Friday, November 13, 2009

Lazy Times - Oven baked, Breaded Chicken Breasts with Walnut Pesto

This super-quick little recipe came to mind recently because frankly, I was feeling lazy after a long day at work. I'm sure you feel me.

I loved this recipe but I wasn't sure if it was "blog-worthy"
Here goes - you be the judge!

I had a few plain chicken breasts in the fridge. I had no time to marinate so I decided to bread the chicken. I was going to make my version of Chicken alla Parmigiana, with tomato sauce and cheese. However this evening, I felt for something different...So I whipped out my favorite cookbooks including Giada DiLaurentis' , Everyday Pasta. I was looking for a sauce for my chicken which would be easy, that I had ingredients for and that I didn't have to order hu? Not really, Giada is great. She has a whole chapter of her cookbook dedicated to "no cook" sauces. That's where I found this Walnut Pesto...(recipe follows) I had the walnuts, the parsley, garlic and the olive oil! Yay! So I made the pesto while the chicken was baking - super fast and super tasty.

I had great olive oil so that really impacted the taste. My good friend Kathy hooked me up with some killer olive oil straight from Greece! I have a huge vat of When perparing salads, pestos and so on, it is imperative to the taste that you have excellent olive oil. Use your regular olive oil for the dishes which require cooking and use your good olive oil for the raw dishes.

In the pic shown, there's a lot of pesto on the chicken but it was so fresh and tasty - I couldn't get enough.
I served the chicken breast over steamed Basmati rice..I bought those pakages which you only have to microwave the rice for 2 minutes.. I mixed a small amount of pesto into the rice to add flavor.

Andre described dish as very tasty, light and summery. I know, for those who know him, you probably can't picture him saying that. BUT HE DID!! lol and he wants this again soon :)


-4 Plain Chicken Brests - preferably Maple Leaf , they're the best
- Seasoned Bread Crumbs - I use Pastene , whole wheat bread crumbs
- 2 eggs , beaten
- All purpose flour , I use unbleached flour
- Lemon - to sprinkle over chicken

- a large bunch of parsley, long stems removed (you'll need 2 cups, lightly packed)
- 3 cloves of garlic
- 1/2 cup of good quality olive oil (i put a little more)
- 2 cups of toasted walnuts (just pop them in your preheated oven for 5-10 minutes, until fragrant)
- (optional) 1 tbsp of grated romano cheese
- Salt and Pepper

Baking time: Approx 35 mins - check them at 30 mins..

-Preheat oven at 375 degrees
-Generously spray a casserole dish with PAM or similar
-Season the raw chicken breasts with salt and pepper on each side.
-Dredge your chicken breasts in flour, shaking off the excess
-Dip into the egg, again letting excess drip off
-Coat in bread crumbs. (This process will ensure that the chicken remains juicy during baking .)
-Place chicken into your baking dish and pop it in the oven! (uncovered)
- Flip chicken brests over once after about 25 minutes
- Sprinkle some lemon juice over them and return to the oven for the remainder of the cooking time.

For your Pesto, if you have a small food processer this will be a real sinch!
Put your parsley, garlic, olive oil, cheese (if using), toasted walnuts in the processer and pulse until its  as smooth as can be..(it'll always be a little granular because of the walnuts)

If serving with Pasta or rice, mix in a small amount of pesto for flavor continuity..

Place a generous dallop of Pesto over your chicken and serve!

Health note: This pesto is packed full of vitamines and good fats like omega3. You get Vitamin A from the parsley, good fats from the walnuts and olive oil. Olive oil also is like the founain of youth, just ask that woman in Italy who's over 100years old! She says that her good health and youthful look are due to her high intake of Olive oil! (she also used it as a moisturizer though - whateva!!! lol)
Also, modern science has shown that garlic is a powerful natural antibiotic and antioxidant!!

Enjoy and please send me your comments!!!