Originally created 08/07/02

Easy approach will save your 'pounding arm'



If you're like me, you're always looking for something new to do with chicken. My chicken Florentine is the answer to your dilemma, and is a cinch to prepare.

Chicken Florentine is a classic dish that appears on many restaurant menus. Boneless, skinless chicken breast halves are pounded into a uniform thickness, then are dredged in flour and sauteed in a combination of butter and oil. The cooked chicken "cutlets" are then topped with a creamy spinach sauce and grated cheese and then broiled.

I've simplified the recipe.

Instead of pounding and pounding boneless chicken breast halves into a uniform thickness, I slice them in half horizontally. Chicken breasts these days are often huge, so besides saving your "pounding arm," you're also cutting back on your serving size without much effort.

Slicing the chicken breast halves is easy once you get the hang of it. Simply place a breast half on a flat work surface, then use a long serrated knife to slice the breast into two cutlets.

The creamed spinach is on the high-fat side, so serve this as a special-occasion dish. No one will guess its ease of preparation.

CHICKEN FLORENTINE

3 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves sliced in half horizontally

2 tablespoons flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon butter or margarine

2 9-ounce packages Creamed Spinach, defrosted

1/2 cup shredded Swiss cheese, divided

1/4 teaspoon nutmeg

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place the flour on a plate and season with salt and pepper. Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Dredge the chicken pieces in the seasoned flour and add to the hot skillet. Brown on both sides (about 3 minutes per side). Work in batches so that the chicken pieces do not overlap. Repeat with remaining chicken pieces. Set aside.

Combine creamed spinach in a bowl with half of the shredded cheese and 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg. Spread half of the spinach mixture in the bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish that has been sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Place the browned chicken pieces over the spinach and spread the remaining spinach mixture over the chicken pieces. Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes.

Add some cooked rice and a salad for a quick and elegant meal that's fit for company.

Makes 6 servings.

Write to Karin Calloway in care of The Augusta Chronicle Newsroom P.O. Box 1928, Augusta, GA 30903. Or send e-mail to karin.calloway@comcast.net.

  275 calories
   29 grams protein
   8.3 grams carbohydrates
   1.8 grams fiber
   13.8 grams fat
   5.1 grams saturated fat
   80 milligrams cholesterol
   461 milligrams sodium
 Nutrient analysis provided by Fran Frye, a licensed and registered dietitian of the Augusta District Dietetic Association.