Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

dsc_1577RECIPE #352, DAY #533

THREE STARS

ORIGINAL RECIPE: “Cheesy Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken with Tomato Rice” from December 2016 Food Network Magazine*

TIMING: 30 minutes, with some bake time to go change out of your work clothes or make a side dish

DIFFICULTY: A little more involved than easy

TOOLS: Baking sheet, knife and cutting board

COOK TYPE: Oven

HEALTH: Chicken breasts have long been a health- or diet-staple. Low in fat and high in protein, I would have to agree with this (although I also agree with sometimes eating skin, dark meat, and other meats). Eaten brimming with broccoli only increases the humble breasts’ health potential, but of course then you have the cheese. Not that the cheese is overdone, here, because it’s not. (Due to convenience, this is a pretty high-sodium dish, at least compared to my recipes.)dsc_1578

EXPERIENCE: When I saw this recipe in my magazine, I immediately went back to that place, in high school, around the dinner table and my mom had set before me a breaded chicken breast from the Schwann’s man. I cut into it and lo and behold, molten cheese and broccoli. It was one of my favorite dinners.

I knew right away that this wouldn’t be exactly the same, because of the missing crust (and frying, I’m sure). But I was still hoping…

Alas, it was pretty disappointing to me. Granted, I cooked the chicken perfectly, but it seemed a little under-seasoned/flat. And the broccoli mixture? Well, the brocolli was still basically raw and the cheese was too reserved and just not the taste that this needed. Honestly, I think some Cheese Whiz would have made more sense than the Boursin here.

With a few adjustments, though, this could become an easy and delicious weeknight (and I mean desperate weeknight) supper.

NOTES: I have made some large adjustments to this recipe. So hopefully the new one will work. If it doesn’t, feel free to let me know.

Instead of using frozen broccoli, you could lightly steam some fresh broccoli.

For the cheddar cheese spread, you can go with something like Hans’ All Natural, Cheese Whiz (if you use that sort of thing), Laughing Cow (if you use that sort of thing)… whatever. You can also make your own Velveetesque cheese spread. It’s easy, but you’d want to have it already on hand when you hit this easy, rushed-night recipe.

***

  1. Preheat oven to 450F.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, combine 1 cup minced defrosted (and dried) frozen broccoli, 1/2 cup cheddar cheese spread, 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest, 1 teaspoon grapeseed oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside.
  3. Cut 3 deep slits across 4 skinless chicken breasts. Rub the chicken with grapeseed oil, somewhat generous salt, pepper, and 1/2 teaspoon paprika. Stuff the broccoli mixture into the slits and mound neatly on top.
  4. Place the chicken on a rimmed baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes before checking for an internal temperature of 165F.

***

Serve with Tomato Rice and some sort of sweet potato or orange squash side.

*Recipe changed from the original.

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