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It was a Berry Bash

by Meghann on June 16, 2012

It’s berry season!!

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Who doesn’t love berry season? I seriously wait all winter for them!

The team at Whole Foods feels the same way, which is why they’re celebrating all things berries this June with in-store promotions, berry-centric recipes, and special berry deals.

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They’re particularly obsessed with thinking outside the “berry box” and asked if I would create a fun berry themed recipe that showcased some of the beautiful organic berries currently on sale at Whole Foods until the 19th. You want creativity in the kitchen with fun flavor combinations – I’m your girl! Sign me up!

They gave me some parameters (no refined sugar!), a Whole Foods gift card, and set me loose with the mission of planning a “berry bash” for a few friends. (side note: it’s surprisingly easy to round people up when you use the keywords “free” “food” and “berries” ;))

I happened to luck out yesterday when I discovered Whole Foods was running a crazy one-day sale on organic blueberries: a pint for $1.99. Awesome deal!

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The bounty.

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Berry bash time!

I invited my XP Multisport teammates for the bash. Considering we really only ever see each other in training gear, it was fun to come together for a night in “real” clothes and, you know, actually smell nice.

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Maddie was in lap dog heaven. She made a lot of new friends while jumping from lap to lap, collecting table scraps along the way. She’s lucky she’s cute.

To complete the berry theme, Jess brought homemade berry and lemon sangria. Yum. :)

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We started with Strawberry and Goat Cheese Bruschetta, which was a recipe I found on the Whole Foods website. The mix of basil, strawberries, and goat cheese was refreshing and delicious – perfect as a starter for any summertime meal.

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It was also easy to make. I prepped the strawberry and goat cheese topping earlier in the day, then quickly assembled all the pieces when guests started arriving.

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Once we all had a chance to nibble on the bruschetta, enjoy some sangria, and exchange stories from the week, it was time for the main course and my “fun” berry recipe.

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Originally I had my mind wrapped around creating grilled cheeses with berries for the evening, but as soon as the idea crossed my mind, I started seeing the combo pop up everywhere. Apparently it wasn’t as outside of the “berry box” as I originally thought.

That’s when I decided to take it one step further. Keeping the same flavor combo, only – instead of grilling the cheese and berries between two slices of bread – how about baking them in a stuffed chicken breast?

Thus the Asiago and Berry Stuffed Chicken Breast recipe was born!

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And it was good too!

Here’s what you need (this fed 6 people w/ leftovers)

  • 3 lbs boneless skinless chicken breast
  • 1/3 lb asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup blueberries
  • 1/2 cup blackberries
  • 1/2 cup raspberries
  • 1/2 cup strawberries
  • 2 teaspoon fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoon fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • juice from 1/2 a lemon
  • salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375

Start with the berry sauce. Add all of the berries to a small saucepan over medium heat.

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Add the lemon juice, olive oil, cornstarch, and fresh herbs to the berries.

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Cook over medium, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes; or until the berries cook down and resemble a chunky, thick sauce.

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Set the berries aside to cool down and thicken up.

While the berries are cooling, butterfly the chicken breast, and pound them to a 1/4 inch thickness.

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The last piece of the puzzle is the cheese. I used the slicer part of the grater, but you can slice or grate the cheese however you’d like.

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Assembling is the fun part. Start with the butterflied chicken breast, add some cheese, top with berry mix, then roll into a pinwheel.

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Ideally you would tie the chicken up twine, but I had none. Toothpicks work too.

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Season with salt and pepper. Bake at 375 for 50 minutes.

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Done.

Check that berry and cheese action out!

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I sliced the Asiago and Berry-Stuffed Chicken Breast before serving. It was a hit. The berry filling wasn’t terribly overpowering, it just added a nice pop of sweet flavor, which the salty mild asiago balanced out beautifully.

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:)

With the berry-stuffed chicken, I made a berry-themed salad with fresh red leaf lettuce, organic local arugula, thinly sliced shallots, walnuts, organic blackberries and goat cheese.

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The homemade strawberry-balsamic dressing (Whole Foods recipe) was served on the side.

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Our meal was complete with whole wheat cous cous and pan fried brussels sprouts.

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Dinner time!!!

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My plate with a bit of everything.

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Hands down favorite was the asiago and berry stuffed chicken breast. Yes, there are leftovers and, yes, I WILL be eating them soon (if Derek doesn’t get to them before I do! ).

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For dessert, we had pie and ice cream.

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I very loosely followed the Whole Foods Summer Berry Pie recipe.

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With a few modifications. ;)

  • store bought crust instead of the suggested homemade
  • I played with the berry proportions and added strawberries to the mix (1 pint blueberries, 6 oz raspberries, 6 oz blackberries, 1 lb strawberries)
  • 1/4 cup of honey instead of 1/2 cup of sugar

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I was trying to keep it easy when I purchased the pre-made pie crust that was already pressed in the disposable pie tin. Then I got to the part of the recipe that described “rolling out the remaining dough and gently draping it over the filling.” Crap.

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No worries. The pre-made pie crust I purchased actually came in a two-pack. Surely popping the second pie crust out of the tin and placing it on top would work just as well, right?

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You can’t say I’m not resourceful. ;)

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It might not have been the world’s most beautiful or perfect pie, but it got the job done. Plus, we all had a good laugh over it before diving in.

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Pretty or not, i was darn proud of my berry pie!

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Side note: this is why when people asks us what we really “need” from our wedding registry, we are going to say dinnerware.

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Luckily no one minded eating off of mismatched plates or bowls. :)

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Berry pie a la mode. Ain’t nothin’ better. :)

Thank you Whole Foods for sponsoring our “Berry Bash” and thank you Chuck, Felipe, Carolyn, Courtney, and Jess for being amazing friends who love berries as much as I do!

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Maddie was too full from lap hopping to look a the camera.

What’s your favorite berry recipe? Sweet? Savory?

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Jamie @ StudioEats June 16, 2012 at 12:38 pm

That pie looks so good! I might bake a pie today…. it is Saturday after all…. :)
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2 Sana June 16, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Great job with hosting a party :)
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3 Katie @ Peace Love & Oats June 16, 2012 at 1:10 pm

I love that the whole evening was berry-themed! I love berries! I just hate that they are usually so expensive!
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4 Army Amy* June 16, 2012 at 1:14 pm

Lots of yummy foods! I would never have known that the top of the pie was actually a bottom. Smart!*
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5 Annette @FitnessPerks June 16, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Nice job with the party!! I love stuffed chicken-so that recipe sounds awesome!
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6 Kayla Moothart June 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

This looks like so much fun! Great idea for a get together!
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7 Angela @ Happy Fit Mama June 16, 2012 at 2:02 pm

Very inventive on the chicken breasts dish! I’m going to try it for sure!
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8 Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile June 16, 2012 at 2:21 pm

I LOVE that idea of the berries and chicken! I love sweet and savory combo, I’m going to have to try that out. Seriously, berry season is the best. Yum :D

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9 Kathy June 16, 2012 at 2:42 pm

yummy post today….all things lookin’ berry delicious!

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10 Mary June 16, 2012 at 2:48 pm

That pie looked great – you really are resourceful! That chicken als0 looks amazing – I will have to try that recipe! I love me some berries too:).

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11 Kate @ Cupcake Runner June 16, 2012 at 3:51 pm

These recipes came at a perfect time. I just stocked up myself on berries when I went to the grocery store last night. I love the summer time for the reason of fresh berries and veggies.
Kate @ Cupcake Runner recently posted..Biking & Berries

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12 Renee June 16, 2012 at 4:12 pm

Your whole meal looks ah-mazing. I wish someone would give me money for berries…:) I think I might have to try out some of your recipes.

I recently came up with a mixed berry crisp recipe that I’m still tweaking, but is pretty darn good–strawberries, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries.
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13 Laura June 16, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Favourite berry recipe is chicken, cranberry, cream cheese and rosemary pizza for sure. You use cranberry sauce on the base instead of tomato, and layer sliced cooked chicken breast, dollops of cream cheese and cranberry jelly, and sprinkle with cheddar cheese, salt, pepper and dried rosemary before baking. So delicious.

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14 Katie @ Talk Less, Say More June 16, 2012 at 5:07 pm

That berry sauce looks amazing!
I went to the store the other day with a plan to get a watermelon, instead I left with blueberries and cherries and a random assortment of other produce. But I LOVE this time of year with all of the fresh berries (plus they’re actually AFFORDABLE).
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15 Hillary June 16, 2012 at 8:33 pm

I don’t think I’ve ever done a savory berry recipe—I might need to try that! I’m a sucker for blueberry crisp. Yum.

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16 Allison @ Running Through Red Lights June 16, 2012 at 9:41 pm

Your meal looks amazing! My favorite berry recipe is a simple salad with strawberries and a little feta and balsamic vinegar. Delish!
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17 Sara@RunningInPinkProject June 16, 2012 at 10:45 pm

Im starving after reading that. I do a berry/grilled cheese thing pretty often. Its one of my favorites!
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18 samantha @ peach in the city June 16, 2012 at 11:19 pm

THAT LOOKS SO FUN! and delicious.
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19 Aundra | Fit for Life June 17, 2012 at 12:59 am

Holy wow! Everything looks amazing!!! Love the berries-and-cheese inside the chicken idea.
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20 Emily N June 18, 2012 at 1:09 pm

thank you SO MUCH for sharing that chicken recipe. it looks awesome, and i am always trying to find new things to do with my chicken breasts, since i eat it pretty much daily!
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