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Carly Terrell | United Cooperative Services

When you’re not feeding a crowd, you can enjoy the freedom to splurge a little, either with ingredients or attention to detail—or both. From chicken and steak to crab, dessert and beyond, our readers showed us that dinner for two may be a small affair, but it can turn out to be a big hit.


2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1 sheet puff pastry dough
4 slices Swiss cheese
4 thin slices ham

Egg Wash

1 large egg, beaten with a splash of water


2 tablespoons butter (1/4 stick)
1 small shallot, minced
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. Chicken: Cut each breast horizontally through the center to create a total of four pieces. Place pieces between two sheets of plastic wrap, pound gently to an even thickness, then season with salt and pepper.

3. Heat olive oil and butter in a skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Place two chicken breast pieces in pan at a time and cook 2–3 minutes on each side to brown. Repeat with remaining chicken, then set aside to cool (no need to fully cook the chicken). Keep the skillet handy for further use; do not clean.

4. Cut the sheet of puff pastry dough into four squares. On a floured surface using a floured rolling pin, roll each square until doubled in size. Layer a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of ham and piece of seared chicken on the dough diagonally and fold the dough ends over the stack to form a pocket. Turn seam side down and place on parchment-lined baking sheets. Repeat with remaining pieces of cheese, ham, chicken and pastry dough. Place two croutes on each baking sheet.

5. Brush tops with egg wash. Place both baking sheets in oven and bake 25–30 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool about 5 minutes.

6. Sauce: About 15 minutes before the chicken is done, start the sauce. On medium-high, heat butter in the same pan used to sear the chicken. Add the minced shallot. When shallot starts to soften and brown, add the flour, stirring constantly to make a golden roux. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, then add the broth. Stir continuously until reduced by about half.

7. Spoon sauce onto plates and set two chicken croutes on each plate.

Servings: 2. Serving size: 1 breast. Per serving: 1,076 calories, 89.70 g protein, 57.20 g fat, 24.58 g carbohydrates, 1.30 g dietary fiber, 1,674 mg sodium, 1.88 g sugars, 395 mg cholesterol

Cook’s Tip:

If you don’t have a shallot, you can use 1/4 of a red onion.