From Mel's Kitchen Cafe (again - she is awesome). Two nights ago I made this. I will say its trickier than usual for me. I have never cut a pocket in a chicken breast and stuffed it, however, on her website she has step-by-step instructions if you want to take a look. All you do is click on the link for this chicken recipe and it has links within to help you. This dish was completely worth the little bit of extra effort. My children loved it and I used fresh basil and cherry tomatoes from my garden which made me very happy. To think I actually grew ingredients for this dish! I loved it. I used fresh mozzarella just because I like the way it melts and tastes. The only thing I would change is that I would squeeze another lemon over the top of the breadcrumbs (i used seasoned pre-made ones, not fresh). I love the taste of lemon and garlic and even though there is a squeeze of lemon in the filling, I would like it in the crumb mixture too.
Don't be intimidated by stuffing the chicken (if you are) - its really easy and I think the more I make it, the more comfortable I will be with being organized and tidy. My kitchen looked like a storm came through after I was done. I imagine you could make these in the morning and put them in the fridge to bake for dinner later.
One more thing...I am a mayonnaise hater and it calls for mayo. Yuck. But I put it on to help the breadcrumbs stick and in the end, I didn't even know it was in the dish.
Cheesy Basil Stuffed Chicken Breasts
*Note: the chicken breasts called for in this recipe need to be on the thicker side because a pocket is cut into the thickest part of the chicken breasts (similar to this recipe) and the delicious cheese-basil filling is stuffed inside. Thinner chicken breasts won't work well for that crucial step.
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil, divided
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (see note)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise, lowfat or regular
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees F. In a medium bowl, combine the shredded cheese, 2 tablespoons of the minced basil, cream, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Cut a pocket in chicken breasts, stuff with cheese mixture and seal, using a toothpick to help close the slit, if necessary. Transfer the stuffed breasts to 13 by 9 inch baking dish and spread tops evenly with mayonnaise.
In a medium bowl, combine the bread crumbs, remaining garlic, remaining fresh basil, and one tablespoon olive oil (this is where I would squeeze another half lemon). Sprinkle crumb mixture over chicken, pressing lightly to adhere.
Toss tomatoes with remaining tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Arrange the tomatoes in the baking dish in and around the chicken. Bake until the crumbs are golden brown and the chicken is cooked through (registering 160 degrees on an instant-read thermometer) about 25 minutes. Serve immediately.
Last edited by SurfLola; 09-14-2011 at 04:09 PM..