As Christmas is approaching, the question arises: What are you going to have for Christmas dinner? Now for some families this may be set in stone every year. This is the case with my family on Christmas Eve. Every year we have a very German meal: rolled beef (Rouladen) with dumplings (Klöße) and red cabbage. I love that meal and wouldn’t change it for anything. Christmas, however, is always a bit more up in the air.
Now if you are the lucky one who is in charge of Christmas dinner, I have a suggested meal for you- jalapeño stuffed chicken breasts.
This recipe calls for thin slices of chicken breast that are laid flat and stuffed with a cheesy filling and rolled up. This dinner is pretty and fancy enough to serve for a holiday meal, but also simple enough to make for a weeknight dinner.
The other plus of this recipe? Ok, well there really are two. One, it can be made in advance. If you don’t want to be trapped in the kitchen for an hour preparing these, you can make them in advance and leave in the fridge so you have more time to spend with your loved ones. On the other hand, if your company has been over for 4 days already and you need a moment to yourself, you could also use this as an excuse to get away for an hour.
Plus side number two, it is very easy to mix up this meal. You can stuff the chicken with just about anything! Some suggestions may be to replace the jalapeños with sundried tomatoes, mushrooms, or asparagus. You could also use different cheese like cheddar, Monterrey, or Colby Jack. This makes the recipe super flexible to whatever you have in your pantry or fridge the night you want to make this.
So as I sat down to write this recipe, my mouth was watering just thinking about it. The stuffing used in the chicken is so cheesy and gooey! It is so good that you won’t be able just to eat one. For that very reason, my serving size on this chicken is two per person. You can’t stop at one! The topping is crispy and slightly buttery from the Ritz crackers. Then the chicken is moist from the cream cheese filling. Taking a bite you get a taste of each ingredient, especially a slight kick from the jalapeños. This gives it a bit of heat without being overpowering. Trust me on this. I don’t really enjoy strong pepper tastes and this one is mild enough for me (of course if you really love heat you could add more peppers than I did to my chicken).
My mouth is still watering. I only wish I had made more…
So here’s how to make this.
Begin by mixing together the cream cheese, shredded cheese, and jalapeños.
Then, with each chicken breast lying flat, add about 3-4 tbs of filling to each breast. (Note: most stores sell thin cut chicken breasts but if yours does not, you can pound out the chicken breats you have until they are thin or slice them in half longways)
Next, roll chicken from smaller end to larger end. Secure with toothpicks.
Beat egg in a shallow dish and place crushed Ritz crackers on a sheet of foil. Dip top side chicken in egg, then press into Ritz mixture.
Then voila- your recipe is complete!
Prep time 1 hour 20 minutes, Serves 4
- 8 boneless, thin cut chicken breasts
- 1 8oz package plain reduced fat cream cheese, softened
- 1 8oz package Mexican style shredded cheese
- 1/4 cup finely chopped jalapeño peppers
- 1 egg
- 1 sleeve Ritz crackers
- Preheat over to 375F.
- In a bowl, mix cream cheese, shredded cheese and jalapeños until well blended.
- Place chicken on a cutting board. Spread about 3 to 4 tbs of cheese mixture onto the center of the chicken breast. Refrain from pushing spread too close to the edge of the chicken.
- Starting at short end of each chicken breast, roll up chicken tightly. Secure openings with toothpicks.
- In a shallow dish, beat egg.
- Crush Ritz crackers and place on a sheet of aluminum foil.
- Dip the top of each chicken roll in egg. Then, press the egg covered chicken in the Ritz crackers.
- Place chicken seam-side down in a single layer in a greased baking dish.
- Bake 30 minutes or until chicken is done.
- Remove toothpicks before serving.
PS: Here’s a behind the screen shot from my chicken photo-shoot. I had my little helper close by my side…