Gluten Free

Fiesta Stuffed Chicken with An American Twist

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Chicken is probably the most common meat I cook with and is a great, healthy option for everyday dinners. But when combined with the right spices and ingredients, it magically transforms into something so much more. This Fiesta Stuffed Chicken recipe is no exception! I love chicken for its versatile nature and compatibility with just about everything I regularly keep in my kitchen. No matter what kind of flavor profile we crave, I know I can incorporate chicken to bump the lean protein count of our meal.

The secret ingredients

For this dish, we dry-rubbed the chicken (after stuffing) with some of my favorite traditional spices for Mexican cuisine. I prefer to use the thin-sliced chicken breasts you can buy at the grocery store to save on prep time. But if you want to save a few dollars or like to buy normal chicken breasts in-bulk, you can thin-slice them long-ways with a knife or pound them to no more than 1/8″ thickness. Ultimately, you want to be able to fold the chicken around the stuffing like a blanket, so the thinner the better. (The thickness of the chicken will also affect cooking time; the timing for this recipe assumes your chicken slices are around 1/8″ thick.)

We also used some classic cream cheese stuffing staples to add another level of spice and complexity to the dish. To make the stuffing more gooey for serving, I like to use whipped cream cheese and finely shredded cheese (though admittedly the picture below shows a stuffing based with regular cream cheese, mixed with an electric hand mixer like these from KitchenAid). Using whipped cream cheese makes the stuffing more like a soft cooked sauce out of the oven when you cut into the chicken. It also makes the stuffing a lot easier to mix during prep – so easy you can use a fork!

cream cheese mixed with jalapenos, shallots, chives, shredded cheese, and bacon
Jalapeno stuffing made with regular cream cheese

And of course, we added bacon! Because everything is better with bacon. You can easily leave it out of this dish if you want a more authentic Mexican flavor profile. But if you’re willing to adulterate this dish with this delicious crumble, fresh homemade bacon bits make a great addition!

How to seal the stuffing

The hardest part of making Fiesta Stuffed Chicken is sealing the chicken before baking. You’ll want to get a good seal around the stuffing to ensure it doesn’t leak too much while baking. (Some leaking is normal, but you don’t want all that delicious stuffing to escape and cook to the pan!) I recommend using extra-long toothpicks if you have them (there are many options available for free 2-day shipping through Amazon Prime). Or you can use regular toothpicks, though you may need to use one per corner instead of one per side.

To get the best seal, I like to weave the toothpick from one end to the other through all edges of the chicken like a sewing needle. I will also place the chicken flap-side up in the pan for baking. I may also sear the chicken flap-side down in a pan with hot oil for a minute or two before putting the chicken in the oven. You can skip this step, however, if your goal is to have fewer dishes to clean before bedtime.

A main dish for any plate

This easy but flavorful main dish can be paired with a number of side dishes to suit your mood any night of the week! To keep this meal more Americanized (to stick with our theme!), we paired the stuffed chicken with cheesy mashed potatoes topped with extra bacon and my childhood favorite veggie of all time…French-style cut green beans! Another current favorite of mine is to pair this dish with black beans and yellow rice.

jalapeno cream cheese stuffed chicken, dry-rubbed with mexican spices, on a bed of yellow spanish rice and black beans
Fiesta stuffed chicken (no bacon) with yellow rice and black beans.

By preparing extra of the stuffing ingredients, you can easily use them for many different side dishes, too. This makes for a deliciously complimentary plate easily made after a long day at the office!

Check out The recipe below and don’t forget to rate it!

Fiesta Stuffed Chicken with An American Twist

4 from 1 vote
Recipe by Jenn Cook
Servings

8

servings
Prep time

30

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes
Total time

1

hour 

Thin-sliced chicken breast, stuffed with a jalapeno cream cheese mix and dry-rubbed with traditional Mexican cuisine spices.

Ingredients

  • 8 1/8″ thick thin-sliced chicken breasts

  • 1 tbsp olive oil (optional)

  • Cream Cheese Stuffing
  • 8 oz whipped cream cheese

  • 2 jalapenos (small diced)

  • 1 shallot (small diced)

  • 1/4 cup chives (rough chopped)

  • 1 cup bacon bits (rough chopped) (optional)

  • 1 cup cheddar cheese (finely shredded)

  • Mexican Dry-Rub
  • 1 tsp garlic powder

  • 1 tsp Mexican oregano

  • 1 tsp ground cumin

  • 1 tsp smoked paprika

  • 1 tsp chili powder

  • 1 tsp salt

Directions

  • Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you prep the ingredients and stuff the chicken.
  • Prep the stuffing ingredients and combine all in a large bowl. Stir together until well-mixed. For a more traditional Mexican flavor profile, do not include bacon.
  • Combine all dry-rub spices in a small bowl and stir together until well-mixed. Set-aside for use after the chicken is stuffed.
  • Prep the chicken slices (if needed) and pat-dry both sides of the chicken with a paper towel to remove excess moisture from the outside of the meat.
  • Lay the chicken slices flat and place a few heaping spoonfuls of the stuffing in the center of each slice. Be sure not to over-stuff so the chicken slice can fully (or at least mostly) cover the stuffing on all sides.
  • Wrap the short ends of the chicken slice up and over the top of the stuffing, overlapping slightly and compacting the stuffing as needed to ensure there is no gap between the two ends.
  • Lift one of the long sides of the chicken slice up and carefully weave a toothpick through the edges of the chicken to seal the stuffing from that side. Repeat on the other side to fully seal the stuffing within the chicken.
  • Rub both sides of the stuffed chicken with a few generous pinches of the dry-rub mix. Be careful not to disturb the toothpicks holding the stuffed chicken together.
  • In a large pan on the stove, heat the olive oil on medium-high heat until it begins to shimmer. A few at a time, place the stuffed chicken slices flap-side down in the pan for a minute or two each, long enough to help create a light seal for the overlapped ends of the chicken. This step is optional if you want to reduce the amount of clean-up required for this dish.
  • Carefully place the stuffed chicken slices flap-side up in a shallow baking dish and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes. Use this time, while the chicken bakes, to prepare your preferred side dishes. Consider serving with cheesy mashed potatoes topped with homemade bacon bits and seasoned green beans steamed with shallots.
  • Once the chicken is done, carefully remove the toothpicks and plate with your side dishes. Serve immediately and enjoy!

Notes

  • To save on prep time, buy thin-sliced chicken breast from your local grocery store instead of slicing or pounding regular chicken breasts at home.
  • Use whipped cream cheese instead of regular cream cheese and finely shredded cheese instead of rustic-cut cheese for a more sauce-like consistency to the stuffing.
  • Use extra-long toothpicks when sealing the stuffing to decrease the amount of leakage from the chicken during baking.
  • For easy clean-up, line the baking dish with foil before placing the stuffed chicken for baking.
  • To build a meal around this main dish, prep larger quantities of select ingredients and mix with preferred side dishes.

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