Spicy Stuffed Chicken Breasts

This recipe came through a Facebook post that originated from Budget101’s blog, who in turn got it from the Maine Cookbook. I wanted to adjust it just slightly for low carb, and really, the main adjustment was to eliminate the breadcrumbs. But, having watched Emeril for so many years, I needed to kick it up a notch, so I changed the spinach to a spinach and kale combination and added bacon bits. You can’t go wrong with bacon. If you don’t like spinach, but do like kale, then make the filling all kale and vice versa. Want to kick this up a little more? Add 2 or 3 tablespoons diced green chiles to the filling.

If you can’t find pepper jack cheese where you live, look for a semi -hard white cheese with pepper in it or you can add chile peppers to it.

Incidentally, for the curious, the vegetable in the picture is celery root, diced and boiled until fork tender, then pan fried in a little coconut oil until lightly browned. I put a little jack cheese on top.  The green veggie comes from a local grocery store and is broccoli salad.

Spicy Chicken Stuffed with JackCheese and Greens

6 boneless, skinless half chicken breasts (6 oz. each)
4 oz pepper jack cheese, shredded
2 cups fresh Spinach, chopped
1 cup fresh Kale, chopped
2 tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 cup Bacon Bits
1 teaspoon Cajun Seasoning or other spice
Black Pepper

Toothpicks, soaked in water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (F.)  Prepare a baking pan with foil or with parchment paper. Spray with cooking spray.

In a skillet, heat1 tablespoon olive oil, then add chopped spinach and kale. Sauté until they are wilted but not limp. Add bacon bits to the pan and mix it together, but don’t cook anymore. Set aside.

Cut chicken breasts down the middle but not all the way through to make a pocket or butterfly. If they are thicker than 1/4″, pound them with a meat mallet or put plastic wrap over the top and use a rolling pin to flatten. If you don’t do this, the breast may take longer to cook.

Stuffed chicken ready to cook
All wrapped up and ready for final steps.

In the pocket of the breast or the middle, add jack cheese, then spread the spinach mixture on top. Do not overstuff them. Fold the chicken over the stuffing and secure with toothpicks. Tuck the end of the chicken in and secure it.

Place the chicken, seam side up on the pan and brush with olive oil. Sprinkle the Cajun seasonings, salt and pepper on top. If you have leftover spinach, hold it until the chicken is almost done. Bake the chicken for 40 minutes until the juices run clear. Put the additional spinach on top and add any leftover jack cheese, if you wish. Return chicken to the oven for another five minutes to melt the cheese.

Serves 6

Nutrition Info per servings:
Calories: 301.3 Fat: 13.1 g Net Carbs: 1.4 g Protein: 41.1 g