Saturday, February 11, 2012

Feta Dip & Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken

I would normally make these two separate posts but both of these recipes ended up working so well together that I'm putting them in one.  Originally, I planned to have the feta dip on the side with homemade pita bread (this is seriously good pita) but as we started piling things on our plates, my husband said that the feta dip and the Mediterranean stuffed chicken went really well together.  And he was totally right. The feta dip is tangy, salty and creamy which was so good with the Mediterranean flavors in the chicken (also, if you happen to cook your chicken too long, this dip helps mask any dryness from the chicken!).  I also enjoyed dipping the pita into the feta dip, too (and I think it would have been a delicious dip for carrots and bell pepper sticks).

I only loosely followed the feta dip recipe - I didn't measure anything and used 2% Greek yogurt instead of ricotta.  I also didn't use the food processor (let's face it, I didn't want to have to clean it) but just combined with a fork.  If you like a smoother taste, go for the food processor but we liked it the way it was! 

As far as the Mediterranean chicken is concerned, I chopped the ingredients and stuffed the chicken as soon as I got home from work, and then refrigerated it.  That way, when it was close to dinnertime, all I had to do was throw it on our indoor grill for 10 minutes!

Feta Dip
Adapted from: A Spicy Perspective
Feel free to adapt to your liking.  I didn't measure anything and left out the roasted red pepper. 
I also probably quartered this recipe, which made 3-4 servings so I would guess the full size makes close to 12 servings.
  • 1 lb. feta cheese, crumbled
  • ½ lb. whole milk ricotta (I used 2% Greek yogurt instead)
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • Juice of one lemon
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh chopped thyme (I omitted but added a little dried thyme and dried basil instead)
  • 2-3 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/2-1 tsp. crushed red pepper (if you like things very mild, I would suggest adding 1/4 tsp and then increasing to your taste)
  • Pita bread, pita chips, carrots, celery or red bell pepper, for serving
  • Kalamata olives and chopped roasted red pepper, as garnish
  1. Using a food processor, pulse the feta, ricotta, garlic, oil, lemon juice, herbs and crushed red pepper together until smooth (alternatively, add together in a small bowl and stir with a fork).
  2. If using, drain and dice the roasted red pepper.
  3. Scoop the feta mixture into a bowl. Add red pepper and ground black pepper. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
  4. To serve, drizzle another tablespoon of olive oil on top and serve with pita wedges and olives.  This is also a delicious sauce to serve with the Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken!

Mediterranean Stuffed Chicken
Adapted from: For the Love of Cooking
This is another recipe that can be easily adapted -- I added red bell pepper, feta cheese, kalamata olives, chopped parsley and chopped thawed artichokes as the filling!
  • 2-3 chicken breasts (about 1 pound)
  • Sea salt and freshly cracked pepper, to taste
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Onion powder, to taste
  • Dried oregano, to taste
  • 2-3 tablespoons of minced red bell pepper
  • 2-3 tbsp feta cheese
  • 2-3 tbsp diced kalamata olives
  • 2 tbsp red onion, diced (I omitted)
  • 1 tbsp pine nuts (I omitted)
  • 2-3 tbsp basil, chopped (I used 3 tbsp of chopped parsley instead)
  • 2-3 tbsp frozen artichokes, thawed and chopped (you could also used marinated artichokes as well)
  1. Combine diced bell pepper, feta cheese, diced olives, diced red onion, pine nuts, chopped basil (or parsley) and chopped artichokes together in a small bowl.
  2. Cut a horizontal slit through the thickest portion of the chicken breast to form a small pocket. Stuff 2-3 tbsp of the cheese mixture into each pocket; close the opening with a toothpick. Season the chicken breast with sea salt, freshly cracked pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and oregano, to taste on each side. Place the chicken on the grill for 6 minutes on each side or until done (meat should register at 165 degrees at the thickest part of the breast).  Mine were very thick so they probably took closer to 10-12 minutes on an indoor grill. Remove from grill, cover loosely with tin foil and let the meat “rest” for 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve with feta dip, if desired.


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