spinach_and_artichoke_stuffed_chicken

If you are in need of a hearty, home cooked meal that will leave you feeling full and satisfied, look no further, here's your ticket! The best part? It's actually chalk full of spinach.  While the ingredient list looks long, it's a pretty easy dish so long as you have a food processor. 

The end of the school year brought a sharp increase in bar food and beverages for me and my coworkers and eventually it got to the point where everyone was just like "we need a vegetable".  After a long day of cleaning and housework I was craving a feast but still feeling the need for a healthy dose of greens.  This meal was my solution.

If you're serving this over mashed potatoes as suggested, don't leave out the balsamic vinegar in the sauce, it's money.  If you were just going to have the chicken, it's really so flavorful you don't even need the sauce - it would make a great chicken sandwich in fact.  Or you could serve it with a side of tortilla chips and guacamole for added greenness! The possibilities are endless. But back to mashed potatoes...

Let's be real, by now I'm sure you know how to make mashed potatoes. But if you're not sure... quarter potatoes, and cover with cold water in a large pot. Salt generously.  Bring water to a boil and boil for 30 minutes or until potatoes are fork tender. Drain and return to pot. Add butter, cream cheese (because everything is better with cream cheese) and a splash of milk.  Mash away.  Season with salt, pepper, paprika and whatever else your little taste buds desire. 

Delicious chicken details below.

Ingredients

5 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

1 - 14oz. can quartered artichoke hearts, drained and pat dry

4 oz cream cheese 

2 large handful baby spinach

1 c. shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cloves garlic

1 T. lemon juice

salt 

pepper

paprika

1 shallot, thinly sliced

drizzle of olive oil

splash of white wine plus 3/4 c. for sauce

splash of milk

2 T. butter

2 T. water

1 T. cornstarch

splash of balsamic vinegar

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

In a food processor, blend half of your artichoke hearts (save the other half for the roasting pan), cream cheese, 1 handful of spinach, mozzarella, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper. 

Pat chicken breasts dry. Take a small knife (a steak knife works great) and insert in the middle of one end of the chicken breast piercing through the center length-wise. Work the knife around the center of the chicken breast to carve out an opening being carefully not to create holes to the outside.  Season outside of chicken with salt and pepper. 

Spoon spinach/artichoke/cheese mixture into a small plastic bag and cut a small piece of the corner off for piping. Pipe the mixture into the chicken breast and place chicken in a stainless steel roasting pan (so it can go on the stove later) sprayed with nonstick cooking spray.  If you have extra filling, pipe on top of the chicken, you don't want to waste this stuff! Sprinkle with paprika.  Add remaining artichokes and shallots to the pan and drizzle everything lightly with olive oil.  Pour a splash of wine to coat bottom of pan. Bake for 50 minutes or until internal meat temperature reaches 165 degrees. 

Remove chicken from pan and set on plate to rest. Place roasting pan on stove over medium heat.  Add white wine, butter and milk and bring to boil.  In a small bowl, combine water and cornstarch to make a slurry.  Add to the pan whisking to combine. Stir in a splash of balsamic vinegar. Once sauce starts to thicken, add handful of spinach and cover to wilt, stirring frequently.  Once spinach has wilted the sauce is ready to serve! 

Serve chicken over mashed potatoes with spinach sauce. 

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