Pistachio Crusted Greek Chicken by Carol Kicinski

Rating: 
Yield: 
4 servings.
Ingredients: 

4 tablespoons Olive oil, use divided
1 Small onion, finely chopped
3 Cloves garlic, minced
1 10-ounce package Frozen spinach, thawed
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 teaspoon Dried oregano
Juice of 1 lemon
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
4 ounces Feta cheese, crumbled (omit for dairy free)
4 Boneless, skinless chicken breasts
¾ cup Pistachios, chopped
1 pint Cherry or grape tomatoes, halved 

Instructions: 

Preheat oven to 425° F.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Sauté the onions until soft and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute. Squeeze all the liquid from the spinach and add to the onions. Add 1 teaspoon salt (if desired), ½ teaspoon pepper, the oregano and the lemon zest. Raise the heat to high and cook until all the liquid is gone, about 1 minute. Take off the heat and let cool while preparing the chicken.
Butterfly the chicken breasts by placing each one flat on a cutting board. Place one hand on top and with the edge of a sharp knife parallel to the cutting board, begin cutting down the length of the side of the breast. Carefully slice the breast in half widthwise almost to the other edge. Open up the chicken breast like a book.
Add the feta if using to the spinach mixture and stir to combine. Stuff each chicken breast with one fourth of the stuffing, letting it overflow at the edges. Drizzle 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a rimmed baking dish and place the stuffed breasts in the baking dish. Squeeze the lemon juice over and top with the chopped pistachios. Top the pistachios with a pinch of salt (if desired) and pepper and drizzle with 1 tablespoon of olive oil.
Place the halved tomatoes in another baking dish and drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Add 1 teaspoon salt and ½ teaspoon pepper. Toss to coat.
Put both baking dishes in the oven and roast for 20 minutes or until the juices of the chicken run clear. Top the chicken breasts with the roasted tomatoes.

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fun facts

Pistachios, when eaten with high-carbohydrate foods, may result in lower than expected blood sugar levels, an important factor in reducing risk of diabetes.

According to a Penn State University study, it is suggested that pistachios reduce the body's biological response to stress.

One serving of pistachios has as much potassium (300mg, 8%) as an orange (250mg, 7%).

Pistachios are high in phytosterols which may lower cholesterol levels and decrease the risk of heart disease. In animal studies phytosterols have been shown to potentially have anti-cancer properties.

One serving of pistachios is 49 nuts, more than any other tree nut.

Forty-nine pistachios serve up to 20 percent of your Daily Value of B6, about the same as half an avocado.

You can obtain more dietary fiber from a serving of pistachios (3g) than a 1/2 cup of cooked broccoli, and the same amount of dietary fiber as an orange or an apple — approximately 10 percent of the Daily Value.

Just a single serving of pistachios provides you with the same amount of protein in a one-ounce serving of soybeans and can serve as a protein alternative to meat, poultry or beans according to the USDA Food Guide Pyramid.

Pistachios are a naturally cholesterol-free snack and contain just 1.5 grams of saturated fat.

Celebrate the greatness of nuts! October 22 is National Nut Day and February 26 is National Pistachio Day!