Cake, Batter, and Bowl

Spinach, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts

Main Dishes

I’m often asked how I manage to post original recipes so often while working long hours and hitting the gym the majority of the days of the week. Well, what I usually do is work in bursts. I may perfect three or four recipes in one weekend and then take a break. I feel most comfortable when I have at least six or so recipes ready to go in my “blog” folder on my desktop, which sounds like a lot, but is really only three weeks worth. Then when I’m extra busy at work, on vacation, or spending all my kitchen time developing recipes for a contest, I can go a couple weeks without cooking for my blog. I end up rarely posting recipes right away, because I’d rather take my time editing the photos, writing up the recipe, calculating the nutrition info, etc, but the chicken I made tonight was SO good that I had to make an exception!

I stuffed chicken breasts with a creamy mixture of mascarpone and blue cheese, shallots, spinach, and turkey bacon, and then coated the stuffed breasts with pecans. This recipe does take a bit of time to put together, so I pounded out my chicken, made my stuffing, and assembled my pecan coating yesterday. Then everything came together in about 40 minutes tonight, which is the max amount of time I want to spend cooking on a weeknight. I am already looking forward to leftovers tomorrow!

Spinach, Bacon, and Blue Cheese Stuffed Pecan Crusted Chicken Breasts
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup chopped shallots (4-5 large shallots)
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 strips turkey bacon, chopped
4 cups baby spinach (4 ounces)
1/2 cup crumbled blue cheese
1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, pulsed in the food processor until finely ground
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup flour
4 large boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
2 eggs, beaten

Directions:
Heat 1/2 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat in a medium nonstick pan and sauté shallots for 5 to 7 minutes or until softened; add garlic and sauté 1 additional minute. Remove from heat and place in a medium bowl. Add bacon to the same pan and sauté for 5 to 7 minutes or until browned. Place bacon in the same bowl with the shallots. Add spinach to the pan and sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until wilted. Add spinach to the bowl and allow ingredients to cool completely to room temperature. Add blue cheese, mascarpone cheese, and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the bowl and mix until well combined.

Meanwhile, place chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to 1/3-inch thickness using a meat mallet. Place filling evenly lengthwise down each chicken breast, roll up the sides, and secure with toothpicks. Mix ground pecans, panko, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt in a shallow pan. Put the flour in a shallow dish and lightly dredge both sides of the stuffed chicken in the flour. Place the beaten eggs in another shallow dish and dredge both sides of the flour coated chicken in the egg mixture; place chicken in the pecan mixture and coat well on all sides.

Heat oven to 350˚F. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium high heat in a large nonstick pan and place two chicken breasts in the pan. Use large tongs to rotate the chicken and sear it on all four sides. Place seared chicken breasts seam side up in a large baking pan and repeat with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and two chicken breasts. Bake at 350˚F for 18 to 22 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: 415 calories, 24.4g fat, 2.1g fiber, 35.2g protein per serving
Cost: $1.35 per serving

Halloween Pumpkin Quesadillas

I apparently have a bit more Martha in me than I’ve previously appreciated because when I stumbled upon some habanero lime flour tortillas at Trader Joe’s the other night, my eyes got wide with excitement and I squealed, “they’re orange, they have bright orange...

French Onion Mac & Cheese

Umm, so if you’re watching your weight, you may want to click back to the last page you viewed right about now.... I tend to cook healthy dishes most of the time, but decided to go all in on this one and it was so worth it! I was in the mood for some comfort food this...

Thai Shrimp Green Curry

Happy New Year! Can you believe it’s already 2011? I smile every time I think about 2010 because we made it a great year. The highlight was our big vacation when Apolinaras and I visited his home country of Lithuania over our anniversary. On the career front,...

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...

Champagne Salmon with Swiss Chard Quinoa

I was super excited when my good friend Eva asked if we would like to use her family’s farm share while they visit her parents in Austria for the next few weeks. Eva is inspirational because she works full time as a pulmonary pediatrician and is raising the two...

Chicken Parm Eggplant Stacks

Do you enjoy any odd snack foods? I have a thing for croutons. Not only do I go out of my way to scoop as many as is politely possible onto my salad plate at buffets, I also really like snacking on them on their own – yep, right out of the package and usually when I’m...

Soba Noodles with Eggplant, Snow Peas, and Tofu

We’ve been so busy lately that I’ve baked more “emergency” frozen pizzas for dinner than I’d care to admit. I have managed to whip up some soba noodles a couple of times though. They’re so quick and tasty, and there’s nothing better than a one pot meal. For this...

Shrimp Fried Rice with Edamame, Corn, and Red Pepper Succotash

I'm back from San Diego and it was quite the trip! I'm already looking forward to going through my pictures and posting a recap this weekend, but for now, all I want to do is curl up and go to sleep. For some reason I thought it would be a great idea to take the...