Cream Cheese & Pesto Stuffed Chicken

I wanted to find a practical use for some leftover light cream cheese I had (not that cakes, pies and other sweet treats aren’t “practical,” but I was feeling somewhat adventurous at the time), and I happened to stumble across this stuffed chicken dish on EatingWell.com.  This was much easier than I anticipated, in part due to a very sharp knife.  It’s a must in the kitchen!

-Paige

Ease of Preparation: Easy

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves, (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup plain dry breadcrumbs
  • 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

Cream Cheese-Pesto Filling:

  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat cream cheese, (Neufchatel) (I used Philadelphia and it worked just fine)
  • 1 tablespoon basil pesto, (store-bought or homemade)
  • Freshly ground pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl with a fork. (I was not as exact in these measurements…just scoop and mix!)

Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. (A sharp knife is a necessity here!) Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.

Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. (Discard leftovers.)

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on each side, about 2 minutes per side. Place the chicken on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.

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