When I started my weight loss journey back in April 2012, the first thing I discovered was how high in protein chicken breasts are. This was great news because I love chicken but my usual way of eating it; fried, smothered, or covered, was a no no...and panic set in! Was there even another way to eat chicken? In my mind, NO! Over the next few months I discovered this was not true! Chicken is such a versatile meat and just a slight change in cooking method or spices can create a completely different meal!
After indulging in Chicken Cordon Bleu at a local restaurant I went online and found literally thousands or recipes for how to stuff chicken breasts. Spinach has always been a favorite of mine, as well as bacon, so I figured I'd try that first. Many of the recipes I saw called for the addition of nutmeg but I'm not a big fan of that spice unless its in cakes or pies...In any event, I jazzed up my recipe with a few other things, (mushrooms, Parmesan Romano cheese, etc.) so I hope you enjoy!
- 3 chicken breasts, remove all visible fat
- 4 pieces of thick cut bacon
- 2 tbsp shallot minced
- 1 garlic clove minced
- 14 oz spinach chopped
- 1 package sliced mushrooms chopped
- 1/3 cup Parmesan Romano cheese
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- Olive oil cooking spray
- Wax paper
- Salt and pepper
Optional Pan Sauce
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp flour
- 1/2 cup chicken stock
- 1/4 cup white wine (cooking wine or a dry white wine)
- Salt and pepper
Heat a large pan over medium heat. Coarsely chop the bacon into bite sized pieces and fry until the fat begins to render and the bacon begins to crisp.
Add the shallots and garlic and saute' for 1-2 minutes or until the shallots begin to turn translucent. Stir in the mushrooms and continue to cook, stirring occasionally until the mushrooms begin to brown. Add your spinach and stir, making sure to coat the leaves with the bacon fat.
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butterfly each chicken breast, being careful not to cut completely through the breast. One at a time, place each breast between two sheets of wax paper and pound until thin.
Evenly distribute the spinach mixture between the 3 chicken breasts. Now the tricky part; roll the breast on one side then overlap with the other side. Secure closed with a toothpick, or use as many as necessary to keep it closed. You don't want your filling falling out!
Heat another pan over medium-high heat and add the EVOO. Season each breast generously with salt and pepper and add it to the pan, searing it for approximately 4 minutes on each side. (Do not overcrowd your pan or the breasts will "steam" not brown. I cooked one breast at a time)
Spray a glass baking dish with a generous amount of cooking spray. Once each breast is finished searing place it into the baking dish. Bake the breasts uncovered for 25 minutes or until no longer pink (this time will vary depending on the thickness of your breasts)
Optional Pan Sauce
While your chicken is cooking, in the same pan you seared your chicken breast and over medium-low heat, add the butter and flour, stirring to combine. When the butter begins to bubble and has melted stir in the chicken stock and wine. Whisk the ingredients together, continuing to cook until the mixture reduces by half and thickens enough to coat the back of a spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste
Remove your chicken breasts from the oven and allow them to sit for at least 10 minutes. This allows the juice the chicken has released during cooking to be re-absorbed.
Slice the breasts into small rolls and drizzle with your pan sauce. I served these with a side of whole grain angel hair pasta tossed with olive oil, Parmesan cheese, and red pepper flakes. Enjoy!