When making this meal in the past I have kept it pretty simple. But I was one of those that had to warn my husband, that there may or may not be 3 or 4 toothpicks in the chicken. A great tip if you do need to stick toothpicks to seal up any type of chicken dish, break a spaghetti noodle to the size you need and stick that through the chicken to hold it together, it will cook in the oven, and is "safe" for all those dinner guest. I love this recipe because you actually stuff the meat and cheese into the chicken breast. I have made this a few times and it is always a family pleasing meal. We were having a few people over for dinner and this was a meal that I was able to prepare pretty much all in advance so that left more time for socializing later! To begin you will take some deli ham, take some sliced swiss cheese and roll the cheese into the ham.
Once you have rolled enough for the amount of chicken breast you are making, set the ham rolls aside and begin to prepare the chicken. I find the thicker the breast the easier it is to stuff. Starting at the thicker end of the breast cut a slit about an inch wide, and then taking the knife keep going down the chicken, lengthwise, careful not to cut through the sides of the breast.
Stuff one ham roll down into the breast. Now, there have been a few times I was able to see the ham coming out at the bottom, but not to worry, I think the ham helps protect the cheese from oozing out. Now if you want, stick a piece of uncooked spaghetti to seal the opening shut, however I think that most of the time this is unecessary. After you have done all the chicken breast, place them in the fridge, covered for at least 20 minutes. While the chicken is in the fridge, it's time to make the breadcrumbs. I think this makes the meal. Homemade breadcrumbs are by far my favorite, no more of the can stuff unless I am in a very big hurry.
Take a few slices of bread, and place in a food processor. Add in ritz crackers and pulse till combined. Drizzle in melted butter and pulse. Once combined, place on a baking sheet and bake in a 450 degree oven for 3-5 minutes. Once they are dried out, it is time to get your assembly line ready. In one dish place eggs, and beat together with dijon mustard. Then in a separate bowl place about one cup of flour. Take chicken and starting with flour coat and then move onto the egg mixture, finish by coating the breast in the bread crumbs. Continue with each chicken breast.
Place on a lightly greased rimmed baking sheet. At this point you can place covered in the refrigerator till it is time for dinner. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place chicken on lowest rack in the oven for 10 minutes, move to the middle rack and turn the temperature down to 400 degrees. Finish baking, about 25-30 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees.
Chicken Cordon Bleu
4 Thick Boneless/Skinless Chicken Breast
4 Slices thin deli sliced ham
2 Slices of swiss cheese, cut in thin strips
Roll strips of cheese in ham slices. Place on a plate and prepare chicken by cutting about a 1 inch slit in the thickest part of the breast. Cut down, length wise to the end of the chicken, widening as you go. Place a ham roll into the opening and place on a baking dish, repeat with remaining chicken. Place covered in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.
4 Slices of Bread
25 ritz crackers
6 TBLS butter, melted
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Combine bread and bread crumbs in food processor. Add in melted butter and continue to pulse till combined. Place on a rimmed baking dish and bake for 3-5 minutes, keep an eye on these so they don't burn.
Set up your breading bowls, you will need two.
In first bowl, combine;
3 large eggs
2 TBLS dijon mustard
Beat to combine
In second bowl place;
1 cup flour
Remove the chicken and coat each breast with flour, followed by the egg mixture, and finally coat in the bread crumbs. Place in a 450 degree oven for 10 minutes on the lowest baking rack. After 10 minutes, move the chicken to the middle rack and turn the oven down to 400 degrees. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until thermometer reads 160 degrees. Remove chicken and let rest 5 minutes before serving.