Before I talk about food, I forgot to tell you how badly they butchered my last name at graduation. Over the years my family and I have heard all kinds of mispronunciations but one version tends to prevail and I am always prepared to hear it. However, sometimes people like to get creative by adding extra letters and graduation day was no exception. It was so bad even my own family and friends weren’t sure if it was actually me, despite prefacing it with my first and middle names. “Va-see-lick” – where the heck did you see an L in my last name, sir? Were you thinking of a basilisk? But I couldn’t be upset for long because he knew he screwed it up and mouthed a very apologetic “I’m sorry!” as I walked up the stairs. He even pulled me aside afterwards to apologize again and ask me how to pronounce my last name. Oh the joys of having an unusual last name (although I still like it despite all that).
These chicken rolls look more difficult to execute than they truly are (just like my last name). A ricotta-spinach mixture is rolled up in a thin chicken breast, dipped in egg and breadcrumbs, and then baked until crispy before topping with marinara, fresh mozzarella and basil. The end result is an entree that looks fancy without all the fuss. I made these on Thursday last week for dinner, ready upon the arrival of my parents (for graduation the next morning) and served with a mixed spinach salad. It was a hit! And then we had pie for dessert O:-).
One year ago: Buttermilk Biscuits
Three years ago: Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Dip
BAKED MOZZARELLA CHICKEN ROLLS
1/2 cup Italian style bread crumbs
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg, lightly beaten
2.5 oz. fresh baby spinach
1 clove minced garlic
1/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
4 (4 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded thin
4 slices fresh mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup marinara sauce
Fresh basil, for topping
- Place the breadcrumbs in a shallow bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Place egg in a second bowl. Set both aside.
- 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, and remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Grease the bottom of a baking dish (I used a loaf pan) 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, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs. Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 3 pieces of chicken. Bake for 25 minutes.
- After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through 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.
Source: Halved and adapted slightly from Pinch of Yum.