Thursday, May 26, 2011

Killer Strawberry and Chicken Entree & Murder ala Mode Book Giveaway

Hi, everyone. Welcome. Lots to report this week. We have a number of new books coming out from our group in June. A book from Wendy, another from Julie, another from Elizabeth. Lots to read. A great summer ahead. Yeah!!!

On that note...

Our fellow crime-writing cook, Wendy Lyn Watson, is kicking off a fun giveaway in honor of the June 7th release of her 3rd Mystery ala Mode mystery A Parfait Murder.

Read about the prize and how to enter by scrolling to the end of this post.

But first, let me share what I think is a delicious entree. It's not a recipe from LOST AND was supposed to be, but my editor chose others to feature and therefore the mention of the recipe didn't even make it into the book!  The recipes that did make it in were the fondues that I blogged about earlier this month, and the porcupines, and the quiche that Cleo blogged about, linked below...  

But back to this entree.

I adore strawberries. I think everyone on Mystery Lovers Kitchen does. We've all written about them, cooked with them, shared beautiful photos of them.  But this is the time of year when I can't wait to go to the farmer's market and get fresh-picked strawberries. 

About a year ago, I wanted to see what I could do with strawberries that wasn't a dessert, so I searched the internet for entree ideas.

I stumbled across a dish with chicken and strawberries and wondered what it would taste like with cheese. Experimenting is fun. It doesn't always turn out right, but sometimes it does. This isn't the "easiest" recipe, but it is elegant and lovely for a meal for two (or four, six, eight) or even a Father's Day meal (yes, men will like this though it looks a little frou-frou; and your kiddies should like it because the flavors are so yummy). Here's my experiment.  (Which was a success, in my humble opinion.)

(serves 6)

1 1/2 cups fresh strawberries, halved
1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons strawberry jam
Sea salt and black pepper to taste [1 teaspoon of each]
6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 3 lbs.)
3 ounces Parmesan
8-12 fresh basil leaves
2 tablespoons. olive oil
1 shallot, minced
12 half pecans

Heat oven to 400.  In 3-quart baking dish, combine strawberries, vinegar, and jam.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper; set aside.

Cut a pocket in each chicken breast (not cutting through). 

Cut Parmesan into six pieces.  Wrap a basil leaf around each piece of cheese.  Stuff cheese and basil into chicken pocket.  Secure pockets with toothpicks.  Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

In large oven-safe skillet, cook garlic in oil over medium heat for 30 seconds.  Add chicken and cook 5 minutes, turning once.

Transfer skillet to oven. Bake uncovered, 15 minutes.

Add the baking dish with the strawberry mixture to the oven.

Bake both strawberries and chicken an additional 10-13 minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and berries are soft and thick.

Serve chicken with melted strawberries.  Decorate with pecans.


BTW, just in case you want to order the second in A Cheese Shop Mystery series, click here: LOST AND FONDUE

If you'd like to read the first chapter, click here: SNEAK PEEK

If you'd like to see the book trailer, click here: BOOK TRAILER

And always smile and...say cheese.

Last but not least...

Wendy Lyn Watson's upcoming mystery A Parfait Murder (coming June 7th) features a story line about the Lantana Round-Up Rodeo Queen Pageant. To celebrate, Wendy's giving away a little cowboy couture: a leather and rhinestone cuff, and a "rodeo queen" keychain. 

Eligibility: This contest is open to everyone living in the U.S. and Canada. One entry per person, please.

How to Enter: Send proof of purchase of A Parfait Murder (either a receipt, or a picture of you holding the book), by e-mail to Put the words "Parfait Giveaway" in the subject line.

Entries must be received by 5:00 PM Central Standard Time on Friday, June 17. Wendy will randomly select one entry and announce the winner here on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen blog on Saturday, June 18. She will contact the winner via e-mail. If she does not receive a response within 7 days, she will draw a new winning name. 

You can visit Wendy at her web site here.


  1. The combination of flavors here sounds wonderful--love the pecans with the strawberries and basil with the Parmesan and chicken! This is definitely an easy recipe that would make a great family supper as well as a nice dish for company, too!

  2. H, Elizabeth/Riley. Thanks for chiming in!


  3. I LOVE this recipe! It's right up my alley. So pretty, and I love combining meat with fruit. My basil is already beginning to grow in a pot right outside my kitchen door.

  4. Oh, Krista, basil right outside. Terrific. I've got rosemary and thyme but haven't planted basil yet. Guess I'm behind.


  5. Oh what a fun experiment. I so love strawberries, and basil! I can't wait to give this a whirl. So pretty too. Wonderful recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  6. I support any recipe that uses strawberries. :)

  7. Hear, hear! Strawberry lovers unite! :)

    What a gorgeous presentation, Avery! Def. going on my to-be-tried list. Would you believe, I have all the ingredients *but* the chicken breasts? Will hafta wait til after the weekend to give this one a whirl, as I'm finished battling the grocery store/big box store crowds this week, thank- you- very- much! After I finish dinner & my laundry chores tonight, I'm ready to kick back and relax. Hope everyone's gearing up for a safe & fun holiday weekend!

  8. I love the sound of this - unusual, but you know you can't lose with this combo!


  9. This looks amazing! I'm always up for a dish that makes use of strawberries, especially at this time of year when they're so plentiful (and cheap, lol). Thanks for another delicious recipe, Avery. Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend!

    ~ Cleo
    Cleo Coyle on Twitter

  10. See, I told you! Everyone loves strawberries (on this blog). I'm sorry for those who might be allergic, and therefore, pull out those strawberries and insert "favorite fruit."

    Lynn, you have everything BUT the chicken? Too funny. What a well-stocked kitchen!

    Hugs to all.