I’ve been ‘sitting’ on this recipe for a while…not even sure why I never posted it. It’s actually two recipes in one. First you make a homemade pesto and then you use that pesto to create the chicken dish. I first made this back in the summer when fresh spinach and basil were abundant in my herb garden. But, if you don’t have the fresh spinach and basil to make the pesto, you can certainly use purchased/premade pesto. I’ve used that a few times this fall/winter myself! Don’t feel like you’re cheating…you’re totally not.
Okay, let’s get started on the Spinach-Basil Pesto. You need about 1 1/2 cups fresh spinach leaves and 3/4 cup fresh basil leaves. Press the leaves into your measuring cup to get an accurate measure.
Place those in your food processor along with1/2 cup pine nuts, 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 4 cloves garlic, 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice and 3/4 tsp salt, and 1/2 cup olive oil.
PULSE until the mixture is smooth, but not totally blended to smitherines. It should look something like this:
You just made pesto! Now, you only need about 1/2 cup for the chicken recipe…put the rest in an airtight container and store in the refrigerator. It’s great on a sandwich in place of mayonnaise, or as a dip or spread with crackers and bread!
Let’s move along to the chicken part of this dish. Place 4 chicken breasts (or about 10-12 chicken tenderloins if you prefer) into a large ziplock bag along with the 1/2 cup of pesto that you saved.
Seal the bag and mush it. Squeeze it. Give it a good squoosh. Just make sure the chicken is entirely covered with pesto.
Cover a baking sheet with foil and place your pesto bathed chicken on the foil.
Bake at 350 degrees for about 25-30 minutes for chicken breasts (or about 20 minutes for chicken tenders), or until chicken is cooked through. Turn your oven up to BROIL.
Slice or chop up a tomato or two and scatter over chicken.
Slice about 1 cup of mushrooms and scatter those over the chicken as well.
And lastly, spirnkle on about 1/2 cup of shredded mozarella cheese (you could use sliced fresh mozarella cheese instead…yumm!)
Broil until the cheese is melty and gooey and a beautiful golden brown.
Serve on a bed of rice for a complete meal! Doesn’t that look amazing?!?!?!
And trust me, it is SOOOO good! And, it comes together very quickly.