So once again, I'm steering everyone into new territory here at Tuxarina. I've mentioned a few times how I'm into food and into cooking. It's been a goal of mine to, not only make great meals following found recipes, but to make good meals trusting my instincts, combining the skills I've already acquired, and using up the food I have at home before it goes bad. Last night was one of those days.
I had some fresh baby spinach and chevre (goat cheese) that needed to be eaten soon. Looking around the kitchen, I realized I had some chicken breasts and roasted red peppers (preserved from last summer) in the fridge. All those things sounded really great together so I knew I could easily come up with something tasty for dinner for my boyfriend and me. Baked, stuffed chicken breasts it is!
I started out by butterflying the chicken breasts so that I could fold them back over all the stuffing. If anyone is unfamiliar with that term, put simply: to butterfly a piece of meat is to slice it almost all the way through the center and open it wide (like a book).
Next, I sprinkled the insides and outsides of the chicken with a little salt and pepper. Then, I took handfuls of the fresh spinach and layered it on one side of the opened, butterflied chicken breasts. If you've ever cooked fresh greens, you know that they really cook down. I wanted a decent amount of them for the stuffing, I added much more than you'd think. I layered the roasted red peppers on top of the spinach. Lastly, I sliced the goat cheese and layered that on top of the red pepper. I folded over that other side of the chicken breast and secured it with a couple of toothpicks.
You'll need a covered, oven-safe dish to cook these. I just carefully set the stuffed breasts into the pan and added a splash of chicken broth for some liquid to cook in. Before these went in the oven, I sprinkled chopped garlic and bread crumbs on top.
These stuffed breasts were baked in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for about 30-40 minutes with the lid on. At that point, I took the lid off and sprinkled some Parmesan cheese, and continued to bake uncovered for about 15-20 minutes.
Sorry about my tendency to drone on a bit, seriously these things were so easy to make. I had them assembled and ready for the oven in about 10 minutes, tops.
And, sorry my pictures are of half-eaten stuffed chicken breasts. These smelled so good and we were so hungry that my boyfriend and I started smashing on them right away. All of a sudden it donned on me that I wanted to tell you all about them and snapped a few quick pics. My boyfriend wasn't too happy about it. These things were seriously frickin' good, and we didn't want to pause eating them! On the upside, these photos show how I layered the ingredients and folded the side back over.
If you try this, a couple of notes:
You can substitute most other greens for the baby spinach.
You could substitute veggie stock or water for the chicken stock. You'll just need a little liquid while it bakes to keep the chicken moist.
Sun-dried tomatoes would be nice, instead of the red pepper.
I know that this isn't a traditional recipe with measurements. Trust your judgement! Add more or less spinach. I filled the insides of mine with red pepper. If you don't want so much, add less. Sprinkle just a little of the breadcrumbs as a topping, or go heavy-handed and coat the tops. It's all up to your own preferences! Also, don't be afraid to tweak the recipe to substitute what you have on hand in your own house.
Let me know how this works for you, if you try it out.
Anybody else test out something new for dinner? Anybody interested in learning more about how to cook?