I make no apologies for the fact that I love pizza in pretty much all of its incarnations. Be it authentically Italian, with a thin stonebaked crust, or somewhat less authentically Italian-American with a thicker I love it all. I’ve eaten pizza in Rome (delicious) and I’ve eaten very deep pan pizza in Chicago (also delicious) – however it comes I’m a huge fan. But as much as I love pizza there are plenty of downsides of having it as part of a slightly healthier eating plan…
First and foremost, for me at least, is portion control. I think that take away pizza companies are very cunning – they price an individual pizza at a stupidly high level, but price all of their “offers” at a much more reasonable point. If you’re ordering for 2 people I can’t imagine that anyone would ever buy one medium pizza for £15 when they can get 2 large pizzas, with sides, for £20. Regardless of how much restraint you want to have there’s an inner bargain hunter that just won’t let you order that single pizza… By the time they arrive you’ve bought into the whole package and the amount you eat ends up being obscene. I’ve fallen for it many time before and no doubt I’ll fall for it many times again.
Secondly, Supermarket pizzas are average at best. No matter how much they try and advertise “take away” style crusts that puff up in the oven or flavoursome toppings the whole experience is a massive disappointment. There are a few decent places out there that do a decent job, but they’re the premium food retailers and you’re not far off take-away prices by that point anyway. Plus, you have to plan ahead for supermarket pizza anyway which takes away some of the fun.
Finally, it’s the actual structure of a pizza. Plenty of carbs and plenty of cheese – which is pretty much the allure of pizza in the first place, let’s face it. I don’t shy away from either and don’t think that anyone benefits from cutting things out of their diet that only end up making them miserable. My general approach is either “go the whole hog or don’t bother at all”.
Until this Friday Night, that is. As you’ll see from the title, we had something that I’m calling “Pizza” Stuffed Chicken. It’s been on the list for a while and if you Google it you won’t struggle to find plenty of interpretations out there. Mine is a little simpler than many, mainly in the fact that I’ve tried to miss out any pre-made sauces or shortcuts and kept it to simple ingredients that you should be able to get anyway.
It doesn’t shy away from the cheese – there’s a lot in here as you can see – but that also means that it doesn’t shy away from flavour either. I don’t think it could be put in the “healthy” bracket on the cheese basis alone but hey, it’s Friday Night and that’s always worth making a fuss about. We even had Frozen Margaritas to help us into the weekend because…well, just because.
Like I said – you either go the whole hog or don’t bother at all 😉
"Pizza" Stuffed Chicken
- 2 Free-range Chicken Breasts, around 150g-170g each
- 50 g Firm Mozzarella Cheese, sliced
- 50 g Pepperoni sliced
- 1 Tomato, thinly sliced
- 1 tsp Dried Oregano
- ¼ tsp Garlic Powder
- ¼ tsp Onion Powder
- ¼ tsp Sea Salt
- ¼ tsp Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Pre-heat the oven to 180°C
Cut a deep slit into the side of each chicken breast to make a pocket, making sure you don't cut the whole way through. Stuff each with the sliced mozzarella, half of the pepperoni and half of the tomato then add a pinch of dried oregano. Seal each shut with the help of some cocktail sticks.
Mix together the oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt and pepper. Brush each chicken breast with olive oil, then sprinkle over the seasoning mixture. Garnish with the remaining pepperoni and tomato slices.
Put the chicken onto a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 25 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and the cheese filling has melted. Allow to cool for a few minutes before serving.