Friday, July 20, 2012

Baked Pesto Chicken


If I spent the rest of my life preparing only chicken, I still would not see every method the world has to offer. With so many options, I spend a few minutes feeling a little overwhelmed before I can come to a decision about how to prepare it. This time, I decided to go with pesto. I made the pesto from scratch and found a pretty simple recipe with which to use it, so give it a shot! You won’t be disappointed.

Recipe adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

Difficulty: Easy
Active Prep Time: About 15 minutes
Total Prep Time: 40 minutes
Special Equipment: Food Processor
Serves: 3 – 4

Chicken Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning
  • 1/2 cup basil pesto (recipe below)
  • 2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated mozzarella cheese


Pesto Ingredients:

  • ½ cup of pine nuts
  • ½ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 head of fresh basil



(Prepare pesto in advance)

1. Lightly toast the pine nuts over a medium heat in a dry frying pan for about 5 minutes.


2. In a food processor, blend together olive oil, two-thirds of the pine nuts. garlic, 1 tablespoon of the lemon juice, and seasoning.

3. Add basil and blend again.

4. Check the seasoning, add another tablespoon of lemon juice, and salt and pepper to your own taste. Add reserved pine nuts and blend.

(Move on to chicken prep)

5. Preheat oven to 375ºF. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken pieces, then cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 strips.

6. Spray a 9" x 12" baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup of pesto over the bottom of the dish.


7. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread 1/4 cup more basil pesto over the chicken.


8. Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil and bake for 25 minutes.

9. When 25 minutes are up, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with ½ cup grated mozzarella cheese. Put uncovered dish back into the oven and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted.


10. Once the cheese is melted, switch the oven over to broil for 3 – 5 minutes, just long enough to brown the cheese on top a bit.


11. Serve hot with rice and vegetables to round out the meal.


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