Cooking with Connie: Pizza Stuffed Chicken

I don’t know one kid who doesn’t love pizza.  Our family has “pizza & a movie” every Friday night.  We usually make our own pizza, sometimes we bake a frozen pizza, and occasionally we’ll order out.  Pizza is so popular because of the perfection of the flavors.  The perfect crust, spicy sauce, cheeses and toppings make for a unique hand-held meal that we all love.  My family loves pizza so much, I wanted to create other meals with the same classic flavors of pizza.  My friend, Kristin, created a pizza casserole that layers the classic baked spaghetti with pepperoni slices.  I loved this concept, so I turned the flavors into a stuffed chicken.  The beauty of this method is the versatility of the ingredients.  The pepperoni can be substituted and other fillings added; and you’ll create a whole new taste.  Try olives, green peppers, onions, mushrooms, ham, pineapple, Italian sausage, Canadian bacon, any of your favorite pizza toppings.  Just stuff them in the chicken to create your family’s own Pizza-Stuffed Chicken.

Pizza-Stuffed Chicken

1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4)

salt, pepper, Italian seasoning

8 (1-2 inch) pepperoni slices

4 slices mozzarella cheese

1/2 c. chicken breader

2 T. butter, melted

1/2 c. bread crumbs

4-6 T. Pizza sauce, divided

2 T. grated Parmesan cheese, divided

Fresh chopped parsley

Place each breast between 2 sheets of waxed paper or place in a gallon-size storage bag without sealing.  Use a meat mallet to pound each chicken breast to 1/4-inch thickness.  Remove waxed paper and sprinkle each breast with salt & pepper and Italian seasoning, 1-2 slices of pepperoni, and 1 slice of cheese.  Fold top of chicken breast over pepperoni & cheese; fold in edges and roll.  Roll each stuffed breast in chicken breader; dip in melted butter and roll in bread crumbs.  Place seam side down on a plate; cover and chill for several hours or overnight.  Place on prepared rack on broiler pan; top each stuffed breast with pizza sauce and parmesan cheese.  Bake in preheated 425-degree oven for 17-20 minutes.  Do not overcook.  Let sit 5 minutes before serving.

Top baked chicken with fresh chopped parsley.