Grabbing the Gusto

Deirdre Reid – Freelance Writer & Home Cook

I rock, but I don’t roll. Or stuff. But that will change. I made a stuffed (not rolled) pork loin roast this weekend that was fantastic. The stuffed (and rolled) chicken breast recipe I’m sharing with you today is another good find. I predict more stuffing and rolling in my future.

The chicken recipe is from the Kalyn’s Kitchen blog. She specializes in healthy food inspired by her experience with the South Beach diet and low glycemic index foods. I’ve subscribed to her blog for a while, but never investigated the philosophy behind it. Now that I’ve read this explanation of the glycemic index, it makes a lot more sense.

The glycemic index (GI) is a ranking of carbohydrates on a scale from 0 to 100 according to the extent to which they raise blood sugar levels after eating. Foods with a high GI are those which are rapidly digested and absorbed and result in marked fluctuations in blood sugar levels. Low-GI foods, by virtue of their slow digestion and absorption, produce gradual rises in blood sugar and insulin levels, and have proven benefits for health. Low GI diets have been shown to improve both glucose and lipid levels in people with diabetes. They have benefits for weight control because they help control appetite and delay hunger. Low GI diets also reduce insulin levels and insulin resistance.

Food that’s good and good for you, I like that. Maybe Paula Deen could learn a thing or two from Kalyn.

Deen’s food always made me uncomfortable. Sure, she’s a hoot, and her food is over-the-top laughable, but she pushed that crap through TV shows and cookbooks. And now we find out she has diabetes (no surprise). She’s had it for three years, kept it to herself (her right) yet kept selling her heart-attack menu. I know, we’re all responsible for our own choices and health. What a funny coincidence her son’s new healthy cooking show is debuting right about now. Ugh. No shame.

Back to my chicken. This recipe is easy to prepare, but it can get a bit messy. I use a rubber mallet to pound meats. I bought it years and years ago at Ikea to assemble furniture. It’s lived in a kitchen drawer ever since. After pounding, your chicken may look ragged. Don’t worry, patch it up from the inside with pieces of chicken, and tuck in the parts that stick out too much.

I could have pounded the chicken even thinner because the filling was oozing out a bit, as you can see in this ‘before’ photo.

stuffed chicken filled with basil pesto mozzarella cheese healthy

Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Mozzarella from Grabbing the Gusto

 

The final product, however, looked and tasted great. I’ll make this recipe again soon. I love the idea of substituting nut meal for bread crumbs. Walnuts would also work well. I served the chicken with a cauliflower dish that I really didn’t like (so you won’t see it here) and the usual microwaved easy sweet potatoes.

Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Mozzarella from Grabbing the Gusto

Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Mozzarella from Grabbing the Gusto

Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese

You’ll need a casserole dish big enough for the chicken, heavy plastic bag or wrap (for pounding), rubber mallet or meat pounder (or improvise, I used a wine bottle at the beach), three small bowls and a spatula.

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, trimmed of fat
  • 2 heaping tablespoons basil pesto 
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream
  • 2 heaping tablespoons grated mozzarella cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten 
  • 3 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 3 tablespoons almond meal (grind almonds in a food processor or coffee grinder) or almond flour
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray. Put chicken breasts one at a time inside a plastic bag and pound until the chicken is as thin as you can get it.

In a small bowl, mix together the pesto, sour cream and mozzarella. Use a spatula to spread a thin layer over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the chicken, so it doesn’t run out that much as it cooks. Roll up the breasts and secure them with a couple of toothpicks. 

Prepare two bowls, one with the egg and the other with the Parmesan-almond mixture, seasoned with black pepper to taste. Dip each roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan-almond mixture, patting it on so the  roll is well-coated. 

Put chicken breasts into the casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and lightly browned. Start checking after about 25-30 minutes, total baking time will be 30-35 minutes.

Original recipe: Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese, Kalyn’s Kitchen

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6 thoughts on “Baked Stuffed Chicken with Pesto and Mozzarella

  1. trialsinfood says:

    looks good! i always overstuff my chicken to the point that it oozes out.

    1. deirdrereid says:

      Mine didn’t ooze as much as I thought it would, but I rather overstuff than not. Looking for another stuff and roll recipe! Any suggestions?

  2. Glad you enjoyed the recipe! And thank you for correctly crediting me and linking to the recipe on my site.

  3. deirdrereid says:

    You’re welcome, Kalyn. Thanks for sharing so many excellent recipes!

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