Right on the heels of teaching another successful cooking class, “The Thrill of the Grill”,my friends over at Kitchen PLAY invited me to participate in their latest SIDECAR series “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” using the Land O’ Lakes recently launched 4 Cheese Italian Blend Deli Cheese. Since I was already in the outdoor entertaining frame of mind my response to the invite was a resounding YES! And who doesn’t love Land O’Lakes, a family friendly company and household name that is known for great quality products.
These SIDECAR challenges are great way for me to flex my recipe development skills while also focusing on preparing something that my family will love. When I first learned about the new Italian cheese blend my initial thought was grilled pizza, a summertime favorite that my friends and family can never get enough of. But that idea quickly vanished as I thought back to a stuffed chicken dish I once prepared for a Kids Cooking Class, “Chicken Roll-Ups”. Boneless skinless chicken thighs pounded thin and stuffed with deli ham and Swiss cheese then rolled into a cylinder shape, secured with a toothpick, and baked in the oven. It was my take on the classic Chicken Cordon Bleu and a big hit. This time I knew I could do one better, with Grilled Cordon Bleu. Slices of honey baked ham and the Land O’ Lakes® 4 cheese Italian Blend sandwiched between two boneless skinless chicken thighs that have been pounded thin. Throw them on the grill and prepared to be delighted. This is the kind of dish that would be perfect for a casual Sunday Dinner sitting around the backyard picnic table with my husband and the girls. Completed nicely with my signature cold sweet potato salad, a pitcher of sweetened Ice Tea and a few grilled peaches with homemade vanilla ice cream. Now that's my kind of outdoor dining.
Grilled Cordon Bleu
8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs pounded thin
salt and pepper
½ pound Land O’Lakes® 4 Cheese Italian Blend, thinly sliced or shredded
½ cup chopped red onion
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ pound deli ham, thinly sliced
If using a gas grill, pre-heat your grill to between 350-400 degrees. If using charcoal grill wait until your brickets have turned that signature ashy white color (your grill temp should be around 400 degrees at that time).
If you shredded your cheese, mix the cheese, onion and basil together in a small bowl and set aside.
Place one chicken thigh on a cutting board; cover with plastic wrap and using a meat pounder, rolling pin or rubber mallet, pound the thighs until they are roughly ¼ inch thick. Repeat this process with all of the chicken pieces.
Season chicken with salt and pepper on both sides. Take a chicken thigh smooth side facing down and lay a piece of ham on top, folding in half if necessary (we don’t want the ham hanging out on the sides). Follow up with a slice of cheese, a scant teaspoon of red onion and some basil (for the shredded cheese mixture sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons on top of the ham slice). Place a second piece of chicken on top, this time smooth side facing up to create a sandwich. Secure the two pieces of chicken together with a toothpick on either end and gently move to the grill.
Grill the stuffed chicken on each side for approximately 6-7 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. Transfer cooked chicken to a clean cutting board, remove toothpicks, and let the chicken rest for a few minutes. When you are ready to serve slice chicken cordon bleu in diagonal pieces to showcase the layer of cheese and ham on the inside.
Be sure to check Kitchen PLAY every day for the next fabulous recipe featuring new LAND O LAKES® 4 Cheese Italian Blend or LAND O LAKES® Deli American Cheese. Then, get in on the fun by leaving a comment with your own “30 Days of Outdoor Dining” tip for dining al fresco this summer. If you do, you’ll be entered to win a lovely grilling prize pack, including one grilling spatula, one marinade brush, one set of tongs and one grill scraper. Kitchen PLAY will be giving away four prizes total, one each week! Please visit Kitchen PLAY for sweepstakes guidelines. Follow Land O’Lakes on Twitter at @LandOLakesKtchn or search the hash tag #kitchenplay.