Saturday, February 13, 2010

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Romance starts here.

Or ... erm, well, maybe not, but I have to share the "squee" moment that I had recently when an old colleague of mine wrote me and asked me some menu ideas for the romantic Valentine's dinner that he was cooking his girlfriend.  I had an Ina Garten moment, you know what I'm talking about - she's on her show and she's cooked or concocted something fabulous for one of her equally fabulous friends.  If she's letting her friend do the work, she devises up a recipe, writes it down with her Sharpie and sends it along with her friend - complete with pictures so they know what mashed potatoes should look like.

Well, my friend Chris isn't getting the Ina treatment, per se, but I did spend the past few nights whipping together an entree that is worth a snog or two from his extraordinarily lucky girlfriend.  (My husband told me I couldn't use the term "sex-worthy."  Sigh!)  I remembered an entree that I had made a few years back - stuffed chicken breasts that had featured spinach, mushroom and feta.  Then I thought about a Rachael Ray dish that I made this weekend that featured roasted garlic, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.  This dish is a hybrid of both, brought together with a velvety bit of goat cheese.  Because nothing says "I love you" like goat cheese.  At least that's what I think.

Stuffed Chicken Breasts
by ShelleyBakes
(I concocted this dish to serve two, but if you're being generous this Valentine's Day and want to double date, you can easily double this and serve four.)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - trimmed of any visible fat
4 oz. button mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced fine
1/2 bag of baby spinach
5 sun-dried tomatoes, sliced/chopped (the kind packed in olive oil)
2 oz. goat cheese, cubed
handful of Parmesan cheese
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and slice mushrooms, mince garlic.  Heat a skillet over medium high heat with about 2 T. extra virgin olive oil.  Saute mushrooms for about one minute, add garlic (careful not to burn, because that's typically what I do) and saute until golden ... about five minutes. Lower heat and add spinach, stirring the pan to let the leaves wilt down.  Remove from heat, dump into waiting bowl that is holding the tomatoes and goat cheese.  Add about a handful of Parmesan cheese and incorporate all ingredients together.

In the meantime, take your chicken breasts - you can either cut a slit in them for filling or you can flatten them.  I put the chicken breasts individually between sheets of waxed paper and then pounded the hell out of them with my rolling pin.  You're basically aiming for consistency - you want an evenly distributed chicken breast, not with one side heavier than the other.  Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper.  Spoon half of the filling in the middle of each of the flattened chicken breasts, bring the ends together and secure with a toothpick.  Brush the outside of the chicken breast with some olive oil and sprinkle with more salt and pepper.

Bake at 350 degrees for 25 to 35 minutes.  (Or when you take a steak knife and ascertain that the chicken is done by hacking into the poor bird.)  Remove toothpicks.  Serve.

Serving suggestions:  This would be great to serve with some roasted vegetables - baby carrots and baby reds that have been roasted with some olive oil and rosemary.  Baked potatoes could also suffice.  I also told my friend to pair this with a green salad and some good crusty bread.

And for the record, my husband is not getting stuffed chicken breast for Valentine's Day dinner (he had it twice this week, so he's probably thankful to be spared yet another night of chicken ...).  We're ordering in from our favorite pizza joint and I'm going to attempt these Molten Chocolate Cakes. :)


RJ Flamingo said...

Sounds positively sensuous, Shelley. He'll have her eating out of his hand. So to speak. :-)

carolyntracy said...

Made it. Loved it. Tony says thanks. the little ones didn't like it, but I didn't expect them to. thanks for the fun meal suggestions, Shelley- keep 'em coming.