GINNA PARSONS: Stuffed chicken elegant, tasty

By Ginna Parsons/NEMS Daily Journal

Last Tuesday, we had planned to make homemade pizzas for dinner, but as I listened to others talk about their plans to celebrate Valentine’s Day, I decided to go with something a little more fancy.
I wasn’t sure if it would be just Charlie and me at the table or if one of our two children would decide to grace us with their presence, so I decided to go with something that would be good leftover in case there were, well, leftovers.
For some reason, I got stuffed chicken breasts stuck in my head, but I wanted to try something new, so I went fishing on the Internet. I found a recipe on www.allrecipes.com that sounded good and it had more than 500 reviews. I read the first 30 or so and made some changes accordingly (those changes are incorporated in the recipe you’ll see below).
I left the bacon off one stuffed breast in case non-pork-eating daughter Mary decided to dine with us, and she did. (She doesn’t mind that beef or pork flavor her foods; she just doesn’t want to eat the meat.) In fact, after she’d taken a couple of bites, she said, “Mom, this is really delicious. Where’d you get it?”
I told her I had prepared it myself. And she said, “No, I know you cooked it. I meant who made them? Fresh Market?”
They were that good. I served them over brown rice with a side of roasted asparagus. Do note that this is a lot of filling – probably enough for six breasts. Or, as one reviewer suggested, you could use leftover filling as a spinach dip.

Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breasts
8 slices bacon
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 (10-ounce) package fresh spinach leaves
1⁄2 cup light sour cream
3⁄4 cup shredded pepperjack cheese
1⁄4 teaspoon curry powder
1⁄4 teaspoon onion powder
1⁄4 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon Tony Cachere’s seasoning
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
Fry bacon in a large skillet until half-done. Remove bacon to drain on a paper towel. Discard all but about 2 teaspoons of bacon grease. Add spinach and garlic to skillet and sauté in bacon drippings 3 to 4 minutes or until spinach is wilted and garlic is fragrant. Remove from heat.
In a mixing bowl, combine sour cream, cheese, and spices. Add spinach to the mixture and stir to incorporate.
Pound each chicken breast to 1⁄2-inch thickness. Lay the chicken breasts out on a clean surface, and spoon some of the spinach mixture onto each one. Roll up chicken to enclose the spinach, then wrap each chicken breast with two slices of half-cooked bacon. Secure with toothpicks, and arrange in a shallow baking dish.
Bake uncovered at 375 degrees for 35 minutes. Increase heat to broil, and cook another 3 to 4 minutes or until bacon is browned.
Makes 4 generous servings.
Ginna Parsons is the Daily Journal’s food/home/garden editor.