An epic baked stuffed chicken breast! Slathered in tasty Italian flavours, then stuffed with sun dried tomatoes, spinach and cheese, this chicken breast is juicy and oozing with flavour. Five minutes is all it takes to prepare this with no marinating time required.
This is one of those recipes that’s so easy and versatile, you don’t even need a recipe for it. The variation possibilities are endless in case you don’t have the exact ingredients called for, and I’ve provided a handful of ideas. So you can make this tonight with whatever you have!
One of the pleasures / tortures of working in the food industry is constantly being surrounded by food. Whether on social media, research, creating and testing recipes, jobs for clients, for my monthly feature in Super Food Ideas magazine, and even when I’m with friends and family, I live and breath (and eat) food for most of my waking hours.
In fact, I see so much food that it takes something seriously good to grab my attention. And when this Sun Dried Tomato, Spinach and Cheese Stuffed Chicken from Yammie’s Noshery came across my radar, I jumped on it straight away. It was just meant to be. I had everything to make it, and I made it that very night. Well, a variation of it. Because – you know. That’s just what I do. I rarely stick to the script. 😉
This is one of those secret weapon recipes that tastes so ridiculously good and yet you barely need a recipe for it. In fact, these photos are all you need:
The beauty of this recipe is that it’s a base that you can adapt to your own taste using whatever ingredients you have. Assuming that you have chicken breast. And cheese. Because….well, you know. The end result just wouldn’t be the same if you didn’t have both of those……
So I’ve added a bunch of suggestions in the recipe notes. Basil, ricotta, feta, other pickled / marinated vegetables, frozen spinach, olives, to name a few.
I love making this with sun dried tomato because for a relatively unattractive looking shrivelled up vegetable, it packs a lot of flavour punch which is right up my alley. So I always have a jar lurking in my fridge. Just a bit of sun dried tomato can make anything so much more interesting. Think – omelettes/frittas, pastas, salads.
The one thing I did differently from the original recipe was swapping out the bottled Italian dressing for a simple homemade Italian dressing that is thicker than what I use for salads. It’s more like a thin paste. By making it thicker than usual salad dressings, the flavour sticks to the chicken breast better which eliminates the need for marinating time.
Speed and no advance preparation is what this recipe is all about!
I am quite particular about how I cook with chicken breast. It’s so lean, I find it either has to be marinated, or pounded thin so it cooks quickly and stays nice and juicy. I honestly have no memory of my mother cooking with chicken breast when I was growing up. Asian food is all about “dark meat” which is fattier and has more flavour – thigh fillets, wings, drumsticks. (No feet and other questionable parts for me!)
However, this method of cooking chicken breast works really well to keep it beautifully juicy. It cooks faster than a whole chicken breast even though it is stuffed because the stuffing is not as dense as chicken flesh.
And as it roasts, the juices from the sun dried tomato and cheese bastes the chicken which is already slathered in the Italian dressing, so when you take it out of the oven, you will find plenty of sauce in the skillet to pour over the chicken when you serve it.
I know I’m talking this up as a fast midweek meal, but I swear, I would happily serve this up for company too. It’s one of those crowd pleaser meals, don’t you think?? – Nagi x
- 2 small chicken breasts (6oz/180g), boneless and skinless
- ½ cup sun dried tomato, cut into strips (oil packed. Use enough to cover the chicken)
- 4 slices mozzarella cheese (or other melting cheese of choice)
- Handful of spinach leaves
- 2 tsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp Dijon Mustard
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar or lemon juice
- ½ tsp sugar (any)
- 2 tsp olive oil
- ½ tsp EACH Italian mixed her and red pepper flakes (Note 1)
- Salt & pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C/350F.
- Whisk together the Italian Dressing ingredients in a bowl. It will be thicker than salad dressing.
- Cut a pocket into each chicken breast, taking care not to cut all the way though.
- Coat the chicken (inside and out) with the Italian Dressing.
- Place chicken on work surface. Stuff with sun dried tomato, top with cheese then finish with spinach leaves. Just stuff in as much as you can.
- Seal with toothpicks (just stick them in on the diagonal - see photo in post).
- Heat oil in an ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add chicken and cook for 1½ minutes on each side, or until golden.
- Transfer to oven and cook for 15 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly and chicken is cooked through. Rest for 3 minutes before serving, drizzled with the juices in the skillet.
2. Typically, a 6oz/180g chicken breast (which is a small chicken breast) will take 25 minutes to roast at 180C/350F. This recipe takes less time to roast because: a) it is started on the stove; and b) because the breast is stuffed, it cooks a bit from the inside because the stuffing is not as dense as chicken flesh.
Roasting times for different chicken breast sizes (2 - 4 breasts, for more, add a few minutes) at 180C/350F:
Small 6oz/180g - 15 minutes
Medium 7 oz / 210g - 18 minutes
Large 8oz/250g - 20 minutes
3. Other ideas for stuffing: Spinach (thawed frozen spinach, excess water squeezed out), ricotta, feta, olives, other pickled / marinated vegetables, fresh herbs, bacon (of course).
4. Slightly adapted from this Sun Dried Tomato, Spinach and Cheese Chicken by Yammie's Noshery.
5. Nutrition is per serving, for a whole 6oz/180g chicken breast per person. If you use chicken breast much larger than this, each chicken breast can serve 2 people.
Nutrition is per serving, for a whole 6oz/180g chicken breast per person. If you use chicken breast much larger than this, each chicken breast can serve 2 people.
Life of Dozer: Turns out he loves sun dried tomatoes and asparagus as much as his Mama. 😉 (OK OK….he got some chicken too…..)
PS Yes I am using chopsticks feed him. Soooooo Asian, I know…..!!!