By The Cookie Rookie
These baked mozzarella chicken rolls are the kind of meal your family will request again and again. It's cheesy, flavorful and oh-so-good. The chicken is stuffed with sauteed spinach and ricotta cheese, rolled up to seal all the goodness in and then topped with marinara, fresh mozzarella and chopped basil. All of my favorite flavors have come to dinner.
Serving Size: 6 Prep Time: 30 mins Total Time: 1 hr
4 large skinless/boneless chicken breasts, cut in half lengthwise (makes 8 thin pieces of chicken)
1 cup whole wheat Italian style bread crumbs
6 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese, divided
5 oz fresh baby spinach (I like "Organic Girl" brand!)
1 Tbsp minced garlic
1 Tbsp extra light olive oil
½ cup part-skim ricotta cheese
⅓ cup egg whites (I buy them in a carton, "pure egg whites")
3 oz fresh mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced into 8 pieces
2 cup of your favorite marinara sauce
fresh basil for topping, sliced
Cut the chicken into 8 pieces (cut each large breast length-wise) and pound the pieces until they are thin and as wide as possible. About ⅓ inch thick.
Place the breadcrumbs in a bowl with 2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese. Mix thoroughly and set aside.
Chop the spinach and saute it on medium with the garlic and the olive oil for 2-3 minutes or until just barely wilted.
Combine the sauteed spinach with the ricotta, the rest of the Parmesan cheese, and 3 tablespoons of the egg whites. Place the remaining egg whites in a separate shallow bowl and set aside.
Make your rollups!: spray the bottom of a large baking dish and preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place one piece of chicken on a flat working surface. Put a spoonful of ricotta-spinach filling right in the middle and roll the chicken up so that the edges meet to form a "seam". Dip the entire chicken roll in egg whites, and then roll it in the breadcrumbs.
Place in a baking dish, seam side down. Repeat for the remaining 7 pieces of chicken. Don't place the chicken too close together, to allow the breadcrumbs to crisp.
Pour 1 cup of the marinara sauce around the chicken breasts, not on top.
Bake for 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, the chicken should be cooked through (white on the inside) and browned on the top. Remove from the oven and cover the chicken with the remaining marinara sauce.
Place a slice of mozzarella on top of each chicken breast
Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melting. (I also broiled the dish for about 3 minutes (watch closely not to burn!) to make the cheese extra melty)
Sprinkle with fresh basil.
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