Smoky Paprika Hasselback Chicken with Spinach and Ricotta will make your taste buds love you. Oh, and it is waistline friendly – woo hoo! Basically, I think of it as a way to make chicken breast delicious and moist for those who normally prefer chicken thighs – that’s me folks. Yes, I am one of those people who turn up their noses when someone serves me chicken breast instead of chicken thigh. This is purely because I like my chicken super tasty, tender and moist – bring on those chicken thighs. However, I cannot deny the cold hard fact that chicken breast is lower in fat, healthier, whiter and more attractive looking. It just requires more work. So by cutting parallel slits into the chicken breast and coating it in seasoning and filling the slits with morsels of deliciousness and then covering the chicken with more stuff, the moisture is locked in and flavour is injected.
The great thing is that this dish looks and tastes decadent and looks as though it should be avoided by the curvy crowd trying to lose some kilos – yes, like myself. But the unexpected beauty of this dish is that it is really the perfect meal for weight loss. Calculate the calories or the weight watchers smart points (8 per serve) and you will be pleasantly surprised. It fits in with everyday eating for weight loss – yay. Just add a side salad. Tonight I added a spinach side salad with my favourite (close to healthy) dressing and 1/4 avocado per serve to make a great vitamin packed meal.
Besides the taste, the best thing about this dish is how easy it is to make. I am all about good food and easy quick recipes.
Simplicity rocks. Notice above how the spinach ricotta mixture has been stuffed into the parallel slits above, and then a little spread over the chicken for extra moisture. Pretty darn easy. All there is left to do is sprinkle on the tasty cheddar cheese, extra smoky paprika and bake in the oven.
So, what you may not know about this dish, is that it contains a decent whack of iron, protein, magnesium, potassium, vitamin B-6, vitamin A, vitamin C and some B-12 to top it all off – pretty awesome.
To lift up the nutrition of the dish to another level yet again, I serve it with a spinach salad topped with a quarter of an avocado for each person to really ramp up the iron, Vit A, B6, Vit C and magnesium. The avocado in the side salad also give the dish a good kick of fibre, vitamin E, vitamin K and folate. Yes, in case you are wondering, I have been obsessed with nutrition in food lately and want most things I make and eat to be packed with vitamins and minerals. I am finding I have a lot more energy when I pack these things into my meals and feel better.
- Chicken Breasts x 2 - skinless boneless (approx 220 grams each)
- Fresh spinach leaves - 80grams (or 2.82 ounces)
- Ricotta cheese - 80 grams (or 2.82 ounces)
- Fresh Minced Garlic - 2 teaspoons
- Garlic Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Smoked Paprika - 5 teaspoons
- Himalayan Pink Sea Salt - ¾ teaspoon
- Dried parsley - 1 teaspoon
- 1 spray of olive oil (1 x 3 second spray - does both fillets back and front)
- Tasty Cheddar Cheese - 30 grams
- Extra Smoky Paprika (to sprinkle on top of chicken)
- Extra Salt and Pepper to season
- Preheat fan forced oven to 180 C (356 F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Stir fry the spinach and minced garlic in a frying pan on medium heat to barely wilt spinach.
- Add ricotta and stir to blend roughly - then take off heat immediately.
- Season ricotta and spinach with salt and pepper to taste.
- Beat out the thickest part of the chicken breast (just a bit) to make it more even.
- Roll each breast in Smoked Paprika, Garlic Powder, Dried Parsley and Sea Salt until coated.
- Spray each breast (bottom and top) with olive oil spray
- Cut 6 deep parallel slits in each breast making sure not to go to the bottom.
- Season with extra Himalayan pink sea salt and pepper and transfer to baking tray
- Add the spinach and ricotta blend into each chicken slit, placing some over top of chicken
- Sprinkle with tasty cheese, extra paprika and salt and pepper
- Bake for 20-25 minutes in oven until chicken juices run clear.
Other Notes: After the chicken is cooked, I transfer it to a plate and let excess liquid drain off for a couple of minutes before transferring it to a serving plate.