Thursday, February 28, 2013

Parsley Pesto Chicken

Sometimes a no fuss dinner is required.  This is one of my favorites.  Currently I work full time, go to school, and run this blog with Tay.  Sometimes it's crazy.  Right now, I got lucky and don't have too much going on with school, but it is because I am waiting to hear what schools I got into (cross your fingers).  Needless to say, this recipe comes in handy often.

What's truly great about this recipe?  It is good ALL year round.  Normally pesto is made with loads of fresh summer basil.  Since its not summer (and my tiny basil plant is struggling), I went with something else.  Also, Italian parsley is cheap.  I get mine for about fifty cents a bunch... compare that with 1.99 for half a bunch.

Don't get me wrong, I love pesto made with basil, but this one is just as good.  The toasted nuts add a special depth while the lemon juice brightens the whole thing up.  The recipe makes more than enough for two chicken breasts, and left overs can be kept for pasta, pizza, eggs, or anything else your heart desires.

Parsley Pesto Chicken
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30-35 minutes
Makes: 2 chicken breasts (4 servings)
Pesto Chicken:
  • 2 chicken breasts (trimmed of fat)
  • 1 recipe of pesto (see below)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella
** I highly recommend making your own pesto (you could use a blender or chop by hand if you don't have a food processor), but if you truly wanted to make a super quick meal, you could use previously made pesto.  I won't tell.
  • 2 cups flat-leaf Italian parsley (I ended up needing 1 and a half bunches)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/2 cup pine nuts *
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 1/2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice (half a lemon)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup good quality olive oil
** Pine nuts can be pricey, so if you want, you can use all walnuts.  On the flip side, you could use all pine nuts too.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Place the nuts on a cookie sheet and place in the oven to toast.  Nuts toast very quickly so make sure to check on them ever few minutes.  They should only take 5 - 7 minutes.
Once the nuts are finished roasting, place the parsley, nuts, cheese, lemon juice, and salt in a food processor.
Pulse the mixture until it is combined.  Begin slowly pouring the olive oil into the food processor while it is on.  
Stop the machine once the mixture is just combined.

Pesto Chicken:
Line a pan with foil and place both chicken breasts in it.  Cover both sides, liberally, with the pesto.  Cover the pan with another piece of foil and bake for 25 - 30 minutes.
Take chicken out and remove foil.
Place the cheese on top and put back in the oven for another 5 - 10 minutes.
The cheese should be just starting to brown.

This chicken is great eaten alone, on a salad, or on top of pasta.  Either way, enjoy it!


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  1. I love no fuss dinners after a long day of work and this meal looks easy but over-the-top delicious! I just made pesto for the first time last week and now I'm hooked! Never tried parsley pesto, so that'll be my next pesto experiment. Have a great weekend!

    1. Pesto is one of those things that is just so much better when it is homemade. Enjoy!