This recipe for goat cheese & spinach stuffed chicken breasts will do a snazzy meal with family or show up in a party dress for dinner with friends. And the best thing about this recipe (besides how fabulous it tastes) – it won’t blow your diet. This is the first recipe in this week’s ‘low carb Mediterranean’ recipe series. On the podcast this week I’m chatting about carbs – the good, the bad & the ugly. And our cooking video this week is a low carb grilled veggie antipasto with prosciutto & creamy buffalo mozzarella – the perfect appetizer for easy & relaxed entertaining that’ll keep you on plan.
The filling for this low carb Mediterranean stuffed chicken breast recipe is simple: Onion, garlic, spinach, nutmeg & creamy goat cheese. This creamy filling is spread over chicken breasts that have been lovingly pounded until they’re an even thickness, then rolled-up & cooked in a simple tomato, wine & basil sauce. The results are pretty brilliant, even if I do say so myself.
To make entertaining effortless, have the chicken breasts stuffed & rolled ahead of time. The tomato sauce can also be made & ready to go so all you have to do is add the chicken & pop it in the oven for about 30 minutes while you pour the wine & chillax. And because I made the whole recipe in one frying pan, there’s not scads of washing up to do afterwards.
For an easy & fresh side dish, I threw together a crunchy green salad drizzled with white wine vinegar & a little olive oil. You can either serve the chicken pieces whole (remove the toothpicks first) & let the gooey goat cheese filling being a nice surprise when people cut into it. Or slice it & arrange it in a decoratively haphazard manner…
I don’t know about you but when I entertain & cook for friends, I want recipes everyone will love that won’t blow my diet because, as we’ve already ascertained, I have little to no self control. Low-carb Mediterranean-inspired recipes, like this one, keep me on track but don’t look or taste like diet food. God forbid.
Speaking of diet, I went to my doctor last week. I held my breath as I stepped on the scales in her surgery & low & behold…I’d lost weight. I thought it was three pounds but it was actually eight pounds – GONE & I’m not inviting them back, I’m done with their frequent visits. I’m working towards a zero after that eight pounds & I know I’m on my way. I like to set small goals for myself each week & this week’s goal is to exercise every day. Sadly my knee was not happy after our morning bike ride so I’ll be hitting the pool instead – water aerobics & swimming. What exercise have you got planned this week? Every day this week commit to 30 minutes of moving your booty, I am. Have a great week everyone.
- 2 teaspoons olive oil, plus 2 teaspoons extra
- 1/2 cup diced onion
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 4 oz (113g) baby spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
- 4 oz (113g) soft goat cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- salt & freshly ground pepper
- 2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts (or 4 large skinless, boneless thighs)
- tootpicks for securing chicken
- TOMATO BASIL SAUCE
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 2 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 14 oz (398ml) can diced tomatoes, undrained
- pinch salt & freshly ground pepper
- 1/4 cup coarsely chopped basil leaves, plus extra leaves for garnish
- Heat 2 teaspoons of oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add onion & cook for about 5 minutes or until softened. Add garlic & cook for 1 to 2 minutes or until softened. Stir in spinach & stir until it’s just wilted. Remove from heat & transfer to a medium bowl to cool completely.
- Add goat cheese, nutmeg, salt & pepper to cooled spinach mixture & mix until well combined; chill.
- Cut chicken breasts in half horizontally (as if you were going to butterfly them expect they’re cut into two pieces). Place four pieces of chicken on a long piece of plastic wrap on a cutting board or counter & cover with another piece of plastic wrap. Using the small side of a meat mallet, pound chicken (gently) to ensure evenly thickness & being careful not to tear the flesh. About .3 of an inch (1cm) thickness is about the thickness.
- Divide goat cheese mixture into quarters. Arrange chicken with a short end close to you. Spread mixture onto lower half of each piece of chicken; roll up from goat cheese mixture side & secure with toothpicks.
- Heat remaining 2 teaspoons of oil in a large, ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Brown chicken, turning occasionally, for 5 10 minutes or until browned. Remove chicken to a plate.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- To make the tomato basil sauce: Heat the oil & garlic in the same ovenproof frying pan over medium heat. Cook for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring occasionally, until garlic is softened.
- Add wine & cook for about 2 minutes or until reduce by half. Stir in sambal & tomato paste. Cook, stirring for 1 minute to soften the flavor of the tomato paste.
- Stir in diced tomatoes & their juice, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil on high then add chicken. Cover with foil & cook in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Remove foil & cook about 15 minutes or until chicken is thoroughly cooked & sauce is thickened.
- Remove chicken to a cutting board & use tongs to remove the toothpicks & slice chicken if desired.
- Add basil to tomato sauce & stir to combine. Spoon sauce over chicken. Serves 4.