Kitchen Challenge: Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese – Jan 10

One of my 2012 resolutions was to get back into my healthy eating habits and try new recipes. In order for me to stay accountable, I joined up with my iFriend Carrie on her Kitchen Challenge as buddies. We’re helping each other out! I do have to say, if it wasn’t for her encouragement, I wouldn’t of done this recipe. Well, at least not this past week.

You see, Mr. P and I were in the middle of a house project. A specific house project actually. One to do with my other resolution – the kitchen! We were creating a new sink base to use in our temporary kitchen so we can finish demolishing the rest of the normal kitchen. I had been on my feet the entire day, which is not ideal anyway, but then you add AS into the equation and it just really complicates things. And then, it hit me, its almost the end of the week and I have yet to accomplish my Kitchen Challenge. Not the way I wanted to start the new year. I could of copped out and said, oh I’ll just do this recipe later, but I had already defrosted the chicken; I can’t let it go to waste! So, I sucked it up, pushed through the pain like I normally do, and just did it.

The dish I really wanted to make was from my Pinterest account. It’s called Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese by Kalyn’s Kitchen. For the original recipe, click here. I changed it a little bit due to a lack of some ingredients and tired feet, but other than that, I stuck to the script.

So, ladies and gents, here’s the recipe the way I did it; on tired, sore feet, and a bad back. Also, sorry if the pictures are a little wonky, and not ideal. It was the first time I’d use my new iPhone camera!! EEEE 🙂

So, here we go!!

First, the Ingredients and Instructions for the Basil Pesto with Lemon. I used her recipe as guideline, but modified it to what I have in my kitchen.

My Ingredients:

  • Half a tube full of the Gourmet Garden Basil (or if you have fresh, use about 2 cups!)
  • 4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled, and then pressed
  • 1/2 cup of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
  • fresh squeezed lemon juice, sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
  • a pinch of garlic/onion powder

And here’s a picture of my ingredients:

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Instructions:

In a bowl, mix together half tube of basil with the pressed garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, Parmesan Cheese together. Mix until thoroughly combined. Then I added the lemon, salt, and black pepper, and pinch of garlic/onion powder until the taste satisfied me.

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Opps, did you see my finger! Still getting used to the camera. 🙂

Set basil pesto with lemon aside. And yes, it was that easy!

Now, onto the remainder of the recipe!

My Ingredients:

  • 2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 tbsp Basil Pesto with Lemon (see above!)
  • 2 tbsp non-fat plain greek yogurt in replace of low-fat sour cream
  • 2 tbsp grated mozzarella cheese
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • black pepper to taste

Instructions:

Trim any visible fat from chicken breasts, then put them one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag.

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Now, she says to pound with meat mallet until the chicken is as thin as you can get it.  However, if you don’t have a meat mallet, or you can’t find it because your kitchen is in disarray due to renovation, use a rolling pin. (I do have to say, beating the crap out of chicken is very therapeutic!!)

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Don’t worry too much about the shape or whether there are some loose pieces, you’ll tuck them in when you roll up the chicken.

Now, before we continue, did you know you can replace sour cream with greek yogurt?? IT TASTES EXACTLY THE SAME but has few calories and more protein!! Make sure to use plain or non-fat plain, otherwise it wont taste right. I recommend Greek Gods which can be found at King Sooper’s, and yes, this is my unpaid, professional opinion. 😉

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Now, grab your basil pesto and add your non-fat plain greek yogurt, and grated mozzarella in a bowl.

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Use a spoon to spread a thin layer of this mixture over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the chicken (so it doesn’t run out so much as it cooks.)

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Roll up the chicken breasts and secure them with a couple of toothpicks.

Now, if you remember from my cupcake recipe, I hate doing this step first because any modern day oven should not take this long to heat-up! So, if you have a modern oven, go ahead and preheat your oven to 375F, otherwise do it first. Line your baking pan/casserole dish with aluminum foil or you can spray with non-stick spray. I like lining it because its easier clean-up!

Prepare two bowls, one with the beaten egg and the other with the grated Parmesan, seasoned with black pepper to taste.  Dip each chicken breast roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan, patting it on so the chicken breast roll is well-coated with the mixture. And just a fair warning, this gets very slippery!! So, make sure you use a lot of toothpicks.

Put chicken breasts into the casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and the cheese has bubbled. Start checking after about 25-30 minutes; total baking time will be 30-35 minutes.  Serve hot.

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Please excuse the messy plate! I reused my basil pesto plate to serve my dinner in. Remember – no sink to clean-up! Mr. P got the clean plate, and by the time I realized I didn’t have a final picture, he ate two-thirds of his!!

TA DA!!!

I hope you guys like the recipe! At least, my version of it. 🙂  Let me know if you tried this and if you did anything differently! I’d love to know if they were a huge success like they were in my family! 🙂

Thanks Kalyn ‘s Kitchen for the inspiration!! And thanks Carrie for the motivation to keep going. 🙂

Much Love,

If you’re a newbie here, welcome!

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16 thoughts on “Kitchen Challenge: Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese – Jan 10

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