Thursday, May 2, 2013

Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken

My kitchen has been closed for about a week now.


And no, we haven't spent a small fortune eating out.  Generally, we try to limit our nights out/ordering take-out to no more than two nights a week, with one being something casual and the other being our "date night".  We've found that eating home is not only cheaper, it's also much healthier. 

Instead, we've been eating out of the freezer this week.  You may have noticed that I often recommend doubling (or tripling) recipes and freezing the extra portion for a quick and simple dinner in the future (i.e. work day from hell).  Well, I practice what I preach, so I typically have a full freezer stocked with prepared food and staples (or at least I had one before this week). With my girls weekend in Charlotte this past weekend, I knew I'd have very little time to meal plan and grocery shop, so I decided to give myself a break from the kitchen and use up some of my freezer reserves. You know, extend my vacation a bit.  


I have to admit, it has been really nice to come home from work with nothing more to do than pop a dish in the oven, pour a glass of wine and read a magazine or work on the blog.  And don't get me started on the easy clean up.  That's where the real "break" comes in for me.   I love to cook (obviously), and would happily stand in a kitchen cooking until the cows come home; just don't make me do the dishes. I'll scream, I'll cry, I'll pitch a royal fit (this is all embarrassingly true). 

I hate to clean.  It's not my thing.

I figured it's only fair that if I get to take it easy in the kitchen this week, so should you.  So this week I am sharing with you my quick and easy-to-prep dishes for busy week nights.  Tuesday was the fish tacos, today is the stuffed chicken.  These two meals make it into the dinner rotation at least twice a month. 


The frequent reappearance of this dish may have something to do with the fact it is one of Scott's favorites; he calls it "Pizza Chicken."  Most likely because it tastes similar to my go-to pizza order of chicken, spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms, artichokes, basil and roasted red peppers (yep - I'm that person who orders ten toppings on a pizza). Or maybe because it kind of looks like a pizza.  Who knows.    Bottom line, it's simple, fast, relatively healthy and boyfriend/husband/son/whatever-male-is-in-your-life approved.  I don't think it gets any better. 


What you see below is my basic recipe.  Change it up if you are feeling saucy by adding (or substituting) some sauteed spinach, fresh tomatoes, artichokes, mushrooms, olives, etc.    

Roasted Red Pepper, Mozzarella and Basil Stuffed Chicken
Serves: 4
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time:  35 minutes
Total Time:  50 minutes

Ingredients:
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, sliced into 8 slices
1 12 oz jar of roasted red peppers sliced into 1 inch pieces (about two whole red peppers if you roast your own)
1 bunch of basil, whole leaves
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
Salt and pepper for seasoning

Directions:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Grease a 9x12 casserole dish.  Butterfly chicken breasts by slicing into the long side of the breast, stopping just about 1/4 of an inch from the opposite side.  Lay chicken breast in casserole dish opened up.  Sprinkle the exposed insides of the chicken breast with 1/2 of the Italian seasoning and salt and pepper.  Stack the roasted red pepper, basil, and 1 slice of the mozzarella on the bottom side of the chicken.  Fold the top flap of the chicken over, tucking in the mozzarella, basil and roasted red pepper as necessary.  Sprinkle with the remaining Italian seasoning.  Bake chicken for 30-40 minutes (until chicken is no longer pink).  Pull chicken out of oven and turn the oven to a high broil.  Top chicken with remaining mozzarella slices and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.  Broil until cheese is browned and bubbly, about 5 minutes.

76 comments:

  1. This looks so delicious! Thanks so much for the recipe idea!

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    1. Thank you Rosie! I am dying for one of your Raspberry and Mascarpone Cheesecake Popsicles!

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  2. I love your pictures and recipes. I'd like to inform you of a great new website www.foodieportal.com. I would like to invite you to come and join us and share your wonderful pictures with us. We are simply foodies and we are not photography snobs, so picture perfection is not important, all we care about is delicious food.

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  3. Yum! The roasted capsciums look like the perfect companion to the chicken. Cant wait to try this :)

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    1. Thank you Brooke! They add so much flavor to an otherwise boring (in my humble opinion) chicken breast

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  5. I'm trying it tonight! Looks great!

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  6. Made this last night and it was delicious! thanks for a great (and easy) recipe!

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  7. Mine is in the oven as we speak ... thank you for this great idea!!! I had roasted red peps in the fridge and chicken that needed to be cooked tonight, so hope the hubby is happy : ) Thanks again

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    1. I hope you and the hubby enjoyed them! They are always a hit in this house.

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  8. omg. I know what I'm cooking for dinner tomorrow. I just got some fresh mozzarella today. Thanks for sharing!

    Adia xx Adia Sinead

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  9. Cant wait to try this tonight :-)

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  10. I found that the mozzarella stuffed inside mostly all melted out and dripped into the bottom of the pan. I'm trying to figure out how to avoid this, by placing the mozzarella in later perhaps such as about halfway through baking time. Otherwise, quite good and SIMPLE. I love how it looks so gourmet, but was so easy to do.

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    Replies
    1. Lisa, try closing the seam with a toothpick. This should help keep the stuffing inside.

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  11. Would this go good with white rice?

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  12. Just joined Pinterest thanks to my girlfriend. Your recipe was the first I tried and utilized it for tonight's dinner. Turned out great, thank you! I did need help holding the "goods" in with a toothpick.

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    1. I often use toothpicks to keep the "goods" in also. Glad you liked it!

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  13. Not only does this look delicious, but it's super easy. I'm going to try it this week. Thanks for sharing.

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  14. Looks Great! A friend posted a pic of your recipe on Dietbet. How many calories per serving?

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  15. I made this tonight, is a keeper, it was so good. I did use a good quality marinara sauce at the end, I served over parmesan mash potatoes, au gratin asparagus, it look and taste very gourmet, thanks..

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    1. So glad you enjoyed! The parmesan mash sounds amazing!!

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  16. how many calories does this ruffly have?

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  17. Do you cook all 4 pieces of chicken and freeze the leftovers? How do you reheat the leftovers?

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    1. I freeze mine frozen. If you cook first, you risk over cooking when reheating. Make sure you cover well.

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    2. Do you mean you freeze yours raw and then reheat directly from the freezer? or do you thaw it first and then cook?

      MUST try this dish!

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  18. Made this yesterday for my and my boyfriend's anniversary.... Delicious. I used shredded mozzarella instead of slices,fresh red peppers instead of canned, and spinach instead of basil. I used toothpicks to keep everything inside. He loved it and so did I. The peppers added so much flavor. I really was nervous about making this but it was... perfection. :)

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    1. did you bake it covered or uncovered?

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    2. I'm wondering if it should be covered while it is cooking also. It's in the oven now and I may cover it, so it doesn't dry out.

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  19. Anyone have an idea on the nutritional info on this recipe? Especially the calories per serving?

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    1. 350 per serving see link below.

      http://www.yummly.com/recipe/Roasted-Red-Pepper_-Mozzarella-and-Basil-Stuffed-Chicken-988622

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  20. What is a good side dish to go with this meal? Already have it in the oven ;)

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    1. Zucchini noodles or even sliced zucchini seasoned and baked. Or Roasted asparagus , even over sautéed spinach

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    2. I agree with the commenter above - zucchini would be great. We often have it with roasted broccoli or asparagus with some Italian seasoning and olive oil.

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  21. Wanna give this a try....did you cook this dish "covered" or "uncovered"? I know the last step when adding the cheese topping should be uncovered....please respond!!

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    1. I cooked uncovered. It will allow the chicken get a little crispier.

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  22. How exactly would you prepare this for the freezer? Do you cook it part way, or just freeze it raw? I love the idea of having things ready to go, but am freezer impaired...:)

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    1. I would freeze it raw. It might be weird if the cheese melts and then gets frozen and then re-melted

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    2. I freeze mine raw. Just make sure you cover well with plastic wrap to avoid freezer burn.

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  23. Can u use kale instead of basil?

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    1. You definitely could, but I'm not sure the flavor profile will be the same. The basil has a bigger flavor punch than the kale will.

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  24. I made this tonight and it was delicious!!! The chicken breast I used was too thin to stuff as directed in the recipe, so I rolled it up instead. I baked it for about 35 mins and then broiled for another 5-7 mins... served it with asparagus and garlic mashed. It was a total hit and so easy!

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  25. I made this tonight, so easy and delicious...

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  26. OMG!!! Looks so good!! The chicken breasts w/ the roasted red peppers, mozzarella and basils --- can't wait to try this weekend (I'm off all weekend).... looks like a TRUE Winner!! I'm not a big eater/ but, my stomach is jumping! LOL!! Thank you.... :-)

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  27. If I use spinach should I use frozen or fresh?

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    1. I usually saute fresh spinach with olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper for a little more flavor. However, I'm sure frozen spinach would work also - just be sure to squeeze all excess moisture out.

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  28. Thank you...just popped this in the oven...serving with rice answer a super salad...

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  29. Auto correct is not my friend..."and a super salad"...lol...thanks again...can't wait to eat it...

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  30. love these ingredients --i am asking for any input as to duplicating this without an oven besides my trial and error of which i am about to experience

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    1. You can use a grill, just secure all ingredients in side with toothpicks. In last three to five minutes of grilling, add the mozzarella to the top and cover grill to allow the cheese to melt.

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  31. This might seem like a silly question, but how do you adjust it when you are cooking from frozen? Wondering about things like defrosting time/location, adjusting cooking time/temp?

    This looks like a delicious dinner for a chilly winter night! Thanks =)

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    1. I would like to know this same info. :)

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    2. I freeze before cooking, and then I let the dish thaw in the fridge 2 days before I am planning to cook. This way, you are not cooking from frozen. My concern is that the chicken may not cook as evenly from frozen.

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  32. Do you freeze the meal after it's been cooked?

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  33. I don't have time to run to the store for fresh mozzerella. I know it's best, but will it taste ok with the block?

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    1. Yes, it will still be good. The block cheese will melt and spread quicker, so just watch it after you top with the cheese.

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  34. This was so good my kids really loved it, they went back for seconds. I will definitely make this again.

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  35. Thank You. I made this tonight after my hubby saw it on Facebook. It was a smash. Will definitely be making it again. My husband thanks you too. ��

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    1. Thank you! So glad you enjoyed.

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  36. I sauted a small onion and two large cloves of garlic in some EVOO, and added 1/4 of the mixture to each of the chicken breasts in addition to your recipe. I served the chicken with a roasted tomato and additional fresh roasted green, yellow, and orange peppers. My husband loved it.. Thank-you.. ET

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    1. The addition of onions and garlic sounds wonderful!

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  37. awesome recipe. family loved it. i topped w pepperoni, mozzarella and some marinara sauce then broiled for 5 minutes

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    1. Ohh - I like the idea of pepperoni!

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  38. I am from a small town and am unable to buy fresh basil. Is there something else I can use in its place that would taste just as good?

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    1. You can use pesto as a substitute. You can also try dried basil, but the flavor will not be as strong.

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  39. I substituted Goat Milk cheese for the mozzarella. Just put it in the oven. Dried basil should work in it's place if you can't find fresh.

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  40. What do you mean by Italian seasoning?

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    1. Most grocery stores will carry an Italian Seasoning blend of herbs in their spice aisle. Usually a combination of basil, oregano, rosemary and thyme plus a few others.

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  41. Wonderful recipe. I substituted chicken thighs in the place of chicken breast. Delicious!

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    1. I love chicken thighs - I am sure they turned out fabulous.

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  42. I'd like to try this recipe however my husband isn't a fan of roasted red peppers. Do you think a sliced tomato will be ok to use?

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  43. Tomatoes would work, and sun dried tomatoes would also be good and would add even more flavor.

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  44. What about a substitute for basil. Any suggestions. Thanx.

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