Stuffed Italian Chicken Pouches

baked-chicken-rollatini-alla-parmigiana-with-spinachThis is one of those rather versatile dishes that can be altered to fit your particular taste buds, is decent for company, but not a lot of bother and parts can be made far ahead so you aren’t spending a ton of time in the kitchen.

Phew.

Oh, yeah, they taste pretty good.

So if you want a nice company meal where you can do most of the work even a day before, this would be it.

 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 large skinless/boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise (makes 8 thin pieces of chicken)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Italian style bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach (I like “Organic Girl” brand!)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon extra light olive oil
  • ½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 2 egg
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced into 8 pieces
  • 2 cups of your favorite marinara sauce
  • fresh basil for topping, sliced
  • 1 lb of vermicelli cooked as directed

INSTRUCTIONS:

  1. Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (cut each large breast length-wise) and pound the pieces until they are thin and as wide as possible. About ⅓ inch thick.
  2. Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
  3. Chop the spinach and saute it on medium with the garlic and the olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted.
  4. Combine the sauteed spinach with the ricotta, the rest of the Parmesan cheese, and 1 egg. Stir until well combined.
  5. Make your rollups!: spray the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a “seam”. Dip the entire chicken roll in the other egg which has been beat until just a bit foamy, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs.
  6. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Don’t place the chicken too close together, to allow the breadcrumbs to crisp.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes.
  8. After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Remove from the oven and cover the chicken with the remaining marinara sauce.
  9. Place a slice of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast
  10. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. (I also broiled the dish for about 3 minutes (watch closely not to burn!) to make the cheese extra melty)
  11. Sprinkle with fresh basil
  12. Bring to the table with a bowl of your favorite marinara sauce, and the vermicelli. Plate some pasta, a chicken roll and then some sauce over all. Pass some Parmigiano Reggiano for the top.
  13. Enjoy!
 SERVES: 8
NOTES: You could easily substitute other things like broccoli for the spinach or any vegetable you prefer, just make sure it’s tender crisp before and chopping it into small dice first. Leaving the sauce off in the baking process means that this works excellently as a left-over.
SOURCE: Adapted from The Cookie Rookie
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