The top finisher in FruitFast’s inaugural Berry Cherry Challenge was a hands-down winner.  Four judges individually selected the main course recipe from 12 semi-finalist entrées and desserts.

Contest judge – and National Cherry Festival Queen –  Maria LaCross summed up best her major criteria in the selection process; “Which contest recipe would you most like to have another helping of?”  And they all did …

First Place winner - Mary Shivers

First Place winner - Mary Shivers

Mary’s winning dish incorporates several FruitFast products and the combination of grains, nuts and tart cherry juice made the taste unforgettable.

Congratulations Mary!


Coconut-Cashew Chicken with Spicy Cilantro Cherry Sauce


Serves 4.



  • Non-stick cooking spray

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves, pounded to 1/2-inch thickness

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1/4 cup milk

  • 1 1/2 cups Nature’s Hand Coconut Cashew Granola

  • 3  Tbsp all-purpose flour

  • 1/2 tsp paprika

  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder

  • 1/8 tsp cayenne

  • 1 tsp parsley flakes

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

  • Sauce:

  • 1/2 cup FruitFast Dried Tart Cherries, chopped (divided use)

  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth

  • 1/2 of a large dried ancho chili pepper, stemmed and seeded

  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 2 oz. FruitFast Montmorency Tart Cherry Juice Concentrate

  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar

  • 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves

  • 1 tsp cornstarch

  • 1 Tbsp water

  • Garnish:

  • 4 cilantro sprigs

Cashew Chicken2


  1. Heat oven to 375 degrees.  

  2. Spray a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 

  3. Pat chicken dry with paper towels.

  4. Stir egg and milk together in a pie plate.  

  5. Pulse granola in a food processor for 10-20 seconds until consistency of crumbs.  

  6. Pour into a large bowl and stir in flour, garlic powder, cayenne, parsley flakes, salt and pepper.  

  7. Dip both sides of chicken in egg mixture then in granola mixture, coating completely.  

  8. Place chicken 1/2-inch apart in a prepared baking dish.  

  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes until juices run clear.  Meanwhile, for sauce, in a food processor or blender, puree 1/4 cup dried cherries, chicken broth, dried ancho chili pepper, garlic, and onion until smooth. 

  10. Pour into a 1-quart saucepan.  Stir in cherry juice concentrate, salt, and brown sugar.  

  11. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to boil, stirring often.  Reduce heat to low and simmer for 6-8 minutes.  

  12. Stir in remaining cherries and cilantro. In a small bowl, whisk cornstarch and water together.  Stir into mixture.  Cook and stir until mixture thickens.  

To serve, place each chicken breast on a serving plate.  Top with sauce as desired.  Serve remaining sauce on the side.  Garnish with cilantro sprigs.  Serve immediately.

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