Thursday, December 18, 2008

Chicken Roll-Ups with Goat Cheese and Spinach

I love this recipe and have made it so many times. It's been in my recipe binder since 2005 (I only know this because it's printed in the bottom corner). The recipe is from EveryDay Food, the Martha Stewart mag that I rave about.

The original recipe fills the chicken with goat cheese and arugula (a type of lettuce that's "peppery"). I've made it substituting spinach for the arugula and I imagine basil would be nice too (for the party this past weekend I used basil pesto and sun dried tomatoes and it was delish). I've also swapped the goat cheese for feta.

Chicken cutlets are hard for me to find, so I usually buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts and pound them thin. To do this, I put 1 breast in a heavy duty zip-loc bag (I don't seal the bag) and pound it with my rolling pin (I don't have a meat mallet).

Even with the cheese, the recipe is relatively low in fat. Goat cheese and other soft cheeses (like feta) are lower in fat than most (80 cals and 6g fat per 1 oz serving).

Chicken Roll-Ups with Goat Cheese and Spinach
adapted from

Makes 4 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (1 ½ pounds or less)
Salt and pepper
4 ounces baby spinach (or regular spinach with stems trimmed)
3 ounces soft goat cheese, broken into small pieces
2 teaspoons olive oil

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Pound each chicken breast to about a ¼-inch thickness and pat dry. Season chicken with salt and pepper.

On a clean work surface, lay chicken flat (smooth sides down). Fill and roll: Layer each breast with spinach and then crumble goat cheese in the center. Starting with the narrow end, roll up chicken tightly and seal with a toothpick (or 2) or tie with kitchen twine.

In a large nonstick ovenproof skillet*, heat oil over medium-high heat. Swirl to coat bottom of pan. Cook, seam side down, until golden brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Turn chicken and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes.

Transfer skillet to oven. Cook until chicken is opaque throughout, 10 to 12 minutes. Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes. Remove toothpicks, and slice chicken crosswise before serving, if desired.

* If you don't have a skillet that can go from the stove-top to the oven (it really depends on whether or not the handle is heat-proof), just transfer the browned chicken to a baking sheet/dish and continue as normal.

Per serving - 268 calories, 9 g fat (4 g saturated), 1 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 44 g protein (exchanges: 2 fat, 6 protein)

Notes - This recipe is so easy to adjust for more will probably have left-over cheese and spinach so just buy extra chicken; for the party, I browned the roll-ups ahead of time, cooled them to room temperature, and refrigerated them until party time - when guests started arriving I took them out of the fridge to bring them back to room temp and 20 minutes before I was ready to serve, I popped them in the oven (10 to 12 minutes...mine actually took 15 to cook); for the party, I sliced each roll-up in half...there were 9 of us at the party and I cooked 6 breasts - we each had ½ of a roll-up and with all of the other food I served, it was enough (we were all girls too, so that helped)

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