Saturday, January 17, 2009

Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

I loooooooove spinach dip, I really do. The problem is, Graham can't stand spinach, so I don't really incorporate it into our meals. However, when I saw this featured on Joelen's blog a few months ago, and after a raving review from a friend, I knew that Graham would have to deal with it: this would be our dinner.
I really liked that this meal has a crunchy topping and can be adjusted to make it a little healthier. What I love most is that it's healthier, but you don't sacrifice the flavor for it! I hate eating "healthy" only to feel like I'm eating cardboard. Joelen's original recipe is here.

Spinach & Artichoke Chicken

1 cup thawed, chopped frozen spinach
1 1/2 cups thawed, chopped frozen artichoke hearts
6 ounces low fat cream cheese
1/4 cup low fat sour cream
1/4 cup low fat mayonnaise
1/3 cup grated Parmesan
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Breadcrumb Topping:
1/4 panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup grated Parmesan

Boil spinach and artichokes in 1 cup of water until tender and drain. Discard liquid.
Heat cream cheese in microwave for 1 minute or until hot and soft. Stir in sour cream, mayo, Parmesan, salt, garlic powder, spinach, and artichokes; set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. On a baking sheet, place chicken and season with salt & pepper to taste.
Top each chicken breast with the spinach & artichoke mixture. Combine Parmesan and breadcrumbs for topping and sprinkle over the spinach & artichoke mixture. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes or until juices run clear.
  • The light color of the panko makes it look like the chicken isn't cooked. If you prefer a more "toasted" look to your panko, heat them in a small frying pan for 5-10 minutes, or until they're lightly browned.
  • You can use plain breadcrumbs, but I really love the lightness of the panko.
  • My cream cheese was ready after 30 seconds, if that. Be sure to watch it so it doesn't explode in your microwave.
  • I couldn't find frozen artichoke hearts, so I used jarred. They worked absolutely fine, and they were tender quickly.
  • I left out the red pepper flakes because Graham doesn't like them. I was already throwing spinach at him, so I decided to choose my battles and leave the red pepper flakes in the cabinet.
  • The "dip" is really good. I was snacking on it while the chicken was baking.


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