I was 16 years old when my mama bear started buying stuffed chicken from our local grocery store. One day we decided to make our own instead of buying the pre-made chicken from the butcher. I can recall being in the kitchen and trying to figure this idea out without any recipes. Through the years this recipe has transformed. When I first got married this was the one meal I constantly cooked because its the one thing I knew how to cook well, so I cooked it all the time are first years of my marriage. As time went on I started cooking it less and less. For my 10th year wedding anniversary I asked my Mr.Tasteful what his favorite meal was that I cooked? To my surprise it was my stuffed chicken. Fast forward 5 more years and I have only made this once more time since our 10th anniversary.
The price of chicken breast plays a role in why I don’t make it often. The cost of chicken has really gotten out of hand and it is not a cost effect cut of poultry for me therefor I wait for a good sale on chicken breast.
There are different ways to go about making this recipe and I’ve tried many over the past 18 years! My preferred method for chicken is to flatten breast then add filling down the middle then wrap. I prefer a thinner chicken meat because I can enjoy the filling more. However when I was cooking this recipe I decided to make pockets in the chicken breast, which is fine however the chicken meat is thicker. I’m also only demonstrating two chicken breast but the filling is enough for 4 or 6 chicken breast depending on the size of the breast.
Cooking time: This is hard to calculate you really need to use your perception powers to know when the chicken is done. So do your best not to overcook or under cook (no pressure). I use the general guide setting the oven temperature to 375 for oven and cooking between 15 to 20 minutes depending on thickness of meat.
Feta Cheese: I use a solid brick not the pre-crummled. You can use crumbled however I like to control the chunks of the cheese. When the crumbles are very small I find the cheese gets lost, I want to taste the feta!
Spinach: You can use fresh or frozen, I’ve done it all. The key is to drain the water from the spinach. If using fresh spinach make sure to cook the spinach down first then drain in a mesh strainer or place in a towel and squeeze water out. If using frozen I just use chopped spinach, the one you find in the box that cost $1.00 vs $4.00….. but it doesn’t matter whatever you have and whatever works for your budget and families preference! There are different options when it comes to defrosting the spinach. You can defrost spinach either using the microwave, stove top or letting it defrost on the counter. The key is you must drain the spinach before stuffing the chicken. If you don’t the chicken gets watery and messy.
Onion: You can use powder or fresh. I used powder for this demonstration because I did not have any fresh onion. You can even use shallots if you prefer a lighter flavor.
For this recipe demonstration I decided to cut pockets into chicken in order for me to stuff the chicken. My recipe filling serves 4-6 chicken breast.
2 or more chicken breast
1 box frozen chopped spinach
1 Solid Feta Cheese
4-6 garlic cloves
1 tsp Butter
1 tsp Oil (use what you have I suggest olive, grape seed or vegetable oil)
1/8 tsp dried thyme
1/8 tsp dried rosemary
Defrost spinach and drain water out well (see spinach notes)
On a medium low heat melt butter and oil in a pan. Add diced garlic dried thyme & rosemary. Sauté until garlic starts to get golden brown. Once garlic turns golden brown add drained spinach. Season with onion powder and season lightly with salt & pepper. Remember Feta cheese is salty so don’t over salt spinach. Toss altogether and set aside when done. Let mixture cool.
Chicken: see chicken notes.
Cut a pocket into the fat part of chicken. Season chicken with sea salt, pepper, dash of onion powder, dried thyme & smoked paprika and a dash of oil. Mix all over chicken inside & out.
Once pocket is open stuff with spinach and add feta cheese. Add however much cheese you want. Measurements are hard. Depending on pocket size I recommend at least 1 TBSP of spinach filling and 1 TBSP feta cheese. However again depends on the size of chicken breast.
Now seal the pocket. I used toothpicks or you can use butcher twine.
Pre-heat oven to 375
Heat a pan on medium high and add a dash of oil to pan. Place chicken top side down and let sauté for 5 min or until a golden color on top.
Once top has a golden brown color transfer chicken breast to oven safe baking dish. Place in oven and bake up to 15 or 20 minutes, depending on thickness of chicken. My chicken breast were large and I baked for 20 min. My suggestion is to test chicken after 15 min, press down and feel tenderness. If feels tight and no squish its done!