Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast

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If you’re searching for a dish that’s both simple to make and impressively delicious, look no further than Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast. This recipe combines the nutritious goodness of broccoli with the creamy, melty charm of cheese, all enveloped in succulent chicken breasts. It’s a meal that’s sure to become a favorite in your household, and it’s perfect for both weeknight dinners and special occasions.

Table of Contents

Sr#Headings
1Introduction
2Ingredients
3Preparation Steps
4Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions
5Tips for Perfectly Stuffed Chicken
6Serving Suggestions
7Nutritional Information
8Variations and Substitutions
9Storing and Reheating Leftovers
10FAQs

Introduction

Imagine a meal where every bite delivers a burst of flavors and textures – from the tender chicken to the creamy, cheesy, and slightly crisp broccoli filling. This is not just a dream dish but a reality with Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast. Easy to prepare and incredibly satisfying, this recipe is perfect for busy weeknights or a weekend family gathering.

Ingredients

To get started on this delightful dish, gather the following ingredients:

  • 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 3 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives or other fresh herbs
  • Garlic powder, cumin, or other spices
  • 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation Steps

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Before diving into the cooking process, it’s essential to prepare all your ingredients and equipment. Here’s how:

  1. Preheat the Oven: Set your oven to 400°F (200°C) to ensure it’s hot and ready for the final baking stage.
  2. Microwave the Broccoli: Place the broccoli florets in a microwave-safe bowl, add 2 tablespoons of water, cover with a plate, and microwave for 2 minutes. This helps soften the broccoli, making it easier to chop and mix.
  3. Drain and Chop the Broccoli: After microwaving, drain the broccoli thoroughly on paper towels to remove excess moisture. Then, chop the broccoli into small, pea-sized pieces.

Step-by-Step Cooking Instructions

Making the Filling

  1. Combine Ingredients: In a bowl, mix the chopped broccoli with the shredded cheddar cheese, cream cheese, and chopped chives. Season with 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper.
  2. Stir Well: Ensure all ingredients are well combined to create a uniform mixture that will easily fill the chicken breasts.

Preparing the Chicken

  1. Cut Pockets in Chicken Breasts: Lay each chicken breast flat on a cutting board. Using a sharp knife, cut a deep pocket lengthwise into each breast without slicing all the way through.
  2. Stuff the Chicken: Divide the broccoli and cheese mixture into four portions and fill each pocket with the mixture, pressing it in firmly.

Seasoning and Searing

  1. Season the Chicken: Sprinkle the outsides of the chicken breasts with garlic powder, salt, pepper, and any other spices you prefer.
  2. Heat the Oil: Divide the olive oil between two ovenproof skillets and heat over medium heat.
  3. Sear the Chicken: Once the oil is hot, add two chicken breasts to each skillet. Sear for 3 minutes on one side, then flip and sear for an additional 2-3 minutes.

Baking to Perfection

  1. Transfer to the Oven: Move the skillets to the preheated oven. Bake the chicken breasts until the thickest part reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (75°C), about 10-15 minutes.
  2. Rest and Serve: Remove the chicken from the oven and let it rest for a few minutes before serving. This helps the juices redistribute, keeping the chicken moist and flavorful.

Tips for Perfectly Stuffed Chicken

  • Cutting the Pocket: Ensure you don’t cut all the way through the chicken breast. A deep pocket will hold the filling better without it spilling out.
  • Even Cooking: Sear the chicken breasts evenly on both sides to lock in moisture and flavor before baking.
  • Checking Doneness: Use a meat thermometer to ensure the chicken reaches the safe internal temperature of 165°F.

Serving Suggestions

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast pairs wonderfully with a variety of sides:

  • Rice or Quinoa: The grains soak up the delicious juices from the chicken.
  • Roasted Vegetables: Adds more nutrition and complements the flavors of the stuffed chicken.
  • Salad: A fresh, crisp salad provides a nice contrast to the creamy chicken filling.

Nutritional Information

This dish is not only delicious but also offers a good balance of nutrients:

  • Protein: The chicken provides a high amount of lean protein.
  • Vegetables: Broccoli adds fiber, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Calcium: Cheese contributes to your daily calcium intake.

Each serving of Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast contains approximately:

  • Calories: 450
  • Protein: 36g
  • Carbohydrates: 5g
  • Fat: 30g
  • Fiber: 2g

Variations and Substitutions

  • Different Cheeses: Swap cheddar for mozzarella, Swiss, or Gouda for a new flavor profile.
  • Add Ham: Include a slice of ham in the filling for a Cordon Bleu twist.
  • Spicy Kick: Add some chopped jalapenos or a dash of hot sauce to the filling.

Storing and Reheating Leftovers

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If you have leftovers, here’s how to store and reheat them:

  1. Refrigerate: Store the stuffed chicken in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  2. Reheat: Warm in the oven at 350°F (175°C) until heated through. Alternatively, microwave on medium power, covered, until hot.

FAQs

1. Can I use frozen broccoli for this recipe?

Yes, you can use frozen broccoli. Just make sure to thaw it completely and drain any excess moisture before chopping and using it in the filling.

2. What can I use instead of chives?

If you don’t have chives, you can substitute with green onions, parsley, or dill. These herbs add a fresh flavor that complements the chicken and cheese.

3. Can I prepare this dish ahead of time?

Yes, you can prepare the stuffed chicken breasts up to a day in advance. Store them in the refrigerator and then sear and bake just before serving.

4. How can I make this dish healthier?

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To make a healthier version, use low-fat cheese and reduce the amount of olive oil. You can also add more vegetables to the filling, like spinach or bell peppers.

5. Is it necessary to sear the chicken before baking?

Searing the chicken is not mandatory but highly recommended. It adds a nice golden-brown color and helps seal in the juices, enhancing the overall flavor and texture.

Conclusion

Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast is a versatile and delicious dish that’s sure to become a staple in your cooking repertoire. With its creamy, cheesy filling and perfectly cooked chicken, it’s a meal that’s both comforting and impressive. Whether you’re a seasoned cook or a kitchen novice, this recipe is straightforward and rewarding to make. Enjoy this scrumptious dish with your family and friends, and don’t be surprised if they ask for seconds!

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