Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Pesto Chicken

I was stumped as to what to have for dinner tonight.   Earlier in the day I had taken a pork tenderloin out of the freezer for tomorrows dinner, but knowing I had waited too late in the day to take anything out for tonight, that we would have to have the stand-by chicken something or other…:/

So I start my googling.  I have some store bought pesto in the frig so I search for “pesto chicken” and find this, posted by Tish over at Recipe Zaar.  This is my usual way of finding last minute recipes if I go off the beaten path of regular fair.  So I skim through the recipe to make sure I have everything and off I go!  I put my famous frozen chicken tenderloins into the microwave and auto defrost for 5 minutes. I so love auto defrost and the fact that I can wait until 4:00 pm before deciding on what to have for dinner! This is super simple and fast!   My kind of dinner![/donotprint]

First you toss the chicken in the pesto and then arrange it on a foil lined cookie sheet. This goes into a preheated oven. The recipe called for an oven temp of 400.   I don’t know about your oven, but that is way too hot for mine and these little chicken tenderloins, so I set it at 350 or 325 for convection. I set the timer for 25 mins.


While the chicken was baking, I opened a can of green beans, sliced up some red onions very thinly and tossed it all together with olive oil and red wine vinegar, minced garlic, salt and pepper and then put that in the frig to chill a bit.


Since this is a last minute, thrown together dinner, I reach to the pantry for store bought scalloped potatoes and make those according to the package directions. Once those are simmering the chicken is about done and ready for it’s next step. Take that out of the oven and put a slice of tomato on each piece of chicken.  I was actually lucky enough tonight to be able to go pick two small tomato’s from my shabby garden.  And no, shabby garden is nothing like “shabby chic”…but that’s a whole different post for a different time….

Anyway, next you put some shredded mozzarella on top of the tomato.   This is what these looked like when they came out of the oven. I’m very glad I thought to lower the temp.


You now put them back in the oven and I diverted from the recipe here and put them under the broiler for about 3 mins, until the cheese started to brown a tad.


To plate the dish, I spread a good spoonful of pesto on the plate and then laid the chicken on it.


Ok, so recipe….

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

  • 1/2 cup refrigerated basil pesto

  • 2-3 plum tomatoes, sliced (optional)

  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded


  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

  2. Line baking sheet with heavy-duty foil.

  3. Place chicken and pesto in medium bowl; toss to coat.

  4. Place chicken on prepared baking sheet.

  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in center.

  6. Remove from oven; top with tomatoes and cheese.

  7. Bake for an additional 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted.

My Notes: I used frozen boneless, skinless chicken tenderloins. I baked at 350 for 25 mins. and I sliced regular tomato’s to put on top.

Now, the reviews…;)

This recipe is missing a bit of something and it might be as simple as salting and peppering the chicken before tossing it with the pesto. I think home made pesto would be a zillion times better because it would be less oily. Mine was really oily and the dish was VERY rich for my taste. I also think it would be better with a more flavorful cheese. Maybe Fontina, which is what I think I will try it with next time.  It might also be really yummy to replace the tomato’s with roasted red peppers.

All in all it was an ok dinner. Jim ate two servings, Jack hardly ate dinner at all because he was eating on and off all day and I think he was just full, though he did eat all of his green beans. Sadly, my favorite tonight were the boxed scalloped potatoes! I’m so easy….:)

Btw....I never meant for this to become a cooking or recipe blog.  Lately it just seems that's about all I'm doing in my life.  I do love to cook, though I normally just create my own stuff without recipes much less measurements. (which isn't so easy to share)

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week and  that you're not involved in the stock market! And if you are my advice is to NOT look at your statements for a little while...;)[


  1. hehe...oh you make me laugh. And the food makes me want to eat. I never had supper tonight....unless a bag of licorice counts:(
    Looks yum as usual...I think I will have to make supper tomorrow...Pesto Chicken....

    Thanks for another good recipe:)

  2. Licorice does NOT count as eating! Now go grab some cheese or something! ( I turn to a potted meat w/mustard sandwich at times like those...) *g*
    Oh, and if you make that pesto chicken...season it up or something, it really was a bit bland. Very low cal though, something like 194 calories in a serving and 5 grams of fat. Not bad really, especially if you don't count the scalloped potato's! lol
    Heading to bed here, have a wonderful rest of the evening! :)

  3. Good call with lowering the temperature for the tenderloins--375 works great to cook a thick breast without having the outside dry out before the center is done, but it's not great for smaller, thinner pieces :) Gruyere would also go well with this and I think you're spot-on with the roasted red bell pepper idea!

  4. So true about the chicken breast and the temp! I hardly ever make full chicken breast as I just am not able to eat a full one myself. Gruyere would be a good choice. I was thinking last night that some goat cheese might be nice as well. Definitely something a with a bit of a bite to it I think.

  5. Hi Sheree! I love your wall and that Pesto Chicken looks AMAZING! Thanks for sharing!

  6. Thanks on the wall. I'm hoping to some how make it clear that its to be used by anyone that happens by and just wants to drop a good morning or whatever and not just for me to write on. I know you were having a little trouble on your blog earlier today, hope you were able to get it worked out. Nothing worse then spending hours on end with a blog post problem. btw...I got a double title the other day and I think it was from typing up my post in live writer and then editing the title. Though I did the editing in live writer before I posted it. Go figure eh?

  7. Your pesto chicken looks excellent to me and is just the sort of thing I would want for dinner after a busy day. It's got great "bones" (so to speak!), and I'm certain you can tweak it to become a family favorite. Well done, Sheree!

  8. Thanks Barbara! I love the way you put that..."great bones". It's so true and that seems how most family favorites start out and then you tweak them to make them your own. I'm planning on making your Tomato, Basil and Goat Cheese Salad very soon, if nothing else because it's such a beautiful dish! Anything that looks that gorgeous has to be delicious!