chicken parmigiana a number of times in the blondie household. But never had we taken this dish to the absolute next level.
On Saturday, a friend in the neighborhood let me take a couple bricks of cream cheese off her hands. (Thank you, thank you!) She is a serious trooper in avoiding dairy products for her little one at this time. I would die.
Immediately, though, I knew what dish I wanted to try with said cream cheese. And let's just start off with this: Never in Baking with Blondie history have I prepared a dish in our home for dinner, and liked it so much, that we went to the store the next morning to purchase the same ingredients (minus the plethora of cream cheese) to make the same dinner yet again. This stuff was incredible, and Ryan + Manchild went nuts over it.
Also, Ryan didn't even notice it was packed with spinach until the last few bites were devoured. This man hates spinach, and I have converted him. Happy Birthday to me. Wait, that was last week.
This dish is also a wonderful meal to prepare when you want to strangle or bash something. The chicken breasts require a bit of pounding, and although I didn't have a meat tenderizer, I most certainly had a rolling pin for whacking. Therapy comes in many forms, my friends.
What I loved most about this decked-out version of Chicken Parmigiana was the perfect combination of textures. The crunchy cracker crust + the tender, moist chicken + the creamy, melty spinach/cheese filling + the zing of tomato in the sauce, was enough to send me over the edge.
The only changes I made was adding another egg to the egg mixture, and switching the frozen spinach to chopped fresh spinach. I loathe the texture of frozen spinach. The fresh spinach tasted lovely. Again, Ryan (the spinach-hater) polished off his plate before asking what the 'green stuff' was.
Spinach and Cream Stuffed Chicken Parmigiana
15 ritz cracker, crushed to powder, 1/2 C
2 eggs, whisked together
2 C chopped fresh spinach leaves
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 C grated mozzarella cheese
4 T grated Parmesan cheese
2 large chicken breasts, trimmed, and sliced horizontally (to create 4 pieces)
1 1/2 C spaghetti sauce, heated
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
2. Lay chicken breasts on a cutting board. Lay a layer of plastic wrap over chicken. With meat tenderizer (or rolling pin), flatten chicken breast halves to about 1/4 inch thickness.
3. Prepare three shallow bowls for dunking:
- Bowl 1: whisked eggs
- Bow 2: crushed crackers
- Bowl 3: mix cream cheese, spinach, mozzarella, and parmesan until well blended (I used my new mini-food processor. Made life easier.)
4. Spread cream cheese mixture over chicken breasts. Starting at the short end of each chicken breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure with wooden toothpicks (remember to remove these after baking).
5. Dunk (with one hand for wet ingredients, one hand for dry) chicken bundles in the eggs, then in the crushed crackers. Place seam-sides down in a greased 13x9 baking pan.
6. Bake 30 minutes or until chicken registers 165 degrees F with a meat thermometer. Remove and discard toothpicks. Serve chicken on a bed of warm spaghetti sauce (and sprinkle with mozzarella if desired).
Recipe Source: recipe.com
Makes about 4 servings