Thursday, June 6, 2013

Pesto Chicken

Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. I'm always mentally planning my next trip, the international one we'll take much later on with vacation time that hasn't yet been accrued, and scheming ways to squeeze in additional stops to Pittsburgh and Disneyland. Travel is one of life's greatest pleasures, although returning to your own home can be, too! My own bed, pillow, shower, pet, and kitchen are all things I find myself missing after just a few days away.

After our vacation to California [which I still owe you several posts from] Bryce and I needed to get back in the habit of eating just 3 meals a day - ha! - and return to a real food eating plan. After a Saturday morning trip to my favorite Farmer's Market, a $200 haul at Sam's Club, and one more stop at a "regular" store, we were enjoying a home made meal in the comfort of our own apartment.

This pesto chicken was made with basil and parsley that I actually planted, grew, and kept alive for a short period of time! The tomatoes are from the Farmer's Market, the spinach is surprisingly organic and from Sam's Club (which you can't say about many things), and the pasta is whole wheat.

Pesto Chicken
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1 cup of basil leaves
1/3 cup of parsley leaves
1 Tablespoon of pine nuts, toasted
2 cloves of garlic
2 - 4 Tablespoons of EVOO
2 large chicken breasts, cut into 3 pieces
mozzarella cheese for topping
tomatoes - because pesto and mozzarella can't be eaten without them!

In a food processor, pulse together the basil and parsley leaves. I would have liked to make more but my plants would be totally nude had I done so.

Add the garlic cloves and pulse again.   

Finally add the pine nuts and EVOO and, you guessed it, pulse again. Start with a small amount of EVOO and work your way up to the desired consistency. Be sure to take in the lovely smell!

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. In a bowl season the chicken with salt and pepper, then coat each piece with pesto. On a prepared (non-stick sprayed or olive-oiled) baking sheet, cook the chicken for 20 minutes, or until it's no longer pink in the middle. Add mozzarella cheese and cook for 5 minutes more until melty, gooey, goodness has been achieved.

Serve with tomatoes and your favorite pasta and/or veggies.

Perhaps I'm a control freak but it feels really good to be back home and in my kitchen, knowing exactly what I'm eating. This pesto chicken with pasta was our dinner one night and lunch the following day. That night I babysat in the kid's home and the Mom let me know that she'd bought cooked chicken, prepared pesto, and all I had to do was cook the pasta to accompany the two! I couldn't help but laugh... and then smile because homemade is always better. Isn't it?

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