Caprese Stuffed Chicken

Caprese Stuffed Chicken

 

First zucchini lasagna, and now a caprese salad.  I guess I am on a bit of an Italian kick.  But why not?  I know when we think Italian food, normally our minds go to pasta, but there's so much more.  In Italy the vegetables are fantastic (as are the meats, the wines, the olive oils).  

The caprese salad.  Not so much a salad, but slices of creamy mozzarella and fresh tomatoes with a sprinkle of basil.  Summer on a plate. What’s better than summer on a plate?  Summer tucked into a chicken breast.

Cuisine

Italian

Serves

4

Dish Type

Main Dish

Time

30 minutes

 

This recipe is

6 WW Freestyle Points*                  Under 30 minutes            Keto

Gluten Free        Nut free              

Ingredients

  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • 8 slices mozzarella cheese
  • 1 tomato, sliced or ¼ cup sun dried tomatoes
  • 8 large basil leaves
  • Salt, pepper to taste

 *This recipe is 6 WW Freestyle Points with fresh tomatoes.  Sun-dried tomatoes will add points.

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 350. Heat oil in cast iron skillet to medium heat on stovetop.
  • Carefully slice chicken breasts, but don’t slice all the way through. Create a pocket for stuffing.
  • Layer slices of cheese, tomato, and basil in the middle of each breast.
  • Season the outside of the chicken breast with garlic powder, salt, and pepper.
  • In large cast iron skillet or other oven safe skillet over medium heat, heat remaining oil. Place chicken in skillet, skin side down.  Brown chicken by cooking for 4 to 5 minutes on each side.
  • Place skillet in oven. Cook until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Serve hot

 

Start by prepping your oven and pan.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  The chicken will start on the stove top and then finish in the oven, so you’ll want to warm a cast iron or other oven safe skillet on the stove top.  If you don’t have an oven safe skillet, have a baking dish nearby.  Heat your oil in the skillet.
 
Chicken breast, butterflied to be stuffed with caprese salad 
Now to prepare the chicken.  There’s two ways you can do this.  One is the pocket method.  Carefully slice the chicken breasts.  Just be sure that you don’t slice the breast all the way through, just enough that you can open it to make a pocket for the stuffing.  The next step is to stuff the chicken breast.  You can layer the slices of tomato, cheese, and basil and then at once slide the stuffing into the middle of the breast.  I find that when layering and stuffing chicken breast with larger pieces, this tends to be easier.  With the smaller stuff, I find it’s easier to literally just stuff everything into the middle of the chicken breast pocket. 
 
Chicken breast, with cheese, basil, and sun-dried tomatoes 
I had some very large chicken breast, so instead of making a pocket, I butterflied the breasts.  I sliced the breasts almost completely in half and spread them out on my cutting board.  I layered the cheese, basil, and tomatoes on top of the chicken breast, which I will fold over before cooking.
 
 Caprese salad is made with fresh tomatoes, but today I changed it up by using sundried tomatoes instead of fresh ones.  The sun-dried tomatoes add a little extra flavor into the middle of the chicken breast. 
 
 Caprese chicken breast stuffed and and browning on the stove
Now close up the chicken breast. Since I sliced my chicken breast in more of a butterfly fashion, I used some toothpicks to close the meat.  Even if you use the pocket method, toothpicks will help the breast stay closed and keep the stuffing in, especially once the cheese melts.  After all, you want to keep that cheese inside the chicken breast, and not let it ooze out into your pan.  Season the outside of the chicken breast with garlic powder, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
 
Chicken breast browning on the stove in a cast iron skillet 
Place the chicken in the skillet.  If your breast has skin on, start skin side down.  Cook the chicken for about four or five minutes to brown the chicken, then flip the breast and cook on the stove for another five minutes.   Transfer the chicken breast to your baking dish if using, and place the chicken in the oven.  Cook until the chicken is cooked through, about another ten minutes, but maybe more if you are using thicker cuts of meat. 
 

 Caprese Chicken, after cooking.

When done, remove the chicken from the oven and serve hot. 

 Chicken caprese salad, served with roasted eggplant

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