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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Mozzarella and Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

This month will see two versions of chicken cordon bleu.  This is the first, and the second (in a couple of weeks) will be an actual traditional chicken cordon bleu.

Before I get angry comments, I know that this is not chicken cordon bleu.  I just kind of feel like this is the Italian version of it.  I might have chosen a salty prosciutto rather than pepperoni, but Aaron really likes pepperoni.  The chicken is sliced open, stuffed with cheese and pepperoni, breaded and fried, and then baked to crispy perfection.  You could also call this a twist on chicken parmesan, but I think the cheese and pepperoni stuffing just reminds me of chicken cordon bleu.

I found the original post through Pinterest, on a blog devoted to eating well on a budget.  I actually looked over a few posts and really enjoyed this blog.  I will be checking it out regularly.  Anything that saves me money is always helpful and the recipes don't sacrifice flavor to save a buck.

This dish works well because the pepperoni provides moisture (in the form of oil) from inside the chicken breast, keeping it from drying out.  The pepperoni also adds plenty of salty, spicy flavor from inside which is nice because how often do you actually get to season the inside of the meat when you cook it?

I served this chicken with spaghetti and marinara sauce.  I think it was definitely a good idea to serve it this way because the marinara sauce works so well with the mozzarella and pepperoni.  I also served salad (though I was the only person in the house who ate it) and garlic toast, which didn't fit on the plate.  I will make this dish again, and I will probably serve it exactly the same way.

Mozzarella and Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken

Source: Budget Bytes

2 large chicken breasts
2 oz mozzarella cheese, cut into 4 or 8 slices (I did 8)
16 pepperonis
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs (I like the roasted garlic seasoned bread crumbs but the Italian seasoned would work well)
6 Tbsp vegetable oil
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line a small baking sheet with foil and set aside.  With a sharp knife trim any obvious fat from the chicken breasts.  Slice each breast diagonally in half, creating four relatively rectangular shaped pieces.  Carefully create a pocket inside each piece by inserting the knife into the center and slicing open without slicing through.

Insert about 1/2 oz of cheese and 4 pepperonis into each chicken breast.

Try to make it so the cheese is completely inside so that it doesn't leak out when it starts to melt.  (It will anyway, but it won't all leak out if you really wedge it in there.)

Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat.

Place the flour, egg, and bread crumbs in three separate shallow bowls.  Using your hands (to keep the fillings in place) coat the chicken in the flour, dip it in the egg, and then coat it in the bread crumbs.  Place the chicken in the heated oil and cook until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side.  Transfer the chicken to the prepared baking sheet and place in the preheated oven.

Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.

As I said, the cheese will leak out, but it's okay because you get this delicious melted, browned cheese puddle around the chicken.

Look at that!  It's all melty, oozy cheese and spicy pepperoni wrapped in crispy fried chicken!

Serve warm with pasta and salad.

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