Friday, September 20, 2013

Recipe for Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese

If you have any fresh basil left, make pesto and then make this Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese!

(For Phase One Fridays I highlight Phase One recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and this recipe for Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese is something I've made over and over.  It's also been one of the most popular recipes on the blog for a while now; hope you enjoy if you haven't tried it yet!)

For several weeks now I've been keeping an eye on the basil plants in my garden, hoping to get one more batch of pesto in the freezer before the plants started to freeze.  For the last few days the leaves were starting to look a little brown on the edges, so today I trimmed the plants vigorously and made a big batch of pesto.  Then I made this Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese!

I'm always wanting to adapt recipes every time I make them, and when I looked at the old version of this I knew I wanted to change it.  The newer version is for only two chicken breasts, and it's lighter and a bit simpler to make than the old recipe that I first posted in 2005.  I greatly prefer the updated version, but I will leave the printer-friendly link for the old recipe in case anyone wants to compare or has the recipe bookmarked.  And if you still have some basil growing where you live, please make pesto and make this delicious chicken dish as soon as possible!

Use very large chicken breasts for this and then pound the heck out of them until they're as thin as you can possibly get them!

Mix together pesto, sour cream, and grated mozzarella to make the stuffing.  (If you use commercial pesto, it will probably be darker green than my homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon because I like it creamy.)

Spread a thin layer of the stuffing mixture over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch away from the edge.

Then roll up the chicken breasts and use toothpicks to keep them together.  (Don't worry if they look a bit messy like my one in the back!)

Prepare two bowls, one with beaten eggs and the other with a mixture of parmesan and almond flour.  (I used two eggs, but I think you could get by with one.)

Dip the chicken breasts first in the egg and then in the parmesan-almond flour mixture, patting it on so the chicken breasts are well coated.  Place them in a sprayed casserole dish.

Bake at 375F/190C until the chicken is firm to the touch and slightly browned.  I started checking at 30 minutes when they looked like this.

And I ended up leaving them in for 5 more minutes until they looked like this.  Be careful not to overcook though, or the chicken will dry out.  Serve hot.


Baked Chicken Stuffed with Pesto and Cheese
(Makes two servings, but recipe can easily be doubled or tripled; recipe created by Kalyn in 2005 and adapted again in 2011.)

Ingredients:
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 T Basil Pesto with Lemon or your favorite commercial pesto
2 T low-fat sour cream
2 T grated mozzarella cheese
(I used heaping tablespoons of pesto, sour cream and cheese)
2 eggs, beaten (or if they're large eggs one will probably be enough)
3 T finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 T almond flour (or almond meal, but almond flour is better for this because it's more finely ground)
black pepper to taste

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F/190C.  Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray. Trim any visible fat from chicken breasts, then put them one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag and pound with meat mallet until the chicken is as thin as you can get it.  Don't worry too much about the shape or whether there are some loose pieces, you can tuck them in when you roll up the chicken.

In a small bowl mix together the basil pesto, sour cream, and grated mozzarella.  Use a rubber scraper to spread a thin layer of this mixture over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the chicken (so it doesn't run out so much as it cooks.)   Roll up the chicken breasts and secure them with a couple of toothpicks.  (I roll them so the finished piece is as thin as I can get it so they will cook quickly.)

Prepare two bowls, one with the beaten egg and the other with the grated Parmesan-almond flour mixture, seasoned with black pepper to taste.  Dip each chicken breast roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan-almond flour mixture, patting it on so the chicken breast roll is well-coated with the mixture. 

Put chicken breasts into the casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and lightly browned.  (Start checking after about 25-30 minutes; total baking time will be 30-35 minutes.)  Serve hot.


Printer Friendly Recipe (original recipe from 2005)

South Beach Suggestions:
This recipe is great for any phase of the South Beach Diet, although you might want to make it a "once in a while" treat due to the amount of fat.  For phase one, it would be great with Mary's Perfect Salad or Roasted Broccoli with Garlic. For phase two or three, add something like Georgette's Really Lemony Greek Pilafi.

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.
More Delicious Ideas with Basil Pesto:
(Recipes from other blogs may not be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Easy Recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken from Kalyn's Kitchen
Fettucine with Chicken, Cherry Tomatoes, and Basil Pesto from Mountain Mama Cooks
Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes from Kalyn's Kitchen
Shrimp and Spinach Basil Pesto Pasta from What's Cookin' Chicago?
Turkey Pesto Meatloaf with Tomato Sauce from Kalyn's Kitchen

Blogger Disclosure:
Posts may include links to my affiliate account at Amazon.com, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!

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98 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi Kalyn
Just wanted to tell you that I tried this recipe last night with great success. Yummy!

You're right, it may be a bit high in fat, but I served it with asparagus and a salad, so I figure that makes up for any high-fat issues in the chicken dish!

Karen

Anonymous said...

ThankYou Kalyn!
Fan-tas-tic recipe. I served it to my family and inlaws for a pre-superbowl dinner. They all went back for seconds. My picky 6yr old daughters plate was licked clean!Who knew all would have liked the pesto filling. It was easy and I had everything done in 1 hour. Leann

Anonymous said...

Kalyn,

Thank you for the great recipe! I have been in phase 1 of SB for almost one week and I was starting to get bored with some of the foods. Thanks to you I had a delicious meal tonight that me and my 5 year old loved. Keep up the great work! I look forward to trying more of your recipes.

Kim

CJ said...

Oh goodness. That looks incredible.

Kalyn said...

Thanks CJ! So glad to finally have photos for this recipe.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Love this recipe, and love the idea of your lemon pesto. I have a bit of lemon basil in the garden; now I know what I can do with it.

Kalyn said...

Thanks Lydia. I ate half of one of these and a big salad for lunch today, so good!

Pam said...

Wow...that looks yummy. Wish I could have eaten at your house tonight!

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

I like the step-by-step photos for stuffing chicken. I've never mastered this technique really well, and the photos are very helpful.

Kalyn said...

Pam, you are officially invited to come to my house and have this any time! (Pam is my sister, in case anyone is wondering.)

TW, such a useful technique. And as you can see from my messy one, you don't have to be all that carefull. Getting the chicken thin is the most important thing.

Gina @ Skinnytaste said...

This looks great Kalyn, I still have a little basil alive in my garden. I bet this would be wonderful in fish too.

Lady Amalthea said...

Oh, yum! One of my favorite things about stuffing chicken breasts with cheese is that they're harder to overcook.

Your stuffing idea has also inspired me to make a Baked Ziti with Pesto and Cheese. Mmm.

Kalyn said...

Thanks Gina. I didn't have the heart to pull out my basil plants, but I doubt I will get any more.

Lady Amalthea, I agree completely about how the cheese (and pesto) keeps the chicken moist.

Becky at VintageMixer said...

Bookmarking this one to use up some of the pesto I made for the winter!

Kalyn said...

Becky, hope you enjoy it!

Marie said...

Made this last night, husband and I loved it! It looked a fright, though...I used some previously-frozen chicken breast, and the pounding turned into a mutilation of sorts. My poor chicken looked like an alien porcupine, what with all the toothpicks and oozing green stuff! But, we both just loved it. I did end up grinding my own almonds for the flour, and was excited with how easy it is to do I made extra and stuck it in the freezer. Yum yum yum!

Kalyn said...

Marie, so glad you enjoyed it. And no worry about the looks. Good idea to make some for the freezer too.

Kalyn Ernest said...

Newest follower!! Can't believe I found someone with the same name that spells it the same!

Kalyn said...

Hi Kalyn! Before I had this blog I thought my name was very unusual, but I've heard from quite a few people with the same name. I pronounce it Kay Lynn (although lots of people say it wrong!) Is that how you pronounce yours?

Curt said...

Yes indeed, there's nothing like a tweak to make an old recipe something new. That's how new recipes are born I always say!

This looks awesome!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Curt! Glad you like it.

Jeanette said...

My kids would love this - have some garlic scape pesto in my freezer still and been staring at it the last couple of days.

Kalyn said...

Jeanette, I do think this would be a good way to use garlic scape pesto!

escribble said...

Kalyn,

First timer here! I love baked poultry recipe and these look yummy :)

Kiran @ KiranTarun.com

Maria said...

Josh will love this recipe! Great way to use up the summer pesto!

Zesty Cook said...

This looks fantastic, and thank you for clearing up the distinction between almond meal and almond flour. I've never known what the difference was!

Kalyn said...

Kiran, glad you like it.

Maria, I have tons of pesto so I guess I'll be making this all winter.

Zesty, glad you like it. The almond flour is much more finely ground than almond meal, although sometimes you can substitute them.

Bill said...

Tried this recipe Saturday night for some of my best friends and family. A solid success. Paired it with the garlic roasted broccoli and Georgette's rice pilafi.

Divine. Never had so many compliments over a meal. Would have taken all the credit but unfortunately all guests saw me consulting laptop in kitchen. Note to self: Get printer repaired or replaced.

Bill said...

Oh and by the way, I couldn't find almond flour or almond meal in my local supermarket. (I live in the country.Store manager didnt even know what I was asking for) so I got blanched slivered almonds and cuisinarted the hell out of them. Worked great.

Kalyn said...

Bill, so glad you and your crowd enjoyed it. Sounds like a great meal. I have heard from other people that you can make your own almond meal; good to know.

locationvoitureagadir said...

i really hop to see this web site in a french version.

Kalyn said...

I can definitely talk to my web designer about adding a Google translate button.

Kalyn said...

Bill, so glad I am not the only one who forgets what they've already done!

Lynne said...

Kalyn! You've done it again. We made this last night for a small dinner party and it was a huge success! So so so delicious. Thanks for making us look good. :)

Kalyn said...

Lynne, so happy to hear it was a hit!

Anonymous said...

Made this for the first time tonight and it was amazing! The only substitution I made was ground flax seed flour and used four normal size chicken breast - not very large. The chicken was juicy, flavorful with just the right amount of crisp on the outside. Love that it can be made mostly in advance, just roll in eggs & flour mixture & pop in the over when I get home from work & half an hour later dinner is ready!

Kalyn said...

Oh I do love the idea of using ground flax seed flour in the coating!

Dawn said...

I made this for dinner tonight and my husband and I both thought it was fantastic!! And it was so easy! Although mine didn't look quite as nice as yours! :)

Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Dawn, glad you liked it. (And I have made it many times, so I've had practice!)

Jennifer Wantland said...

Just wondering if you can freeze these after the stuffing stage for a quick meal at a later time...

Kalyn said...

I can't see why you couldn't freeze them, although I would use chicken that had not been previously frozen. Good idea!

Terese @ www.thecountrybasket.com said...

Looks very good! I am planting a lot of basil plants between my tomato plants this year to help deter pests (trying for the first time this year to use herbs / flowers as pest control in my veggie garden; see http://thecountrybasket.com/herbs-flowers-to-naturally-control-deter-pests/). I've been wondering what to do with all this basil I hope to get, as I have never made pesto before (!!!), but this chicken dish will be fun to try! Thanks for the pesto recipe as well!

Laura said...

Tried making these for my family tonight. Absolutely delicious ! Everyone loved them, thanks so much for the post :-)

Kalyn said...

Laura, so glad you enjoyed them!

Melissa Sue said...

I am new to cooking, this looks like something I can attempt, wish me luck!! I am excited to try =)

Kalyn said...

Melissa, have fun! I hope it turns out well for you!

Gina Rose said...

I just made this recipe for my mom and I, and it was delicious! I'm 16, and this recipe was perfect for me, very easy! I wouldn't chance a thing about it!

Kalyn said...

Gina, I'm so happy to hear it turned out well for you!

carrie said...

What is the approximate amount of calories for this dish?

Kalyn Denny said...

Carrie, I chose The South Beach Diet to manage my weight so I couldn't have to count calories, points, carbs, or fat grams, so I don't have that information. In the FAQ tab, I do recommend an online calorie cauculator you can use if you want to calculate it yourself.

Unknown said...

my son has a peanut allgery wht could i use please

Kalyn Denny said...

There are no peanuts in this. If he can't have almond flour either, I would just use the parmesan and some breadcrumbs.

dMac said...

I have never heard of almond flour before. Could I use regular all purpose flour instead?

Kalyn Denny said...

You can grind up almonds yourself to make almond flour, also called almond meal. Regular flour will probably work, but it won't give the crispy and nutty coating that makes this dish so good.

suzy said...

THIS IS AMAZING! Have shared with several friends and family - always double it! :)

Yasmin said...

For how many people is this?

Kalyn Denny said...

The recipe says "Makes two servings" but you can double or triple it if you'd like.

KittieATL said...

This chicken is baking as we speak and I can't wait to try it! Serving with grilled zucchini. Thank you for all of your yummy posts. I have lost 8 pounds since the new year since we changed our eating habits! Thanks again :)

Linda had a Little Lamb said...

Wow! This recipe looks amazing!!!! I love chicken and I love pesto, so this is a recipe that I will be sure to try. I have it pinned so that I cannot forget it. Thanks!

lillie said...

I've made this twice; beautiful, delicious! The second time I changed it a bit by putting a handful of fresh baby spinach over the pesto/sour cream mixture that I had spread on, and sprinkled some Feta cheese I had in the refrigerator that needed to be used. I made my own almond flour and added some smoky paprika to it, thinking it might give more color. I loved the spinach as it looked beautiful as you cut into the chicken and it was cooked perfectly. Both the original and my altered version were excellent. I see possibilities of the spinach and maybe some strips of sun dried tomato added. It is a recipe that can be altered in many ways, using different types of cheese/herbs, I would think, depending on what's on hand. Thank you for this recipe.

Kalyn Denny said...

I love hearing your variations.\!

Jennifer Lewis said...

2 T grated mozzarella cheese
(I used heaping tablespoons of pesto, sour cream and cheese)

I do not understand the above. Can you elaborate?

Kalyn Denny said...

That means that on the 3 listed ingredients, rather than strictly measuring out the ingredients by tablespoon, I used heaping tablespoons.

gendmom.com said...

Just wondering if I could substitute the sour cream with Yogurt?

Kalyn Denny said...

I think it would be fine, but that is only a guess; haven't tried it.

Meghan said...

This recipe was amazing!! I used quite a bit of lemon which made the stuffing pop! I also topped the chicken breasts with roasted red peppers-gives it another delicious jab!

Thanks for the post! Everyone loved it!

Penny said...

Thank you for this AMAZING blog Kalyn!

I was diagnosed pre-diabetic 3 years ago with a very low blood sugar of 32..took 3 blood tests to confirm. After deciding with my doctor that I would try changing my diet rather than taking a daily med to regulate my blood sugar..I am doing great!

Your recipes have made my low glycemic lifestyle easy and DELICIOUS!! I have told so many people about you and your great recipes! I have many favorites but always look forward to trying new things because everything you come up with is awesome! My husband and 2 children also love eating whatever is on the menu..so keep those recipes coming!

Thanks again!
Penny

Kalyn Denny said...

Penny, so glad to hear that the low-glycemic eating plan is working so well for you. I will keep posting and you keep up the healthy eating.

Michelle said...

Kalyn - I made this a couple weeks ago for my boyfriend.... It's the only meal I've made that he actually approves of! So thank you :)

I plan on making it tomorrow - Can I stuff the chicken a couple hours before baking and the put in the fridge until it's time to pop it in the oven? Thanks!

Kalyn Denny said...

Michelle, glad it was a hit. If you stuff the chicken ahead of time, it would be best to let it come back to room temperature before baking. If that's not possible, you will probably need to bake for 5-10 minutes longer. (Letting it come to room temp is best though, because longer time in the oven can dry it out.)

Janine Cannell said...

This was soooo delicious. I got raving reviews :) I added a little spinach to the mixture for some extra nutrition, but I'll definitely be making this one again. Thanks for the recipe!!

Kalyn Denny said...

Janine, so glad you enjoyed it, and I LOVE the idea of adding spinach!

gtmonica said...

I got a mixer for my birthday and have been making all kinds of sauces. I made the Basil Lemon Pesto and it was delicious then saw it used with the stuffed chicken. I had my first bite and the flavors together were great and it was so easy to do. My chicken was a little dry and I know all ovens are a little different. I cooked mine for the 35 minutes and I was wondering if this dryness is from cooking it too long?

Kalyn Denny said...

Gtmonica, hard to say without watching you do every step, but your oven may be a little hotter or your chicken could have been a bit thinner. Maybe try a slightly lower temp or shorter time next time.

kmhoho said...

Delicious recipe! I did have trouble stuffing/rolling my chicken, but I suppose like anything you get better at that with time. I posted about making this recipe on my blog and linked back to you. Can't wait to try your lemon basil pesto recipe next! Thanks for sharing.

http://kmhoho.wordpress.com/2013/07/18/stuffed-pesto-chicken/

Heather said...

These raggedy little puppies are in the oven now. They smell terrific. My husband was nervous about the pesto, but I had some homemade marinara sauce in the fridge and made another batch for him, substituting the pesto for marinara. (being the fast thinking short order cook) I can't wait to try them both. Thank you for the recipe!

Kathy Russo said...

I'm going to be trying this tonight. Except I have a brick of Jalepeno Havarti in the fridge that I'll use instead if Mozzarella and a bag of Coconut Flour instead of Almond Flour. I hope it turns out well!

Joshua Hampton (Cooking Classes San Diego) said...

You had me at pesto. The cheese is a bonus. I think this recipe is brilliant. Definitely going to have this for dinner some time soon.

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

Great timing! I just made and froze my pesto for the year (and good thing, too, as the weather turned cold enough to turn my basil all blotchy right after I cut most of it down).

Kalyn Denny said...

Lydia, I think I have to trim my basil today!

Jeanette said...

Kalyn - love the idea of almond flour as the coating - haven't tried that before. My kids would love this - on my list to try.

Kalyn Denny said...

Jeanette, hope the kids like it. I love almond flour as a coating for chicken or fish.

The Torsell Family said...

This looks absolutely fabulous! After painting for three days, I am so sore it might have to wait. :-) I am 42 pounds down since the beginning of June and have made several of your yummy recipes. Thank you! And I love the new header.

Kalyn Denny said...

Becca, wow, way to go! The paint looks fantastic; I've seen it on the blog. So glad the recipes are helpful for you!

moran said...

the stuffing is also an amazing dip if you love pesto like I do!!

Melly said...

Kalyn, I just made this for Sunday dinner. It was delicious. I'm not a big fan of chicken breast so I always try to flavor it up, and this did the trick. Thanks!

Kalyn Denny said...

Melly, so glad you liked it!

Chloe Zmija said...

What can I use as a sub for the almond?

Kalyn Denny said...

I haven't tried it with other types of nuts, so I'm not sure what would work. If you don't care if it's gluten-free and low-glycemic, you could use breadcrumbs.

ann said...

This looks wonderful and I can't wait to try it! I noticed on your early version that you added broth and then made a sauce and wondered if there was a reason you eliminated that step.

Kalyn Denny said...

Ann, mainly because I used less filling for the newer version so there was not as much leaking out to be made into the sauce!

nicole fletcher said...

I had non-dieting company last weekend and needed a recipe that could satisfy them without breaking my diet. I served these with mashed cauliflower and roasted asparagus and everyone loved it! They didn't even notice there wasn't any starchy sides.

Kalyn Denny said...

Nicole, I love hearing that!

Jayne said...

Thankyou so much for this delicious recipe. I have made it for my dinner tonight with broccoli, carrots and mashed cauliflower but couldn't resist having some for lunch with a salad.
YUM YUM YUM tastes as good as it looks. Thanks again.

Kalyn Denny said...

Jayne, so glad you liked it!

Debbie said...

I finally made this last night. I thought I had the sour cream, but I had Greek yogurt. So I just used that instead, and it was wonderful. Today, I cut up the second breast and put it on a bed of spinach with a light drizzle of oil & a squirt of a lemon wedge. It's just as good the next day!

Erin Italia said...

By far one of my family favorite dinner..Super easy.

Kalyn Denny said...

Debbie and Erin, so glad you enjoyed it!

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