Cream Cheese and Pesto-Filled Chicken

Pesto Chicken

My husband and I aren’t big-time menu planners. At the end of the night, I usually grab a bag of meat from the freezer*, and the next day, we figure out what the heck will be for dinner. One night, I ended up thawing chicken breasts, and was drawing a blank since the past two weeks, I pretty much cooked up all of our favorite usual week-night recipes. So, I had to basically scour the Internet for something weeknight friendly (simple), somewhat healthy and flavorful. This fit the bill.

I was extremely surprised at how fast this dish came together. It was so flavorful and easy to make. Plus, it’s from Eating Well, so you know it’s not that bad for you. Next time, we’ll probably add cajun spices to the chicken just to give it a good kick, but other than that, this recipe was really great!

*Now, to explain the whole bag in the freezer concept. My husband and I purchase meat in bulk when it goes on sale. Then that same day, we use our Foodsaver to portion out things (either in 1 lb. increments or 2 meat cut increments). I highly recommend it this way, since it saves us $2-$3/lb.

Cream Cheese and Pesto Filled Chicken
Source: adapted from Eating Well, found on Carrie’s Sweet Life


  • 2 tbsp. reduced-fat cream cheese
  • 1 tbsp. basil pesto (store-bought or homemade)
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (1-1 1/4 pounds total)
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray.
  2. Combine the cream cheese, pesto and pepper in a small bowl using a fork.
  3. Cut a horizontal slit along the thin, long edge of a chicken breast half, nearly through to the opposite side. Open up each breast and place one-fourth of the filling in the center. Close the breast over the filling, pressing the edges firmly together to seal. Repeat with the remaining chicken breasts and filling.
  4. Lightly beat egg white with a fork in a medium bowl. Place breadcrumbs in a shallow glass dish. Hold each chicken breast half together and dip in the egg white, then dredge in the breadcrumbs. Discard the leftovers.
  5. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken breasts; cook until browned on one side, about 2 minutes. Place the chicken, browned-side up, on the prepared baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and bake until the chicken is no longer pink in the center or until an instant-read thermometer registers 170°F, about 20 minutes.


  1. Yum, this sounds delicious!

  2. Yum! Bookmarked! Both Dan and I are suckers for anything pesto :)

  3. We do the whole freezing food in portions thing, as well. I don’t use a foodsaver but I do use a husband. He holds the saran wrap while I trim the fat off the chicken, meat, whatever and then put it on the saran wrap. A piece gets wrapped and then put into a big freezer zip lock bag. That bag is filled to capacity with single-serving pieces of meat or chicken (chicken in one bag, meat in the other) and shoved in the already over stuffed freezer. :)
    This recipe looks like a great way to use up some pesto! Yum!

  4. Oh this looks so good! Does it have a very cream-cheese-y flavor? The boyfriend doesn’t much like cream cheese, but he’ll take it hidden into certain recipes.

  5. Great combo, Amy!

  6. Holy moly – this sounds delish! Totally trying it!

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