We had a semi gorgeous weekend ’round these parts, and spent the past couple of days in and out, here and there, catching up on errands, and spending time with friends and family. Ben and I have also been working on a big project lately that’s been taking up a lot of our weekends, which is why my posting schedule has been a bit off lately. I loathe being vague, but hopefully it should all be wrapped up soon and I can share what we’ve been up to. Whee! : )
In the meantime, let’s talk about stuffed chicken, shall we? Caprese Stuffed Chicken to be exact!
If there’s anything I loathe more than being vague, it’s rolling pounded out chicken breasts around a stuffing. I know, what a seriously lame thing to moan about, it’s just that I rarely have the time or energy (read: patience) to do such activities. Simply FOLDING chicken over a fresh stuffing of sauteed fresh spinach, melty mozzarella cheese, juicy vine-ripened tomatoes, and herby fresh basil though? All over it.
I got the idea to fold chicken over a stuffing after trying to figure out what to do with some leftover spinach + feta filling from the Easy Spanakopita Bites I made last week. I used part of the filling to pump up scrambled eggs (to die) and the other half I packed onto pounded out chicken breasts, folded one end over, and then quickly baked ‘em in a hot oven. Ben and I both agreed it was one of the best chicken dishes I’ve made to date. The filling was super yummy, and the chicken stayed nice and moist, too.
Instead of posting the same filling recipe again though, I decided to get really light and fresh, and prepare a Caprese filling to stuff inside the chicken instead. This is freshness, and easiness to the max, people!
Start the Caprese Stuffed Chicken by preparing the sauteed spinach that will serve as the base for the caprese ingredients. It’s an incredibly easy way to pack more veggies, and flavor, into this dish. First saute 1 small minced onion in 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil until translucent then add 2 minced garlic cloves and saute for 30 more seconds.
Next add 6 cups baby spinach and saute until wilted, about 2 minutes, then remove from the heat and cool slightly.
While the sauteed spinach is cooling, pound 4 chicken breasts until very thin. I lay mine out on a cutting board (I have one that I only use for poultry and meat) then cover with saran wrap or Glad press ‘n seal. Next, use something heavy like a rolling pin or meat mallet to pound the chicken out.
Brush both sides of the chicken with extra virgin olive oil and season with salt and pepper, then place 1/4 of the spinach mixture onto 1/2 of the chicken.
Follow with 1oz sliced mozzarella cheese, and a few slices of vine-ripened tomato.
Finish up with a few fresh basil leaves, a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper, then fold the other half of the chicken over and secure with a toothpick.
Place onto a foil-lined, nonstick-sprayed baking sheet then bake for 12-15 minutes at 400 degrees. Quick, right?!
These chicken breasts would be DIVINE drizzled with reduced balsamic vinegar , or even warmed balsamic vinaigrette. I went the purist route today, and served ‘em with roasted broccoli. That’s broccoli tossed with EVOO, salt and pepper then baked at the same time and temp as the chicken. Whabam!
Ingredients: 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 small onion, chopped salt & pepper 2 garlic cloves, minced 6 cups baby spinach 4 chicken breasts, pounded very thin 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced 4oz mozzarella cheese, sliced 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees then line a sheet with with foil, spray with nonstick spray and then set aside.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat then add onion, season with salt and pepper, and then saute until translucent, 3-4 minutes. Add garlic then saute for 30 more seconds. Add spinach then cook just until wilted, 2-3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.
Brush and season both sides of the pounded chicken breasts with extra virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. Mound 1/4 of the spinach mixture on one end of the chicken breasts, then layer on sliced tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, and fresh basil. Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil then sprinkle with a bit more salt and pepper. Fold other end of chicken over and secure with a toothpick. Place onto prepared baking sheet then bake for 15 minutes, or until cooked all the way through.
There is no better way to enjoy broccoli then simply seasoned and roasted, I’m telling you. I like to turn all of them so their crown or “trees” are face-down on the baking sheet. They get super crisp that way!