From Loathing to Love – Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken

There was a time when Eric and I did not like tomatoes. I’m not sure why. In Eric’s family, we were known as the ones who did not eat tomatoes. (Eric’s brother and sister-in-law were the ones who did not eat mushrooms. I don’t think that has changed.) In hindsight, it was probably a texture thing. Mealy tomatoes from the grocery store are very unappealing. (Mealiness is the result of refrigeration. Fresh, whole tomatoes should be stored at room temperature, not refrigerated.) Sometime during our early years of marriage, the no tomatoes thing changed. It could be because I started a vegetable garden. Both my grandfather and father grew tomatoes in their gardens, so I included them in mine.

As my gardening knowledge and experience expanded, I grew my tomatoes from seed packets instead of plants from the gardening center. I would start my seeds indoors in March and nurture the seedlings along until they could be transferred to the garden in May. Over the years, I noticed that baby tomato plants were growing in the garden where I did not plant them. I realized the seeds responsible for sprouting these errant plants were none other than the discarded seeds relegated to the compost bin one growing season to enrich the garden as humus the next. I stopped purchasing packets of tomato seeds for my garden. Currently, when I seed a tomato during meal prep in late winter (I still do not eat the seeds of tomatoes if I can help it), I put some of those seeds straight into potting soil for my summer garden. It works out beautifully!

Growing our own tomatoes has made a difference in our food preferences! I have grown a variety of tomatoes, but my go-to tomato, the anchor of my garden, is the Roma (plum) tomato. I can honestly say I eat a tomato daily, year round. When the garden explodes with tomatoes and my lunch salads can’t keep up with the supply, tomatoes grace our dinner dishes, too!

Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken

Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken (adapted from diethood.com) Yields 4 servings,

Prep time: 10 minutes,  Cook Time: 50 minutes, Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 tomatoes, diced (1/2 pound or 2 cups)
  • 1/3-cup packed fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the fresh basil. Stir just until they are combined, then set the mixture aside.

Combine the tomatoes with the mozzarella & fresh basil.

Pound each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Spoon the prepared tomato mixture over each chicken breast. (Any leftovers will be spooned over the chicken right before baking.) Roll up the chicken breasts, wrapping them tightly, and secure the ends with toothpicks.

Stuff the chicken with the tomato mixture, reserving any leftover mixture.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat in a stove top and oven safe large skillet. Add the prepared chicken breasts to the hot oil and cook them for about 6 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on all sides.

Brown the rolled chicken in an oven-safe skillet

In the meantime, prepare the balsamic sauce. In a medium bowl, combine the balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, garlic, oregano, basil and parsley. Whisk the mixture until it is thoroughly combined.

Add the balsamic vinegar & extra stuffing to the pan.

Remove the chicken from the heat. If there was extra tomato mixture, spoon it over the chicken. Pour the balsamic sauce over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the chicken over, and return it to the oven for 15 more minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining mozzarella cheese and continue to bake it for 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.

This is authentic Italian food!

An excellent use of those garden tomatoes!  ~Linda

Bruschetta Stuffed Chicken (adapted from diethood.com) Yields 4 servings,

Prep tiem: 10 minutes,  Cook Time: 50 minutes,  Total Time: 1 hour

Ingredients:

  • 2 – 4 tomatoes, diced (1/2 pound or 2 cups)
  • 1/3-cup packed fresh basil, cut into ribbons
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 6-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium, fat free chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

Instructions:

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. In a mixing bowl, combine the tomatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese and the fresh basil. Stir just until they are combined, then set the mixture aside.

Pound each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness. Season the chicken with salt and pepper.

Spoon the prepared tomato mixture over each chicken breast. (Any leftovers will be spooned over the chicken right before baking.) Roll up the chicken breasts, wrapping them tightly, and secure the ends with toothpicks.

Heat the extra virgin olive oil over medium high heat in a stove top and oven safe large skillet. Add the prepared chicken breasts to the hot oil and cook them for about 6 minutes, or until they are lightly browned on all sides.

In the meantime, prepare the balsamic sauce. In a medium bowl combine the balsamic vinegar, chicken broth, garlic, oregano, basil and parsley. Whisk the mixture until it is thoroughly combined.

Remove the chicken from the heat. If there was extra tomato mixture, spoon it over the chicken. Pour the balsamic sauce over the chicken. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake the chicken for 20 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, flip the chicken over, and return it to the oven for 15 more minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the remaining mozzarella cheese and continue to bake it for 5 more minutes. Remove the pan from the oven  and let it stand for a few minutes before serving.