When I was really little the only way my grandma could get me to eat my vegetables was to melt some good ole’ Wisconsin cheddar on top of them. My favorite was when she served steamed broccoli and she would put cheese onto of mine. Who doesn’t love cheese melted on everything (unless you’re lactose intolerant, then I can’t relate)?!?!
So now flash forward a decade to when I was in high school, and one of my favorite quick meals my dad would make was Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast that he got in the frozen food aisle at Sam’s Club in the family pack. Our freezer was always stocked with those so I loved to just pop those things in the oven for a quick lunch or dinner and I convinced myself that because it had broccoli inside that it was an all in one meal, so I ate two. 😬. When I got older I vowed to eat little to no frozen foods so this posed a problem seeing that I was obsessed with this chicken! I learned at a young age from my family that “where there’s a will, there’s a way” and I was determined to figure out how to make it at home! This recipe was definitely tested over and over and over and over again because I couldn’t seem to figure out the proper way to stuff the chicken without everything falling out and falling apart. I would curse and cry and I eventually figured it out how to keep it all together (both emotionally and in the kitchen) and here it is for your dining pleasure…..
Serves 2-3 (one chicken per person. I usually make one extra just in case Scott is really hungry!)
2-3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups chopped broccoli, steamed
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used cheddar or sometimes I mix 1/2 cheddar 1/2 Gruyère cheese) a chunk of velveeta cheese works too, but I try to avoid processed cheese. No judgment though if you decide to use it! I’ll admit it does work pretty well in this recipe
2 cups of flour seasoned with salt and pepper
2 cups of panko (Japanese) bread crumbs
4 beaten eggs
Salt and pepper
Canola or vegetable oil for frying
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
First I start with steaming the broccoli so I can let it drain and cool before stuffing it in the chicken. Next set up your dredging station with three shallow dishes: flour seasoned with salt and pepper (1 tsp each), beaten eggs, and panko bread crumbs.
Now we are going to carefully cut a pocket into the chicken. For this we will need a very sharp knife, preferably a fillet knife. I cut the chicken tender off first before making the pocket (looks like a chicken finger that is hanging on the ugly side of the breast) and I saved those for lunch the next day. Then with the tip of the sharp knife, lay the breast flat and slowly start to cut a pocket starting horizontally from the top and into the middle of the breast slowly wiggling the knife all the way down the inside of the breast trying not to cut all the way through either sides of the chicken. This might take some practice if your knife isn’t sharp enough. Trust me, I amazed myself the first time I was able to do it! If you are having issues creating the pocket, an alternative method is to butterfly the chicken. Once you have created the pocket, stuff the chicken with broccoli and cheese. Lots of cheese! I’ve learned that if you don’t put a lot of cheese in there it just disappears and it’s not that creamy. You’ll definitely want to put more cheese than broccoli, but whatever you can fit. Be sure to really pack the stuffing in there. If you opted to butterfly the chicken, lay it open and place the stuffing in the middle and close it back up sandwiching the stuffing. Now take toothpicks and close the chicken along the seam sealing in the stuffing so it won’t fall out when you bread it. Now season the chicken with salt and pepper.
Once all the chickens are stuffed and seasoned, time to batter! Roll up those sleeves and hope that you won’t get an itch on your nose because it’s about to get messy! Start with dipping the chicken in the seasoned flour, then into the egg, and lastly in the panko breadcrumbs. Try to designate one hand to handle the wet ingredients and the other to handle the dry or else you will end up with two paper mache hands.
In a large skillet with about a quarter of an inch of oil, turn on medium high heat. Gently place the chicken breast into the pan and cook both sides until golden brown, approx 4-5 minutes a side. Remove from skillet and transfer to a parchment paper lined sheet pan.
Place chicken in preheated oven to cook for 10-15 minutes until internal temperature is at 165 degrees F.
Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. If you used toothpicks to hold your chicken closed, now is a good time to remove them so no one is biting into one when they eat.
I served it with mashed potatoes and sautéed garlic green beans for dinner and Scott loved it! The chicken was perfectly cooked and was nice and juicy and the panko breadcrumbs give it great texture with the crunchy exterior!
Leave a comment down below and tell me if you tried it!
*i just thought of this….although it is processed, cheese whiz in the jar would work really well in this recipe too rather than shredded cheese
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