Daddy ! You Got Exploding Chicken ! - Swampy's Kitchen Blog at - 254709

Swampy's Kitchen

Oct. 24, 2011 11:47 am 
Updated: Nov. 8, 2011 6:02 am
As an Allrecipes All Star Brand Ambassador we are asked to try new recipes and new products from sponsors we both know and don’t know. The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not reflect the opinions, views or thoughts of the staff at

Now that we have that out of the way, one of our assignments for the month of October was to try the stuffed chicken breasts from Barber Foods. I will admit, I had never heard of Barber Foods and I certainly hadn’t seen their products in the frozen food aisle of our local grocery store. To be honest, the only time I walk down that aisle is to grab a bag of Ore-Ida Sweet Potato Fries because let’s face it, anyone who has ever read any of my blogs (and there might be one or two of you out there that have), know that I can’t make decent sweet potato fries to save my life, so the thought of looking for frozen stuffed chicken breasts was well….new.

After checking the company website to see what they had to offer, I armed myself with a fistful of coupons and headed off to my local grocery story to see if I could find them and lo & behold, I did. They were in the auxiliary frozen food section all the way in the back of the store near the Steak-ums, Veggie Burgers and other frozen entrees I might buy once a year at best. I actually spotted the boxes from a distance as I was walking by, which is a good thing because I had not even remembered that there was a third frozen food aisle in the store. I have to admit that I was surprised by the choices & varieties that were available. I had expected maybe two different kinds to be available but I actually had my choice of almost their entire menu of selections. I finally decided on the Fit & Flavorful Chicken Cordon Bleu (a nod to my DIE-t), the Broccoli & Cheese and the Crème Brie & Apple stuffed chicken breasts and I headed home to “make” dinner.

When I got home I pulled the boxes out to show the family what our eating assignment was this month and my teenage daughter excitedly screamed,


“What ?”, I said. I wasn’t sure I had heard her right since she does have a tendency to runherwordstogetherwhenshegetsexcited.

“You got Exploding Chicken ! We have it at camp.”

Now the fact that she had had the chicken breasts at camp usually was not a good sign since my daughter pretty much dismissed camp food as being bland & tasteless so I had to ask,

“Is that a good thing or a bad thing ?”

“Oh it’s good. We liked it. We always had the Broccoli & Cheese. Thank you Daddy.”

That night at dinner I threw all three boxes on the same tray and 40 minutes later we were sitting down to an “Exploding Chicken” dinner with a bunch of leftovers for sides. My teenage daughter took great delight in showing us with her first cut how the chicken “exploded” onto her plate. Her younger siblings also enjoyed making their stuffed chicken breasts “explode” too. All three of them thought they were good and they all said that the Broccoli & Cheese was the best of the three flavors that we bought. My wife thought they were decent and she said that they could indeed be used as an emergency dinner when she didn’t have time to cook. Her only lament was that they couldn’t be thrown in the microwave but then again, I bought the raw versions only because the fully cooked versions were not available.

As for me, well they reminded me of the stuffed chicken breasts that I get when I get upgraded to first class on some of my flights for work. They were okay but then again, I am a food snob or have found out that I am a food snob through this whole All Star program because I don’t love everything that we have been asked to do. (Could it be that I actually can’t cook very well ? That thought never crossed my mind until now) While I liked the flavor combinations and the low calories associated with each flavor, I found them to be bland. I would have preferred a bit more spice or maybe a little deeper concentration of flavor. I also thought that the chicken was a little “spongy”. Don’t get me wrong, I love the idea but I am just not wild about the execution. Overall I will say that for a relatively institutional fast food dish it was a winner. My kids are having them for lunch right now and my wife reports that they are happy.

So come back next time when I discuss what went wrong or right with the Pillsbury Crescent assignment. 
Exploding Chicken in the oven
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Exploding Chicken on the plate
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Oct. 24, 2011 12:37 pm
Exploding chicken.....I love it!
Oct. 24, 2011 12:40 pm
Hi Julie - I have to give my daughter the credit for that one. It's the name it will have forevermore.
Oct. 24, 2011 12:40 pm
Great blog, Doug! You have a wonderful way with words!
Oct. 24, 2011 12:49 pm
Thanks Momi - I just wish my college english professor thought the same way.
Oct. 24, 2011 1:14 pm
I'm with Momi,my english prof. was a bit of a snob that graded low. As for the exploding chicken. I have had the Maple Leaf farms, brand of chicken & ... for the Mirco and the Oven... I have to say the Oven wins on taste and the Mirco wins for easy. They have two differant taste to them, even if they are the same other then the Oven vs. Mirco.
Oct. 24, 2011 1:16 pm
Thanks robograndma - I have had other Maple Leaf Farms products so I will keep an eye out for them. I would imagine that microwave varieties would lose their "crispiness"
Oct. 24, 2011 1:18 pm
I just had to see the exploding chicken. Great Blog!
Oct. 24, 2011 1:22 pm
Thanks Cat Hill - I wish the pictures I had taken once they "exploded" had been in focus
Oct. 24, 2011 1:29 pm
Doing my Barber Foods "party" this week. I still haven't found them in a store around here but I plan on using my lunch break tomorrow to search! Good to know the broccoli cheese was the best....thats the one I was shooting for! I LOVE that your daughter calls it exploding chicken. Hubby would too!! Thank you for sharing Doug. You are always entertaining!!
Oct. 24, 2011 1:37 pm
Such a funny blog, Doug. :D Now you've got me wondering if I'm a food snob, or maybe more correctly a 'taste' snob. When eating out, I often think "I can make this better and cheaper at home" and at home I get really, really PO'd if stuff doesn't taste amazing. I'm thinking it can really suck to be a cook. (sigh) On topic, I was totally bummed when I found out that I can't eat a single one of the Barber products. It would have been fun to play along.
Oct. 24, 2011 1:56 pm
Doug, great blog! About a month ago, I viewed your video of your family making Snickerdoodles. Now, when I see the word Snickerdoodle - I think of your video and what a great family you have - a lot of love there! Exploding chicken now that ROCKS!
Deb C 
Oct. 24, 2011 2:02 pm
Loved your blog - exploding chicken - what a hoot.
Oct. 24, 2011 2:18 pm
Funny blog Doug. Glad to hear your kids loved them. I have yet to do my Barber Foods party - but I will admit that during our move I bought some and let me tell you - after eating Subway for the better part of a week those chicken breasts made for a great easy "real" dinner....served on a real plate instead of a paper wrapper. I can't wait to try some of the other varieties.
Oct. 24, 2011 2:45 pm
Enjoyed your blog. Kids! "Exploding chicken"! When ours were little there was a forest fire one mtn. over from ours. We could see flames shooting in the air over the ridge. My 8 year old boy came in the house and said, "Mom! Mom! The forest service came by and told us to evaporate!"
Oct. 24, 2011 5:38 pm
Hi K-dub - thanks for stopping by - make sure you try their website for where to buy. I did have to go one town over to find them.
Oct. 24, 2011 5:44 pm
Hi Duff - I love the challenge of trying to recreate a dish at home or in this case, improving on it a little. My mom had celiac and these would have been a no-no too - even the Seasoned Selects wouldn't have worked.
Oct. 24, 2011 5:45 pm
Hi Shearone - thanks - I didn't know that anyone had seen that one. It's usually like that in our kitchen all the time. We all like to get involved. My daughter thinks your comment ROCKS !
Oct. 24, 2011 5:46 pm
Hi Deb C - glad we could make you smile - thanks for stopping by
Oct. 24, 2011 5:47 pm
Hi BN - we still have a few of the coupons left over so we plan on trying as many varieties as we can. Might even give me some ideas....
Oct. 24, 2011 5:49 pm
Hi redly - that's great - my kids (and wife) are all Malaprop Machines. It makes for interesting dinner time conversations at times. Thanks for checking in.
Oct. 24, 2011 7:17 pm
Malaprop Machines? I like that. :)
Oct. 24, 2011 8:00 pm
I will not be able to stop thinking about exploding chicken when I cook these up. We are hosting a big Halloween party this weekend so I thought that would be a great opportunity to get lots of opinions. They will be part of a big buffet. Maybe you can tell me, would they slice well? I'd like to slice them up so lots of folks can try.
Oct. 25, 2011 4:46 am
Hi Valerie - they will ooze when you slice them but that isn't necessarily a bad thing if you are serving at a Halloween party - especially the Broccoli & Cheese or Chicken Parmagiana. Have a great party.
Oct. 25, 2011 5:41 am
Very sweet! That's a great camp to be having stuffed chicken breasts!!! Nice blog, still have to pick some of those puppies. They sound good, without the work!
Oct. 25, 2011 6:09 am
good morning mickdee - based on some of the other food choices that my daughter describes (scrambled eggs that should never ever be touched) I think the Exploding Chicken is considered to be a delicacy.
Oct. 25, 2011 6:32 am
How did you like the apple and brie? i could only find 3 varieties up here in my neck of the woods and, by far, the cordon blue has been the favorite around here. Great blog, Doug!
Oct. 25, 2011 6:54 am
Hi & thanks laurie - the brie & apple was the one that was most in need of a flavor injection. I really think it has promise for recreating at home.
Oct. 26, 2011 8:22 am
LOL! Now I know what the "cOoKs" are serving at camp! I'd love to meet your kids Doug. They sound hilarious! I'm having trouble finding Barber Foods in my area. The website says there are 2 stores in my town that carry them.... NOPE!!! The Store Managers never heard of them. I'm not sure I'll get this assignment done. Now, the Pilsbury assignement,.... that's another story! Great Blog!
Oct. 26, 2011 8:50 am
I completely agree with you on the sponginess of the chicken and the lack of flavor. They carry all the varieties in my area and we like to get them when they go on sale. They are extremely good at filling you up and are incredible when seasoned. One time I removed them from freezer and package to cook and my girls were begging for my attention so I stopped what I was doing. When I returned, I found them thawed and cooked them on a lower heat to prevent burning. They completely loose their spongy quality when you make them that way. I'm not sure why they don't just include that on the directions. Anyway, looking forward to the Pillsbury assignment. Might have to make it myself or um... keep to my diet. lol.
Oct. 26, 2011 12:20 pm
very entertaining! Bummer about the brie and apple, those sounded good! Recreation sounds good! I'm having my Barber dinner party tomorrow. We have cordon bleu because that's what they sent me. I haven't decided what to serve with it though. Maybe pilaf and green beans?
Oct. 26, 2011 12:45 pm
Great Blog!! I stand with you!! The food snob in me agrees (REALLY??? serving the fam. frozen, processed, bland & spongy chicken?). The food Gods cannot be smiling :) But I have to agree, they aren't terrible and your wife is right..great to pull out of the freezer on busy weeknights! My kids love them too!!! Better start working on my "food snob" rearing...Thanks for a laugh!
Oct. 26, 2011 1:43 pm
Hi Candice & thanks. My kids certainly enjoy not cutting Daddy any slack and calling it like it is. It keeps things interesting around the kitchen table. Good luck with the Exploding Chicken. I hope you find it. As for the Pillsbury, I went 1 for 2 which always makes for a better blog.
Oct. 26, 2011 1:46 pm
Hi MommySmith - I have a few boxes left over so I will have to try cooking them that way. Thanks for the tip.
Oct. 26, 2011 1:56 pm
Hi *~Lissa~ - thanks for checking in. I think green beans and a rice pilaf would be excellent choices. Hope it all comes out well for you.
Oct. 26, 2011 2:47 pm
I used to buy the microwaveable kind when I worked 2 evenings a week. They were a quick way to eat something resembling real food at 10 pm that didn't require much effort. I liked the Chicken Kiev the best, although it was rather bland. I loved "Exploding Chicken" - Barber ought to consider marketing to kids that way.
Oct. 26, 2011 4:24 pm
Hi stj - glad you stopped by and glad I made you laugh. Don't worry about being a "food snob" because there are more than a few of us out there.
Oct. 26, 2011 4:27 pm
Hi BigShotsMom - I can just see it now - "The Stuffed Chicken that EXPLODES with flavor" - top that Don Draper !
Oct. 26, 2011 4:33 pm
DADDY! YOU GOT EXPLODING CHICKEN! (and it was very good!)
Oct. 26, 2011 4:51 pm
Hey Cates ! I just figured out why you like the Broccoli & Cheese variety so much, it's green & white like your camp uniform ! B-)
Oct. 26, 2011 11:11 pm
CUTE! Exploding chicken..that's something my Jenny would say. I am having my dinner on Friday. But I bought a couple of the seasoned but not breaded chicken. Keeping fingers crossed.
Oct. 27, 2011 3:51 am
Good Morning mis7up - good luck with your dinner - I will look for review. Have a great day
Oct. 27, 2011 8:53 am
You Americans are so lucky... we have NO EXPLODING CHICKEN HERE IN CANADA! :) too funny, your daughter is priceless :)
Oct. 27, 2011 12:50 pm
Hey Gitano - meet me at the border and I will smuggle some across to you
Oct. 27, 2011 8:39 pm
Hi Doug! Your blog reminds me of my teen sons. This is my first time on allrecipes and I love it. I recently took on a full time job as a cook at a local treatment center and I think Exploding Chicken will be a hit! Looking forward to your next blog, thanks! :)
Oct. 27, 2011 9:18 pm
My mother calls them chicken footballs :P Sams sells a kind the is stuffed with garlic butter. That and mashed potatoes is YUM!
Oct. 27, 2011 10:33 pm
Oooo… At first glance, just LOVE the idea of ‘exploding’ food and thought immediately of one of my personal ‘exploding’ favorites: [Exploding] Chicken Kiev. But then, after pondering for a few minutes, why stop just there? I could imagine Exploding Turducken, or Exploding Stuffed Cabbage Rolls, or Exploding German Beef Rouladen, perhaps Exploding Stuffed (cream cheese) French Toast, or Exploding Stuffed Pork Chops! I could devise a whole menu around exploding food, starting with Exploding French Onion Soup and ending with Exploding Éclairs. Why not? Just recently saved an AR recipe that could use the adjective “Exploding” Ghirardelli Individual Chocolate Lava Cakes! ~ Now, must think more of the ‘exploding’ food concept and perhaps devise an Exploding Meatloaf, or wait… Exploding Crab Stuffed Lobster… Ahhhhh, love that last idea!
Oct. 28, 2011 4:51 am
Good morning ilima and welcome to AR ! Glad my blog didn't scare you away. Be sure to go visit with all the folks over at The Buzz. Great idea & answers are to be found for just about every cooking quandary. Good luck at the new job !
Oct. 28, 2011 4:55 am
Good morning Sue's_Cooking_Today - now that's the kind of thinking I like - with all of these explosions it's almost like a culinary episode of Mythbusters ! Oh and please send me that Exploding Crab Stuffed Lobster recipe when you come up with it
Oct. 28, 2011 4:56 am
Good morning zerostar - Chicken Footballs - I love it. Just don't "spike" them when they come out of the oven !
Oct. 28, 2011 6:00 am
LOL Doug. Yeah, am still working on getting enough clarified butter into the Exploding Baked Crab Stuffed Lobster, you know, to make it REALLY explode when you dive into it. Yes, would like to see Mythbusters give us a visual on my C-R-A-Z-Y ideaa(s). Hahahaha.
Oct. 29, 2011 4:53 am
Exploding chicken... love that idea! LOL I have tried these and also found them to be sort of "spongy" My kids used to enjoy eating them when they were younger, too. Nice blog!
Oct. 29, 2011 6:51 am
Thanks, Doug, for another great blog! My picky picky teenage daughter will love the "Exploding Chicken" idea. Since my husband loves Chicken Kiev, I may try it for our family some weeknight soon. Can't wait to hear about the Pillsbury Crescent assignment.
Oct. 30, 2011 7:35 am
Maybe if I can add an air of culinary violence to the food, my boyfriend will quit complaining about eating chicken....hmmmm... we're on to something here, Doug, I can FEEL IT! Your daughter is a genious. :)
Oct. 31, 2011 7:03 am
Hey Doug - First time I've caught your blog and was really entertaining. I will look for more in the future.
Nov. 3, 2011 2:23 pm
This was so cute that I shared the story with my family and friends on facebook. I'm pretty sure my grand daughter will want her girlscout troop to have this one also! Thanks so much for 'exploding chicken' story. We have renamed our stuffed chicken breast to "exploding chicken"!
Nov. 6, 2011 1:52 pm
Hey Doug! I just had to sort through various combinations of "stuffed" sausages in an attempt to find ordinary Italian sausages for a soup recipe. I've never been fan of extra stuff in the middle of a perfectly good piece of meat. Thanks for taking this bullet for me. I'm sure the nieces and nephew would love them, but I don't think they are for me.
Nov. 8, 2011 5:56 am
Shame on me for not responding - Good morning mother Ann and thanks. They really do have to be the last thing in the fridge for me and I may actually have to go CHOPPED on them and repurpose them
Nov. 8, 2011 5:58 am
Hi Cookie Momster - Kiev is one of the flavors they have available too. I really need to get around to pillsbury crescent blog.....hmmmmm
Nov. 8, 2011 5:59 am
good morning Katherine - so did it work ? Did Exploding Chicken get his attention ? Maybe Smashed Potatoes on the side with some Killed Lettuce ?
Nov. 8, 2011 6:00 am
Hi Karidly and welcome - now the pressure is on for me to actually write something good. Not sure I can live up to that....
Nov. 8, 2011 6:01 am
Hi mrscrashman22 - I am glad you enjoyed the blog and that you borrowed the name. If a fun name gets kids to eat it, I am all for it.
Nov. 8, 2011 6:02 am
Hi Mangel - good to see you - I stuffed some pork chops this weekend. I think Chef Luigi should be writing about them and posting photos later today or tomorrow.
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Doug Matthews

Home Town
Princeton, New Jersey, USA
Living In
Mendham, New Jersey, USA

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Mar. 2000

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About Me
My mother decided early on that her sons would never have to rely on someone to feed them so we all learned to cook at an early age. I really started to branch out when I moved out west to Denver, SF & Dallas. Combine that with extended business travel to Louisiana & my growing love of spices and you get a real mix of flavors.
My favorite things to cook
Love to make cajun food with my favorites being crawfish pie, alligator stew & alligator chili - I go nuts on Super Bowl Sunday
My favorite family cooking traditions
We didn't have a lot of traditions per se but you could count on pancakes or waffles on sundays - dad making scrambled eggs twice a year on christmas morning & mother's day - veal parmagiana on christmas eve, Thanksgiving with Grandma Matthews and any menu of your choice on your birthday. We weren't a spicy family so I learned a lot of good strong basics in the kitchen from Mom that I have carried over into my cooking today.
My cooking triumphs
I love to experiment with variations of dishes I try around the country. My biggest success is here on allrecipes where I had 2 recipes published in the same cookbook - Southwestern Turkey Soup & Curried Carrot Soup. I think my corn muffins are a great starting point and my alligator chili has become a much requested Super Bowl favorite.
My cooking tragedies
There have been a few times in the past where I tossed everything and took everyone to a restaurant instead. I'm not too proud to say my cooking is awful when it really is.
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