Sunday, August 7, 2016

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes

I am about to post a recipe that *gasp* I do not have photos of, but as I've gone nearly a year without posting, I am making an exception for myself (mostly because I am the one who cares the most about our blog having photos with the recipes).  I feel fairly sad about that, because I will note that this chicken turns out quite aesthetically pleasing.

I have a semi-part-time job which involves cooking nice dinners for small groups of people, and it's highly enjoyable, particularly when I get to choose the dish.  I forgot how much I enjoy the challenge of creating a meal that many people enjoy regardless of differing tastes and dietary requirements.  Here's what I made tonight, an easy crowd-pleaser:

Stuffed Chicken with Pesto, Mozzarella, and Tomatoes
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup pesto
1 lb mozzarella cheese
1/2 lb cherry tomatoes
Olive Oil
Bread Crumbs

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking sheet or glass pan. Dredge outside only of chicken in olive oil, then breadcrumbs. Butterfly the chicken halves by slicing the long, thin side nearly all the way through (but leave enough to keep the pieces together).  Spread pesto evenly across all four pieces.  Slice mozzarella and spread evenly across all four pieces. Slice cherry tomatoes in half, place roughly 4 tomatoes on each open piece of chicken.  Fold chicken closed and securely fasten with toothpicks. (Pull sides of chicken as tightly together as possible, potentially using multiple toothpicks.  The risk is having some melted cheese and pesto drip out, not to worry if you do, just spoon back over the top of the chicken once cooked).  Slice the rest of the cherry tomatoes and place on top of chicken and in the pan.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.  These chicken breasts were quite large, so I cut them in half and found that this comfortably served 8 with sufficient side dishes, or you could make the chicken the focus of the meal with a small salad on the side.

note: I tried to include measurements here for those that prefer them, but you should follow your instincts and use less cheese, if you aren't a cheese fanatic like us sisters, or more tomatoes, if you have an abundance, etc. etc. I would consider stuffing some spinach leaves in there in the future, as well.  Could easily be gluten-free w/out breadcrumbs, or with gluten-free ones, so that's why it is tagged as such.

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