I am always looking for chicken recipes that are tasty AND very healthy. I know, I keep talking about this. It is not only a statement, it is a difficult task, specially when you are using skin less chicken,that can be anything but tasteless. And then you search and watch food shows, and search again, learn every day and experiment in your kitchen, hum… not there yet, time to try a different recipe and keep searching…
It is the ongoing battle between healthy and nutritious and tasty and yummy. Cooking is magic, you’re taking the time to transform ingredients, to plan a meal, to prepare for the ritual in which you will share your magic, feed the ones you chose, spread your generosity and share your own tastes. Nothing makes me feel as good as when my family enjoys the food I cook, moans fill the air, eyes rolling, comments about what I had achieved, etc.
I have a friend, Carol, that feels the same way. She feeds her family of 2 boys and a husband, which is a workout by itself since their appetite is endless. She laughs and keeps feeding them, with the joy of the great cook she is and the abundance that she loves to see flowing from her table. As mothers and cooks, that’s the reward.
It is also about the old saying, if you’re taking the time and have to do it every day, do it right. Who has said that? Probably me again.
Back to the chicken, I was very happy when I found this recipe here, it turned out perfectly, filling all the requirements above. Breading the chicken breasts with a mix of almond flour and Parmesan was just genius for a diabetes friendly recipe. I used the Lemon pesto (recipe below) that kept the chicken breast moist and flavorful.
I served with a side of spaghetti squash and kale sautée with garlic; will post this recipe soon!
Crispy baked chicken breast stuffed with pesto and breaded with almond flour
2 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 to 3 tbs Pesto with Lemon* or your favorite commercial pesto
2 to 3 tbs low-fat sour cream
2 to 3 tbs grated mozzarella cheese
2 eggs, beaten
3 tbs finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbs almond flour
black pepper to taste
* find Pesto recipe below
Preheat oven to 375F. Spray a small casserole dish with non-stick spray. Trim any visible fat from chicken breasts, then put them one at a time inside a heavy plastic bag and pound with meat mallet until the chicken is as thin as you can get it. Don’t worry too much about the shape or whether there are some loose pieces, you can tuck them in when you roll up the chicken.
In a small bowl mix together the basil pesto, sour cream, and grated mozzarella. Use a rubber scraper to spread a thin layer of this mixture over each chicken breast, stopping about 1/2 inch from the edge of the chicken (so it doesn’t run out so much as it cooks.) Roll up the chicken breasts and secure them with a couple of toothpicks.
Prepare two bowls, one with the beaten egg and the other with the grated Parmesan-almond flour mixture, seasoned with black pepper to taste. Dip each chicken breast roll first into the egg mixture and then into the Parmesan-almond flour mixture, patting it on so the chicken breast roll is well-coated with the mixture.
Put chicken breasts into the casserole dish and bake until the chicken is firm and lightly browned. (Start checking after about 25-30 minutes; total baking time will be 30-35 minutes.)
Season the pesto to taste with a bit of sea salt and some freshly ground black pepper. I store pesto in a glass jar in the refrigerator, where it will last for more than a week.
Basil Pesto with lemon
1 1/2 cups pesto
2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed into measuring cup)
3-4 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and sliced
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pine nuts
3/4 cup coarsely grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
Wash basil leaves if needed and spin dry or dry with paper towels. Put basil leaves and sliced garlic into food processor that’s been fitted with the steel blade and process until basil and garlic is finely chopped, adding oil through the feed tube as you process. (You may need to take off the lid and scrape the sides with a rubber scraper if you have a hard time getting the basil all chopped.)
Add pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, and lemon juice to the chopped basil mixture and process 1-2 minutes more, until the pesto is mostly pureed and well mixed. (I like to keep it slightly chunky, but you can make it as finely pureed as you wish.)
Season to taste with salt and fresh ground black pepper and pulse a few times more.
Store basil pesto in the refrigerator in a glass jar, where it will keep for more than a week. Pesto can also be frozen. Many cooking experts recommend leaving out the cheese if you’re going to freeze it, and then adding the cheese when you thaw the pesto.
Enjoy and. thanks for stopping by!