Stuffed Chicken Breasts

It’s been raining off and on lately.  We’ve been having beautiful warm sunny days and then the very next day, it’ll be cold and rainy.  Sometimes we get both extremes on the same day.  It’s on days like this that I go out to the garden and pick snails.  I have snails everywhere.  They eat my plants, flowers and fruit.  I put them in a plastic bucket and toss them into the GREEN garbage bin.  I figure there they are able to live by eating all the weeds and grasses that I throw in there and once a week, they get hauled off to the dump’s large compost pile.  I try not to kill insects when I’m outside.  I figure that that is their home.  The only exceptions are black widows.  I hunt them down and smash them with gusto.  They scare me.  As long as insects are outside, they are safe from me but don’t get into my house.  You never know what mood I might be in.  Generally, inside, I’m not too kind.

There is this one snail that I have left alone.  I was just thinking that I haven’t named him.  I’ve been remiss.  Two years ago, I had my house painted.  This snail had his house painted at the same time with my paint!  I hope they didn’t charge me for that.  So, his shell is painted to match my house.  (It’s a new thing in the design world.)

Whenever I see him, I leave him alone and snap a picture to send to my daughter.  This last time, she asked me how long do snails live?  Good question.  I googled it and they only live a year.  So this designer snail might be the son or grandson of the original painted snail.  I’ll still honor this guy and let him live in my garden. My daughter made a remark about how I see the world a little differently than most people.  This is my daughter and I know I felt the same way about my mom.  This got me thinking about this blog and you.  Yes, you.  I feel so appreciative to have you read my musings.  I realize that you don’t have to.  In fact, many of the blogs I follow, I often skip over the story because I’m really just wanting the recipe.  Unless of course, the story catches my interest.

I used to teach high school Spanish and would often start the class with a story of my past, when I was a child or teenager, of my present, something silly that I did or said, or of my family or pets that made me chuckle.  I don’t have a problem laughing at myself and my loved ones.  I’ve figured out that you have taken my students’ place.  They were a captive audience but you aren’t.  I recognize that you could pass right over this.   And so if you have made it this far, thank you.

Today’s recipe is an entree.  I thought it was time to switch a little since all I have been doing is treats and desserts.  It reminds me a little of a snail because it is rolled up into a spiral. Unfortunately, once it’s cooked it just looks like a stuffed chicken breasts.  It’s so yummy.  It looks more complicated than it is but it could  easily be a weeknight dinner.  You could prepare some things in advance like the chicken breasts could be flattened days ahead.  The marinara sauce could be store bought or made in advanced.  I used only one can because I don’t like too much sauce but if you do by all means just add another can.   Let me know if you try it.  Write in the comment section and send me a picture.

 

INGREDIENTS

4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts

1/2 tsp. Salt, divided

Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste

4 pieces Bacon

12 oz. Spinach, stemmed

4 oz. Softened Cream Cheese (I used Neufchatel)

1/4 cup Grated Parmesan Cheese

2 Egg Whites, slightly beaten

1 1/4 cups Breadcrumbs

1 cup Shredded Mozzarella Cheese

Homemade Marinara Sauce (You could always use a jar marinara but why, when it’s so easy to whip one up at home!

2 Tbl. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1- 2 can (14 oz.) Tomato Sauce, no salt added

3 cloves Garlic

2 tsp. Basil

1 Bay Leaf

Salt and Pepper to taste

Red Chili Pepper Flakes (optional) to taste

On medium heat, place Olive Oil in a saucepan.  Once the Oil is hot, add Garlic.  Lightly brown garlic.  At this time, you can leave the garlic or take it out.

Add the Tomato Sauce, Basil, Bay Leaf, Salt and Pepper.  Bring heat to low and simmer, stirring occasionally while cooking the Chicken.

Spray or oil bottom of casserole pan.  Flatten Chicken Breasts by placing in between two plastic warp sheets and pounding until 1/4 inch thick.  Season with 1/2 of Salt and Pepper.

Cook Bacon until crisp.

Remove Bacon and reserve 1 Tbl. of bacon grease.  Set aside 15 – 10 Spinach leaves.  Add remaining Spinach to skillet and stir until slightly wilted.  Remove from heat.  Transfer Spinach to the food processor.  Add Cream Cheese, Parmesan, Bacon, and remaining Salt.  Process until smooth.

Place Spinach Leaves on top of Chicken.  Spread 2 Tbls. of Spinach/Cream Cheese mixture.

Roll up Chicken Breasts, dips in Egg Whites and roll in Breadcrumbs.  Place seam side down in prepared pan.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes.  Remove from oven. Set oven to broil.  Spoon on Marinara Sauce and sprinkle with Mozzarella.

Return to oven and broil 2 to 3 minutes until Cheese melts.

Serves 4.  Each serving contains: 455 Calories, 25.6 g. Fat, 21 g. Carbs, 36 g. Protein.

Eat well, drink well, and live well.  Until next time.

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