Although chicken breasts were one of my favorite pieces of the bird (wings were my next favorite), I found as I got older that chicken breasts can be too big and dry sometimes when you bake them. Over my years of cooking I was able to perfect my baked chicken and have it come out more moist than dry.
As I changed my eating habits I discovered I liked cooking with chicken thighs more than chicken breasts. Still, the breast held a special place in my heart and I would get a hankering for a nice meaty stuffed chicken breast. Recently, I rediscovered thinly sliced chicken breasts at my grocer. The grocer doesn’t always seem to have them on hand so I forget about looking for them. On my last shopping trip I spied a few packages of thinly sliced breasts and grabbed enough to make dinner and to freeze for another meal.
Layered Stuffed Chicken Breasts became a thing in my home when I had a taste for lasagna but did not want to go through the process it takes to make a really good lasagna. I came up with the idea to layer the thinly cut chicken breasts I had in the freezer like I would a lasagna. This recipe fit right in with my new low carbohydrate lifestyle since there was no pasta in sight. I wasn’t sure the fellas in the house would like this dish as much as the pasta layered dishes I have made in the past. However, I was pleasantly surprised that they thought it was a nice change from a heavy lasagna. Just so they had the illusion of having pasta with the Layered Stuffed Chicken Breasts I made some spaghetti squash to go with dinner. In the end, I was able to service a low carb meal everyone enjoyed and I could stick to my new lifestyle of eating.
Don’t worry. There will be plenty of other recipes that include pasta. After all, my family’s still big time pasta eaters.
Layered Stuffed Chicken Breasts
2 packages of thinly sliced chicken breasts
1 package of fresh baby leaf spinach (roughly chopped)
1 brick cream cheese softened
1 ½ cups shredded mozzarella
1 cup fresh salsa (hot or mild)
1 cup marinara sauce
½ cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese divided
1 tbsp salt
½ tbsp ground black pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
½ tsp dried basil
½ tsp dried oregano
½ tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine the cream cheese, salsa, spinach and ½ of the grated Parmesan cheese in a large bowl until well blended. Set aside.
Spray a long casserole dish with cooking spray. Spread a little marinara sauce on the bottom of the dish. Layer one package of the chicken breasts over the sauce. Season with some of the salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes, garlic and onion powder. Spread the spinach and cream cheese mixture over the chicken then layer the other package of thinly sliced chicken breasts over the cream cheese and spinach. Season the top layer of chicken with the remaining seasonings. Pour the rest of the marinara sauce over the chicken then sprinkle the mozzarella cheese and remaining Parmesan cheese over the sauce. Bake for 30 to 45 minutes until the chicken is completely cooked through and the cheese has melted.
Serve with spaghetti squash, pasta or a nice mixed green salad.