Cream Cheese-&-Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Cream Cheese-&-Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

The hard part of making this elegant dish is choosing the filling. Making a pocket in the chicken breast to hold the stuffing is easy, particularly if you use a good, sharp, thin-bladed knife. Browning the chicken in a skillet before baking gives it a beautiful golden color. Finishing it in the oven ensures that it cooks evenly throughout.

From EatingWell: Winter 2004, The Essential EatingWell Cookbook (2004)
Yield: 4 servings
Active Time: 25
Total Time: 50

Ingredients

Cream Cheese-&-Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Breasts

  1. Filling of your choice, (see below)
  2. 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  3. 1 egg white
  4. 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  5. 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cream Cheese-Pesto Filling:

  1. 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchatel)
  2. 1 tablespoon basil pesto, (store-bought or homemade)
  3. Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Goat Cheese-Olive Filling:

  1. 2 tablespoons creamy goat cheese
  2. 1 tablespoon chopped black olives
  3. Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Ham & Cheese Filling:

  1. 1/4 cup grated Swiss, Monterey Jack or part-skim mozzarella cheese
  2. 2 tablespoons chopped ham
  3. 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  4. Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork.
  3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.
  4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)
  5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

Nutrition

Nutrition Per Serving: 233 calories; 9 g fat (4 g sat, 3 g mono); 81 mg cholesterol; 7 g carbohydrates; 33 g protein; 1 g fiber; 379 mg sodium; 351 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus:

1 Carbohydrate Serving

Exchanges: 1 Carbohydrate Serving, Exchanges: 1/2 starch, 3 1/2 lean meat, 1 fat