Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Most fine restaurants are closed on Mondays.  I think it's a good idea.  Our kitchen, however, was in full swing at the dinner hour.  Andrew, continuing his hunting and gathering (at Whole Foods) had brought home a few nice chicken breasts and a desire to use a few recipes he had clipped from the local Post-Tribune recently.  Nevermind the shelves are filled with cookbooks and cooking magazines at his disposal, he has started a "retirement" cooking file from the two newspapers he reads daily.  So far his choices have been great.  Even greater--he likes me out of the kitchen when he's in the kitchen!!

Back to dinner.  It was delicious.  It was an hour late.  I need to haul out my culinary teaching skills and help him understand that only one component in every meal needs to be amazing and time consuming.  The sides can be simple and delicious.  We are going to work on that--maybe.

Oh, and I'm going to continue working on my camera skills.  Even for the time of year, the autumn hues in this photo are a little over the top.  So was the food!

Stuffed Chicken Breasts, Creamed Spinach and Andrew's Own Mashed Potatoes

Cheese and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

1 1/2 tbps olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 tsp Italian seasoning (this caused some discussion but ended up being oregano and thyme)
1 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 ounce crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese
2 tbsp chopped flat-leafed parsley
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 large egg whites

Heat oven to 400 degrees.

Saute the onion and garlic in one tbsp olive oil over medium heat until translucent--5 to 7 minutes.  Add the spinach and Italian seasoning then cook until all the liquid has evaporated.  Mix in both cheeses.  Set aside.

Make a horizontal slit along one side of each chicken breast to form a pocket without cutting all the way through.  Place 1/4 of the cheese mixture into each breast and press the meat together over it.

In a shallow dish, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper.  In another dish, place the lightly beaten egg whites.

Hold the stuffed breasts tightly together and dip them, one at a time, first into the egg whites and then roll them in the breadcrumb mixture.  Set them aside.

In a large ovenproof skillet over high heat, heat the remaining 1/2 tbsp oil (add more if necessary).  When hot, add the chicken breasts and brown on one side--about 2 minutes.  Turn the breasts over and place skillet in preheated oven.  Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center--about 20 minutes.