Healthy Stuffed Chicken (Second Meal)

The Hubs has been doing an awesome job lately of consistently exercising and especially eating foods that are out of his comfort zone (raw veggies! gasp!). I am super proud of him! I know he will reach his weight loss goal if he continues down this road.

On the other side of that is: if he wants to continue down this road, I need to be on board to help him. Genesis 2:18 says “It is not good for man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” (emphasis mine) I love this verse, because it’s very practical when it comes to being a wife. I am created to be my husband’s helper. I read a book by a Christian author that gave me this awesome filter to ask of everything I do: Am I helping or hindering my husband? (Always good for a gut check!) So, in his weight loss goals, I am coming alongside him to be his HELPER. Which means making healthy (well, health-IER) meals! I’m so excited that he’s motivated enough to try new things.

A Second Meal using tomatoes, onion, and spinach is stuffed chicken. (See here for a First Meal.) The first time I made this was before work one night, when I was prepping dinner before I had to leave for work. The hubs had requested something healthier than the chicken nuggets and Mac n Cheese I was making for the kids. I got a family pack of chicken breast when it was on sale, and some of the breasts were really large and thick. I cut them into smaller tenderloins and was thinking about butterflying some too. I was going to just grill a chicken breast for him, but then this idea came to me. I recently used it again for my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner at our house. Modifications for a larger group are in red

WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
Chicken Breast
Bell peppers – red, yellow, and orange
Onion (any kind will do – red, Spanish, or white)
Tomatoes (Roma work best because they’re firm)
Spinach
Italian dressing (click here for homemade recipe)
Butter or cooking oil
*Optional: shredded cheese like Parmesan, Mozzarella, or Italian Blend
*As always, adjust ingredients or recipe to your tastes!

1. Butterfly a thick chicken breast, leaving enough connective protein to keep it shut after you stuff it (I’d say it’s in between a butterfly cut and cutting a pocket in your meat – more open than a pocket, but not completely cut through either.) Drizzle with some Italian Dressing, spread with a pastry brush all over and let it marinate on your raw meats cutting board while you cook vegetables. When I made this for the whole family, I made a homemade Italian dressing for the marinade, adding 3 extra garlic cloves for more flavor. I put them in a glass baking dish and poured the dressing over top.

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2. Heat a small pat of butter or drizzle of oil in a small skillet. For a large group, I used my large skillet. Add chopped onions, tomatoes, bell peppers (I used yellow and orange and red), and spinach. Saute very gently and sprinkle a little S&P.  Remove from heat. You can stir in cheese to the filling as well; I added about 1- 1 1/2 Tblspn Italian blendFor the large group, I used a handful of shredded parmesan cheese, about a quarter of each color pepper, half a Spanish onion, 5 Roma tomatoes, and a whole bag of spinach (remember it shrinks!), then put the stuffing in a bowl until I needed it. *Be careful with this though – you might have to drain the veggies of liquid before you stuff your chicken!

3. Heat grill pan over medium-high heat. Meanwhile add the vegetables to the chicken – inside the ‘pocket’ – and fold the other part of the chicken over to close. When grill pan is hot enough that water sizzles loudly when flicked onto surface, lift chicken with tongs & spatula and set on grill pan. (Use tongs on open side holding it closed and spatula underneath closed side.) Cook for approximately 7 minutes or until chicken no longer sticks to pan and there are nice grill marks on bottom. Then flip and cook the same on the other side (using tongs again to keep pocket from falling open).

4. Move chicken to a sheet pan with edges. I line with aluminum foil for easy clean up. I had a lot of extra filling, so I spooned more over top before baking. Finish in a 350º oven for 10-15 minutes or until chicken is cooked through. (If you want to know if it’s cooked or not without cutting into it, ‘feel’ it with the tongs. It should no longer be soft, but springy and almost firm. If it’s too firm and hard, it’s overcooked and will be dry and chewy.)

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That first time I made this, I wished I had made two so I could have devoured one before work. He loved it and even though he’s never been a big spinach or tomato fan, he ate the WHOLE thing and said the stuffing was awesome. At my brother-in-law’s birthday dinner, all the plates came back empty. I hope you enjoy this healthy, quick and delicious entrée!

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