Chicken is the low-cost, low-cholesterol, low-effort, high-versatility food. It's the all-occasion entree that is difficult to foul up.

There are thousands of ways to fix chicken. Although we generally are partial to dark meat, we have found the light meat to be a little more elegant and quite a bit more versatile. Besides, when cooking for others, you need to take their taste buds into consideration and most folks prefer the white meat.A chicken breast can take you in many directions. Mainly, it takes us to our backyard grill. It's so simple. A little marinating - which really is optional - and one or two turns over the coals and you have about the simplest dish there is. It passes for gourmet, too. Almost. If you have the time and inclination, however, you can take the breast of the bird much further. Here are some examples.

Chicken Breasts Stuffed with Apples

2 tablespoons butter or margarine

6 green onions, finely chopped

1 cup apple juice plus 2 tablespoons, divided

2 Granny Smith or other tart apples, peeled, cored and chopped

1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs

2 tablespoons cilantro, minced (or use parsley)

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon caraway seeds

2 whole chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned

1 tablespoon cornstarch

Cooked rice

Apple slices Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt 1 tablespoon of the butter. Add the onions and saute, stirring, until tender, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. Stir in 2 tablespoons apple juice and the chopped apples, bread crumbs, cilantro, salt and caraway seeds. Mix well. Remove from skillet and set aside. Wipe pan.

Flatten the chicken by placing each of the four pieces between two pieces of plastic wrap and pounding with a mallet or side of a cleaver. Divide the crumb mixture evenly over the center of each piece of meat. Roll up the pieces, tucking the ends under. Secure with toothpicks.

Add the remaining butter to the pan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted, add the chicken rolls. Cook, turning, until browned on all sides. Add 4 tablespoons apple juice. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook gently for 45 minutes. Transfer to a serving dish and remove the wooden picks.

Add the cornstarch to the pan juices. Stir until smooth. Stir in the remaining 3/4 cup apple juice. Bring to a boil. Cook, stirring, until the sauce is thickened. Place each chicken roll on a bed of rice on a dinner plate. Spoon the sauce over the chicken. Garnish with the apple slices. Serves four.

Chicken Pasta with Pesto

2 whole chicken breasts, halved, skinned and boned

8 ounces fettuccine

1 cup firmly packed fresh spinach leaves, uncooked

1/4 cup fresh basil leaves

2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1 tablespoon pine nuts

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons olive oil Slice the chicken diagonally into 1/2-inch strips. Cook the fettuccine until al dente, or chewy. Put the spinach, basil, cheese, pine nuts and garlic cloves in a food processor. Cover and process until smooth. Add the yogurt and process just a few seconds until well mixed.

Pour the olive oil into a large skillet. Add the chicken and saute until browned on all sides. Stir in the spinach-basil mixture. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes or until the chicken is tender. Add the reserved noodles. Toss to combine. Serves four.

Chicken Stuffed with Chevre

4 whole chicken breasts, skinned and boned

Salt and pepper

1/4 pound chevre (goat cheese)

1 teaspoon dill

2 teaspoons parsley, minced

1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 clove garlic Halve the chicken breasts and flatten each piece as in first recipe. Sprinkle a little salt and pepper over each piece, and cut each piece in half. Divide the cheese into four equal pieces and place a piece on each of four pieces of meat. (You can use any other soft cheese, such as Brie.) Cover the four pieces with the remaining four pieces of meat, pressing the edges together with your fingers. Combine the dill, parsley and bread crumbs, then dredge the stuffed chicken in the mixture.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the garlic clove and cook for 30 seconds. Remove the garlic and discard. Add the chicken and cook approximately 6 minutes on a side, or until the chicken is done. The recipe will serve four.