Friday, June 18, 2010

Crispy Chicken Asparagus Bundles

I have made this dish a couple of times and really enjoy it. Not only do the flavors go together well, but it also looks so fancy on the plate! When you cut into it, the spiraling layers gives it an elegant appearance, even though it is extremely easy to prepare. The trick to a really crispy coating is the panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs). It comes in regular or whole wheat so, if you want the addition of a little fiber, go with the whole wheat variety. I used minced fresh herbs from my little herb garden but, if you don't have fresh, dried will work just fine.

The recipe calls for the chicken breasts to be "butterflied." It's a simple cutting technique in which you slice into the thickest side and stop just before cutting completely through. When it is opened and flattened, it turns a small piece of meat into what looks like a large portion. Click on this link if you would like to see a short slideshow about How to Butterfly a Chicken Breast.

Crispy Chicken Asparagus Bundles
(Makes 2 servings)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (5 oz. each)
¼ teaspoon onion powder
¼ teaspoon garlic salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2 thin slices deli ham
2 teaspoons grated Parmesan cheese
8 spears asparagus, woody ends removed
¼ cup whole wheat panko Japanese-style breadcrumbs (or regular)
1 tablespoon chopped rosemary (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 tablespoon chopped parsley (or 1 teaspoon dried)
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Pinch of salt
4 teaspoons pub-style Dijon mustard
Drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon)

1. Preheat the oven to 400-degrees. Spray a shallow baking pan with non-stick spray or spread 1 teaspoon of olive oil to prevent chicken from sticking; set aside.

2. Butterfly the chicken breasts and cover with plastic wrap. Pound with a mallet until about ¼ to ½-inch thick. Sprinkle one side with onion powder, garlic salt, and pepper. Place a ham slice on each and sprinkle with the Parmesan cheese. Lay 4 asparagus spears in the center of each and roll chicken around the vegetables; set aside.

3. In a shallow plate, combine the panko breadcrumbs, herbs, garlic powder, pepper and salt. Spread each chicken bundle with mustard and roll in the breadcrumb mixture. Place in the prepared baking dish (seam side down). Drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of each bundle and bake for 25 minutes. Serve hot.

Nutritional Information per serving: 239 calories, 10 g carbohydrate, 5.3 g total fat, 1.8 g saturated fat, 540 mg sodium, 1 g fiber, 38.1 g protein.

Original recipe by Kathy Sheehan, copyright 2010

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