiff paste _ your fingers or a big wooden spoon are the best tools for this job. Divide the mixture into four finger-shaped logs, each about 3 inches long. Set aside.

Flatten each chicken breast by placing it between two sheets of plastic wrap or waxed paper and pounding with a mallet or rolling pin until roughly \-inch thick and 5 or 6 inches across. Season the chicken lightly with salt and pepper.

Place a cheese log in the center of each breast, then roll and fold the chicken around the cheese to enclose it completely.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Place a sheet of phyllo dough on your work surface. Top with a second sheet and brush lightly with melted butter. Set a chicken breast in the center of one of the narrower ends, then roll it up in the phyllo, tucking the ends of the dough under to enclose the chicken and make a neat package. Form the remaining packages the same way. Place them folds down in a 13-inch by 9-inch baking dish and brush with remaining melted butter. Bake about 40 minutes or until sizzling and well browned. (A meat thermometer inserted into the center of the chicken should read 170 degrees.) Makes 4 servings.

Nutrition facts per serving: 519 calories, 38 gm protein, 145 mg cholesterol, 29.3 carbohydrate, 564 mg sodium, 1.18 gm fiber, 26 gm total fat, 16 gm saturated fat.

Recipe from: California Milk Advisory Board

Cheese and Tomato Phyllo Pie

8 sheets frozen phyllo pastry, thawed (paper-thin sheets of pastry sold frozen in many supermarkets)

4 tablespoons ({ stick) butter, melted

2 cups (8 ounces) shredded mozzarella cheese

1 cup (4 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese

{ small onion, thinly sliced

3 to 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced (about 1 pound)

1{ to 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning

Garlic powder, to taste

Salt and pepper, to taste

Cut phyllo pastry to fit jelly-roll pan measuring 15 by 10 inches. Place 1 sheet of phyllo in pan; brush lightly with butter. Repeat layers with remaining phyllo and butter.

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine cheeses. Sprinkle phyllo pastry with 2{ cups of the cheese mixture. Arrange onion and tomatoes over cheese.

Sprinkle tomatoes with Italian seasoning, garlic powder, salt and pepper; sprinkle with remaining { cup of the cheese mixture. Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. Cool several minutes and cut into squares. Makes 8 servings.

Note: If desired, pizza dough can be substituted for the phyllo pastry. Prepare one 16-ounce package hot roll mix according to package directions for pizza dough; spread dough with fingers to cover bottom of lightly buttered jelly-roll pan measuring 15 by 10 inches. Make small rim around edges. Pierce dough with tines of fork; cover and let rise 15 minutes. Uncover dough. Heat oven to 400 degrees and continue as directed.

Nutritional facts per serving, using phyllo pastry: 200 calories, 14 gm fat, 5 gm carbohydrates, 13 gm protein.

Recipe from: American Dairy Association