A week or so ago on my Monday off I was looking through my Cooks Country recipe book and I came across this recipe. I had never tried any recipes that called for stuffing chicken breasts but had always wanted to. To be honest I hadn't tried because it looked a little tricky and I figured I would just make a mess of it. This recipe just sounded really good though so I thought what the heck. While mine didn't look perfect, it sure did taste yummy.
Cheesy Basil-Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Avoid thin chicken breasts for this recipe—they are difficult to stuff without tearing (unfortunately I only had frozen chicken breasts and they really were too thin but it was all I had so I made do) Whole-milk block mozzarella will provide the creamiest filling; pre-shredded or part-skim mozzarella will also work, but the filling will be grainy. To make fresh bread crumbs, process 2 slices of hearty white sandwich bread in the food processor.
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup minced fresh basil (I used dried basil)
2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
3 cloves garlic , minced
Table salt and ground black pepper
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
1 cup fresh bread crumbs
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I didn't have cherry tomatoes so just chopped up a regular tomato I had in the fridge).
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 425 degrees. Combine cheese, 2 tablespoons basil, cream, lemon juice, 2 teaspoons garlic, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste in medium bowl.
2. Cut pocket in chicken breasts, stuff with cheese mixture, and seal. Transfer stuffed breasts to 13 by 9-inch baking dish and spread tops evenly with mayonnaise.
3. Combine bread crumbs, remaining garlic, remaining 2 tablespoons basil, and 1 tablespoon oil. Sprinkle crumb mixture over chicken, pressing lightly to adhere.
4. Toss tomatoes with remaining tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and pepper to taste. Arrange in baking dish around chicken. Bake until crumbs are golden brown and thickest part of chicken registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, about 25 minutes. Serve.
I loved the homemade bread crumbs in this recipe. I had never made homemade bread crumbs before but see why it is so worth it now.