The other night I tried a Kraft recipe for “Creamy Broccoli-Stuffed Chicken Breasts”. These food-company recipes always feature their own products, of course, but Corran and I frequently have success in taking them and altering them as suits our preferences. It’s also a good idea to read comments on any posted recipe to look for commonly-mentioned alterations.
In this case, to alter it to my fussy tastes, what we had on hand, what we could buy, and based on comments, the recipe was changed to this:
- 1 box Hill Country Fare Cornbread Stuffing Mix (Option: if you like making stuffing from scratch or have some leftover, you could use that as well and skip the water part below. No need to go with a box mix if you don’t want to, or with any particular mix. Use what you like.)
- 1 cup water
- 4 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut about two thirds up from the point so they’d pound flat to about the same size (I think we had about 2.5 lbs)
- Half of a 16 oz bag of Central Market Organics Frozen Broccoli, lightly microwaved until thawed and slightly warm
- 1 can regular Campbell’s Cream of Chicken Soup
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- A couple of tablespoons of poultry seasoning
- A whole big bunch of freshly grated real Parmesan using a microplane grater (which also works faboo with nutmeg and as a zester, so get one if you haven’t already)
Heat oven to 400 F.
1) Prepare a large baking dish (I used my big Anchor Hocking 10.5″ x 14.75″ glass pan) with a light spray of canola or olive oil.
2) Rinse and cut the breasts, then pound them with the flat side of a meat mallet inside a ziplock bag (we had one that had been used for bread, so I rinsed it out and re-used it for less waste). Pound to about 1/4 thick all around.
3) Combine stuffing mix and water (omitting any other ingredients the stuffing box mentions), set aside for about 5 minutes. I did this after pounding the chicken because it took much longer than five minutes to do the pounding, but perhaps if I did it again on a more rage-filled day, I’d be more efficient. Or deadly. Whatever.
4) Add broccoli to stuffing mix, combine gently.
5) Sprinkle the poultry seasoning liberally on one side of a flattened chicken piece. Turn it over and spread stuffing-broccoli mixture on it except for last half inch of the edge. Roll, then place seam-side down in the pan. Repeat for remaining breasts. Sprinkle any remaining stuffing mixture around the breasts.
6) Combine milk and soup, then pour over chicken. (To be honest I think it could have used a bit more thinning…next time I’ll try a cup and a half of milk, or use my 1% instead. I used the whole because that’s what Corran and Peo drink and I was running low on my 1% while they had plenty.)
7) Sprinkle the Parmesan cheese liberally all over the whole thing.
Baking time: the original recipe said 30 min but many commenters said it took more like 40-50 min. I set my timer for 35 min and it wasn’t bubbling, so I added another 5 minutes for 40 total and the breasts were overdone in places. Corran took the temps and it was over 180, but poultry is done at 165. So 30 to 35 min is probably good if your oven has been thoroughly preheated and holds temperature well.
I meant to broil the cheese to brownness as another commenter suggested, but it actually got pretty toasty as it was. Possibly need to broil at the 30 minute mark, though.
Even slightly overdone, this was a pleasant meal. Peo happily ate it too, which is always good. We didn’t bother making any other sides with it but sides could be a nice addition.
There were plenty of leftovers, and this is where the double-duty comes in. It makes a great sandwich! Here’s what I did:
1) Cut up a portion of the leftovers, about a half-cup, and microwave until fairly warm but not hot.
2) Get a frozen croissant out of the freezer and slice along the back almost all the way to the front tips (we buy them for $5.99/dozen at Costco and freeze them…fresh would also work but I find they’re easier to slice when frozen). Obviously any other bun you like would also do but the croissant made it super-delicious.
3) Defrost the croissant in the microwave for about 10-15 seconds, then flip and warm for another 10 seconds until thawed and slightly warm (I have a very powerful microwave, yours may take longer). Skip this step if using fresh bread.
4) Stuff the warm leftover chopped-up chicken/broccoli/stuffing mix into the croissant.
5) Eat. Yum. Very pleasing and easy. I had two for lunch.