Vegetable Fajita-Stuffed Chicken

I took an exam and had my first committee meeting this past week, and now the only thing keeping me from Thanksgiving break is one biology class and a biochem exam. I can't wait for Thanksgiving. I'm preparing the meal for the first time this year. I'm going to try some eclectic dishes and just play the edge with the traditional menu. I'm doing this for many reasons: 1) I would like a healthy menu with lots of fruits and vegetables, 2) it will make up for all the time I've lost playing in the kitchen during this crazy semester, 3) I will be able to set a menu where some foods can be prepared in advance, keeping it easy on me, and 4) I really want to experiment with some new foods!

While I haven't had much of an opportunity to make show-stoppingly pretty foods this semester, I did experiment on one recipe. I had been craving fajitas, but of course it takes some work to devise a grain-free fajita method. As you might have noticed I have been trying to stick with the Paleo/Primal way of eating (not as easy during this semester, where sometimes I get stuck working on campus and don't have access to my usual foods). So to completely eliminate the tortilla situation, I used the chicken itself as a wrap, stuffed with vegetables prepared in the fajita-style and smothered with tomato salsa. It really satisfied my craving and was a real treat for the eyes. This would be great for a dinner party because it's a festive recipe but won't require your guests to messily put together their own fajitas. Another plus, beating the chicken breasts out to thin pieces was a great stress reliever :)

Vegetable Fajita-Stuffed Chicken
Printable Recipe

1 tsp olive oil
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 cup + 2 tbsp tomato salsa, divided
1 1/2 tsp paprika, divided
1 1/2 tsp chili powder, divided
1 tsp ground cumin, divided
1 tsp ground coriander, divided
2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, divided
1 lb chicken breast, cut into fillets (about 4-6 fillets depending on the size of the chicken breasts)
salt and pepper, to taste

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onion. Season with salt and pepper and a half teaspoon each of the paprika, chili powder, cumin, and coriander. Stir-fry until tender. Stir in 2 tablespoons of salsa and cilantro and set aside.
3. Stir together the remaining spices and some salt and pepper to make a spice rub and set aside.
4. Place each chicken breast fillet on top of a piece of plastic wrap and cover with another piece of plastic wrap. With the smooth side of a meat mallet or the bottom of a heavy frying pan, flatten the meat until it's less than 1/2" thick. Repeat with all chicken pieces, then lightly season all sides with the spice rub.
5. With the widest end of the chicken facing away from you, place a thin layer of vegetables on top of the chicken breast. Leave about 3/4" inch uncovered on the edge that is away from you. Roll the chicken breast up. Seal each chicken breast with either butcher's twine or toothpicks.
6. Lightly grease a non-reactive baking dish large enough to accommodate the chicken. Pour about 1/3 of the remaining salsa in the bottom, then place the chicken breasts in seam-side down. Pour over the remaining salsa and distribute any leftover vegetables on top.
7. Bake the chicken for 40-50 minutes or until the juices run clear. Allow the chicken to rest 5 minutes before removing from pan and cutting into 1" slices and arranging on a platter. Pour the salsa pan juices on top and serve.

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