Today is a pretty fabulous day.
Why, you ask? Well, it’s Sunday, which means I’ve spent the day cooking delicious food and watching Netflix on my oh-so-comfy couch. These are my favorite days, and I’m pretty sure no further explanation is required.
And some days, like this one, I just want to sit here with a bag of pita chips and a piping hot bowl of Spinach Artichoke Dip to go with whatever show we’re bingeing on [currently: Game of Thrones]. I know it’s not exactly a wise decision to sit around eating dip all day [albeit a delicious one], but that doesn’t mean I don’t want to do it.
So what I’ve decided, is there is absolutely no reason why I can’t make Spinach Artichoke Dip into a meal. For some reason this makes me feel less like a little piglet, and more like I’m trying to establish balance in my life.
BUT (!!) This means things are about to get really exciting. Things are about to go from absolutely delicious to mind-blowingly delicious.
Yes, my most favorite creamy, cheesy, gooey, melt-in-your-mouth Spinach Artichoke Dip will become the center of the beloved chicken breast. Yes, we are going to stuff the [sometimes ordinary] chicken breasts with heaps of Spinach Artichoke Dip, then sear ’em to a crusty, golden brown with all the juiciness you crave, but don’t always expect from a chicken breast. And it all gets finished off with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice.
And the best part? When some of the dip slips out of the chicken breast onto the hot skillet and melts all over the place and gets brown and crispy on the bottom. Omg.
Yes, this is a real thing.
And it’s my new favorite thing. I mean, I like to think that everything I cook is rather yummy, but sometimes I make things and think… “this is pretty good”. And then other times I make things and think “wow, this is DAMN good” [hint: today]. Yes, this is one of those recipes that I absolutely cannot stop thinking about. Which makes me somewhat excited for Monday because I have a fabulous container of Spinach Artichoke Dip Stuffed Chicken to warm up for lunch.
I said somewhat excited… let’s not get carried away about Mondays.
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 8 oz. bag baby spinach, chopped
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced, divided
- 4 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
- 6 oz. plain Greek yogurt
- 1 large egg
- 6.5 oz. jar marinated artichoke hearts, chopped, marinade reserved
- ½ tsp. coarse salt + more for chicken
- ¼ tsp. ground black pepper + more for chicken
- ¼ tsp. onion powder
- Pinch red pepper flakes
- ¼ cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- ¼ cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- 2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
- 1 medium lemon, sliced + wedges for serving
- Flat-leaf Italian parsley, chopped (optional)
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large cast iron skillet or nonstick skillet to medium-high heat. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add half the garlic and sauté 30-60 seconds, until fragrant. Remove from heat.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, add cream cheese and whip for 30-60 seconds, until creamy. While running, add Greek yogurt, egg, chopped artichoke hearts, 1 tablespoon artichoke marinade, remaining minced garlic, ½ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon black pepper, onion powder and a pinch of red pepper flakes. Whip in Italian cheeses, Parmesan and cooked spinach, until combined.
- Place chicken breasts on a large cutting board. Using a sharp knife, create a pocket in the side of each chicken breast, cutting about ¾ of the way through. Season both sides of each chicken breast with salt and pepper.
- Spoon about 3-4 tablespoons of spinach artichoke dip into the pocket of each chicken breast, packing it in as much as possible.
- Heat the remaining olive oil in the same skillet to medium-high heat. Add half the stuffed chicken breasts to the hot oil and surround with sliced lemons. Cook 6-8 minutes on each side, until internal temperature reaches 160 degrees (using probe thermometer inserted in the center) and both sides of chicken are golden brown. Carefully remove chicken from the pan and repeat process with remaining chicken breasts.
- Sprinkle with parsley, if using, and serve with lemon wedges.
- *Note: If there is extra spinach artichoke dip leftover after all chicken breasts are stuffed, place in a greased baking dish, top with extra mozzarella cheese and bake until golden brown. Yum!