Dinner

Foodie Diaries: Bacon-Wrapped Pesto Chicken

I love bacon, in fact, I love it so much I feel like it should be it’s own group on the food pyramid. Chicken is my BFF (sorry, Mercedes), I eat literally every other day. So a dish featuring two of my all-time favorites? I’m so down. I got hip to this dish after a guy that I was supposed to go on a date with (I decided to go in a different direction) suggested to make it together. The date, once it finally happened, was a disaster but I got this awesome recipe so I’ll take that as a win. This recipe is super simple and it is the personification of happiness, so you should definitely try it.


Ingredients:

  • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (pounded flat)
  • Salt and ground pepper, to taste
  • 6 tablespoons of prepared basil pesto
  • 6 slices of bacon
  • 1/2 cup of vegetable oil

Basil pesto:

  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1/4 cup of pine nuts
  • 2/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of freshly grated Pecorino cheese

Directions for pesto:

Combine the basil, garlic, and pine nuts in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add 1/2 cup of the oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth and season the mixture with salt and pepper. If you’re using it immediately, add all the remaining oil and pulse until smooth. Transfer the pesto to a large serving bowl and mix in the cheese.

Directions for chicken:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Lay the chicken breast flat and sprinkle with salt and black pepper. Spread the pesto over the chicken breast, and roll the chicken breast in a slice of bacon securing the roll with toothpicks. Lay the rolled chicken breast in a 9×9-inch baking dish. Pour the vegetable oil over the chicken breasts.

Bake in the preheated oven until the chicken is no longer pink inside and the bacon is crisp, about 30 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a roll should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Take the baking dish out and let it cool for five to six minutes. Garnish, plate, and enjoy!

What’s For Dinner?: Blackened Chicken with Avocado Cream Sauce

Planning what to make for dinner can sometimes be an arduous process.

Me: “So what do you want for dinner?”

Him: “Umm…I don’t know. Chicken?”

Me: “Ugh! Chicken again? I’m chickened out!”

Him: “McDonalds…?”

Me: “Yuck! Do you have any idea what’s in that stuff?”

Him: “Pizza.”

Me: “We had pizza Friday, I want real food.”

Him: “Nachos.”

Me: “I’ll go unthaw the chicken.”

The above exchange is an actual transcript of how this process usually goes. Chicken over and over is boring, there are only so many ways you can cook a fish, and is mad cow disease still a thing? Why is this so difficult? It actually doesn’t have to be this way. One of the great things about cooking is that you can cook the same thing (meat, vegetables, ect.) in a new way, tweak the ingredients, and end up with something amazing. So when faced with the seemingly mundane option of chicken, again, I decided to try something a little different. If you’re tired of cooking the same old bird, and are looking to kick it up a couple notches, the following recipe is sure do just that.

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Yields 4 servings

Serving size: I chicken breast, 1 cup of quinoa, & 1/8 cup of cream sauce

Ingredients:

  • 4 4 oz boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup scallions, chopped
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice, divided
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1/4 cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 avocado
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions

In a medium size sauce pan, bring the chicken broth to a boil. Add the quinoa, turn the heat down to low, and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, covered. When it’s finished cooking (no liquid will be left), stir in the scallions and a 1/2 tsp of lemon juice.

In a small bowl, mix the paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper, onion powder, salt and pepper. Rub the mixture all over the chicken breasts.

Next, spray a large frying pan with non-stick cooking spray. Over medium-high heat, cook the chicken breasts for 7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through. Make sure to cover the pan while they’re cooking.

Meanwhile, mix the Greek yogurt, remaining lemon juice, garlic powder and avocado in a food processor.

To serve: place a single piece of chicken breast on a bed of quinoa and drizzle the sauce on top. You can add a lemon wedge for garnish of you like. And viola!

Enjoy! ❤

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