Pesto Chicken!

Pesto.  I don’t know how I lived so much of my life without it.  I had never even heard of it until I moved to New York.  We ate great food growing up, but we seasoned it usually one way:  Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Mrs. Dash, Chili Powder, Salt and Pepper.  Great combo, really.  But I had no idea that there was a WHOLE OTHER WORLD of flavor waiting for me to discover it!  One of those things was pesto.  The first time I ever used it was when I was very first married and using my crock pot almost every night!  I found a pesto chicken recipe from crockpot365.blogspot.com (LOVE HER BLOG!!!) and fell in love with how easy it was, and incredibly tasty.  Now I have gotten away from crock pot cooking every day, it is now simply an occasional occurrence at my house.  But I have not gotten away from pesto!!  If you have followed me long you will know my pesto favorites…Rack Of Lamb With Garlicy PestoSuperfood Pizza…mmm.  So good.  I was craving pesto…so I decided to remake my crockpot365 favorite!!  Turned out pretty great, Mr. Rodgers was DEFINITELY a fan!!  🙂

 

So, what you need:

  • 1/2 C Kale Pesto (Or your pesto of choice.  I love this one because of the great flavor and the fact that you are sneaking kale into places no one would expect…muahahahaa!)
  • 4-6 Large Chicken Breasts
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Pinch of Cayenne
  • Sliced Cheddar or Mozzarella (optional…we try to stay away from dairy, but I put cheese on a couple so I could try it both ways.  And both ways were great :))

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Prep your pesto if you are using home made.  The kale pesto I use simply required the kale to be boiled till tender, then all ingredients to be pulsed in a food processor.
  3. Season chicken breasts generously with salt and pepper.  And a small sprinkling of cayenne pepper for a kick and place in a baking dish.
  4. Generously smear each chicken breast with pesto.
  5. Slide into the oven and cook until done.  Mine were still partially frozen so it took a good 35/40 minutes, but fresh should take less time…25-35 🙂  If you are adding cheese, just put it on for the last few minutes of cooking.

Yay!  You’re done!  Eat eat eat eat!!

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Prep your pesto!  I had to simply boil my kale until tender, add garlic, olive oil, lemon juice, nuts (I used pine nuts this time, but have formerly used walnuts), and some seasonings, and blend till smooth.

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See?

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Season chicken with salt, pepper, and a tiny bit of cayenne.

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Smear generously with pesto (in a baking dish of course.)

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Slide into a 350 degree oven and cook until done!  If you are adding  cheese on the top, add it just for the last couple minutes of cooking!

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Now enjoy with some lovely veggies and feel satisfied and healthy!! 😀

Gluten Free, Guilt Free Super Food Pizza!

That’s a big claim, isn’t it?  But I stand behind it 🙂  My past three posts have been leading up to this moment….this beautiful moment!!!  I have had an underlying determination for months….knowing that someday, some how, I MUST come up with a way to create a pizza that I can firmly believe is healthy!  It’s a strange thing…because I have never really liked pizza that much…but once I decided that I shouldn’t eat it any more, it’s started looking a lot more attractive.  Especially every time my pastor is offering me free Cici’s.  Oh boy.  But now, I believe I have done it!  The only thing questionable is that I did use cheese, but if you have followed me long enough you know what I believe…if it is natural, preferably raw (I have found it!), and if it is full fat…then in moderation, it passes the test!  The book we try to follow says to keep dairy at 25% or less of your daily intake.  I’ll admit…I don’t always find totally natural, full fat cheese.  But we do the best with what we have, and I am still confident that you will find this pizza quite delicious and extremely nutritious! 🙂  Read on!!!

Here’s what you need:

(For a large crust:

*4 C grated cauliflower, about 1/2 head

*2 Eggs

* 1 3/4 C Mozzarella, shredded

* 1-2 Tbsp Franks Hot Sauce

* Handful of Parsley Leaves

*Tbsp Pizza Seasoning, or Italian or something similar)

  • 2 Tbsp(ish) Kale Pesto (There is your deliciously hidden super food!)

(Original recipe, you will have leftovers, or you can halve it:

*2 Small Bunches Kale

*1/2 Cup Olive Oil

*3 Cloves Garlic, Coarsely Chopped

*1/2 C Walnuts, Toasted and Chopped

*1 tsp(ish) lemon juice

*1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning, or something similar

*Salt and Pepper to taste)

  • Roasted Asparagus, chopped into thirds (about 1/3…but really to your tastes 🙂 )
  • Cooked Chicken, about 1/2 C.  I used meat from a whole chicken I had used to make home made broth!  But if you want to make it easier, pick up a rotisserie chicken.  Just know you are going to be ingesting some artificial stuff!
  • Roasted Red Pepper Slices (about 1/3 C)
  • Red Onion, Cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp Butter
  • Mozzarella, shredded (Optional)

And here’s how you do it:

  1. Follow the directions to make a cauliflower crust!  
  2. Follow directions to make your tasty kale pesto!
  3. Melt the butter in a pan.  Add onions and caramelize while you are waiting for the crust to be done!  Red onions don’t take as long as white ones I am noticing, so keep an eye on them and stir frequently.  I believe mine were done in 10-15 minutes.
  4. Preheat your broiler.
  5. Spread the pesto out on top of the crust.
  6. Top with mozzarella if you are using it!
  7. Arrange your roasted red pepper, chicken, asparagus, and caramelized onions on top.
  8. Toss in the oven under your broiler just for a few minutes!  So the cheese gets melty and everything else is warmed through.
  9. Slice.  Taste.  Do a little happy dance.  I did!

My mother in law loved this.  That’s kind of a big deal.  No offense Lorri, I love you!  But I didn’t tell her till afterwards that she was eating cauliflower and kale.  She went back for seconds!  Also a big deal, because she is not a big eater!  In fact, between the three of us…we ate the whole thing in one night!! OOOPS!  That’s how you know it’s real good. It’s GONE!  And to think we were being kind to our bodies at the same time!!  Hallelujah!!!

Chop your onions, and get them a-caramelizing!

Caramelized Onions 2When your crust is done baking and you have gotten the pesto to your desired consistency…spread it!!!

Guilt Free Pizza 1.5So green!  I love it!!  Now if you are using mozzarella, sprinkle it on!!!  Alternately, to take it a step closer to health, you can use chunks of goat cheese instead!!

Guilt Free Pizza 2Already looks yummy!!!!  Now toppings toppings toppings!

Guilt Free Pizza 3

Look at all those colors!

Guilt Free Pizza 5Yummy!

Guilt Free Pizza 3

Guilt Free Pizza 6

Guilt Free Pizza 7