Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

So, my sister. Remember her? Think scones and fruit pizza.

She gets all the credit for this recipe. Well, no. The lovely Gina from Skinny Taste gets first and foremost credit, with honorable mention going to Pinterest for putting the recipe in front of my sister’s friend’s mom’s face who then printed it and gave it to my sister.

But my sister gets secondary credit because she’s the one who introduced me to this incredibly easy, healthy, and completely gorgeous recipe idea. And ultimately I guess I will take the credit for eating seven of the chicken rolls.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Kristin (ma sista) made this while we were up at the cabin a few weeks ago and it was a hit before it even made its way to our plates. She came rounding the corner holding a jumbo pan of baked goodness and just one look at all that chicken, cheese, sauce, and fresh basil was enough to make us all fall in love/grab at the chicken with our hands while still in the pan/fight for the cheesy strings on top. Ahem.

Bjork especially loved this down-home baked chicken dinner. So much so that I had a sudden shameful sometimes-vegetarian wife moment where I realized that his typical dinner fare as of late consists of lentil burgers and squash curry and the occasional bowl of cereal. I said to myself: Lindsay, you need to feed this man crispy, cheese-soaked saucy chicken. Like, yesterday.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

But fear not, veg lovers! Even though this is baked chicken paradise, each chicken piece is actually stuffed with my very own favorite power veggie: spinach. Very delicate baby spinach, chopped and just very lightly wilted with some garlic and olive oil, just to make ya feel green and happy on the inside. And if you must, a little cheese and bread crumbs and sauce and more melted cheese along with that will be accepted.

My mom would call this recipe “putzy” and it is, in fact, putzy. You have give each piece of chicken some special TLC and your hands will be a complete ugly raw-chicken disaster by the time it’s all said and done. But the payoff = your dinner, which is a beauty queen featuring incredible textures and summer’s very best colors. And your family will think you are some kind of culinary genius, because, in reality, you are.

Aww yeah you are.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

So here’s how things happen. You first roll that spinach with a little ricotta and Parmesan cheese inside a piece of chicken. Hold on to it cause it might try to slip away from ya or the spinach might come sneaking out the edges. Come on, now. Commit to not losing any of that yummy, creamy filling. Roll the whole thing in egg whites and seasoned whole wheat bread crumbs. I will not send the food police if you use white bread crumbs, but forget health benefits – the whole wheat crumbs have a rich brown color that makes the whole thing pop. Worth it.

At this point you’re going to ask: am I doing this right? If you’re making a total mess, then yes.

Arrange all 8 of the chicken pieces in a normal sized pan. If I was making this for a real family, I’d have put the other three in the sides of this little pan. But I was cooking for a food blog and got all weird about turning a few pieces sideways. #psycho

Hey! They’re cute! And you’re a mess. Go wash your hands.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

While the chicken bakes, cut a few slices of fresh Mozzarella. Fresh, peeps. I mean the stuff that’s pure white, sold in big hunks, completely mild and delicious, and melts like a dream.

If you don’t eat a few extra pieces of cheese during this step you are a not human.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Ding! Chicken’s done. Top it with sauce and cheese and melt it to give it the final crown of Mozzarella glory.

Final step: fresh basil.

Layer the leaves, roll them up into a tight bundle, and cut thin slices at a vertical slant to make “ribbons.” Sprinkle the ribbons over the whole pan of melty, cheesy, baked Mozzarella chicken rolls and watch the color party happen right in front of your eyes.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

This meal has summer dinner written all over it. The fresh basil, the tomato sauce, the creamy spinach bursting out of the seams, the Italian herb smells that will waft out of your open windows and make your neighbors wonder if they can come for dinner, AND the happy nutrition stats? It’s all there.

Would someone please outdo me with some kind of homegrown tomatoes made into homegrown sauce, because how amazing would that be?

I think I want a garden.

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls

Baked Mozzarella Chicken Rolls
Author: Pinch of Yum, recipe inspired by [url href="http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/04/chicken-rollatini-with-spinach-alla.html" target="_blank"]Skinny Taste[/url]
Serves: 8
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts (8 4-ounce pieces)
  • 1 cup whole wheat Italian style bread crumbs
  • 6 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 5 ounces fresh baby spinach
  • 1 clove minced garlic and olive oil for sauteeing
  • 1/2 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/3 cup beaten egg whites (I used something similar to Egg Beaters)
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup marinara sauce
  • fresh basil for topping
Instructions
  1. Prep the chicken: Cut the chicken into 8 pieces and pound the pieces until they are thin (for quick cooking) and have expanded in surface area (for more filling). Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese and set aside.
  2. Prep the filling: Chop the spinach and saute it with the garlic and just a drizzle of olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted. Combine the sauteed spinach with the ricotta, Parmesan cheese, and 2-3 tablespoons of the egg whites. Place the remaining egg whites in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
  3. Assemble the chicken: Oil the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a “seam”. Dip the entire chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.
  4. Finishing touches: After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Cover the chicken with the marinara sauce and slices of fresh Mozzarella. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. Sprinkle with fresh basil.
Notes
Don’t try to cram all the pieces too close together because if the sides are touching each other, they won’t get crispy. Leaving a little space between each piece allows the breadcrumbs to bake, brown, and crispify perfectly. :)

 

 


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Comments

  1. Oh my, makes me want to have this for lunch! Even though, I just had spinach and feta stuffed chicken for 2 days in a row :) Oh well! I will make this recipe this week for sure! Thanks for the idea! :)

  2. And I’m pretty sure I’m going to make this for dinner tonight. How could I not? Looks so delicious!

  3. These are incredible!! Oh my yum!! I love the summer flavors and all the cheese!

  4. Oh what great summer flavours! And sometimes it’s good to get a bit messy in the kitchen ;)

  5. I, too, am guilty of only feeding my husband vegetarian dishes! I brought home a pork roast (to make your wonderful black bean & adobo pork roast again), and he was all “ooooh! what’s that in the fridge?!” Like a little kid excited about candy. And then I realized that I’ve been depriving him of meat. Perhaps he’d love this mozzarella chicken? :)

  6. My husband and I went veg about six months ago but I always cheat with chicken and he always cheats with bacon. These look so pretty and textureful (totally a word) but I’m not sure I could handle the “putzy-ness”! Here’s to hoping I can find a way to speed up the process!

  7. Oh my WORD, the deliciousness going on here. And totally worth the putzy-ness, too! ;)

  8. Weeping. I’m WEEPING.

  9. Woah. This is going on the dinner menu soon!

  10. Wow. These look totally up my alley. Can’t wait to give them a try. Thanks!

  11. WANT.
    NEED.

    YUM! ;)

  12. I’m guilty of depriving my husband of meat as well! He grew up eating it pretty much everyday…multiple times a day…then the poor man married me. I definitely don’t keep lunch meat around for him to make a sandwich, and the majority of the meals I make are meat-less. I’ve gotten better about treating him lately though. I’m sure he’d love these!

  13. This dish looks just wonderful!!

  14. Wow, that looks wonderful!

    I’ve been feeling the same about my garden, but then I realize how little time I have to dedicate to said garden (I barely have enough time to water my flowers these days)… I went with a CSA instead. All of that yummy fresh-picked goodness, by a local farm. Progress!

  15. This is the kind of dish I would make when my family’s tired of the ‘stranger’ foods I share with them. It’s total comfort, warm fuzzies and huge flavor. And now I’m hungry. Many thanks to Gina/Pinterest/sister’s friend’s mom and sister for getting this in front of you!

  16. This looks SOOOO freakin good!

  17. I am just too hungry.

  18. Love this! I think I have most of the ingredients on hand too!

  19. Ohhh myyy goooodnessss. I love stuffed chicken! I think I’ve tried like three of Gina’s stuffed chicken recipes. I can’t wait to try your version!

  20. Sounds so good!

  21. Ooooh – yum!! This looks so fresh and simple to make – thanks to your sister for getting you to make this :)

  22. I’ve made something similar, but with eggplant instead of the chicken. Put cheese and basil on ANYTHING and I’ll eat it. It looks amazing.

  23. Oh my goodness – these look so good! I don’t have homegrown tomatoes, but I’ve got lots of basil in the garden :-)

  24. It would be worth it to get my hands all mucky for this.

  25. That crispy coating looks amazing!

    (PS your link to Skinnytaste doesn’t work)

  26. This is like chicken-cordon-bleu but Italian style! YUM!!

  27. Love this! Thanks for posting. :) Also, your link to her website is broken… oops!

  28. oh my gosh this looks so good…and that you’ve had this dish twice now makes me want to try it all the more…even though all your dishes I want to try :-) i just love that mozz & basil combo perfect together.

  29. May I suggest to those that are apprehensive about touching the chicken. Lay down a piece of plastic wrap and let it help you like you were rolling a jelly roll. It will not completely keep your hands clean, but it helps. Roll up, tuck, roll up, tuck.

  30. Gretchen says:

    I discovered your blog very recently but I am truly in love. And jealous of your extra summertime cooking hours.

  31. This recipe and it’s accompanying tutorial just sing dinner success with my tribe…Question…If there is gluten concerns with two members…could something else be used to replace the wholewheat bread crumbs?…You do perfection basil ribbons by the way!

  32. They look so pretty! I wonder if I have everything to make it already…

  33. I definitely want to give this a go! My week has been pinchofyum full! Caribbean jerk salmon and mango salsa bowl, Mexican croc pot burritos, and carrot cupcakes! Thank you for all the great recipes!

  34. im only 11 years old and i help my mom in the kitchen a lot & 2day is mysisters 8th b-day! so as soon as my mom wakes up i’ll tell her dat i will b makin dinner 2night!! these are defenately goin 2 b a BIIIIIIIIIIIIIIG hit!! thnx

  35. Thank God I just stuffed my face with some delicious pasta and Bolognaese (sp?) sauce left over from the Lasagna I made last night for my boyfriend’s family or my mouth would be watering and I’d be headed to grocery store to start making this at 9:00 pm! We don’t live in Italy so that wouldn’t really fly with my man. He complains enough about my late meals. I’m a perfectionist and enjoy the process of cooking so much it usually takes me forever…. or maybe it’s the wine? LOL
    This looks absolutely wonderful and a creative deviation from one of my faves, Chicken Parm. Can’t wait to make it! I too am from Minnesota (live in sunny Colorado now) and miss the summer garden harvests and all the good cooks in my family so THANK YOU for sharing MN Girl!

  36. I love these. The crispy breading looks so good. Thanks so much for sharing!

  37. this looks stunningly awesome! And it will go into my recipe collection for sure. Question though…what would you serve with this?

  38. Hello all of you who are depriving your men of meat…seriously??? They are big boys and can find and eat meat if they want it (and even cook it for both of you!)…just cuz u married then doesn’t mean you’re totally responsible for what they eat. Meanwhile, this recipe looks delicious, I may give it a try.

    • Lighten up Wendy. When these women go to bed at night I’m sure it isn’t political or social agendas that warm the sheets.

  39. Looks amazing! Would there be any concern preparing it the night before & it sitting in the fridge overnight & the next day cooking for dinner?

    • Hey Hillary, I think the crust wouldn’t be quite as crispy. It might get soggy sitting under that sauce and cheese. But the flavor of the leftovers is still great! :)

  40. Made some changes for my Gluten Free family. It was YUM!
    The only ingredients that need modification are bread crumbs – just find gluten free variety at the grocery store (or make your own with GF bread). AND, although folks may not know, most ricotta contains gluten as a filler or emulsifier. So, just substitute for cottage cheese. I used the same measurements, but drained any liquid in the cottage cheese. Always a good substitute for ricotta.

    And – I may be reading the recipe directions wrong – correct me if I am.
    Do you split the bread crumb/ parmesan mixture so 1/2 goes in the filling and 1/2 is used for the outer breading? I did 1/2 and 1/2, but ended up with a LOT of bread crumbs left over… of course, I just threw extra on top.

    And great tip about not crowding the breasts. The high temp and short cooking time made them so nice and crispy! Done in no time!

  41. Made this for dinner today, served with rice and swiss chard. Delicious! Thanks for sharing!

  42. Made this tonight for my boyfriend and I. What a great recipe,will definitely be making this again!

  43. Sounds delish! Almost like a stuffed chicken parm!

  44. These were absolutely amazing. We ate all the leftovers and I cannot wait to make them again. It is hard to believe they are only 267 calories. Best thing I have made and eaten in a while. Wow. Thank you.

  45. This was SO good! I did make it in the morning and it was still nice and crispy later in the day when I baked it. I added some panko bread crumbs too and baked at 425 degrees using my convection oven. Thanks for the recipe, love your website too!

  46. This is heaven! I am making this for dinner tonight and will substitute the bread crumbs with panko. Thanks for sharing, I love your website as well :)

  47. Looks great! My family are not big fans of spinach…any suggestions for substitutions?

  48. I found this recipe off of Pinterest – it was delicious!

  49. This looks delicious! Do you think you could freeze them after they’re baked, but before you add the sauce, mozzarella, and basil? Then pop in the oven and complete the last step?

  50. Found this recipe last night when looking for a dish to make when the In-laws come over for dinner on Saturday and completely fell in love! Stopped and got all the ingredients on the way home from work today and cant wait to make it! Only thing is I work right up until they’re going to be over- Do you think I can prep it the night before but leave the breadcrumbs until right before they hit the oven? Thanks!

  51. This is a wonderful recipe! Made it for dinner tonight, and it was very good. There are just a few things I would like to do differently next time, and I thought I would share :)

    - season each individual chicken breast well, after pounding them flat
    - sautée the spinach with both minced garlic and onion, for a bit more flavor
    - try to drain as much of the liquid out of both the ricotta and the sautéed spinach, to make the filling a bit thicker and less watery
    - cut down the egg white to maybe 1Tbsp?

    Thank you so much for this awesome recipe! Can’t wait to make it again, my husband especially loved it :)

    • I agree to season the chicken and I’d do a little s&p in the filling too. Didn’t think to drain spinach! Good idea!

  52. I’ve made this twice already in the last month and EVERYONE loves it. It looks great and tastes better. Great find! Thanks.

  53. I forgot to rate it! When everyone I cook for says it is great then it’s a keeper.

  54. Made this tonight it was very good, served it with cauliflower & zucchini thanks for the recipe

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