Back when I was a college student, I lived in a house with my friend Karen for a year. Because we were renting a full house, we had a full kitchen and we did lots of cooking. Correction: she did lots of cooking. I got several of my best recipes that I still use today, from her. When we moved out of our house at the end of that school year, she gave me a cookbook she’d made with some of my favorite recipes from her in it. Today’s recipe is one of those recipes that I got from Karen, and of course like all my favorite recipes, it’s super easy and super delicious.
The official name of it is Chicken Asparagus Bundles, but we have made them with either asparagus or broccoli or spinach and all have been great. It’s a fast recipe and when I made it last week after not having made it for a long, long time, it got five thumbs up here; a minor miracle. Even Alex, my meat-hater-since-birth, loved it. We served it with couscous that night, and a Caesar Salad on the side. On that particular night I split the bundles so that half contained broccoli and half contained spinach. Normally when we buy our frozen broccoli we buy Broccoli Florets. On one of our trips recently we accidentally bought Broccoli Cuts, which I hate because it’s almost all stems and very few florets (despite the package picture). This recipe was perfect for the cuts because I picked out all the florets to stuff half of the chicken bundles with, threw out all the stems, and then used frozen cut spinach for the rest of the chicken.
(As a total aside, this same cream cheese used here is fabulous for making stuffed mushrooms. Try it some day! Just stuff them, bake them, and eat them!)
6 boneless chicken breast halves (I use chicken tenders.)
1 eight ounce container soft cream cheese with chives and onions
18 fresh asparagus stalks steamed until crisp tender OR thawed frozen broccoli OR thawed frozen cut leaf spinach. (I nuke the broccoli and/or the spinach to partially thaw them before stuffing the chicken.)
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Flatten breast halves to even thickness with mallet. (I don’t need to do that for the tenders.)
Trim asparagus stems to 4 inches, if using asparagus. If not, prepare the broccoli and/or the spinach.
Spread each breast half with about 2 Tablespoons of cream cheese. (Or spread about 1 Tablespoon onto a tender.)
Place your chosen veggies inside and wrap as shown here, forming a roll.
Place rolls seam-side down in a buttered baking dish.
Place a small pat of butter on top of each bundle.
Bake 45 minutes, baste with pan drippings after 30 minutes.
To serve, spoon any melted cheese in pan over rolls, sprinkle with paprika. (I never sprinkle with paprika.)