Monday, March 19, 2012

Spinach Ricotta Chicken

Not exactly Irish, but it's a pretty, green recipe. Perfect for March.

I came up with this recipe on the fly. We had been eating a lot of beef and I thought we needed a chicken night. Then, I thought about spinach artichoke dip. That stuff is good! Maybe....

Yep, that's what happened. Kind of like when I wanted Bruschetta and I made Bruschetta Chicken. I didn't have any canned artichoke on hand. I mean, who does? So, I used broccoli. Still sweet with some substance to it. And I always keep a bag of frozen spinach on hand. It's easy to use a little and thaw it out to add to soups or whatever.
I used about 1/3 cup spinach, thawed and drained, 1/2 cup broccoli, thawed and chopped finely and 1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese. To drain your spinach, just press a couple paper towels down into it and press hard. The fireman says he puts it in a towel and rolls it up to wring it out. Whatever works. Just get the excess moisture out.
Now, we want to add about 1/4 tsp minced garlic, 1/4 salt and a dash of pepper. About 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese and 1/3 parmesan cheese. This is cheesy and garlicy.

Just stir it all up together.
You can pound your chicken breasts flat, but I find it much easier to just cut them in half. I'm lazy.

Line a baking sheet with tinfoil, lightly spray with oil and top with the chicken. Salt, pepper the chicken, and sprinkle with garlic powder. Drop the cheese mixture by the spoonful on top of each chicken breast. It's very thick and you'll have to press it down onto the chicken.

Just kind of get them as covered as possible.

Bake for 20 minutes at 350. When you have 5 minutes remaining, top with an additional sprinkling of mozzarella cheese if you'd like.

Then bake the last 5 minutes or more until the cheese is melty and the chicken is cooked all the way.
The cook time is low because the chicken is so thin. The cheese is wrapping the chicken, keeping it moist inside.
It's just a very pretty meal.

And tasty, too.

The texture of the ricotta is wonderful. The garlic and salt gives it great flavor and the broccoli gives it a little sweetness and body.

As for a quick throw together meal, this one's 5 stars! Probably one of my best inventions.

The Recipe:
 Spinach Ricotta Chicken
4-5 chicken breasts, cut in half thickness-wise, salted, peppered and sprinkled with garlic powder
Mix up,
1/2 cup part skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup chopped broccoli (steamed)
1/3 cup thawed and drained spinach
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup mozarella cheese
1/4 tsp minced garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
Place chicken breasts on a baking sheet covered in tinfoil, lightly  oiled. Top with spoonfuls of cheese. Press the cheese mixture down to cover.
Bake 20 minutes at 350. Top with additional mozzarella if desired in the last 5 minutes of baking.

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