Dinner by Accident: Tortellini with Chicken, Potatoes, Peas, and Pesto

I had a whole different plan when I set out to make dinner the other night and ended up with this plate. But when I got to the store to pick up the two ingredients I was missing, I couldn’t find one of them, so I made a new plan on the spot, got the few other things I’d need to pull it off, and came home to start cooking. EXCEPT! I started cooking the original meal, and was a little too far into it five minutes later when I realized I was making the wrong dinner. So I winged it like a pro, and merged the two together to create something new and completely unintended, and it worked! Have you ever done that? I’m not sure if I have specifically made this mistake, but if you know me at all, I’d say this is pretty classically Me. Anyway… try it! Here you go:

* fingerling potatoes (I used a variety of colored small potatoes and fingerlings), no specific quantity – just cut up a bunch that looks like enough
* ~1lb’s worth of chicken breast tenders, cut into chunks
* frozen peas (again, I just add these until it looks like enough for the amount of food I’m making)
* some garlic, sliced thin
* some fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly
* 1 sm container or jar pesto sauce
* zest of one lemon
* 1 pkg tortellini pasta
* salt + pepper, to taste

If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this photo the other night, captioned: cooking with #color. You already know about my color + toddler + veg philosophy, so it wasn’t until these were in the pan, cooking away with some sliced garlic (about 4 cloves’ worth) that I realized I didn’t mean to cook the potatoes after all. This is where the new dish came started to come together.

I added the chicken to the potatoes and garlic that I had going in a little olive oil on medium heat, and boiled water to cook the tortellini. (There’s no special story for the pasta, so I’m not going to say any more than I just cooked it according to package instructions and set it aside drizzled with a little olive oil to keep it from sticking to itself/the pot until plating.)

I let these do their thing for a bit, until the chicken chunks were browned on all sides, then I added the pesto directly into the pan and stirred to coat, then lowered the heat and let it cook down just a bit.

I poured frozen peas directly into the pan and let them thaw and cook to temperature. Side note: peas are highly underused in my opinion; and there may or may not be a slight obsession with adding peas to anything around here lately… Anyway. While they were warming up with the rest of the goodies, I zested a lemon into the mix (watch out for your knuckles!), and seasoned with a little salt and pepper (taste and adjust as needed), and voila! A new dish by mistake! I placed some tortellini onto each of our plates, and a nice scoop of this one-pan goodness right on top. A little shaved Parmesan on top for garnish and it’s like I meant to make this all along…

One of these days soon, before the real warm-up comes in, I’ll make the dish I was planning to originally and share it with you. For now, just enjoy this erroneous dinner and thank me very much for another one-pot success!

2 thoughts on “Dinner by Accident: Tortellini with Chicken, Potatoes, Peas, and Pesto

    1. Thank you so much for commenting! Let me know if you try it! It really turned out – I actually forgot to mention that I sprinkled some chopped fresh basil on at the last minute – it pulled out the flavors even more.

      Liked by 1 person

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