"Stuffed" Chicken Breasts and Roasted Root Vegetables

Mondays are hard.

Deciding what to make for dinner on Monday night is even harder. You're tired and stressed, and maybe a bit bloated from the weekend's adventures. Not to mention, you're starving. Delivery sounds good, but only because it is the easy way out...

But, if you have a bit of energy and some chicken breasts, cheese spread and a vegetable drawer that isn't empty, you can have a feast ready in the same amount of time it takes for the pizza to arrive at your door.

The great thing is that you can give the veggies a head start and then turn up the oven's heat for the chicken.  (I always try to make use of a hot oven.) You can even make the veggies a few days ahead and reheat on the stove.

Here's what I had:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 tub of  Rondelé® Garden Vegetable cheese spread (cream cheese, goat cheese, or cheese dip would work, too)
3 large carrots, halved lengthwise and peeled and cut into 3 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped roughly into about 6 large chunks
2 garlic cloves, smashed and cut into 6 pieces
2 parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
3 large potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
4 beets, peeled and diced into 1 inch cubes
Olive oil
Kosher salt
Fresh ground pepper
Thyme sprigs (use them if you have them, otherwise ignore)

Here's what I did with them:

  • For the chicken: 
    • Turn on your broiler, if you're not making the veggies. If you are, get them in the oven first, then when it is time for the chicken, turn up the heat and move your veggies to the lower rack.
    • Cut a slit lengthwise in each raw chicken breast -- don't cut all the way through -- and widen it a bit with your fingers.
    • Wash your hands, and then take 1-2 teaspoons of the cheese spread and spoon into each opening. DO NOT put the chicken-slimed spoon back in the cheese, please.  (I scooped out a big dollop of it and put on my cutting board, so I wouldn't contaminate the rest of the container each time I filled a piece of chicken.)
    • Sprinkle each breast with salt and pepper
    • Heat a bit of olive oil in a pan and cook the breasts, cheese side up, until browned on the bottom and cooked halfway through, 6-8 minutes.
    • Transfer the breasts to a greased, oven-proof pan and broil for about 8 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and cheese has browned.
    • To serve, scrape off any unsightly congealed chicken juices from the breast and enjoy! Alternatively, you can slice up each piece, showing off the filling. You'll have a juicy, tasty piece of chicken.
  • For the veggies:
    • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees
    • Chop up your vegetables and toss with garlic, a few generous TBS of olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs if you have them.
    • Transfer to a baking sheet and bake for about 30 minutes, or until firmest vegetables (potatoes) are tender and a bit crispy.
    • Serve immediately, or if re-heating, add a bit of olive oil to a skillet and heat through, stirring often.

Easy, cheesy.