Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

What are your feelings on spinach? I love spinach. I really do. But there is this thing that happens when we want to cook with spinach…burnout.

Spinach can technically grow all year, but most of the year the only way we can get it is in size ginormous. I’m talking like 5 cups of spinach in a bag. When you are only cooking for two people that’s a ridiculously large amount of spinach to consume. We literally have to eat spinach every day for a straight week to use it up that much spinach. {I guess I could take up drinking smoothies for breakfast, but I don’t see that happening just yet.} Sure I could just use what I need and let the rest go to waste, but then I just feel guilty. {There are starving kids, you know?} Anyway, after this week long spinach binge, I never want to see spinach again–until two weeks later I forget about it and buy another bag.

Needless to say, there are a number of recipes that I throw some spinach in to use it up. And why not? Spinach is great for you {just ask our favorite sailor}. It’s chock full of vitamins A and C and minerals like iron and calcium. {Maybe I should rethink those smoothies.} This recipe, though, has to be one of my favorites. I have had a hankering for it for a couple weeks, but was hesitant to put it on the meal plan because I knew it would another spinach binge. However, this past week I spied a bulk bin of spinach at our local. Much to the displeasure of all the German shoppers around me, I may or may not have let out a squeal of glee. Thank goodness it’s finally spinach season! We can buy only the spinach we need and I can make this deliciousness any time I’d like!

Stuffed Chicken Parmesan

{adapted for two from Skinny Taste}

The Stuffing
1 cup fresh spinach
1/4 cup ricotta cheese {cream cheese or mascarpone work too)
1 clove garlic, minced
3 fresh oregano leaves, chopped
5 fresh basil leaves, chopped
2 Tbsp parmesan cheese, grated
1/4 tsp of salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

The Breading
1 egg
¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
1 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
1 more fresh oregano leaf, chopped
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp fresh ground black pepper

1 or 2 chicken breasts {Depending on how much meat the carnivore in your house requires. We use 1, and he doesn’t complain.}

The Toppings
½ cup pasta sauce
½ ball of buffalo mozzarella

Preheat the oven to 450°F/225°C.

First we’ll prep the stuffing. Start by putting a healthy handful of spinach in a medium size bowl and microwave for about 20 seconds. {This will wilt the spinach just enough to make it easier to mix with the other ingredients and eventually stuff the chicken.} Then add the rest of the stuffing ingredients and mix well.

Go ahead and prepare the dish you are baking this yumminess in {I use olive oil, but Pam or straight butter would get the job done as well}.

Now onto the breading. Get out two bowls. In one, crack your egg and beat it a bit. In the other combine the bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, oregano, garlic salt, and pepper.

Now it gets a little messy…

Using a meat tenderizer {a wine bottle works too–I know this from experience}, pound the chicken out until it is about the thickness of your pinky finger and then cut it in half. Spoon the spinach mixture on the chicken and roll it up. Then dip the rolled chicken first into the egg and then into the bread crumbs. Make sure it is coated all over and then transfer to the baking dish seam side down. Repeat for second bit of chicken and then pop it into the oven for 25 minutes.

While the chicken is cooking, I usually put some pasta on or whip up a salad. {Full disclosure: I’ve never made a salad with this–usually because we will be having a spinach salad at some point in the week and I need some pasta in my life. But the point is that you could. You could have a nice healthy salad. We have pasta.}

Anyway…

After the chicken bakes for 25 minutes, take it out and cover the top with your favorite pasta sauce and a nice slice of mozzarella. Put it back in the oven to heat the sauce and melt the cheese. This usually takes about 5 more minutes for me. After that, plate up and dig in!

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