Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Chicken can be found on the dinner table in many American homes on any given night. It can be easy to get into a chicken rut, making it the same way each time. It is just as easy to change it up however – marinate it, stuff it, roast it, brine it, fry it or cook it in the Instant Pot.

This recipe was developed because I was craving spinach and artichoke dip and had some chicken breasts to use. I decided to channel some of my stress and pound the chicken breasts flat with a meat mallet (you can also use a rolling pin) and stuff it with a version of my spinach and artichoke dip.

After going through a phase of brining chicken for the last couple of years, I decided to change it up. This marinade made the chicken so flavorful! It was even better the next day! This recipe made enough for 2 dinners for a family of 5 and plus a couple of leftover lunches during the week.

Marinated Spinach and Artichoke Stuffed Chicken Breast

Ingredients

3.5 to 4 pounds of chicken breast, flattened

Marinade:

1/3 cup olive oil

Zest and juice of 2 lemons

1 teaspoon of salt

2 sprigs of rosemary

5 to 7 sprigs thyme

3 Tablespoons of honey

1 clove of garlic

Stuffing:

About 6 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed

4 ounces of cream cheese, softened

Juice of ½ a lemon

¼ onion, minced (about 2 Tablespoons)

1 – 6 ounce jar of artichokes, chopped

3 Tablespoons of chopped red pepper

1 teaspoon of salt

¼ teaspoon of pepper

Cooking Chicken and sauce:

2 Tablespoons of olive oil

1 ½ cups chicken stock

Juice of ½ lemon

Splash of heavy cream

About 6 ounces of chopped tomatoes

1 – 8 ounce can of tomato sauce

Directions

Mix olive oil, lemon zest and juice, salt, rosemary, thyme, honey and garlic in a gallon freezer bag. Add chicken and allow to marinate for 2 to 24 hours. To make stuffing combine spinach, cream cheese, lemon juice, onion, artichokes, red peppers salt and pepper. Remove chicken from marinade and pat dry. Place about 2 to 3 Tablespoons of filling in each flattened chicken breast and roll up. Heat olive oil in large heavy bottomed sauté pan.  Sear the stuffed chicken on each side and then add chicken stock and lemon juice to the pan, cover and cook for 20 minutes in a 400 degree oven. Take out of the oven, remove chicken and finish sauce with tomatoes, tomato sauce and a splash of cream. Simmer sauce for about 5 minutes and return chicken to pan and serve over potatoes, zoodles or your favorite pasta.

What are your favorite chicken dishes? Here are some of my other favorites: One Pan Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce, Spatchcocked Herb Roasted Chicken, Honey Lemon Roasted Chicken Thighs, Apricot Wings and Chicken Noodle Soup.

Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese

The calendar may say it is spring, but walking outside into 16 degree temperatures this morning, it definitely did not feel like spring! While the weather is still chilly, warm up inside with a new spin on mac-n-cheese. This recipe combines my favorite spinach and artichoke dip with gluten-free pasta. The first time I ever made it I simply used the leftover dip from a party and mixed it with the cooked pasta. Great way to use up leftovers, however making it from scratch as a pasta dish is even better!

Spinach and Artichoke Mac-n-Cheese

Ingredients

1-12 to 16 ounce package of your favorite GF pasta

1/3 cup of butter

¼ cup of Cup4Cup gluten free flour

2 cups of 2% milk (you can use whole milk)

3 ounces of cream cheese

1 Tablespoon brown spicy mustard

1 teaspoon of salt

1/8 teaspoon pepper

Juice of ½ a lemon

1 teaspoon of Worcestershire sauce

4 to 6 ounces of frozen spinach, thawed and drained

1-10 ounce jar of artichokes, drained and chopped

8 ounces of cheddar, shredded (the Alpine Cheddar from Cabot works really well)

Directions

Prepare pasta according to directions on the box. In a large shallow pan, melt butter and whisk in the flour. Cook for a few minutes and then add the milk. Whisk together until all the lumps are out.  Stir in cream cheese, lemon juice, mustard, salt, pepper, lemon juice and Worcestershire sauce. Add spinach and artichokes. Combine and heat through, then add cheddar. Mix to melt the cheese and take off heat. Add drained pasta and serve.

Spring warmth and fresh recipes will come soon enough! For today, I will sit on the couch under a warm fleece blanket and watch movies with my daughter (home sick with strep) and dream of spring. What are you most looking forward to in the spring?

Happy 100th Birthday to Julia Child!

Next Wednesday, August 15, 2012 marks the date that would have been JuliaChild’s 100th birthday. Restaurants around the country are doingspecial menus to honor Julia Child. PBS has lots of specials on TV among otherfun things on their website. Cooks and Bloggers around the country are writingand cooking to honor her memory. Here is one with 8 ideas on how to honor Julia from Robin Shreeves at the Mother Nature Network. I am going to try to make one recipe a daynext week from one of her cookbooks to honor her legacy. The French Chef was the first cooking show Iwatched on TV growing up. We watched a lot of PBS. She pioneered the era of cooking shows whichhas now exploded with popularity to a point I’m sure she probably couldn’t evenhave imagined. We all like to pretend we are cooking on a cooking show in thekitchen (don’t tell me you have never done it!) while making a meal and veryfew of us will ever get the chance to, but she made gourmet cooking accessibleto home cooks.

I have been reviewing Julie Child recipes from Mastering the Art of French Cooking to find some easyones and maybe one challenging one to make this week. If you are bored with your regular weeklymeals, picking a theme and sticking to it one week a month or however often youhave the energy for, can help spice things up (pun intended)! Or choose one night a week to make a newrecipe or make one of those hundreds you have pinned on Pinterest.
Pick a Julia Child recipe to make this week inhonor of what would have been her 100th birthday. Don’t beintimidated. You don’t have to pick sweet breads or duck, or a fancy multi-step,multi-ingredient recipe. Make a quiche, roast chicken, pork chops, boiledartichokes or buttered green beans. It’s still a Julia Child recipe. Her goalwas to make gourmet cooking accessible to home cooks.
These are some of the recipes I’m hoping to make this week:
Chocolate Almond Cake, p677. Supposedly one Julia’sfavorites.
Boeuf Bourguignon, p.315. I’ve never made it and think Iwill while watching Julie and Julia.
Potato Leek Soup, p.37. One of my favorites. I’ve never madeJulia’s recipe though.
Quiche au fruits de mer, p.149. Sounds really fancy, butreally is just eggs, shallots or onions, butter (of course), lobster, shrimp orcrab, cheese, cream, tomato paste, salt and pepper. She also adds Madeira ordry vermouth, but I don’t have those and don’t usually by whole bottles ofthings for a couple of tablespoons, so I’ll use something else like whitebalsamic vinegar. I might even buy the crust. Shhh…don’t tell.
Crepes, p.190. These are just fancy pancakes that my kidswill hopefully love!
Moules A La Mariniere, p. 227. This is one of the onlyrecipes that I am repeating. I’ve made it before and loved it!
Poulets Grilles a la diable (Chicken Broiled with Mustard,Herbs, and Bread Crumbs), p.265. I chose this recipe because I already haveeverything for this in the house! It is similar to how I usually make chicken,but with basting. I don’t usually baste. Maybe I’ll do it, if I can stop thetwins from reaching into the oven.
Roasted Pork marinated in Marinade Simple (Lemon Juice andHerb Marinade), p.376. I also chose this one because I have most of the ingredients.
Artichauts au Naturel (whole boiled artichokes), p. 424. Probablythe easiest of the recipes. We’ll see what the kids think of these.
I’ll probably pick a couple other vegetable recipes too.
If you don’t want to cook, go out and have some oysters anda glass of champagne and have a toast to Julia Child!
#CookforJulia