Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chicken Rollatini

This is a simple, but impressive dish that doesn't take very long to make and goes great over pasta. I based the recipe on one that I saw in an ad for Classico Pasta Sauce (my favorite inexpensive jarred sauce) in Better Homes and Gardens magazine. The original recipe can be found here, but I decided to make a couple swaps and think it turned out really well (sorry the pic isn't very good). For a less meaty/healthier version, no salami is needed - it's delicious with or without it!

Chicken Rollatini with Spinach

3 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 jar chunky marinara sauce
12 slices salami (optional)
1 1/2 C frozen spinach
2 C low fat shredded mozzarella cheese
2 tsp oregano
1 tsp lemon pepper (or course-ground pepper blended with some lemon zest if you don't have lemon pepper)
1 tsp sea salt

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  2. Thaw spinach and squeeze out the excess water. In a bowl, mix half of the spinach (3/4 C) with the shredded cheese, oregano, lemon pepper, and salt.
  3. Cut each piece of chicken in half and flatten them out so they're 1/2 an inch thick. Construct the rollatini by laying out the flattened chicken and placing 2 slices of salami over the piece. Then place a small pile of some of the cheese mixture down the center of the meat and roll together by bringing the two edges together on top of the cheese, securing along the seam with a toothpick or half of a skewer
  4. Spread enough sauce to coat the bottom of a large glass baking dish. Place the rollatini on top of the sauce layer. Mix the remaining sauce and spinach together and spread over the top of the rollatini. If you have any cheese mixture or shredded cheese leftover, it can be spread as a top layer - this is up to you.
  5. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until cheese melts and chicken is cooked thoroughly. Serve over whole wheat pasta (I suggest rotini or penne) or on its own.
One thing that you may have difficulty with is flattening the chicken. I found this "Cooking Light" thread to be helpful. Here are some things that I learned from trial and error:
  • Definitely use plastic wrap around the chicken instead of a ziploc bag. When I tried flattening chicken in the bag, the bag broke along the bottom seam and the chicken slid out
  • A large can is better than a pot or pan if you don't have a meat tenderizer, mallet, or rolling pin. In my case, the pans were a little too heavy and the chicken tore easily. It's easier to control the flattening with a can
  • If the chicken does tear or break, still use it while constructing the rollatini as if it's one piece. If you can get them constructed and in the baking dish, once they bake, you can't even tell that the chicken ever broke - pieces or tears will cook together
As you can see just from the original recipe and my variation, there are so many different things that would taste awesome in this recipe that can either be layered with the chicken or mixed in with the cheese. Best of luck trying it out on your own!

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