Pesto stuffed chicken breasts

I'm not typically a big fan of chicken breast. Even when cooked properly and dressed up, I'm not often craving the next bite. This dish, however, was exceptional and surprised me. The chicken came out perfectly tender, and the decadent pesto cream cheese filling and bread crumb topping made it extra delicious. Perhaps it isn't the healthiest chicken breast preparation, but this is great for an occasional treat.

For better chicken breast in general, apparently sous vide (precision temperature controlled water bath) is the way to go to avoid the dry stringy texture that's typical with baking. Maybe someday we'll give that a try.

Whitney served this with couscous (tossed with sun-dried tomatoes and scallions) and honey carrots
Pesto stuffed chicken breasts Inspiration from this previous recipe
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 oz cream cheese, softened
4 tbsp pesto
salt and pepper
1/2 cup breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

   Preheat oven to 350F.
   Pound chicken breasts to an even 1/2" thickness.
   Prepare pesto filling - mix together cream cheese, pesto, salt and pepper. Divide filling and place down the middle of both chicken breasts (lengthwise). Bring sides together and secure with a toothpick.
   Prepare bread crumb topping - mix together breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and extra virgin olive oil. Spread over chicken breasts and pat down.
   Bake in preheated oven for 35-45 minutes or until center registers 165F with a meat thermometer (I don't usually cook it quite so high to help save some of the texture, possibly at some food safety risk).
   Serve immediately.

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