It’s true, I usually am not a fan of chicken. I find the flavor and texture to be rather boring. BUT doctor it up just right and it can be the perfect protein-packed vehicle for lots of flavor! I stuffed these chicken breasts full of pepperoni and mozzarella, which can be a little heavy, so I went for a smaller serving size. I plan to pair it with a heaping side of pasta salad to round out the meal. In reality, the serving size isn’t that small (4 oz. of chicken plus the pepperoni and cheese) but most people are used to a full chicken breast as one serving. My chicken breasts were about a half pound each and I cut them in half to make four 1/4 pound pieces. It looks small because we’re used to over-sized portions but when you add your vegetable and grain side dishes, 4 oz. is plenty. If you still want a whole chicken breast to yourself, this recipe will still only be $1.83 per serving!
Pepperoni Stuffed Chicken
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts ($1.98)
- 2 oz mozzarella cheese ($0.40)
- 1 1/4 oz approx. 16 slices pepperoni ($0.54)
- 1 large egg ($0.15)
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour ($0.14)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs ($0.18)
- 6 Tbsp vegetable oil ($0.22)
- to taste salt and pepper ($0.05)
- Trim the chicken breasts of any large clumps of fat that may be still attached. Slice each breast in half diagonally to create two diamond-like shaped pieces. Using a small, sharp knife, cut a pocket into the side of each breast piece. This can be slightly tricky on thinner pieces so be careful. Be sure not to cut all the way through the meat but rather just into one side so that the fillings will stay in. See photos below.
- Stuff each piece of chicken with 1/2 oz. of cheese and about 4 slices of pepperoni. Lightly season each piece with salt and pepper. Set the stuffed chicken aside.
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Begin to heat a large skillet with 6 Tbsp of vegetable oil over medium/high heat. Collect three shallow dishes and put the flour in one, the egg in another and the bread crumbs in the third. Beat the egg until it is an even consistency (adding a 1/2 tsp of water helps break it up).
- One by one, coat each piece of chicken in the flour, then the egg then the bread crumbs. Use your hands so that you can keep the open side of the pocket pinched closed and keep the fillings in. The flour helps the egg adhere and the egg keeps the bread crumbs in place. This is a basic bread coating.
- Test the oil in the skillet to see if it is hot enough by dropping a small pinch of bread crumbs in. The bread crumbs should sizzle and dance A LOT. It is very important that the oil is hot enough or else the breading will soak up a lot of oil and you’ll end up with some really greasy chicken!. Place all four pieces of chicken in the skillet and cook until it is golden brown and crispy on each side. This should take no more than 2-3 minutes.
- When you remove the chicken pieces from the skillet, transfer them to the baking sheet and place it in the oven. Finish baking the chicken (to cook the inside) for about 25 minutes (longer if you have larger pieces). Remove from the oven (check to make sure the chicken is cooked through) and serve immediately!
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Step by Step Photos
I cut each chicken breast in half to make 4 oz. portions.
Slice into the chicken breasts horizontally to create a pocket. Do not cut all the way through to the other side.
Collect the fillings for your chicken.
Stuff the chicken pieces with the mozzarella and pepperoni.
Coat the chicken pieces in flour, then egg, then bread crumbs.
Briefly fry the stuffed chicken pieces on each side until they are golden brown. Finish baking in the oven at 350 degrees.
NOTE: Buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts can be expensive ($3 or $4 per pound) so I always buy in bulk. Today I bought a five pound pack for just $1.98 per pound. The pack contained 10 breast pieces and as soon as I got home I packed them into to freezer bags in two-breast portions. That way, whenever I want to cook something with chicken, I can choose how much I want to thaw and keep the rest frozen. Saving $1-$2 per pound is WELL worth buying the larger pack.
I usually use turkey pepperoni but decided to go with the regular for this recipe. Honestly, I wish I had used the turkey pepperoni. It is much less greasy and you still get all of the spicy flavor. To lighten this recipe up, use part skim mozzarella and turkey pepperoni. You can also skip the frying step and just bake the breaded chicken.
Another serving idea for this dish would be to pour a little marinara over top of each piece and serve the whole shabang over some pasta. YUM!