Pesto-Crusted Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast


Date Published: August 20th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 20th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, easy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

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Pesto. Panko. Goat cheese. Spinach. Garlic. These are a few of my favourite things and make me salivate just by reading them out loud. We’ve been cooking with a lot of chicken breast lately mainly by breading them to make a katsu or katsu parma, or adding them to salads like my favourite apple goat cheese salad. I was doing some research for meal prep and stumbled across a stuffed chicken breast recipe. This immediately made my mind go into a million different possibilities of what I could put in a chicken breast. After a whole day of thinking about it (seriously), I settled on a pesto-crusted chicken breast stuffed with goat cheese and garlic spinach. I was SO excited to make this dish and hoped it would be everything I had imagined it to be. Sadly I didn’t actually get to make this dish until 2 painful weeks later because during pandemic times, we only do grocery shopping once a week and I kept missing all the ingredients I needed. The first week we didn’t have enough basil for pesto, then the next week we didn’t have enough spinach. Bah! I FINALLY got to make it today and I’m happy to report that everything turned out fantastic and this dish was definitely worth the wait! It got rave reviews at the dinner table. Everything came together so quickly and it was so easy, I was looking for more things to do in the kitchen (I ended up making two side dishes to go with it: brown butter thyme mushrooms and bacon mashed peas). The panko with the pesto made a crunchy little crust on top of the breast with gooey melted goat cheese and spinach in the middle of the chicken. The goat cheese mixture actually kept the chicken really moist while baking so it came out perfectly cooked!

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (200g) fresh spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup (150g) soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (click to see tutorial)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup pesto (you can make it yourself with my recipe here or use store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Directions:

Warm a skillet on MEDIUM heat and add in a drizzle of oil (~1/2 tablespoon). Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant then add in the spinach leaves and sauté until the leaves are just wilted (~3-5 mins). Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl to cool. Discard any excess liquids.

While the spinach is cooling, rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts and butterfly them (click here for tutorial). Sprinkle black pepper and salt over the breasts. Set aside.

Preheat the oven to 200˚C (~400˚F).

Once the spinach has cooled, mix it with the goat cheese, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, and a pinch of salt.

Spoon and divide evenly the goat cheese spinach mixture amongst the 4 chicken breasts. Only put the mixture on half of the breast, then fold the other half over to enclose it. Use a few toothpicks to secure the breast closed.

As the chicken cooks the meat will shrink and open up the breast which is why the toothpicks are necessary to keep them closed and maintain their shape.

Mix the pesto and panko together then evenly divide the mixture amongst the 4 breasts and cover the top of each breast.

Bake in the preheated oven at 200˚C for 20-25 minutes. The pesto crust should be golden brown and the chicken juices run clear. Carefully remove the toothpicks then serve immediately. Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Pesto-Crusted Goat Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

Date Published: August 20th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 20th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains, easy
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 25 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (200g) fresh spinach leaves
  • 3/4 cup (150g) soft goat cheese
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (click to see tutorial)
  • salt and pepper
  • 3/4 cup pesto (you can make it yourself with my recipe here or use store-bought)
  • 1/2 cup panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)

Directions:

  1. Warm a skillet on MEDIUM heat and add in a drizzle of oil (~1/2 tablespoon). Sauté the garlic for 30 seconds until fragrant then add in the spinach leaves and sauté until the leaves are just wilted (~3-5 mins). Remove from heat and set aside in a bowl to cool. Discard any excess liquids.
  2. While the spinach is cooling, rinse and pat dry the chicken breasts and butterfly them (click here for tutorial). Sprinkle black pepper and salt over the breasts. Set aside.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200˚C (~400˚F).
  4. Once the spinach has cooled, mix it with the goat cheese, 1/4 tsp of black pepper, and a pinch of salt.
  5. Spoon and divide evenly the goat cheese spinach mixture amongst the 4 chicken breasts. Only put the mixture on half of the breast, then fold the other half over to enclose it. Use a few toothpicks to secure the breast closed.
  6. Mix the pesto and panko together then evenly divide the mixture amongst the 4 breasts and cover the top of each breast.
  7. Bake in the preheated oven at 200˚C for 20-25 minutes. The pesto crust should be golden brown and the chicken juices run clear. Carefully remove the toothpicks then serve immediately. Done!

Baked Chicken Katsu Parma


Date Published: August 15th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 15th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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This past week we’ve been using more eggplant in our cooking, a vegetable that we previously never really touched. We’ve actually made some pretty tasty dishes with eggplant including sweet chilli eggplant and a few more dishes that I’ll be posting soon. I found a popular recipe for an eggplant parmesan from Jamie Oliver and decided to give it a go. Toby LOVES a good parma, so you can imagine his disappointment when he thought an eggplant parmesan was a chicken parma with eggplant on top, rather than an eggplant-style lasagne. In the end our eggplant parmesan turned out well, but I felt bad that Toby never got the parma he was so excited for so we put parma on this week’s menu. We decided to use the baked chicken katsu recipe to make it a healthier (and crunchier) alternative and topped it off with our own marinara sauce. It was SOOOOO good. Toby said it was one of the best parmas he’s ever had, especially with the homemade marinara.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsps Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)
  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • A few slices of mozzarella cheese per parma
  • Basil leaves (for garnish)

Directions:

Cooled toasted panko with parmesan and Italian seasoning

On a pan on medium heat, toast the panko with the olive oil. Stir to combine and toast until golden brown. Then put your panko in a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled mix in parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Butterfly the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper on both sides. Follow the photos above to butterfly the breasts or click here for a more descriptive tutorial.

In two large bowls or plates, place flour in one and beaten eggs in the other.

Now bread your chicken in this order:

  1. Dunk the chicken breast in the flour bowl to cover both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
  2. Next coat it in the beaten eggs.
  3. Finally coat it in the toasted panko parmesan mixture, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.

Place the katsu onto a wire rack over an oven tray. Bake for about 20-25 minutes on the middle rack until the chicken is no longer pink inside. If you have an oven thermometer, your chicken should be about 74˚C.

When the chicken is cooked, put a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce over each katsu then top with mozzarella cheese. Put it back on the oven and broil on HIGH until the cheese is bubbly and melted (~1 minute).

Top each parma with a few slices of fresh basil and serve immediately. Done!

Summarized Recipe:

Baked Chicken Katsu Parma

Date Published: August 15th, 2020 | Last Updated: August 15th, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: mains
Serves: 4 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 Tbsps Italian seasoning (or dried oregano)
  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • A few slices of mozzarella cheese per parma
  • Basil leaves (for garnish)

Directions:

  1. On a pan on medium heat, toast the panko with the olive oil. Stir to combine and toast until golden brown. Then put your panko in a large bowl and set aside to cool. Once cooled mix in parmesan cheese and Italian seasoning.
  2. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  3. Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Butterfly the chicken breasts and season with salt and pepper on both sides (click here for tutorial).
  4. In two large bowls or plates, place flour in one and beaten eggs in the other.
  5. Now bread your chicken in this order:
    1. Dunk the chicken breast in the flour bowl to cover both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
    2. Next coat it in the beaten eggs.
    3. Finally coat it in the toasted panko parmesan mixture, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.
  6. Place the katsu onto a wire rack over an oven tray. Bake for about 20-25 minutes on the middle rack until the chicken is no longer pink inside. If you have an oven thermometer, your chicken should be about 74˚C.
  7. When the chicken is cooked, put a few spoonfuls of marinara sauce over each katsu then top with mozzarella cheese. Put it back on the oven and broil on HIGH until the cheese is bubbly and melted (~1 minute).
  8. Top each parma with a few slices of fresh basil and serve immediately. Done!

Baked Chicken Katsu


Date Published: August 1st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 1st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, mains, easy, low-cal
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

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NOM NOM NOM I LOVE KATSU. When Toby and I head out to a Japanese restaurant, katsu is usually one of our go-to items to order (second to ramen, of course).

If you’re not familiar with katsu, it’s essentially a Japanese version of a schnitzel topped with an iconic tonkatsu sauce. A katsu is made with either chicken (breast or thigh) or a pork cutlet (called tonkatsu). The breading is made with panko (Japanese breadcrumbs) rather than traditional breadcrumbs which results in a lighter, flakier, and crispier texture.

I’m not a fan of deep-frying things at home because a) you need to use so much oil, b) it pains me to waste all that oil for one dish, c) health reasons, and d) the clean up afterwards from oil splatters. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the occasional take-away fried foods, but I just really dislike deep-frying things at home. This was the reason why I never tried to make katsu at home and save it for restaurant outings until now! I stumbled across this recipe from Just One Cookbook (which is filled with amazing Japanese recipes btw and defs worth checking out) and I was skeptical if it would be as good as the real deep-fried thing. For the sake of science, experimentation, and the quest to making great food, I made both versions: one deep-fried one and one baked.

I’m VERY happy to report that the baked version was unanimously favoured over the deep-fried version. Who would’ve thought!? The baked version had a crispier texture with better crunch and was (obviously) less oily than the deep-fried version. The colour wasn’t as dark, but that’s easily solved by pre-toasting the breadcrumbs for the baked version.

Overall this recipe was surprisingly easy and quick with very minimal prep work. It’s rare that I can cook up a dish without having to do any chopping. Best of all, it’s also relatively low in calories too (under 300 calories per serving!). This recipe definitely makes the top 20 list in my books.

Anyways, without further ado, here’s the recipe! If you have any comments or suggestions, I’d love to hear from you in the comment section! You can follow me on instagram, youtube and facebook to see all the recipes I post!

Happy cooking!

Ingredients you’ll need:

  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (note: one chicken breast makes a pretty large portion once you butterfly it (see finished photo) so I usually aim for 3/4 of a breast per person (unless you’ve got a big appetite) which is why I’ve written 4-6 servings for this recipe)
    • This recipe works well with chicken thighs or boneless pork loin chops as well (pound the chops to ~1.2cm thick)
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large egg, beaten

Directions:

Rinse and pat the chicken breasts dry. If you haven’t already, butterfly your chicken breasts (see photo tutorial below on how to do this or click here for more detailed instructions). Season breasts with salt and pepper. Set aside.

(If you’re using pork cutlets, score the edge where the fat and the meat meet to ensure your cutlet doesn’t curl when cooking and use a meat tenderizer mallet to pound the cutlets to about 1.2cm thick.)

Preheat oven to 200˚C.

Heat a skillet on medium heat and add olive oil.

Add in the panko breadcrumbs and stir to combine with the oil and toast the panko until golden brown. Put the crumbs in a large bowl and set aside to cool.

Note: When you bake a katsu, the colour of the breadcrumbs doesn’t change much in the oven compared to deep-frying, which is why this step is important to get that delicious toasty crumb.

Prepare three bowls: 1) Flour, 2) Beaten eggs, 3) Toasted panko

Dip your butterflied chicken breasts first in the flour on both sides and shake off any excess flour. Make sure sure you cover every crevice. Then dip it in the beaten egg and finally in the toasted panko, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.

Set your chicken breasts on wire racks placed ontop of a baking tray and bake in the oven at 200˚C for 20-25 minutes, until the chicken juices run clear or a thermometer reads 74˚C in the thickest part of the breast.

Ready to bake! We made both chicken breast (top rack) and chicken thighs (bottom rack). Both came out perfectly. The breasts were more dense and steak-like whereas the thighs were more moist and chewier. Toby liked the thighs better whereas I liked the breasts. I guess to break the debate, chicken breast is healthier 😜.

While your chicken bakes, you can make the tonkatsu sauce (click to follow link to recipe).

Once your chicken is cooked, let it cool for a couple minutes on the wire rack and serve immediately as whole cutlet or slice it into strips, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce.

Summarized Recipe:

Baked Chicken Katsu

Date Published: August 1st, 2020 | Last Updated: August 1st, 2020
Author: Abby |Category: asian, mains, easy, low-cal
Serves: 4-6 | Prep time: 15 mins | Cook time: 30 mins

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts, butterflied (or chicken thighs or boneless pork loin chops (pound chops to ~1.2cm thick))
  • salt & ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 large eggs, beaten

Directions:

  1. Rinse your chicken and pat dry. Butterfly the chicken breasts (see photo tutorial above) and season with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
    • If you’re using pork cutlets, score the edge where the fat and the meat meet to ensure your cutlet doesn’t curl when cooking and use a meat tenderizing mallet to pound the cutlet until about 1.2cm thick. Season with salt and pepper on both sides and set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 200˚C.
  3. On a pan on medium heat, toast the panko with the olive oil. Stir to combine and toast until golden brown. Then put your panko in a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. Place your flour on a large plate or bowl for easy dipping and do the same with the beaten egg.
  5. Now bread your chicken:
    1. Dunk the chicken breast in the flour bowl to cover both sides. Shake off any excess flour.
    2. Next coat it in the beaten eggs.
    3. Finally coat it in the toasted panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs in slightly to help them stick.
  6. Place your katsu onto a wire rack over an oven tray.
  7. Bake for about 20-25 minutes on the middle rack until the chicken is no longer pink inside. If you have an oven thermometer, your chicken should be about 74˚C.
  8. While your chicken is baking, you can make the tonkatsu sauce (click on this link for the recipe).
  9. When your chicken is ready, serve immediately either as an entire cutlet or you can cut them into strips, drizzled with tonkatsu sauce.