Its been a while since I've made chicken. Not sure why, I just haven't made it in a while. I came across this recipe in the April issue of Cooking Light and it looked like the perfect meal that could be prepared quickly but would satisfy my craving for a hearty, home-cooked dinner.
Instead of using mint and parsley like the recipe calls for, I used spinach, since there's always a surplus of spinach in my fridge. I served the chicken with a side of sauteed asparagus and some quinoa from Trader Joe's (this was actually my first experience with quinoa, I'm a little late on the quinoa train, and I loved it!).
This is a favorite summer recipe for the grill (but works just as well when sauteed). Wash and trim asparagus (its actually easier to just snap off the ends of the stalks with your fingers instead of trimming with a knife) and place in a large Ziploc bag or a bowl. Add the following for your marinade:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- red pepper flakes
- garlic powder (or minced garlic)
- salt and pepper
The amounts you use are up to you - I like this with a kick, so I added a lot of red pepper flakes.
Put the asparagus in the fridge for at least 30 minutes (or up to a few hours) to absorb the flavors. When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium heat and add asparagus (no need to use extra oil in the skillet since there's already some in the marinade). Saute for 5-10 minutes, until it reaches the tenderness you prefer.
This is the Trader Joe's quinoa I bought - comes frozen in a bag and has sweet potatoes and zucchini in it. You can heat on stove or in microwave. I was going to doctor it up a bit by adding some dried cranberries and spices, but decided not to. This was really good just as is, and would also be good if you added extra vegetables or spices.
Spinach and Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Preheat your broiler to 450 degrees.
Mix panko, spinach, and pepper in a bowl, mashing with fork to combine.
Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each breast to form a pocket.
Stuff as much filling as you can into each pocket, then close with a toothpick. Sprinkle chicken with salt.
Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add chicken to pan and cook for about two minutes (on one side) until browned.
Move chicken to an oven pan or cookie sheet, brown side down. Broil for 10-15 minutes or until done.
Adapted from Cooking Light.
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1-2 handfuls baby spinach, chopped into small pieces
- 4 ounces goat cheese
- 4 (6 ounce) boneless skinless chicken breasts (I only made 3, but the stuffing makes enough for about 5-6 pieces of chicken)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- salt and pepper
- lemon wedges (optional)
- Preheat your broiler to 450 degrees.
- Mix panko, spinach, and pepper in a bowl, mashing with fork to combine.
- Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each breast to form a pocket.
- Stuff as much filling as you can into each pocket, then close with a toothpick. Sprinkle chicken with salt.
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 1 tbsp olive oil to pan. Add chicken to pan and cook for about two minutes (on one side) until browned.
- Move chicken to an oven pan or cookie sheet, brown side down. Broil for 10-15 minutes or until done. Squeeze fresh lemon on top to serve (if desired).
This whole meal was really delicious. I have a new found love for quinoa, and guess who else does as well? Pat! I didn't tell him how good it was for him until after he tasted it, I didn't want that to taint his judgment (I think in his mind he assumes healthy grains=cardboard taste). The chicken was really good - very moist. I love goat cheese and the combination of goat cheese and spinach (with a squeeze of lemon) was great, although the flavor didn't really jump out at you. I had considered adding other spices to the filling but didn't because of the marinade I used for the asparagus (I didn't want it to be flavor overload). If I made this chicken again with subtler vegetables, I'd trying adding some/all of the following to the chicken stuffing: roasted garlic, red pepper flakes, artichoke hearts, rosemary and thyme, caramelized onions. I'm sure there's lots of great things that could go in these! Pat was very happy for a home cooked meal (that didn't involve tofu) and I really enjoyed it, too.