Cheddar- Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple- Bacon Pan Sauce

When I think about the time I first really caught that *spark* for cooking, it has to be back in college.  Sure, I helped my Mom get dinner on the table when I was a teenager, and I baked cookies here and there too.  But I became fascinated with “recipes” in college, collecting and organizing them obsessively.  I don’t know why I remember this so clearly, but the first elegant meal I made was for a college boyfriend.  The recipe I selected was from a little chicken cookbook I had picked up.  It was a completely decadent dish of chicken and shrimp and vegetables in a creamy sauce served over rice.  I got to work with my mismatched, hand-me-down old pans and spent hours in the kitchen creating this dish.  With the prep time involved and the mountain of dishes that ensued, you’d think I’d have sworn off cooking forever.  But it began to fuel a passion that was in there somewhere, and I’ve been following recipes and creating my own ever since.  My latest creation:  Cheddar Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple- Bacon Pan Sauce

These days I have to keep in mind things my family would like to eat.  Chicken?  yep, they request chicken more often than not.  Cheddar Cheese? yep, they’re into cheese of any kind.  Apples? I don’t believe there’s a person on this planet who doesn’t like a good apple.  Bacon? um, duh!  Bacon makes everything more appealing, doesn’t it?

The chicken breasts just get opened up a little bit with a knife, a few slices of cheese stuffed inside and then use toothpicks to secure the breast back together.  It takes 5 minutes.  Or if you’re not into cheese (I don’t know if we can still be friends…), you can certainly leave out the cheese and just saute the breasts and serve them with the sauce.  You’ll still love it.

I happen to still have a variety of mismatched pans in my house, but they’re more shiny and new than those I had in my college days.  I find that each pan has its own functionality.  For this recipe, I tested out pans from the new Calphalon Your Set series.  I didn’t want the cheese to melt and burn on a stainless steel pan, so I opted to pan-fry my chicken breasts on their nonstick skillet.  It worked perfectly and I only had to use a small amount of oil.

For the sauce, I was more interested in getting my shallots nice and browned, and I wanted to be able to scrape up bits from the bottom of the pan.  That’s where a stainless steel skillet comes in handy.

Ohhhh, that creamy apple and bacon sauce.  I just want to smush my face in it again, it was that good.

This one was a hit-out-of-the-park.  “Restaurant Quality,” my husband dubbed it (which is the highest honor he bestows upon a recipe).  One slice into that chicken and the cheddar that was tucked inside there before cooking comes seeping out in a melted waterfall.  Cheddar cheese and apples are such a good combination, so the chicken scooped up with some cheese and apple-bacon sauce is just perfect.  Your family will love it.

Yield: 2 servings

Prep Time: 25 min

Cook Time: 15 min

Cheddar- Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple- Bacon Pan Sauce


2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 3/4 pound)
sliced cheddar (I prefer extra-sharp)
salt and pepper
olive oil

2 tablespoons salted butter
1 large shallot, chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1 medium red apple, cored and chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic (1 small clove)
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream (or just cream)
3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled


1. To prepare the chicken breasts: Use a knife to make a pocket inside each chicken breast, making sure that you just open one long edge of the breast and don't cut through to the other side. Tuck a few pieces of cheese into each pocket. Secure closed again with toothpicks. Sprinkle each chicken breast generously with salt and pepper. Heat a medium nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil. Add the chicken breasts to the pan. Reduce the heat to medium. Cook the breasts 4 to 5 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. I like to cook the first side, then flip over and add a lid for the remainder of the cooking time. Make the sauce while the chicken is cooking.

2. To prepare the sauce: Heat the butter in a medium stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and saute in the butter until they begin to turn golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes (turning down heat, if necessary). Add the apples, sage and garlic and continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the chicken broth and let it bubble for a few minutes, naturally reducing. Stir in the cream and bacon and heat until creamy and heated through.

3. Place each chicken breast on a serving plate, pull out the toothpicks, and top each with a generous scoop of the apple- bacon pan sauce. It's especially good over rice.


*If you are preparing this recipe as gluten-free, just be sure to use a brand of broth that is know to be GF.

*For easy clean-up, cook your bacon in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400[dg]F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and place a rack on top. Spray the rack with nonstick spray. Lay the bacon slices on the rack. Bake it for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the bacon is crisp. Timing will vary depending on the thickness of your bacon. Alternately, you can fry it in a skillet over medium heat until crisp.


I’ve teamed up with Calphalon today to share their fun news:  They’ve just launched announcing Your Set by Calphalon.  With Your Set, you can now customize a cookware set for the way you love to cook!  Do you prefer to have a few nonstick pans and a few stainless steel?  Or one large pot paired with several small pans?  With Calphalon’s new approach, you can put your set together-piece by piece-from two of their most premium lines of cookware (Unison Nonstick and AccuCore Stainless Steel) to meet your needs in the kitchen.  Mix it up.  Make it Yours 🙂

Calphalon is giving away a $500 Your Set by Calphalon gift card to one lucky RecipeGirl reader!  That’s a pretty nice holiday gift right there, right?

For a chance to enter to win the $500 gift card, please leave a comment below answering this question:
What’s the first recipe you ever remember making?

For 3 additional chances to win, leave a separate comment for each of the following extra entries letting me know you follow and have shared/pinned.

One winner will be chosen via at the end of the day on Monday, December 3rd and will be announced here on this post.  The winner will be contacted via email and will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen.  Please include a valid email address when commenting.  This giveaway is open to anyone with a USA mailing address.  You must be 18 years of age or older to enter.


This giveaway is now closed!  The winner will be announced just as soon as I receive email confirmation.  Thanks to all for entering!

Disclosure: This blog post is part of a paid SocialMoms and Calphalon blogging program. The opinions and ideas expressed here are my own.

701 Responses to “Cheddar- Stuffed Chicken Breasts with Apple- Bacon Pan Sauce”

  1. postedNov 20, 2012 4:24 AM

    potato salad for my college graduation party…didn’t even know how to boil potatoes back then! sad, but true….

  2. postedNov 20, 2012 4:31 AM

    Mashed potatoes, from scratch of course. Just the right amount of smashing, so they’re still a little lumpy and then some scallions, sour cream, and bacon. Heavenly. They’re still pretty famous in my family.

  3. postedNov 20, 2012 4:45 AM

    A friend was trying to teach me to cook and we made a basic chicken and broccoli stir fry.

  4. postedNov 20, 2012 4:45 AM

    I’m following Calphalon on Twitter and I tweeted the giveaway.

  5. postedNov 20, 2012 4:50 AM
    Katie E

    I remember making Tang Fruit Salad with my grandmother.

  6. postedNov 20, 2012 4:51 AM
    Katie E

    I follow Recipe Girl & tweeted

  7. postedNov 20, 2012 4:51 AM

    Banana Bread, it was easy and fast.

  8. postedNov 20, 2012 4:53 AM

    sadly mine wasn’t a recipe really, so much as following the instructions on the box of macaroni and cheese!

  9. postedNov 20, 2012 4:56 AM

    A cake – yellow cake- for my parent’s anniversary. I was probably15 or so. It wasn’t very good 🙂

  10. postedNov 20, 2012 4:57 AM

    I am following you on Twitter and Pinterest and have Pinned and Tweeted the giveaway.

  11. postedNov 20, 2012 5:02 AM
    Nancy Runnings

    The first recipe I remember making was my grandmother’s peanut brittle 🙂

  12. postedNov 20, 2012 5:06 AM
    Lee W

    My grandmothers cheese straws!

  13. postedNov 20, 2012 5:10 AM
    Lee W

    Just pinned this and liked recipegirl and calphalon on fb too!

  14. postedNov 20, 2012 5:15 AM

    I’m following you both on Twitter and tweeted about the giveaway!

  15. postedNov 20, 2012 5:21 AM
    Jan from The Comfort of a Safe Place

    At the young age of 9, while home alone with Grandma and my sister (3 yrs younger than me), I cracked open a cookbook that didn’t appear to ever be used, checked out a few recipes and decided on one. I was half-way through preparing the one I decided on, when Grandma came to check on me. She didn’t seem to think it was a good idea for me to continue but I insisted. She went back to her TV show. I finished preparing my special dessert.

    After a few hours of chilling and at the end of dinner, I cut, sliced and served my first pie…a Custard Pie, with Whipped Cream dollops all around the edge. It was THE best pie ever. Really.

    I still love to cook and bake!

    Jan 🙂

    • postedNov 20, 2012 12:13 PM

      love that story! I hope you still have that recipe!

  16. postedNov 20, 2012 5:22 AM
    Marnely Rodriguez

    I remember making brownies, because I had seen my Mom make them every week by her side.

  17. postedNov 20, 2012 5:22 AM

    Probably Macaroni and cheese. I follow you on twitter, too.

  18. postedNov 20, 2012 5:22 AM
    Marnely Rodriguez

    Followed you both on Twitter and tweeted

  19. postedNov 20, 2012 5:24 AM
    Jessica / Green Skies and Sugar Trips

    Raspberry Jam and linzer cookies!!!

    We picked fresh raspberries and them made raspberry jam and linzer cookies. It was divine. and nothing has ever compared!

  20. postedNov 20, 2012 5:25 AM
    Jessica / Green Skies and Sugar Trips

    I just followed on twitter! I am @sugartrips

  21. postedNov 20, 2012 5:31 AM
    Lauren aka Giddy99

    Aside from my Easy-Bake Oven, you mean? I remember making Cinnamon Toast! Not complicated, but hey, I was a kid. 🙂

  22. postedNov 20, 2012 5:31 AM

    The first recipe I remember making was Oven Fried Chicken.

  23. postedNov 20, 2012 5:33 AM

    Brownies….lots of brownies!

  24. postedNov 20, 2012 5:37 AM
    Lauren aka Giddy99

    I’m following on Twitter, and I tweeted!

  25. postedNov 20, 2012 5:37 AM
    Lauren aka Giddy99

    I’m following on Facebook and I shared (giddy_embroiders, aka Giddy Stokes)

  26. postedNov 20, 2012 5:38 AM
    Angela McLeod

    I made a cake in my easy bake oven. Also, frosting to put on top (you mixed the powder with water and got frosting!). Thus beginning a long and illustrious cooking career.

  27. postedNov 20, 2012 5:38 AM
    Lauren aka Giddy99

    I’m following on Pinterest, and I pinned the Giveaway!

  28. postedNov 20, 2012 5:41 AM

    The first thing I ever remember making was brownies. Back then I was only allowed to use the box mix but, it definitely spurred my love of baking.

  29. postedNov 20, 2012 5:46 AM

    The first recipe I ever remember making was a Funfetti birthday cake in the Bundt pan with my mom and sister for my sister’s birthday!

  30. postedNov 20, 2012 5:47 AM

    I made sweet before savory – probably box brownies or pouch chocolate chip cookies in middle school.

  31. postedNov 20, 2012 5:47 AM
  32. postedNov 20, 2012 5:49 AM

    The first recipe I ever remember making is biscuits. I was going to surprise my aunt who was visiting from out of town and her favorite breakfast is biscuits and gravy! So, my 10 year old self, alone in the house, found a recipe to feed 60 people and made biscuits. Needless to say, my first recipe also taught me to read EVERYTHING about the recipe! annd I’ve followed and retweeted, repinned etc 🙂

  33. postedNov 20, 2012 5:50 AM

    I follow you on Pinterest and pinned this post.

  34. postedNov 20, 2012 5:51 AM

    It was a peach cobbler at my grandmother’s house. I loved watching her make it, and one day, I asked her if I could make it. We bought the ingredients, and I put it all together in her kitchen. I thought I was a chef! ha

  35. postedNov 20, 2012 5:57 AM
    Debby G.

    The first recipe I ever remember making was chicken pot pie. We learned to make it in home-ec class and I started making it at home to help my mom out with dinner.

  36. postedNov 20, 2012 6:09 AM

    I made peanut butter cookies by myself when my mom was sleeping, she was sick and I wanted to suprise her, I was in 4th grade. I got the sugar and the baking soda mixed up so I put in 1 tsp of sugar and 1 cup of baking soda. Worst cookies ever. LOL

  37. postedNov 20, 2012 6:14 AM

    Chicken Cutlets – It was a disaster!

  38. postedNov 20, 2012 6:26 AM

    I remember making spaghetti for a boy I liked in high school, and I didn’t make enough noodles so then we all had to sit there and wait while I reboiled water and had to make more. My sister was there too, very embarrassing!

  39. postedNov 20, 2012 6:28 AM

    The first thing I ever made grilled cheese. And it’s pretty hard to ruin grilled cheese; so I did well!

  40. postedNov 20, 2012 6:28 AM

    I pinned the recipe

  41. postedNov 20, 2012 6:29 AM

    I follow you & Calphalon on Twitter. (@ashe_phoenix)

  42. postedNov 20, 2012 6:31 AM

    I also like you & Calphalon on FB and posted about the giveaway

  43. postedNov 20, 2012 6:40 AM

    The first recipe I remember making is angel food cake from a box. It was my favorite cake as a kid and so easy to make because you just add water!

  44. postedNov 20, 2012 6:41 AM

    I had made some bars by myself when I was probably 12. Lets say it this way, it did not turn out edible!

  45. postedNov 20, 2012 6:42 AM

    I am following you on twitter.

  46. postedNov 20, 2012 6:44 AM

    I remember when I was in high school- my mom had had surgery and it was up to me to feed the family. I made pork chops, fried potatoes and corn – and my dad still says (bless his heart!) that it was the best meal he ever ate. Not really a recipe — but I felt so important being in charge of the meal and then the fact that my dad (who is now 89!) still claims to remember it makes me smile.

  47. postedNov 20, 2012 6:45 AM
    Kari Knudson

    No bake peanut butter cookies from my mom’s 1960’s Betty Crocker for kids cookbook. I loved that cookbook!

  48. postedNov 20, 2012 6:46 AM

    I pinned!

  49. postedNov 20, 2012 6:53 AM

    Mac n cheese!

  50. postedNov 20, 2012 6:56 AM

    Oh my word this chicken looks delicious Lori! First dinner ever? I’m pretty sure it was tuna casserole when I was a teen….

  51. postedNov 20, 2012 6:56 AM
    SW Knudsen

    What’s the first recipe I remember making? It was actually out of the Nancy Drew Cookbook, “Dave’s Deviled Potatoes”. I remember being so proud about adding something to the dinner table that night, and almost 30 years later I still make them on a pretty regular basis.

  52. postedNov 20, 2012 7:00 AM
    beth w

    Monkey puzzle (aka monkey bread) in high school. Made it for a lot of Teacher Appreciation breakfasts. Always a hit–it’s on the menu for this Thanksgiving weekend, too!

  53. postedNov 20, 2012 7:01 AM

    Besides cookies, the first recipe I remember making was my mom’s spaghetti sauce. 🙂

  54. postedNov 20, 2012 7:01 AM

    The first recipe I remember making is for cookies when I was younger 🙂

  55. postedNov 20, 2012 7:02 AM

    I follow you on Pinterest and I pinned the recipe! Looks great! 🙂

  56. postedNov 20, 2012 7:03 AM

    Macaroni and cheese from the box! I made it almost every day 🙂

  57. postedNov 20, 2012 7:03 AM
    beth w

    I follow you on Twitter and tweeted about the giveaway.

  58. postedNov 20, 2012 7:04 AM
  59. postedNov 20, 2012 7:05 AM
  60. postedNov 20, 2012 7:05 AM
    Adam Hitchcock

    Rice Krispy treats in the summer with mom!

  61. postedNov 20, 2012 7:05 AM

    My first meals were all stir frys, and I thought I was so cool!!

  62. postedNov 20, 2012 7:10 AM
    Joanna H.

    I remember making cookies…..I am pretty sure they were shortbread. And I am not sure if I have ever made them since.

  63. postedNov 20, 2012 7:15 AM

    I vaguely remember chocolate chip cookies.

  64. postedNov 20, 2012 7:20 AM

    Cottage pudding with fresh blackberries. This was my grandmothers recipe and I remember her having it when the blackberries where fresh on the vine.

  65. postedNov 20, 2012 7:24 AM

    Rice krispie bars — what a great question! Also rolling peanut butter balls.

  66. postedNov 20, 2012 7:28 AM
    Karen Padilla

    It would be chocolate chip cookies.

  67. postedNov 20, 2012 7:30 AM

    Chocolate chip cookies- from the back of the TollHouse package!

  68. postedNov 20, 2012 7:33 AM

    We are officially connected on Facebook!

  69. postedNov 20, 2012 7:34 AM

    Connected on Pinterest and pinned this post!

  70. postedNov 20, 2012 7:34 AM

    scrambled eggs

  71. postedNov 20, 2012 7:35 AM

    The first “real” recipe I tried was a spicy bruschetta pork chop with mushroom risotto. Amazing! (however the first thing i ever cooked was most likely mac n cheese)

  72. postedNov 20, 2012 7:36 AM

    I remember making bread with my mom; she et me “punch” it down.

  73. postedNov 20, 2012 7:38 AM

    Tuna noodle casserole.

  74. postedNov 20, 2012 7:44 AM

    The first recipe I remember making is my mom’s beef stroganoff. So simple but still a favorite. I also remember these fabulous lime meltaways that I made with my stepmom for summer camp. Fun how food sticks in your brain like that!

  75. postedNov 20, 2012 7:45 AM

    The first recipe I attempted in my first apartment was a cheesy baked tortellini. Although it took me about twice the prep time, it turned out great! and I didn’t even realize till after-dinner cleanup that I actually bought ravioli! ha!

  76. postedNov 20, 2012 7:47 AM

    The first recipe I remember making was chicken and veggie stir fry!

  77. postedNov 20, 2012 7:50 AM

    My mom isn’t much of a cook, but she can make a mean lasagna which I used to love to help her assemble

  78. postedNov 20, 2012 7:50 AM
    Meghan @ Cake 'n' Knife

    The first recipe I remember making is Lavender Cookies with my grandma… 🙂

  79. postedNov 20, 2012 7:50 AM
    Meghan @ Cake 'n' Knife

    Followed on Twitter and tweeted!

  80. postedNov 20, 2012 7:51 AM
    Denise M

    Brownies, unsuccessfully because i added in a whole egg shells and all

  81. postedNov 20, 2012 7:52 AM
    Meghan @ Cake 'n' Knife

    Followed and pinned on Pinterest (Cakenknife)!

  82. postedNov 20, 2012 7:53 AM
    Lori J

    I made a creamy ravioli dish… I should look for that cookbook and make them again!

  83. postedNov 20, 2012 7:55 AM
    Meghan @ Cake 'n' Knife

    Liked on Facebook and shared this post! 🙂

  84. postedNov 20, 2012 7:56 AM

    The first recipe I remember making is lime daiquiris with frozen lime concentrate, sugar, and rum in my mom’s Waring blender. I was 11. The daiquiris were for my mom and her friends, but I do remember that they were delicious.

  85. postedNov 20, 2012 7:57 AM
    Lori J

    I remember making a creamy ravioli dish… I should find that cookbook and make it again!

  86. postedNov 20, 2012 7:59 AM
    Casey M

    Pecan crusted chicken salad with a sweet bbq sauce, fist made it when I was about 16 from a Rachel Ray book I had received as a gift!

  87. postedNov 20, 2012 8:05 AM

    when i was seven i was often left in charge of making hamburger helper.

  88. postedNov 20, 2012 8:11 AM

    In 6th grade, we made cinnamon doughnuts in home ec. That weekend, I made them at home for my family. This was the first time I cooked something for my family from a recipe that did not come from my mother. I remember feeling very grownup.

  89. postedNov 20, 2012 8:11 AM

    I tried making spaghetti sauce using only canned tomatoes and tomato paste. That was before my introduction to herbs and spices, so you can imagine it was a little on the bland side!

  90. postedNov 20, 2012 8:14 AM

    I remember making toll house chocolate chip cookies as my first recipe. After that, I took over the cookie baking in my family…mom was pleased!

  91. postedNov 20, 2012 8:14 AM

    I remember making cinnamon rolls with my Grandmother. I had to stand on a stool because I wasn’t tall enough to reach the counter!

  92. postedNov 20, 2012 8:16 AM
    Kari M

    I remember making pudding for a speech in school. Does that even count as a recipe?

  93. postedNov 20, 2012 8:22 AM
    Carolyn S

    The first recipe that I ever remmeber making was hambuger bun pizzas in Home Ec

  94. postedNov 20, 2012 8:25 AM
    Carole Resnick

    The first things I recal making were hot chocolate and cinnamon toast. I was 7

  95. postedNov 20, 2012 8:25 AM
    Carole Resnick

    I like you on FB

  96. postedNov 20, 2012 8:28 AM
    Carole Resnick

    I like Calaphalon on FB

  97. postedNov 20, 2012 8:31 AM
    Rebecca G

    I remember making banana bread. I mixed up the baking powder and baking soda, and the bread was a burnt brick. I’ve since improved my technique. 🙂

  98. postedNov 20, 2012 8:32 AM
    Mary O

    Chocolate chip cookies from the Tollhouse morsels bag!

  99. postedNov 20, 2012 8:35 AM

    Zucchini bread with my mom all the time growing up 🙂

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