“Pocket” Chicken Cordon Bleu

Ingredients
• 3 chicken breasts
• 1 cup milk
• 1 TBS white vinegar
• 6 slices Virginia ham
• 3 cheese sticks
• 2 cups panko bread crumbs
• 1 TBS garlic salt, dried thyme, dried sage and pepper
• 2 eggs
• 2 TBS unsalted butter
• Honey (optional)

Directions

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Take the chicken breasts and cut a large pocket in the center. Take the milk and vinegar and pour into a large storage bag. Place chicken breasts inside and marinate for at least one hour. You can substitute the milk and vinegar for 1 cup of butter milk.

Remove the chicken breast from the bag and place on a plate. Roll 2 slices of the ham around one of the cheese sticks and stuff into chicken breast. Salt and pepper to taste. You can seal with toothpicks if needed. Repeat.
Season the panko with garlic salt, thyme, sage and salt and pepper. Mix in melted butter. The butter will help the crust brown. Beat together the eggs.

Dip in the egg mixture and gently coat in the bread crumbs. Lightly coat a baking pan with olive oil and carefully transfer the chicken breasts onto it placing the pocket side down.Bake for 40 minutes. Drizzle with honey and bake for an additional 5 minutes until browned and cooked through.

I like to use the cheese sticks instead of just cheese slices. No matter how many times I have tried, some of the cheese leaks out of the chicken. The cheese sticks seem to melt slower so more of the cheese remains stuffed in the chicken breasts. I also like the addition of the honey. It just adds a touch of sweetness but please watch so the chicken does not burn.

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