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Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta & Pine Nuts

September 8, 2010

As I often write, I thoroughly enjoy testing out new recipes.  I love finding that recipe that seems drool worthy and recreating it at home, but sometimes that key phrase “seems drool worthy” does ring true.  Regardless of how the meal turns out I think it is still important to share the recipes with all of you so you can hear how I might suggest improving upon it or you may find you like it just the way it is.  (Cooking is incredibly subjective, so just because I am not a fan does not mean you won’t be.)   Plus it drives home the point that you might not love everything you eat, but it is important to try!  A point my children will come to love I am sure.

Chicken Stuffed with Spinach, Feta, and Pine Nuts
Yields: 4 Servings

5 ounce Fresh spinach (chopped)
1/2 cup Feta cheese (2 ounces, crumbled)
2 tablespoon Pine nuts (toasted)
1 teaspoon Fresh thyme (minced)
2 teaspoon Fresh lemon juice
2 Garlic cloves (minced)
4 6-ounce Skinless, boneless chicken breast
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 teaspoon Freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Olive oil
1/2 cup Fat-free low-sodium chicken broth

1. Preheat oven to 350°.
2. Heat a large nonstick ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Add spinach to pan; cook 1 minute or until spinach wilts, tossing constantly. Place spinach in a colander; press until barely moist. Wipe pan clean.
3. Combine spinach, cheese, nuts, thyme, juice, and garlic. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of each chicken breast half to form a pocket. Stuff 3 tablespoons filling into each pocket. Seal with wooden picks. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.

4. Heat oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until brown. Add broth, and cover pan. Place pan in oven. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until done.

*Notes from experience: Holy guacamole pine nuts can be expensive!  I will no longer be recommending recipes with pine nuts to my clients on a budget and am currently in search of a lower cost alternative.  Plus, I did not feel like they enhanced this particular recipe all that much.  Who wants to pay $8 a bag for lack of flavor?

All in all, this recipe didn’t really pack the flavor punch I was looking for.  The feta seemed to be too mild to stand up to the spinach and the chicken needed more solid seasoning.  In the future, I would try a different cheese and perhaps increase the amount of lemon juice in hopes the citrus would draw out the flavor even more than it did.  I highly recommend seasoning the chicken well on both sides with salt and pepper, as well as adding a quick pinch to the stuffing.

And last but not least, be careful when you remove the pan from the oven.  It’s easy to get absent-minded and forget that the handle and lid will now be hot and touching them with any part of your body may be harmful.  Just ask my elbow.  And my fingers. 

Let me know what you think if you try out this recipe.  I love hearing about other people’s cooking experience.

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