Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Cream Cheese-and-Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

You're interested just from the title, aren't you?  My life would be so sad without cream cheese.  One of my favorite snacks is Wheat Thins with cream cheese and some jalapeno pepper jelly on top, but I make a meal out of it so easily that I just had to cut myself off. 

The pesto can be store-bought, or you can use some of your homemade pesto.  Here's a handy tip that Bizzuck's sister, Kinsey, gave me about homemade pesto: freeze it in ice cube trays.  The recipe does make a lot, and since you probably won't use it all at one time, just freeze it in trays, and when you're ready to use some, just pop a cube or two out.  Thanks for the tip, Kinsey!  I also hear you can do the same thing with chicken broth, since you probably rarely use the whole box before you're supposed to throw it away.  Thanks for that tip, Erica!  I have such helpful friends.

I made two chicken breasts with the mixture, and I added some julienned sun-dried tomatoes that the original recipe didn't call for, but I think they were a great addition to this dish.  Enjoy!

Cream Cheese-and-Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 egg
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp reduced-fat cream cheese
1 Tbsp pesto
1 tsp chopped sun-dried tomatoes, if desired
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400.  Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.  Combine cream cheese, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and black pepper in a small bowl with a fork. 

Cut a horizontal slit along the long edge of the chicken breasts, nearly through to the opposite side.  Open up each breast and put half of the filling in each, spreading neatly.  Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges together firmly to seal. 

Lighty beat egg in a medium bowl.  Place breadcrumbs in a shallow dish.  Hold each chicken breast together, dip in egg, and dredge in breadcrumbs.

Heat oil in a large, non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken breasts, and cook until browned on one sde, about 2-3 minutes.  Place the chicken, brown-side-up, on a baking sheet, and bake at 400 for 20 minutes. 

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