Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Fight the Slime!

Unlike last week’s post, this recipe – I had to tweak a little.  Not the ingredients but the method.  Have you ever tried to wrestle a slimy piece of chicken that has a filling inside it into egg, then bread crumbs and somehow have a prayer of getting that into the baking dish the seam side down with the filling intact inside the chicken?  Yeah, the first few times for me didn’t go so well either.  (And I have a toddler so I'm used to juggling slimy things.) But, if you do the egg and bread crumbs first, then the filling, you have far less margin for error.
I made these bundles of yum for dinner when my cousin Tatum and her family came for dinner.  Andy has a man crush on Joel (my cousin’s husband).  Bronwyn was doing her best practicing sharing of her toys with their son Noah. 

Baked Mozzarella Chicken RollsIngredients
2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (8 4-ounce pieces)
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 ounces fresh baby spinach
1 clove minced garlic and olive oil for sautéing
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
2 beaten eggs
3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
1 cup marinara sauce
fresh basil for topping
Prep the chicken: Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and pound the pieces until they are thin (for quick cooking) and have expanded in surface area (for more filling). Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
Prep the filling: Chop the spinach and sauté it with the garlic and just a drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted. Combine the sautéed spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 1 beaten egg. Place the remaining egg in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
Assemble the chicken: Oil the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a "seam". Dip the entire chicken roll in egg, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.
Finishing touches: After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Cover the chicken with the marinara sauce and slices of fresh Mozzarella. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. Sprinkle with fresh basil.

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