A little extra work goes a long way: Pesto-Stuffed Chicken Sandwiches

Pesto stuffed chicken sandwich on a six inch whole wheat sub bun

Every now and then, I crave a good sandwich. But since I’ve pretty much sworn off of most deli meats due to the high sodium levels, I’ve not had many sandwiches as of late. We had some chicken in the fridge a couple of weeks ago, so I looked in the cupboards to see what I could do. I could just make a sliced chicken sandwich, a grilled cheese with chicken on it or even a chicken salad sandwich, but I’m not a huge fan of that last one, either. But all of these had me thinking, “Ho, hum, boring.”

Even a Chicken Club sandwich wasn’t giving me much excitement.

So I thought, let’s see what I can do to jazz up the chicken and go from there. I found the following items:

  • a jar of basil pesto
  • some Monterrey Jack cheese
  • a part bag of panko bread crumbs

I suddenly had a brain storm: I could butterfly the chicken breasts and stuff them with cheese and pesto, then roll them up and coat them in seasoned panko and bake  them off, then slice them up and make a sandwich. The trick is getting the rolled chicken to remain closed up during and after the coating process. Most people use toothpicks, removing them before serving, but I thought, “What about using uncooked  spaghetti?” I had seen that trick on the Food Network, I’m sure, so why not?

So that’s what I did. I washed, dried and butterflied all the chicken breasts, then dried them off and stuffed them with 1/2 Tbsp of pesto in each and a bit of shredded cheese. Then these were rolled and fastened with dried whole wheat spaghetti (I just broke it off half an inch on each side once it was pushed through the chicken). Then these were rolled in flour, then dipped in egg, then rolled in seasoned panko. These were set on top of a rack that was sprayed with non-stick cooking spray and set on top of a baking sheet. This was baked for 45 minutes at 350F.

These were allowed to rest for 10 minutes or so before they were sliced on a bias (diagonally).

As for the bread, I combined margarine with minced garlic and spread this on each bun half, then grilled it on a medium heat on a grill pan. Then a little more pesto was spread (thinly) on the bottom half of the  bun. The chicken slices were set on the bun with a little more cheese sprinkled on top and then topped with leafy lettuce.

My hubby went crazy for this. He said that it was, “One of the best damned sandwiches,” he had ever eaten. High praise? I’ll take it. 😉

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