I love to cook for friends. I would much rather have people over to my house than to go out to dinner. I enjoy the conversation while I am putting the last touches on the meal, and being able to relax afterwards.

One of my favorite dishes to serve at these special dinners is a stuffed chicken that is elegant and super tasty. The chicken is moist and tender with a light breading, and the stuffing is a wonderful combination of blue cheese, bacon and spinach.

It looks like a complex and difficult dish when served, but if you’ve followed my recipes, you know that nothing I do is difficult. Plus, if you need to get some anger out, pounding the chicken flat is a great way to release some stress.

One nice feature of this dish is you can make it in advance and then just pop it in the oven right before you’re ready to eat. It also freezes well.

When your friends see the final presentation, they will know that they are someone special in your life. What better way to show your love than through cooking!

Belle’s Blue Cheese and Bacon Stuffed Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 tablespoon butter, melted

1 cup of dry Italian bread crumbs

1 cup crumbled blue cheese

½ cup real bacon bits

1 cup of chopped, fresh spinach

Mix together the blue cheese, bacon and spinach. Set aside.

Place each chicken breast in a plastic storage bag and pound with a mallet until it is an even ½-inch thickness. Remove and lay flat. Place about ¼ cup of the cheese mixture in the middle of the chicken breast and roll up. Secure with a toothpick or two.

Dip each breast in melted butter, just to coat the outside. Roll in bread crumbs and place seam side up in baking pan. Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes.

Brenda Stanley is the mother of five children, including two sets of twins, and a grandmother of three. She is a cookbook author and novelist. Her website is at talesofthedinnerbelle.com.