This recipe for chicken breast stuffed with spinach and ricotta is one of those “go to” recipes when you want to make a good homemade meal that’s easy and that everyone loves. Sometimes it can be tough getting everyone in the family to agree on what to eat for dinner, but this recipe kinda has something for everyone. Everyone loves chicken so that part is easy, then we stuff it with ricotta cheese and some spinach mix (kids LOVE the “stuffed” part), put some breading on it and bake it right in the oven. Finally we top it off with some marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese. Wow! It’s like a rolled up chicken lasagna. Here’s what we do to make this dish so good…
First we start with chicken breast cutlets. These are simply thin sliced boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Most grocers will have them. If they don’t you can make your own by slicing them in half, then pounding them thin with a meat mallet or rolling pin. Basically you want chicken cutlets that are about 1/4″ thick. Next we marinate them for a few hours in some Italian salad dressing. I simply put them in a large Ziploc bag with about a 1/2 cup of dressing before work, then they’re all good and marinated by the time I get home.
To make the spinach and ricotta mix we’ll use about 1 cup of ricotta cheese. I like to use whole milk ricotta but feel free to use part skim if you like. Next is the spinach. Frozen spinach contains a lot of water and you’ll need to “wring” out all that water. Here’s the absolute easiest way… cook the 10oz frozen package in the microwave for a couple of minutes. Remove it, open it, and grab about half with your hand. Now squeeze it directly with your hand over the sink. Do it in two or three handfulls until all that water is out. You can use paper towels in a strainer, which is fine, but by using your hands it’s one less thing you have to clean. So go ahead and wring that spinach dry by hand. As you dry it, throw it in a medium sized bowl. Once the spinach is dry and in the bowl, add one cup of ricotta cheese, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, salt and an egg. Mix well so that the egg and everything gets all mixed in and you’ve got a creamy mixture.
Now comes the fun part – putting it all together. Beat an egg in a bowl and set aside. Put panko breadcrumbs with 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese in a paper plate and set aside. Now layout the chicken cutlets on wax paper. But about 2 spoonfuls of the spinach ricotta mixture in each one. The roll them up, dunk in the egg bowl, roll through the breadcrumbs, then place them, seam down, in a baking dish that’s been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. It’s a tad messy but don’t worry, you’ll be an expert by the 2nd or 3rd one. Bake for 25 minutes, top with some marinara sauce and mozzarella cheese and bake another 5 minutes until cheese is melted.
These are awesome served with any kind of pasta. I love to have them with butter noodles and fresh steamed broccoli.
- 1 lb chicken breast cutlets (about 4)
- ½ cup ricotta cheese
- ½ package (5 oz) frozen chopped spinach (drained)
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 tablespoons parmesan cheese, divided
- 2 eggs
- salt and pepper to taste
- ¾ cup marinara sauce (optional)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese (optional)
- ½ cup Italian salad dressing (for marinade)
- Marinade chicken cutlets in italian dressing in a ziploc bag for at least 2 hours.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
- In a large bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, spinach, egg, 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and pinch of salt. Make sure spinach is well drained of any water. Mix to a nice creamy consistency.
- Use a paper plate and fill with breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, pinch of salt and pepper. Set aside. Beat egg in a bowl and set aside.
- Put wax paper on a flat surface and layout chicken cutlets. Spread 2 spoonfuls of ricotta mixture over chicken. One by one, roll them up, dunk in egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam down in baking dish that has been coated in non-stick cooking spray.
- Bake in oven for 30 minutes.
- (If using sauce and cheese, remove dish after 25 minutes, cover chicken with sauce and cheese and bake an additional 5-7 minutes until cheese is melted.)