Recipe: Creamy Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Chicken

Last week I became obsessed with the idea of making stuffed mushrooms. I really have no idea why. I was mostly trying to figure out something to do with the pile of cremini mushrooms in my fridge, other than just eating them on a salad like I had been. Normally cooking something, stuffing it inside another thing, and then cooking again is way too much work for me.

I looked up a few stuffed mushroom recipes and decided there wasn’t enough protein in the meals, so they would be a side dish. Ain’t nobody got that kinda time for a side dish. But now I was onto an idea of “sausage stuffed” something.

Enter, the chicken breast. Nature’s perfect meat pouch.

Everyone knows that pork and chicken go together like peanut butter and jelly. With a combination of sausage, chicken, mushrooms, and cheese, I knew I could have a winner winner chicken dinner. Literally.

I assembled some ingredients partially just based on what I had in my fridge. I chose my go-to low fat cream cheese because there really isn’t anything that isn’t improved by cream cheese. But for an extra creamy, cheesy kick, I also added some shredded KerryGold Skellig sweet cheddar (not pictured). The other base ingredients are the chicken breasts, the sausage (I love Jimmy Dean’s reduced fat pork sausage, but any sausage will do), the aforementioned cremini mushrooms, minced garlic, and some salt and pepper.

I also added some of this delicious hot sauce I found in the commissary, because I’m obsessed with it. You can leave that out if you like.

First, you’ll need to prepare the stuffing by browning the sausage and giving the mushrooms a good chopping. If you’re not using pre-shredded cheese, you’ll need to shred some cheese as well.

In a separate bowl, combine your cooked sausage, cream cheese, shredded cheese, chopped mushrooms, hot sauce (optional), garlic, and some salt and pepper. I mostly squished it together with a combination of a fork and my hands, but it’s a bit easier to mix if the sausage is still warm.

Begin by trimming the chicken breasts of any excess skin and chewy bits, and then carefully cut them into meat pockets.

I’m fully aware of their resemblance to female genitalia.

Ahem.

Then, liberally salt-and-pepper the outside of the pocket, and maybe the inside a little too. It’s easier to do this now than after they’re stuffed with deliciousness.

Once seasoned, you can stuff the chicken pockets with your desired amount of stuffing. The first night I made these, I stuffed waayyyy too much into them, and they became some sort of frightening chicken popover thing. Still delicious, but a bit over the top (heh).  The next night I halved the amount so I could pin the pocket closed with a couple of toothpicks so it would roast all nice and evenly.

Scary overstuffed chicken
Frightening overstuffed chicken popover thingie.

It ended up being about a quarter cup of stuffing per normal-sized chicken breast. You may need more or less depending on the size of your breasts. Um…your chicken breasts, not your actual breasts, if you have breasts, though I suppose even men technically have breasts…

Anyway.

Whether you have actual large or small breasts, you will need to stuff your meat pockets with as a much sausage as they can accommodate……

Giggity.

….

This is escalating quickly.

Pin them closed with some toothpicks and quickly throw them in a baking dish and into a preheated 400° oven before they continue making jokes about meat pockets and sausage.

You want to bake them until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. This took about 30 minutes for mine, but that time will vary depending on your oven and the size of the chicken breasts and the thickness of the pockets. Anywhere from 25 – 40 minutes is probably a safe assumption. Pro tip: Remove the chicken when it reaches about 160 and let it rest for 5-10 minutes. During the rest period, it will continue cooking internally and the juices will pull back into the meat. Everyone likes a juicy chicken breast.

Following the resting period, remove the toothpicks, and serve with your favorite sides. I enjoy it paired with some roasted broccoli because the broccoli is great for soaking up escaped cheese sauce.

Yum! Much creamy. Much meaty. Much cheesy.

You’ll notice the recipe that follows is a bit odd. It’s a serving for one. This recipe is intended to be modified to suit you and your needs/tastes. You can very easily increase the amounts to make a whole family dinner. I found that once the sausage was cooked and mushrooms chopped, it was very easy to make this again on subsequent nights and adjust the amounts of stuffing ingredients as needed. Measure, manage, and enjoy!   

Creamy Sausage Stuffed Chicken

Boneless, skinless chicken breasts stuffed with a delicious mixture of sausage, cream cheese, and mushrooms. Single serving recipe!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Servings 1 person

Ingredients

Stuffing

  • 40 g Jimmy Dean reduced fat sausage, browned and crumbled Sub with your favorite sausage if desired!
  • 20 g Cremini mushrooms, chopped
  • 20 g Reduced fat cream cheese Sub with full fat cream cheese if desired
  • 14 g Kerry Gold Skellig sweet cheddar cheese, shredded Sub with any shredded cheese
  • 0.5 tsp Minced garlic or 1 clove fresh garlic
  • to taste hot sauce
  • to taste salt and pepper

Chicken

  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • to taste salt and pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Prepare the Stuffing

  1. Begin by browning the sausage and setting aside. 

    Browned sausage in a pan
  2. Chop the mushrooms into roughly 1/4 inch sized pieces. 

  3. In a small mixing bowl, combine the sausage, mushrooms, cream cheese, garlic, shredded cheese, hot sauce (optional), and salt and pepper to taste. 

    Mixed sausage stuffing ingredients

Prepare the Chicken Breasts

  1. Carefully cut the chicken breasts down the long sides, but not all the way through, to form a "pocket." 

    Chicken cut into meat pocket
  2. Salt & pepper the outside of the pocket to taste. 

  3. Stuff the sausage and mushroom mixture into the chicken breast, pressing firmly to keep it in. Pin the pocket closed with a couple of toothpicks. 

    Assembled stuffed chicken breast
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165. Tip: Remove chicken around 155/160 and allow it to rest until 165 for maximum juiciness!

    Finished stuffed chicken breast meal

Date Night: The Opal Thai “Experience”

I’ll admit, we are pretty lazy when it comes to driving all over the island, so we’ve only been to Haliewa on the North Shore a handful of times in the 2 years we’ve been here. Unless we’re spending the day there, it just isn’t worth it for a meal. Thus, we had never been to Opal Thai despite hearing good things about it from several friends.

So, when Opal Thai moved to Chinatown and our neighbor/friend (and longtime fan of Opal’s) chose there for her birthday dinner, we had to finally see what the fuss was about.

On the drive there, I was super excited, and began prattling on about all the dishes I had looked up on their menu ahead of time. My friend just laughed at me.

“You don’t get to order at Opal’s,” he said. “Opal Thai is not meal – it’s more of an experience.”

As a pretty adventurous person when it comes to food, I was stoked. I’ll try just about anything once, and Asian cuisine is a favorite of mine.

Once we got into the restaurant, seated, and drinks ordered (note: as of right now Opal is BYOB for booze, but they are working on obtaining their liquor license), Opal came to greet the table, immediately seizing the menus and removing them. Opal (which, from what I understand, is actually his real name) is the owner, head chef, and only waiter. He immediately recognized our friends and had handshakes and fist bumps to go around. Upon learning we were celebrating a birthday, he promised “something special” for the birthday girl, and that her husband, the other Opal veteran, could order whatever he wanted since he’d had everything before. He still insisted on Opal taking care of his order.

After that Opal turned to us newbies. First, he asked into name five Thai dishes, excluding Pad Thai and fried rice. Between the 4 of us (Babe and I and another couple), we came up with satisfactory answers. Next, he asked how spicy each of us preferred our food and if we had any allergies or dietary restrictions. Confirming all of this information, he swept off to the kitchen.

A short time later, Opal’s son, a teenager full of wit and a hilarious self-deprecating sense of humor, who is the food runner and busser, arrived with our first course: Spicy garlic glazed chicken wings with fried basil.

You guys. These were probably the best chicken wings I’ve ever had. They were hot and crispy with very little breading. The glaze was a little sweet and spicy (but not overwhelmingly so). The fried basil leaves were little treats all on their own. They were accompanied by a plate of sauteed eggplant and string beans which were quite tasty as well. I could have eaten about 3 more plates of just the wings, but I was wisely cautioned, “This is just the beginning.”

Next came the “lettuce cup salad” which is precisely that: A mixture of meat and pickled veggies with carrots and purple cabbage that you scoop into a “cup” made from a lettuce leaf. It was indescribably good. I honestly can’t even say which one we had. The menu has choices of larb, chicken, pork, or tofu. It could have been any of those and I would have devoured it all the same. We had two choices, a “mild” version and a spicy. Needless to say the mild version was spicy enough for this white girl.

The third course was, of course, the soup. I have no idea what, exactly, it was, but judging by the shrimp I believe it was Tom Kha Soup. This was my first experience with Tom Kha but I’d been told in the past that Tom Yum and Tom Kha soup were both excellent treatments for the common cold. Now I know why. The amount of spice in this soup was enough to clear out sinus crud from 3 years ago. But the flavor was amazing – sour and citrusy but also very savory.

Spicy shrimp soup

Here’s where things get tricky. Not having ordered our food, and being too busy stuffing our faces to ask questions, I’m not entirely sure what our main courses comprised of. I’ve deduced what I can using the menu, but your guess is as good as mine.

The first dish, I believe, was Chow Fun, which is beef and large, sort of squishy, flat noodles. It was delightful. Who doesn’t love big fat squishy noodles? Next we had a pad thai with shrimp. It was tasty and not overly greasy like some pad thai can be. Lastly we had two types of curry, one was the red and the birthday girl, I think, had the roasted tomato pineapple, but only Opal knows for sure. All was served with a nice pile of fried rice to help soak up those spices.

We were served all of the dishes at once and shared plates family style, which I always think makes for such a fun dinner experience. Everyone gets so excited to try each dish and to share their thoughts. It almost makes you forget you’re in a restaurant and transports you straight home, where you’re being fed by a loved one and sharing a meal with family (or framily, in this case).

Family style dining at Opal Thai

As we finished, Opal’s son cleared away the plates with more jokes around and Opal returned with a celebratory birthday shot to share with our guest of honor. There’s no better way to become family than to share food and spirits with someone.

In the end, we left stuffed, happy, and newly minted fans of Opal Thai. If you’re interested in some really delicious Thai food and you’re pretty adventurous when it comes to food, give them a visit. Leave your preconceived notions of how restaurant service should be, and just enjoy the experience!