December 12, 2014

Feta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts: One of my many "I don't feel like cooking" meals!

This recipe is here for my girls....  my college-daughter who requests grilled steak with feta cheese every single time she comes home (and then goes though about 8 oz. of crumbled feta in 1 weekend, having it on almost everything she eats) and my oldest daughter who loves stuffed chicken breasts in almost any version.

I don't even have a recipe for this really... it's one of those things I will throw together at the last second when I do not feel like cooking, don't have time to fuss with it and just want to get something into the oven and forget about it until it's time to eat. 

The filling is based on what we have on hand and what I feel like at the time.  So use this as a 'brainstorm' but not a 'blueprint' because you can play with your food if you have the basic ingredients to get started.

I used feta, spinach, some cream cheese and spices.  Topped with mayo and panko crumbs and seasoned.

This goes together in about 5 minutes and then bakes for 30-40 minutes leaving you free to do what you have to do and not worry about dinner prep. 

Feta and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Partially thawed or thawed fresh boneless chicken breasts (4)
Frozen spinach, thawed  (1/2 - 3/4 cup)
Feta cheese, crumbled (1/2 cup)
Cream cheese (2-3 oz.)
Spices you like;  I like to use a dash of onion powder and a little fresh, minced garlic
Panko or bread crumbs; seasoned or not - use what you have
oil to grease the pan
salt and pepper
(if using unseasoned crumbs you can use just salt and pepper on top or top with a sprinkle of dry italian seasoning, italian dressing mix, ranch dressing mix, etc.)

Slice your chicken breasts about 3/4 of the way through but leave a side attached so you form a pocket.  Chicken is easily sliced when still partially frozen, but it won't matter if yours is thawed.  Slice through the thickest part towards the back of the breast.

In a microwavable bowl, place the cream cheese, feta and spinach.  I've thawed it and I've used a chunk still frozen from the package.  Doesn't matter.  A little more moisture, that's about it.  Microwave just a minute or so to soften the cheeses and spinach.  Stir together to blend.  Add spices if you wish.  If you don't - no worries.  I like fresh garlic and a dash of onion powder. 

On a greased baking sheet or dish (I just line with foil for easy clean up) place the breasts.

Use a spoon to fill your breasts evenly.  Press down on the breast a bit to form the pocket.  If  you over-fill, you may need to close with a wooden toothpick but if you don't overfill, they are fine as they are. 

Spread a bit of mayonnaise across each breast.  This helps keeps the chicken breasts moist as well as a little flavor but also helps hold the bread crumbs or panko crumbs on.  Simple sprinkle some crumbs on top.  No need for eggs and traditional (messy) breading.   Sprinkle the tops with salt and fresh black pepper if your crumbs are unseasoned.  You can also sprinkle on dry salad dressing mixes like ranch, or Italian.  Just sprinkle and bake.  I bake around 375 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Less for tiny little chicken breasts and up to 45 minutes for the huge sized breasts if needed.

Topping the chicken breasts with a bit of panko crumbs

Ready to go into the oven

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