Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Pancetta and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts

Main Dishes

We just got back from our annual lab ski trip, where stayed in a huge house up in New Hampshire and hit the slopes and snowshoeing trails at Mount Sunapee. We all had a great time relaxing, hanging out, and enjoying some incredible meals. Everyone signed up to make a dish over the course of two days and I volunteered to organize our shopping list and go to the grocery store with my labmate Libby. It was quite the adventure navigating an unfamiliar store with a two page list and two full shopping carts, but definitely worth it because everything was so tasty! The first night we had pizzas with crusts made from scratch and the second night I decided to tackle the main course.

I was actually a bit nervous when I first got into the kitchen because I’ve never cooked for 10 people before and certainly didn’t want to disappoint anyone or mess anything up! But, I quickly settled into my groove once I started prepping all the ingredients. I’ve always enjoyed the challenge of multitasking in the kitchen and my goal was to finish all the dishes at the same time so nothing would get cold. Luckily, everything came together perfectly, and at one point I had all four burners going, which was a first for me (stirring risotto, cooking asparagus, searing chicken breasts, and keeping my eye on the simmering soup)! My menu included crab bisque (which I will post about next!), gruyere risotto with asparagus and peas, and these lovely stuffed chicken breasts.

I decided on chicken as the protein because everyone likes it and I knew it would be easy to find high quality chicken at the small local grocery store. There was no great inspiration for the filling – I just combined all my favorite ingredients! I mixed together caramelized shallots, garlic, pancetta, sun-dried tomatoes, and parmesan cheese, and then stirred in just enough mascarpone cheese to hold it all together. I think everyone enjoyed the meal and I’m already thinking about menu possibilities for next year!

Pancetta and Sun-Dried Tomato Stuffed Chicken Breasts
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup chopped shallots
2 garlic cloves, minced
2/3 cup diced pancetta
2/3 cup chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 cup almond meal
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon butter

Directions:
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium low heat and sauté shallots for 10 to 15 minutes or until caramelized. Add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl. Add pancetta to the same pan and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Place pancetta in the same bowl with the caramelized shallots and allow ingredients to cool completely to room temperature. Add sun-dried tomatoes, parmesan cheese, and mascarpone cheese to the bowl and mix until well combined.

Meanwhile, place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/4-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Place filling evenly lengthwise down each chicken breast, roll up the sides, and secure with toothpicks.  Mix almond meal, flour, and salt in a shallow baking dish and evenly coat stuffed chicken with the flour mixture.

Heat oven to 350˚F. Heat butter and 1 remaining tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat and place chicken breasts seam side down in the pan. Use large tongs to rotate the chicken and sear it on all four sides. Place seared chicken breasts seam side down in a large baking pan and bake at 350˚F for 20 to 25 minutes or until cooked through and no longer pink in the center. Allow to rest 5 minutes, then remove toothpicks, and cut on a bias. Makes 8 servings.

Nutrition: 318 calories, 17.1g fat, 1.0g fiber, 32.6g protein per serving
Cost: $1.56 per serving

Toasted Almond and Roasted Red Pepper Pesto Pasta

Please don’t judge this recipe by the picture. It’s not the best looking pasta dish to begin with and my hopeless photography skills definitely don’t help do it any justice, but I can guarantee you that it’s worth making! I was recently asked whether I usually end up...

Caramelized Shallot Apricot Chicken Pizza

Shannon and I went on a shopping mission a couple months ago in search of mini-cheesecake pans from the Williams Sonoma outlet. We couldn’t find the pans, but the trip wasn’t a complete loss because Shannon scored a gorgeous stainless steel sauté pan and I scooped up...

Chicken Sausage Pasta with Broccoli and Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sometimes I get in a dinner rut and forget how much I enjoy cooking with certain ingredients. I was recently reminded that I hadn’t used chicken sausage in a long time after seeing a few delicious and quick meal recipes on Meghan’s fantastic blog, You’re Gonna Bake It...

Pecan Crusted Chicken with Lemon and Thyme

I’m on the hunt for new chicken recipes. We’ve been eating more poultry than usual lately due to my hubby’s weightlifting diet. While I haven’t joined him in slurping down protein shakes and chowing down on egg whites every morning, I try to keep things interesting...

Sun Dried Tomato Turkey Meatloaf

Poor meatloaf. I think meatloaf tends to get a bad rap, but I will always have a soft spot for it because it was the first dish I ever made for Apolinaras. I was a baby of 22 and just starting to get comfortable in the kitchen when I invited him over for dinner. We’d...

Citrus Glazed Salmon

When I got home from New Orleans this week, I found 3 salmon fillets that my hubby had defrosted in the fridge. Apolinaras is a great cook and loves to grill and throw meals together with whatever is laying around. Because he doesn’t ever follow recipes or write...

Eggplant and Orzo Stuffed Red Peppers

Whenever I ask Apolinaras where he’d like to go out to dinner, he inevitability suggests his favorite BBQ place in Boston, Blue Ribbon. I have to admit that I’m a pretty big fan too, and actually just writing this post is making me crave some pulled pork and burnt...

Mediterranean Portobello Mushroom and Eggplant Stacks

Although I make vegetarian meals a couple times a week, it’s usually because I’m feeling too lazy to really cook. I often whip up simple meals like pizza, tofu fried rice, or breakfast for dinner when I’m super busy, but I rarely put extra effort into making really...