Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patty's Day Chicken Pesto

With St. Patty’s today, I'm in the mood for something green. ;) Growing up we always made green pancakes for Saint Patricks day and usually wore something green, but its never been a day that I celebrated to too much of an extent. As I got older, most of my friends celebrated “green beer day” and drank the day away ( a tradition I never joined in on!) Now that I have kids of my own, I want to keep up the tradition of making it a fun day to wear green and eat some green food! Since we do have some irish in our blood, definitely want to pass down the fun to Lily and Charlie!

So besides using food color to make everything green, I thought I’d put a recipe here for something a little more natural.  Pesto! I realize that this is a meal that can be an acquired taste, but adding the alfredo sauce to this recipe definitely tones down the spicy flavor of the basil….even my husband likes it!
Here’s a basic recipe for your pesto sauce….honestly, when I make it I just throw a bunch of basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese into my food processor until it looks and smells right, then stir in the olive oil.  But if you want an official recipe, this is one that I have used in the past and it comes out really great!

Garden Pesto Sauce
3 cups. fresh basil leaves
1/4-1/2 c. pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
about 1 c. olive oil
Blend together the first four ingredients in a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, coursly chop the basil first, and you can use your blender instead!) Add the olive oil slowly…you can definitely adjust the amount of olive oil due to your personal taste.  This is really a recipe that you can’t go wrong with!
Pesto sauce is amazing as a topping on all kinds of foods as well…especially breads.  Brio serves up a summer bruchetta with roasted tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and they drizzle pesto sauce on top – it’s delicious!  It’s also really yummy as a topping for garlic bread.  If you want to use it for regular pesto pasta, just add a little extra olive oil and toss it with a box of hot spaghetti. It really is worth trying again, even if you haven’t liked it in the past!  There’s something better about it when you make it yourself (and even better if the basil and garlic are fresh from your own summer garden!)
Now onto the chicken pesto….this is a recipe that I’ve tried about ten different times, ten different ways and never quite found the right one!  This is a combination of several different recipes that I’ve tested out and the simplest way to make it as well.  Hope you enjoy! Also, you can always substitute store bought pesto or even a pack of pesto seasoning for the fresh pesto…it’s totally up to you!
Creamy Chicken Pesto
1 – 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins
2 tbsp. butter
salt/pepper to taste
8oz. package bowtie pasta, cooked
15 oz jar alfredo sauce
1/2 cup. fresh pesto sauce
garnish: parmesean cheese
In a skillet, over medium heat, cook chicken in melted butter until juices run clear.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

This is my husbands favorite type of cooked chicken!
Meanwhile, in a large pot, mix together cooked pasta, and alfredo and pesto sauces. If you like a little wetter pasta, you can add a bit of milk to thin it out a bit.   If you want it to be a little greener for St. Patty’s day, you can always add a few drops of green food coloring!

Serve up a big plate of your pesto pasta and top it off with a couple of chicken tenderloins and sprinkled parmesan cheese.  So yummy and SUPER easy!  Pair it up with a thick slice of garlic bread and a fresh salad for a really great dinner!

Not sure what's going on today, but I'm looking forward to enjoying some more of this warm weather!!! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy St. Patty's Day!!

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