Saturday, May 5, 2012

Ricotta Stuffed Chicken (and the Broad Street Run!)

Philadelphia is abuzz with sports fever right now!  The city has come together, proudly supporting the Flyers and Sixers through their playoff runs, while anxiously waiting for the Phillies to start scoring some runs!  As much as we love the professional teams, there is another great athletic event that really has The Spatularettes feeling excited... THE BROAD STREET RUN!

What started as a small local run 20 years ago, has grown into a wildly popular 10 mile race, attracting athletes from around the country.  It has gained a reputation as the fastest 10 miler in the country--no wonder 30 thousands runners signed up the day registration opened, reaching race capacity in only 5 hours!  Thousands of runners were turned away this year, but Tall One is one of the lucky 30 thousand who will be toeing the line tomorrow morning in North Philadelphia to make the epic 10 mile journey south through the city to the Navy Yard.

Cheer extra loudly if you see Tall  One running!
She's the girl wearing all bright colors and number 3057!

So what does a Spatularette eat the night before a big race?  You're probably thinking a big bowl of pasta with a side of carbs, right?  Wrong.  Both Tall and Small have been running competitively since they were young little spatularettes and after hundreds of races and way too many pasta dinners, realized something very important... gorging yourself on carbs the night before a big race does nothing to enhance your performance.  It just sends you off to bed feeling like you have a rock in your belly.  Instead we've found the best way to eat the night before an athletic endeavor is a well balanced dinner that encompasses ALL of the food groups, is packed with energy, and is easy to digest.  Tall One whipped up these delicious stuffed chicken breasts and served them with a side of mashed potatoes and broccoli.  So whether you are looking to run the race of your life or just want to cook a dinner you can feel good about, this Ricotta Stuffed Chicken is a must-try!

-4 large, boneless, skinless, chicken breast
-1 15 oz container of ricotta cheese
-1/2 cup chopped spinach
-1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
-1/4 cup chopped basil
-3 garlic cloves, minced
-2 Tbs tomato paste
-1 tsp kosher salt
-1/2 tsp pepper
-Mozzarella cheese for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a glass baking dish and set aside.

Pat chicken breasts dry and season well with salt and pepper.  Using a sharp knife, slice down the top center of the breast, creating a pocket.  Be careful not to slice the whole way through the chicken.

In a separate bowl, add the ricotta, spinach, mushrooms, basil, garlic, tomato paste, salt and pepper.  Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined.

Fill the pocket of each chicken breast with the ricotta mixture.  Since the pocket isn't actually very big, we went ahead and over-stuffed our chicken, as you can see in the picture.  The extra filling cooks nicely on top of the chicken.

Place the chicken in the prepared baking dish and bake for 35 minutes.  Remove chicken from the oven, sprinkle with mozzarella cheese, and allow to bake for another 5-10 minutes.

This chicken pairs great with mashed potatoes and a veggie, but it would also be tasty with a side of pasta and marinara.

Enjoy with a glass of wine... unless you are racing, in which case we suggest sticking to water :)

Tall and Small

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