Chicken is a staple in my house. Of course the running joke is that at times I feel like I’m going to sprout feathers, I eat so much poultry. It’s a great source of lean protein, versatile, and I am fortunate enough to have a family owned food market nearby where I can get boneless skinless chicken breast for $1.99/lb. All the time, not even for special sales.
If you have access to one, look into a food market and you may find some great deals. The one near me offers great quality and prices for meat, poultry, produce and fish. I still have to go to the regular supermarket for other items, but a trip to the market is a Saturday morning ritual for me.
Chicken breast is my choice, but you could certainly use thighs as well. For this method, you do need boneless and skinless (you could of course remove the skin and debone yourself if you’d like.) First we’ll go over the actual “not-really-a-recipe” I used, then discuss ways to modify it so your choices become almost endless!
- Begin with a pound or two of boneless skinless chicken (or turkey) breast.
- Line a countertop surface with plastic wrap. Place the breasts on the plastic wrap, and cover with another piece of plastic. Using a kitchen mallet (or if all else fails and you don’t have a mallet, you can use a wine bottle!) and pound out the meat, starting at the middle and working your way out, so that the meat spreads out and becomes flatter. Pound it to about 1/2 inch thickness or so. No need to bust out the ruler, eyeballing it is fine.
- In a small bowl, combine fresh or frozen spinach, sliced sundried tomatoes, and some part skim ricotta cheese. (This is where you can get very creative and modify to make a whole new meal.) You’ll want about a cup of ricotta, some good sized handfuls of spinach and a handful of tomatoes. Yes, you can be that non-specific. Add some sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste. Make it kind of paste-consistency. You know you ate paste as a kid, you know exactly what I mean. Don’t try to lie. You can also just combine the ricotta and spices and kind of lay the spinach and tomatoes on in the next step….
- Spread the ricotta cheese over the meat, then add the spinach and tomatoes over the top covering it. Roll the chicken starting at one end, like a jelly roll. Try to keep the stuffing inside it if you can. You’ll probably need to fasten the end with some toothpicks to keep it together.
- Place on a cookie sheet or jelly roll pan and bake at 350F for 35-45 minutes.
- Remove and cut into, and revel in the beauteous-ness of it all.
So here are a few modifications you can try for the stuffing. Everything else remains the same, just the stuffing “stuff” changes.
- Prosciutto and mozzarella
- Wild rice and dried cherries (this one does get a bit messy-I also add a bit of feta or goat cheese to bind it a bit)
- Turkey bacon and cheddar
- Chopped broccoli bits and feta cheese
- Pepperoni and mozzarella and tomato paste (like pizza!)
- Spinach and goat cheese
- Orange marmalade mixed with broccoli and and a bit of Parmesan cheese (this is really good, I promise.)
Now go forth and create your own chicken. Leave a comment below and let me know your take on it. I can’t wait to hear!