Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Cheese-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

By Paul Briand

I picked up this recipe from the Associated Press feed on my Blackberry. The idea here is to create a cheese-stuffed chicken dish that may sound like a diet buster, according to the AP article, but isn't.

In fact the nutrition information for this recipe puts a serving at only 296 calories -- hard to believe since it contains three different kinds of cheeses, primarily cheddar and Gorgonzola. The calorie offset comes from the fact that the high impact Gorgonzola is countered with a reduced-fat cheddar with a little Parmesan cheese thrown in for good measure.

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained of excess water
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 ounce shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
1 ounce crumbled Gorgonzola cheese
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
1/3 cup seasoned Italian-style breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large white egg whites

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees;
2. In medium skillet over medium-high heat, add 1 teaspoon of the olive oil followed by the onion and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 5 to 7 minutes;
3. Add the spinach and Italian seasoning, then cook until all the liquid has evaporated;
4. Mix in both cheeses, set aside;
5. One at a time, lay each chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Use a paring knife to make a horizontal slit along one side to create a pocket (do not cut all the way through);
6. Place a quarter of the cheese mixture into the pocket, then press the meat over it. Repeat with remaining pieces of chicken;
7. In shallow dish or pie plate, mix the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, parsley, salt and pepper. In other bowl, light beat the egg whites with a fork;
8. Holding the stuffed breast together, dip in egg whites then roll in the breadcrumbs. Repeat with remaining breasts and set aside;
9. In large ovenproof skillet over high heat, add remaining oil and add the chicken. Cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes;
10. Turn breasts over and place the skillet in the oven. Bake until chicken is no longer pink at the center, about 20 minutes.

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