The Good Stuff…

Growing up, cheese meant American slices or possibly chunks of cheddar or Swiss. As I got older, other cheeses made their way into my eating. Blue cheese (love it, love it, love it), tangy feta, creamy goat cheese, a sharp Romano, dozens of others and even a stinky Limburger have made it into my recipes and mouth. As my appreciation of other cheeses has grown, I’ve often moved from the refrigerated cases of Kraft cheese to the specialty cheese section of my local grocer.

If I really want to find some fresh and unusual cheeses, I find my way to a specialty cheese shop. We have two that are both an hour away (different directions) and huge – Grandpa’s Cheesebarn and Cheesehaven.

Grandpa’s Cheesebarn is located right off the highway that sits between Cleveland and Columbus. I have driven that stretch of road at least 100 times and have routinely joked with the Ranting Family about my excitement for stopping. Finally a few years back, I did stop.

It is the size and shape of a barn. The bottom level holds a snack shop and a retail space that has “country” style decorations. As it sits on the edge of Amish country, it has a lot of hand-made goods. The upper floor is dedicated to cheese. Walking up the stairs there are hundreds of different kinds of cheese. Many have samples available and most are pretty good. The several times I’ve stopped, I’ve come home with some unusual or hard to find cheeses.

The second cheese shop is the Cheesehaven. Located on the shores of Lake Erie, it is a long, narrow store that has an equal amount of cheese as the barn. Catering more to the wine and cheese crowd, it also has a wine selection. The Ranting Wife and I stopped there 20 years ago and while walking around the aisles a worker behind the counter asked if he could help me with anything. I told him I was just looking and he replied rather creepily “ya know, the good stuff is in the back!”

I’m not sure if he was talking cheese or something else, but I left without the “good stuff”!

Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken with Onion Mashed Potatoes

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The good stuff in this recipe is stuffed inside.

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This takes a bit of prep work.

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The bacon is frying.

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Chicken is stuffed.

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Now breaded.

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And fried.

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A few onions.

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It takes time but is worth it.

Feta and Bacon Stuffed Chicken with Onion Mashed Potatoes

Prep Time: 30 Min | Cook Time: 35 Min | Servings: 3 chicken breasts


3/4 pound bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
3 tablespoons sour cream
1/8 tablespoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 (4 ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves

1 cup all-purpose flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 cup dry bread crumbs

4 potatoes, peeled and cubed
1 sweet onion (such as Vidalia®), chopped
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons sour cream


Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Place the bacon in a large, deep skillet, and cook over medium-high heat, turning occasionally, until evenly browned but still soft. Reserve the bacon grease in the skillet, and cool the bacon slices on a paper towel-lined plate. Once cool, mix the bacon together with the feta cheese, 3 tablespoons of sour cream, oregano, and black pepper in a small bowl; set aside.

Lay a chicken breast flat onto your work surface. Use the tip of a sharp boning or paring knife to cut a 2-inch pocket in the chicken breast. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts. Spoon the bacon mixture into the pockets. Pour the flour, egg, and bread crumbs into separate, shallow dishes. Gently press the chicken breasts into the flour to coat. Dip each into the beaten egg, then press into bread crumbs.

Reheat the bacon grease over medium heat. Brown the chicken breasts on both sides in the hot fat, about 2 minutes per side. Reserve the bacon grease in the pan. Place the breasts on a baking dish, and bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink and the filling is hot, 20 to 25 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).

Meanwhile, place the potatoes into a large pot and cover with salted water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until tender, about 20 minutes. Drain.

While the potatoes are boiling, cook the onion in the remaining bacon grease over medium heat until very tender and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Once the potatoes are done, mash together with the onion, butter, and remaining 3 tablespoons of sour cream. Serve the chicken breasts accompanied by the mashed potatoes.

Nutritional Info: Amount Per Serving Calories: 1498 | Total Fat: 84.2g | Cholesterol: 360mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database


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Categories: Baking3, Cheese3, Chicken2, Main Dish 3, Pork2, Recipes, Vegetable4

Author:The Ranting Chef

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6 Comments on “The Good Stuff…”

  1. April 23, 2015 at 11:58 am #

    We discovered Car Valley cheese in nearby Wisconsin…. but nothing seems to touch the 12 month Manchego.


  2. April 23, 2015 at 1:28 pm #

    I make a mean garlic mashed potatoes, but I have never even considered onion mashed potatoes. I do like potatoes and onions together with eggs in the morning though. So nummy. I’ll have to try out this recipe.


  3. Anne Bonney
    April 23, 2015 at 4:19 pm #

    That whole meal looks and sounds delicious!


  4. April 24, 2015 at 12:04 am #

    The title of the post got me intrigued – cheese is like wine in the sense that the more of the really good stuff you eat/drink the less you can handle the cheaper version……you should try making your own – I’ve covered making ricotta and mozzarella and its relatively easy!


  5. April 24, 2015 at 2:24 pm #

    looks so good


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