Baked Pesto Chicken

Obviously, I love food and love to eat, but I have decided to put my bad habits on hold for a little while. This winter I have spent so much money eating out during the week and on weekends. I stopped going to the grocery store because my food was going bad and I was never home long enough to make anything. I would eat lunch at work and then meet friends out for dinners. While I love the social aspect of going out to dinner and meeting up with friends after work, I realized not only my budget, but my waist line was starting to feel the effects. I finally decided last week to go to the grocery, make food for my lunches so they are ready to go and force myself to head home or to yoga after work. I wasn’t perfect, but I did do a lot better than I had been.

A few of my friends had been wanting to get together for dinner this past week, so I suggested we make dinner at my place. I had food left from my grocery run and everyone pitched in. My friend Caroline had been craving pesto, and luckily  I hadn’t made it yet for my recipe collection so it was the perfect dinner idea!

Mix basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, Parmesan (or Romano) cheese, and pine nuts in a food processor.

Make sure to blend well and continue to add ingredients based on the taste. I tasted my pesto several times before deciding it was done. I also didn’t follow a recipe. I bought some Basil, a bag of pine nuts and just mixed the ingredients together slowly, and not all at once. You can also use spinach instead of basil if you are on a budget. I had some great suggestions from people on Twitter for making pesto and using spinach was one I had never heard of. Also, if you have any leftover, you can freeze in ice-cube trays and use later. This was a great tip from a co-worker who also has some great recipes to share!

Baked Pesto Chicken

4 Boneless Chicken Breasts

For the Pesto:

Fresh Basil

Pine Nuts

Olive Oil

Salt

Pepper

Romano or Parmesan Cheese

Blend pesto ingredients together or you can use pesto from the store. In a baking dish, spray dish with Pam (cl) and then cover the bottom lightly with pesto. Add the cleaned chicken breasts and cover with the remaining pesto. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350° for 35-40 minutes. Make sure to check the chicken after about 30 minutes and adjust time accordingly. It took about 45 minutes in my oven and I removed the aluminum foil after about 30 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

With spring right around the corner I know it is going to be hard to keep up with my new plan of eating at home and being more active, but hopefully I can stick with it and stick to my budget…!  Wish me luck.

Lucia

Chicken Parmesan

With the craziness of the holidays and the new year, my cooking adventures had been few and far between. Hopefully, with the start of 2011 I can get back in the kitchen and continue making new food and recipes to share with everyone!

A friend at work and I were talking about a dish I could make that would be good, fairly simple, and liked by a lot of people. So she suggested Chicken Parmesan. As I  thought about making this for dinner I couldn’t believe that I had never actually made this before! My Grandma’s breaded chicken  is one of my all time favorite meals with pasta, but Chicken Parmesan is not something I typically order off a menu, and the version I have at home really isn’t Chicken Parmesan, so I decided to take on the Kitchen Adventure!

I didn’t have a family recipe for Chicken Parmesan, so I just went with what I thought would be included in chicken parmesan.

Chicken Parmesan

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Flour

3 eggs

Bread Crumbs

Salt and pepper

Olive Oil

Fresh Basil

Provolone Cheese

Spaghetti

Pasta Sauce (see my quick sauce*)

Clean the chicken and then wrap each piece of chicken in plastic wrap and pound thin. Put flour in a deep dish and season with salt and pepper (don’t be shy. Make sure you can see the flour. Give it a taste before you put the Chicken in it). In a separate bowl, beat the eggs and add a tsp of water. In a third bowl, add the bread crumb.

Dip the chicken in the flour and coat. Then, dip it in the egg. Make sure the egg yolk has dripped off and then add to the bread crumbs. Continue with all the chicken pieces.

In a large pan, heat olive oil. Lightly sear the chicken breasts, but do not cook through. While the chicken is cooking, add sauce to the bottom a baking dish. Once the chicken is slightly cooked, add to the baking dish. Cover lightly with sauce. Add a piece of fresh basil and top with a piece of provolone cheese. Cover again with sauce, but be sure to leave enough for your pasta.

Bake chicken for 15-20 minutes at 350º.

Bring salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook. Drain, rinse, cover with sauce and serve with chicken!

**I didn’t get to take a picture, but I thought it looked delicious!

I unfortunately didn’t have time to make my own bread crumbs, so that is something I will have to do next time around. It was a pretty easy meal to make and I am excited to try it again sometime!

Lucia