Pesto Chicken Parm

I have to apologize in advance that the photos in this post are wimpy. I got home later than planned and was rushing and totally neglected to take the right/good pictures as I cooked and served this meal. I would have skipped posting and waited until I repeated, but it turned out so good I had to share it! Real life, man. Actually, all things considered, this dinner is TOTALLY weeknight/rushing-friendly. This meal caught us back up time-wise to our normal work- and school-night timing in spite of how late and spazzy I was. Anyway… the other day when I was meal planning I saw a photo of someone else’s Chicken Parm on Instagram and got a craving. However, I knew I had spinach and basil that needed to be used, so I decided to substitute a pesto for the marinara sauce and see how it turned out. Fast, easy, healthy, totally delicious. What else do we need? Time. We need more time. But you can’t always get what you want right? So how about a yummy meal instead? Here you go.

WHAT YOU NEEDpestoparm2
for the pesto
* 1/2C baby spinach leaves
* 1/4C fresh basil leaves
* 1/2C grated Parmesan cheese
* 2-3 cloves fresh garlic
* juice of 1/2 a lemon
* 1/2C walnut pieces
* 1/2t salt
* 1/2t black pepper
* 1/4-1/3C olive oil

for the chicken
* 1 1/2lb thin cut chicken breasts
* 1 or 2 eggs, beaten
* panko breadcrumbs
* vegetable oil
* shredded mozzarella cheese
* Parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 350F. Cover a baking sheet with tin foil (for easy clean-up later!) and set aside.

Start with your chicken. Prepare two shallow dishes – one with the eggs and one with the Panko breadcrumbs. One at a time, place a chicken breast in the egg to coat on both sides, then into the breadcrumbs to coat on both sides.

Heat vegetable oil in a large, high-sided pan about 1/4-inch deep over medium heat. When the oil glistens, place your chicken breasts into the oil and fry until golden on each side (turn once). Because you’re using thin cut breasts, they will cook quickly, so keep an eye on them so they don’t over-brown on the outside (= dry on the inside). When you’ve lightly fried all of your chicken breasts, lay them out on the prepared baking sheet.

While the chicken fries you can prepare your pesto. Place all of the pesto ingredients except for the olive oil in a food processor or blender. Blend all of the ingredients, and while that’s blending, slowly stream in the olive oil, allowing it to incorporate in with the pesto. When it’s reached your preferred consistency, it’s ready! So easy! (NOTE: this is a very basic pesto recipe – feel free to substitute what you have or prefer – different greens, different nuts – all will be delicious!)

Spoon a generous layer of pesto over each chicken breast. Top the pesto with a sprinkle of mozzarella cheese, and then shake on some Parmesan on top. Bake at 350 for about 7-10 minutes. Turn the broiler on after that, and broil just two minutes, to get the cheese all browned and gooey.

Serve hot over pasta or rice, or beside sauteed veggies. So yummy and so so so so so easy! Even with no time at all! What’s your excuse?

Bon apetit!


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