HomeDinnerSimple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken Recipe

Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken Recipe

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Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken Recipe

If you’re looking for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner, look no further than this Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken recipe. This dish combines tender, juicy chicken breasts with a creamy, flavorful spinach ricotta filling, all baked to perfection. It’s a healthy and satisfying meal that the whole family will love.

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Why You’ll Love This Recipe

This recipe is a winner for several reasons:

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  • Quick and Easy: With minimal prep time, you can have dinner on the table in under an hour.
  • Healthy: Packed with protein and spinach, this dish is both nutritious and delicious.
  • Versatile: Easily customize the filling and seasonings to suit your tastes.

Ingredients Needed

Before you start, gather the following ingredients:

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Main Ingredients

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Optional Add-ins

  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning

Preparing the Chicken

  1. Preheat the oven: Set your oven to 375°F (190°C).
  2. Prepare the chicken: Pat the chicken breasts dry with paper towels. Using a sharp knife, carefully slice a pocket into the side of each chicken breast, being careful not to cut all the way through.

Making the Spinach Ricotta Filling

  1. Cook the spinach: In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chopped spinach and cook until wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat and let it cool slightly.
  2. Mix the filling: In a medium bowl, combine the cooked spinach, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are thoroughly combined.

Assembling the Dish

  1. Stuff the chicken: Carefully spoon the spinach ricotta mixture into the pocket of each chicken breast. Use toothpicks to secure the opening if needed.
  2. Season the chicken: Rub the outside of the chicken breasts with the remaining olive oil and season with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning if using.

Baking the Chicken

  1. Prepare the baking dish: Lightly grease a baking dish with olive oil and place the stuffed chicken breasts in it.
  2. Bake the chicken: Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through and reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).
  3. Add mozzarella: During the last 5 minutes of baking, sprinkle shredded mozzarella cheese over the chicken and let it melt.

Serving Suggestions

Serve the baked spinach ricotta chicken with a side of roasted vegetables, a fresh green salad, or a serving of pasta. A squeeze of lemon juice over the top adds a bright, fresh flavor.

Variations and Customizations

Different Fillings

  • Mushroom and Ricotta: Add sautéed mushrooms to the filling for an earthy flavor.
  • Broccoli and Cheddar: Swap out the spinach and ricotta for chopped broccoli and cheddar cheese.

Alternative Cheeses

  • Feta Cheese: Use feta instead of ricotta for a tangy twist.
  • Goat Cheese: Substitute goat cheese for a creamy and slightly tangy filling.

Tips for Perfect Baked Chicken

  1. Don’t overstuff: Be careful not to overfill the chicken breasts to avoid the filling leaking out during baking.
  2. Use a meat thermometer: Ensure the chicken is cooked to the right temperature by using a meat thermometer.
  3. Rest before serving: Let the chicken rest for a few minutes after baking to allow the juices to redistribute.

Nutritional Benefits

  • Chicken: A great source of lean protein.
  • Spinach: Rich in vitamins A, C, and K, as well as iron and calcium.
  • Ricotta Cheese: Provides protein and calcium.

Conclusion

This Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken recipe is a perfect blend of flavors and textures, making it a fantastic option for a healthy and delicious meal. It’s easy to prepare, customizable, and sure to be a hit with everyone at the table.

FAQs

1. Can I use frozen spinach? Yes, you can use frozen spinach. Just make sure to thaw and drain it well before mixing it with the ricotta.

2. Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the stuffed chicken breasts and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before baking.

3. What can I use instead of ricotta cheese? You can substitute cottage cheese or cream cheese for ricotta.

4. How do I store leftovers? Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

5. Can I freeze the stuffed chicken? Yes, you can freeze the stuffed chicken breasts before baking. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before baking as directed.

Enjoy this flavorful and nutritious dish that’s sure to become a family favorite!

Source: lemonsandzest.com

Yield: 4

Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken Recipe

Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken Recipe

If you're looking for a delicious and easy weeknight dinner, look no further than this Simple Baked Spinach Ricotta Chicken recipe. This dish combines tender, juicy chicken breasts with a creamy, flavorful spinach ricotta filling, all baked to perfection. It's a healthy and satisfying meal that the whole family will love.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ lb chicken breast
  • ½ tsp cracked pepper
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced (separated)
  • 1 c ricotta cheese
  • 1 c fresh chopped spinach
  • ½ c parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 ½ c marinara sauce
  • extra parmesan for topping, about 1/4 – 1/3 cup

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.

  • In a bowl, mix together the ricotta, parmesan, spinach, one garlic clove, Italian seasoning, and crushed red pepper until fully combined.

  • Spray the bottom of a 9×13 pan, or large baking dish with oil. Line the chicken breasts in the pan and evenly season with salt, pepper and 2 of the garlic cloves. Spread the ricotta and spinach mixture over the top of the chicken breasts evenly. Cover the chicken completely with the marinara.

  • Bake for about 20-25* minutes or until the thickest section of the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165°F. (For thicker chicken breasts, this could take much longer.) In the last several minutes, add shredded parmesan on top of the chicken and continue baking to melt. If the chicken is thick, it may take longer. Just keep an eye on it.

  • Allow chicken to rest about 5 minutes before serving. Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Leftovers of this chicken are even better!

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