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Posts Tagged ‘basil’

Okay, remember that pesto pasta salad?

This one?

The only problem with it is that it only uses half a container of pesto. So you have a few options. You can:

A.) Double the recipe and have pesto pasta salad sitting in your fridge for weeks in that bowl you always want to use but can never find because it’s sitting in the fridge with pesto pasta salad in it

B.) Leave the half-used container of pesto in your fridge to “do something with,” forget about it, and find it two months later in an unusable state

C.) Make this pesto chicken

This was really good, really easy, and tasted awesome. JW commented several times how good it was. A huge thank you to Pinterest for this find (which if you are any sort of creative or foodie or fashion type and you are not on Pinterest, you are missing out on a whole world of new and exciting things), and of course, many thanks to Kalyn’s Kitchen for the recipe.

Baked Pesto Chicken (This is how I made it, when I didn’t have the recipe in front of me. Here is the original if you want to compare.)

  • Boneless, skinless chicken breasts (I used 3)
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
  • Half of a 7-8oz container of basil pesto
  • Mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 375F. Cut chicken breasts into strips, or pieces. Whatever you prefer.
Spray a 9 x 13 baking dish with non-stick spray. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread pesto over the chicken. Stir it around a bit so the chicken is covered with the pesto.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through. Don’t cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be overcooked by the time the cheese is melted and browned.

When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.) Kalyn’s note: After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.

We had this over the same tri-colored curly pasta I had used for the pasta salad, and the juice from the chicken dish was delicious over the pasta. You could also use angel hair, or even rice.

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This was good. Like really, really good. It came together pretty easily and tasted like something I’d order in a restaurant. JW doesn’t like sun-dried tomatoes (anyone surprised? me neither) but he really liked this.

The sauce is pureed together so the sun-dried tomatoes just give it a very deep tomato flavor without screwing with the texture. With fresh basil, heavy cream, white wine, garlic, and sun-dried tomatoes, it has a wonderful balance of complex flavors that work together really well.

The original recipe calls for chicken, which we used and enjoyed, but in the future I will probably just double the sauce and use it over pasta on its own. It’s so stellar that it really doesn’t need the chicken.

Chicken with Sun-Dried Tomato Cream Sauce (Original recipe here)

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 1/2 lbs total)
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes, packed in oil – drain, pat dry, and coarsely chop (I used a 10-12 oz jar)
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, thinly sliced

Pat chicken dry and season with salt and black pepper.

Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then brown chicken, turning once, about 6 minutes total (chicken will not be cooked through). Transfer chicken with tongs to a plate.

Add garlic and tomatoes to the skillet and sauté, stirring, until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute.

Add wine and boil, stirring and scraping up brown bits, until reduced by half, about 1 minute.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil, covered.

Add chicken to skillet with any juices accumulated on plate and simmer, covered, until just cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes.

Transfer chicken to a platter and keep warm, loosely covered with foil.

Stir cream and 2 tablespoons basil into sauce in skillet and bring just to a simmer.

Transfer sauce to a deep heatproof bowl or 1-quart glass measure (I used a tall plastic pitcher to minimize tomato flying all over my kitchen) and purée with an immersion blender until almost smooth. Alternatively, you can use a standard blender or food processor.

If necessary, add water to thin to desired consistency, then season with salt and pepper.

Serve sauce over chicken, and/or pasta if desired.

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