Creating New Memories in the Kitchen – Pecan Crusted Chicken with Pumpkin Filling

While the initial goal of this blog was (and still primarily is) to cook my way through my Nana and Papa’s cookbooks – I think it is also important to highlight meals that create new memories in the kitchen.

It is no secret that I love the Fall – the cooler weather, Halloween and Thanksgiving, and of course the flavors of the season! Bring on the pumpkin, butternut squash, pumpkin, apples, pumpkin, parsnips…did I mention pumpkin!? I look for every excuse possible to bake and cook with pumpkin, and today’s featured recipe is no exception: Pecan Crusted Chicken with Pumpkin Cream Cheese Filling

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I’ve made this recipe on two different occasions: the first time was for a Once Upon A Time dinner with friends, and the second was last night for my grandparents. With rave reviews on both occasions, I think it is safe to say that this one is a winner!

I apologize for not having step-by-step photos, I will try to remember to capture some the next time I make it (there will be a next time!!), but without further ado, the recipe:

Ingredients:
4 chicken breasts, pounded thin
4 heaping Tablespoons of Einstein’s Pumpkin Shmear
2 Eggs
Ground Pecans

Directions:
1) With chicken pounded flat, place one heaping tablespoon in center of the breast. Fold sides inward and roll up (much like a burrito or wrap). Once this has been completed for all four chicken breasts, place in fridge to solidify for about 30 minutes.
2) Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
3) Set up “breading” station:
In a shallow dish/bowl – crack 2 eggs and whisk to make the egg wash.
On a separate plate pour a generous amount of ground pecans.
4) Remove chicken breasts from fridge, one at a time dip each breast in egg wash, then roll in pecans until evenly coated.
5) Once all chicken breasts are complete, place on foil lined baking sheet.
6) Bake for 32 minutes. Use thermometer to ensure chicken reaches 165 degrees F.
(It is normal to have some of the cream cheese filling leak out on the baking sheet).

Optional garnish/sauce:
In a small saucepan, pour about 1/2 cup of maple balsamic and bring to boil. Once it begins to boil, reduce temperature and simmer – stirring frequently until thickened to syrup consistency. (Note: I purchased this at a local oil and vinegar shop, but I bet you could add high quality maple syrup to plain balsamic for similar effect)

I usually serve this with roasted broccoli.

When I made this last night, my grandma (who usually doesn’t eat chicken) finished every bite! Success!!!

Did you try this recipe? Let me know your thoughts!

Sophie Minkoff’s Spiced Pumpkin Bread

In Florida we don’t have much of a Fall – the leaves don’t change color and the weather is still pretty warm; the only thing that feels different to us Floridians during the Autumn season is the presence of harvest time flavors.  Be it a pumpkin spice latte or a butternut squash soup, these seasonal eats are what make this time of year special.

While thumbing through the pages of the New York Cookbook, I landed on Sophie Minkoff’s Spiced Pumpkin Bread, which Nana wrote to be “Incredible!”

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I gathered all of my ingredients together. . .

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Boiled the raisins.

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Whisked together my wet ingredients.

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Combined my flour, baking soda, and spices.

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Then I mixed the pumpkin mixture into the flour, which created a very thick batter!

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Once the flour and pumpkin mixtures were well incorporated, I stirred in the boiled raisins.

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Warning, this batter smells absolutely delightful!  I could not wait to get this into a loaf pan and baked!

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Friends, if you like pumpkin – this is an absolute winner.  Not only do I agree with Nana’s incredible rating, but I can also understand why the original author of the recipe won first place at the Harvest Fair in NY.  This bread, especially warm out of the oven, is moist, flavorful, and comforting.

Here’s the recipe if you’re looking to recreate this at home:

1 cup raisins

2 large eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup unsweetened pumpkin puree

2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups of sugar

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup coarsely chipped walnuts * (I omitted these as I did not have any on hand)

1.) Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Grease a 9 X 5 X 3 1/2 inch loaf pan

2.) Combine the raisins and 1/3 cup water in a saucepan.  Bring to a boil over high heat.  Removed from the heat, and set aside to cool.

3.) Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and 1/4 cup water.  Add the pumpkin puree and stir to combine.

4.) In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, an salt.  Stir the pumpkin mixture into the dry ingredients.  Stir in the undrained raisins and walnuts.

5.) Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan.  Bake until a wooden skewer or toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 1 to 1 1/4 hours (mine took about 67 minutes).  Cool on a wire rack.

Did you make this recipe at home?  Tell me how it came out in the comments below!