Thursday, February 21, 2013

Nothing Like Stuffing Some Chicken

Cajun Stuffed Chicken

I realized the other week that I haven't had chicken in a while. Luckily for me, chicken was on sale last week at my grocery store, buy 1 get 2 free. Who can resist that? Not me! So now I have about 8 pounds of chicken breasts in my freezer just waiting to be transformed into delicious meals! Other than the chicken adventures this week has been a bit interesting. Rainy in Phoenix yesterday, my dad and step-mom were in town, got my birthday card early (that's always nice), and I had Monday off of work for President's Day so it's been a shorter work week, Yay! I'm counting down the days to my birthday, March 4th, and also the days until I get to go visit my sister in Ohio! March will be an exciting month for me!

So I originally found something similar to this on Pinterest. OK very similar, you can find pretty much this exact recipe on Pinterest. I pretty much had the idea in my head, I just needed to check out some of the details, like cooking temperature and timing. As I've said before, and you've probably noticed this too if you've been following my posts, I've been wanting to venture out from the comfort zone of things I know I can cook well and that will turn out deliciously. So one of the things I've been wanting to experiment with is cooking whole chicken breasts instead of doing recipes where the chicken is cut up into bite-sized pieces. Granted when the chicken is in bite-sized pieces it's very easy to know when the chicken is fully cooked and not risk eating it under-cooked. For some reason that's one thing that always makes me slightly nervous when dealing with whole chicken breasts, or just larger pieces. Don't worry I'm over that now and you can expect to be seeing many more chicken recipes!

This recipe is fairly simple, there's not a lot of ingredients:

4 chicken breast halves
About 1 cup frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry (or fresh cooked spinach that works too!)
1 to 1-1/2 cups shredded pepper jack cheese (or any other cheese you want)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning, plus some extra for topping

Got everything? Great! Now let's get started by preheating that oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit! Got it done? Yes? OK now grab your chicken!

So it's pretty simple, in theory, take each chicken breast and make a cut about half way through length wise. Be careful not to cut too far through the chicken because then the chicken will probably fall one of mine did. Oops, oh well not everything goes perfectly the first time around.

Now you're going to take that squeeze-dried spinach, cheese, and seasonings and mix them up in a bowl.

Put about 1/4 cup or so of the filling onto the center of each chicken breast. I think I stuffed one of mine too much, you'll see why in a second or two. I was pretty messy with this one. I was trying to going quickly because I was expecting my parents to get to the house and I was rushing...this just goes to show that when you rush through things they don't turn out as good as they can.

Take a bunch of toothpicks, or maybe just a few if you're a pro at this. If you're like me, well I used probably 7 or 8 toothpicks to close the chicken around the filling. Just fold up the sides and secure the chicken with the toothpicks like so...

See how the toothpicks hold it all together? Yeah, that's what you want.

Look at how nice that looks! Beautiful! And then...there's this...

Whoops...oh well sometimes the chicken just doesn't want to cooperate. No worries! I managed to salvage it!  Now one of my stuffed chicken breasts turned out fabulously, just look at that beautifully crafted stuffed chicken breast up there!! Then this one? Yeah not so much, so with this I just grabbed a piece of aluminum foil and wrapped it all up in there. Don't worry it cooked just as well and gave me another idea for a different chicken dish!

Once your chicken is all wrapped up and secured with the tooth picks, place on a cooking sheet of some sort, or in a baking dish that works wonderfully too. Be sure to place the chicken seem-side up. Sprinkle the tops of the chicken with some more Cajun Seasoning and then place in the oven once it's preheated. Cook these for 30-35 minutes, until the chicken isn't pink and the juices run clear.

I sprinkled just a tad bit of extra cheese on these when there was about 2 minutes left, just because I love cheese. Again, these pictures aren't fantastic because I was in the middle of talking with my parents and wasn't doing much with the chicken. I was starving!! I didn't even make a side dish to go with these, ahh that was weird, I always make side dishes!

Mmmm, yummy, yummy, yummy!

I think adding some...potatoes would be good with this chicken...or Ooooo Pasta with a little sauce? Red or white sauce would both be delicious.

Maybe a side of crunchy carrots or cucumbers? The cheese and spinach inside the chicken are great, but to go along side this I would definitely do potatoes and a veggie.

Well, there ya go! I hope you like this one too!
I'm already starting to think about other types of stuffed chicken I can make...

Thanks for stopping by!
'Til Next Time!!

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