5-ingredient spinach and feta-stuffed chicken breasts, aka family group text

My family has a very active group text. Very active.

No matter the day, no matter where I am, I can tell you what my mom, dad, and sister are eating for dinner, what all of the dogs are doing, how my mom’s flowers are doing, etc.

Screenshot 2016-04-26 12.48.53.png
these crazy kids

I love that we stay connected, and how much we bond over food. Everyone in my family is a talented cook, each with his or her own flair. My dad loves experimenting with the flavors of the world, making curries, jerk chicken, or other dishes inspired by his travels. Mom cooks with a lot of love — chop a bunch of stuff up, throw it in a pan, salt it well, and see what happens (it always turns out delicious). My sister is a gourmand, experimenting with more advanced techniques and tools.

It’s fun to share meal ideas (I’d say “recipes”, but no one follows recipes in my family) and watch everyone expand their horizons in the kitchen.

Lately, everyone’s been cooking stuffed chicken breast. It started with my dad, who made his with feta and spinach. Then, my sister made a similar dish. Inspired by both of them, I decided to make my version of this healthy, one-pan, 5-ingredient meal.

I was amazed at just how simple this dish was to make. You wilt the spinach, toast the nuts, mix it together, stuff the breasts, and what have you got?

Bippity boppity boo.

The best part is, clean-up is deliriously easy — just one pan (and a spatula and cutting board and knife but focus on the positive)Enjoy.

YOU’LL NEED

  • Large skillet (oven-safe)
  • Wide spatula
  • Cutting board
  • Chef’s knife
  • Meat thermometer (under $10 on Amazon!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1/4 cup feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. sun-dried tomatoes
  • 4 cups baby spinach
  • 1/4 cup raw pine nuts
  • (EVOO/grass-fed butter/both, salt, pepper)

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Wilt spinach: Heat the skillet over medium heat and place all the spinach in the pan (no need for oil). Drop about a tablespoon of water into the pan and stir occasionally, allowing the greens to wilt. Don’t over-do it (you don’t want green mush). Stir in a pinch of salt, then remove from heat.
  3. Remove water from spinach: Collect all the spinach on one side of the pan, and squeeze it with a back of a spoon to remove the excess water (discard water into sink). Do this until all the water is gone. Place the wilted spinach in a mixing bowl.
  4. Toast your pine nuts: Put the pan back on the burner, and turn the heat up to medium. Pour the pine nuts into the pan and allow them to toast, stirring occasionally. When they are golden and fragrant, remove pan from the heat and empty them into the bowl with the spinach.
  5. Make stuffing: Add feta and sundried tomatoes to the bowl with the spinach and pine nuts. Mix everything together.
  6. Prep chicken: Lay your chicken breasts flat on your cutting board. Place your hand flat on the chicken and press it down. Use your knife to cut a horizontal slit in the chicken. Cut most of the way across the breast, but not all the way (don’t split it in two).

    20150716-chicken-fried-chicken-recipe-food-lab-03
    photo from seriouseats.com
  7. Stuff breasts: Stuff half of the filling into each of the breasts. Really get it in there. Salt and pepper the side of the breast that is facing up.
  8. Sear breasts: Heat EVOO in the same skillet you’ve been using over medium heat. Place the salted/peppered side of the breasts down on the skillet. Allow to sear for 3-4 minutes, until it releases easily from the pan. Salt and pepper the side facing you, then flip it. Cook for 3-4 more minutes.
  9. Bake breasts: Place the entire pan in the oven and bake for about 5-8 more minutes (depending on the size of your breast), until the juices run clear. For best results, use a meat thermometer: When the thermometer reads 160, remove the pan from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes (it will continue to cook). If you don’t have a meat thermometer, cut into one breast before serving to ensure it’s thoroughly cooked. You don’t want to be that guy who serves raw chicken. Serve with a hefty garden salad with a my simple lemon vinaigrette. Enjoy!
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2 thoughts on “5-ingredient spinach and feta-stuffed chicken breasts, aka family group text

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