Friday, January 20, 2012

Easy Recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken (LowCarb, GlutenFree)

Baked Pesto Chicken
This Easy Baked Pesto Chicken is a tasty main dish for Phase One.

(I don't think I could go clear through the Month of Daily Phase One recipes without featuring this Easy Baked Pesto Chicken from 2010, which is without a doubt one of the most popular Phase One recipes on the blog.  It's delicious even with purchased pesto from the store, but if you make your own pesto and keep it in the freezer, that will make this dish even better!)

I stumbled on to this recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken when I was looking in The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook for a recipe my friend Bonnie had recommended. At my house there's fresh basil on the counter, I'm freezing basil for winter, and I've now made two batches of Basil Pesto with Lemon, so it's not really surprising that a recipe using pesto would catch my eye. If you don't have any basil growing, you can certainly make this ultra-easy main dish with purchased basil pesto, which is what the recipe in the book called for. If you have more fresh basil, or more basil pesto left in your jar after you make this, look after the recipe for some other ideas using pesto.

After I trimmed the boneless-skinless chicken breasts, I cut each one into 2 or 3 lenghthwise strips. The recipe didn't call for this, but I figured it would make the chicken pieces be surrounded with the pesto flavor. (By the way, I save all those chicken scraps in the freezer and use them to make homemade chicken stock.)

Spray the casserole dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup of basil pesto over the bottom of the dish.

Then lay the chicken strips over the top of the pesto and season with salt and fresh ground black pepper.

Spread another 1/4 cup of basil pesto over the top of the chicken strips. (I used a rubber scraper to spread the pesto in the dish and over the chicken.)

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here's a reminder that you need to cover the dish with foil. Then bake at 375F/190C for 25-30 minutes, just until the chicken is barely cooked through. (Don't cook too long at this stage, or the chicken will be overcooked when the cheese is melted and browned.)

When chicken is done, sprinkle 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese over the top and bake about 5 minutes more. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it at this point.)

I wanted the cheese to be lightly browned, so after 5 minutes I switched to broil for about 5 minutes, just long enough to get some color on the cheese. Serve hot, maybe with rice or couscous to soak up the juice.

Baked Pesto Chicken
(Makes 4 servings, recipe adapted slightly from The South Beach Diet Quick and Easy Cookbook.)

Ingredients:
4 boneless, skinless chickenn breasts
salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2 cup basil pesto (I used my homemade Basil Pesto with Lemon, but you can use purchased pesto.)
2 oz. (1/2 cup) grated low-fat mozzarella cheese

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375F/190C. Trim all visible fat and tendons from chicken pieces, then cut each chicken breast lengthwise into 2 or 3 pieces. (I cut the larger ones into 3 strips and the smaller ones into 2 strips.)

Spray a 9" x 12" (or 8.5" X 12.5") baking dish with non-stick spray, then spread 1/4 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish. Lay chicken strips over the pesto, then spread 1/4 cup more basil pesto over the chicken.

Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken for 25-30 minutes, just until chicken is barely firm and cooked through. (Don't cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be overcooked by the time the cheese is melted and browned.)

When chicken is barely cooked through, remove foil and sprinkle chicken with 1/2 cup grated mozzarella cheese. Put dish back into the oven without foil and cook 5 minutes more, just until cheese is melted. (If your broiler is separate from the oven, start preheating it when you take the chicken out.) After I melted the cheese for 5 minutes I switched my oven to broil and broiled for 5 minutes more, just long enough to get the cheese lightly browned.

Serve hot. There will be some flavorful juice in the bottom of the dish when this is done, so you may want to serve with rice, couscous, or quinoa to soak up the juice, but if you're eating this for phase one, just spoon the juice over the chicken.

Printer Friendly Recipe

South Beach Suggestions:
This easy chicken dish would be suitable for any phase of the South Beach Diet, or any other type of low-glycemic eating plan. Be sure to use low-fat mozzarella, since pesto is relatively high in fat.
More Recipe Ideas Using Basil Pesto:
(Recipes from other blogs may not always be South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)
Basil Pesto with Lemon and Ten Ideas for Using Basil Pesto from Kalyn's Kitchen
Easy Pesto Pasta Salad with Olives and Roasted Red Peppers from Kalyn's Kitchen
5 Easy Ways to Use Basil Pesto from Kitchen Gadget Girl Cooks
Tomato Pesto Pizza from Farmgirl Fare
Spaghetti with Basil Pesto, Tomato, and Olives from The Perfect Pantry
Grilled Pesto Chicken from Whipped
Late Summer Vegetable Soup with Basil Pesto from Food Blogga
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)counter customizable free hit

203 comments:

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Kulsum@JourneyKitchen said...

this looks amazing. I do something similar ...by cooking the chicken in Indian Coriander chutney. And then top it with paneer and mozzarella :) if you like coriander you sure to love it!

Thanks for posting this. Can't wait to get my hands on some basil before it finally says good bye for the season

Kalyn said...

I do love the idea of using coriander (cilantro) chutney in a recipe similar to this. Sounds fantastic.

RecipeGirl said...

LOVE easy and delicious ideas like this. Sometimes simple is best, right? I really wish I would think to freeze spices like you do-- so convenient!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Lori. I have to say, I do love having those herbs and things like pesto in the freezer when it's winter. Kind of keeps the flavors of summer around a bit more.

kristin said...

I love the South Beach Diet Cookbooks myself, but have never trid this particular recipe. Looks amazing with so much flavor. Must try soon!!!

Jane @ Sweet Basil Kitchen said...

We were at our son's home for dinner this evening. His wife has a huge garden and I came away with a huge bouquet of fresh basil. I like your recipe and I agree...cheese needs to be lightly browned! Yum!

Kalyn said...

Kristin, if you like pesto, you'll like it!

Jane, sounds like you have pesto in your future! Yes, cheese must be browned. It's a rule!

Lydia (The Perfect Pantry) said...

When I looked in my garden today, I realized that after a difficult summer, I have just enough basil to make one good-sized batch of pesto. Hooray! This is just the kind of easy recipe I like to have in my repertoire.

Gudrun from Kitchen Gadget Girl said...

ok, this chicken dish looks shockingly easy! Will have to add this to our repertoire, great idea.

Kalyn said...

Lydia and Gudrun, it was so good and so easy!

Debbi Does Dinner Healthy said...

I just saved this in my "chicken" file. It looks amazing!! We eat chicken A LOT here and I love this! Thanks!

Healthy and Homemade said...

This looks too simple and delicious NOT to try!! I have pesto in the freezer along with chicken, hehe =)

Joanne said...

Between the cheese and the pesto, this is basically my ideal comfort food!

Amanda said...

Wow looks fabulous, bet it was delicious!

Joyce said...

How do you think this recipe would work with a cilantro pesto (something I can eat right out of the jar)?

Kalyn said...

So happy people are liking this, and glad to hear that some of you have pesto in the freezer.

Joyce, I think this would be great with cilantro pesto (I love cilantro myself!) I might use a different cheese with cilantro. Let us know what you think if you try it.

Maureen said...

Kalyn, I just marvel at the ideas you come up with, like cutting the breasts lengthwise into thinner strips. Such a simple solution but so worthwhile in this recipe. Can't wait to try it.

Thanks, Maureen

Kalyn said...

Maureen, thank you! I couldn't imagine how this would taste nearly as good with the whole chicken breasts. It was the first thing I thought of when I read the recipe.

Barefootcookingirl said...

Looks delish! I think that package of chicken in my fridge is going to become this dish tonight! Can't wait! Brenda C

Kalyn said...

Brenda, hope you will enjoy it.

Anonymous said...

I just made pesto yesterday and can't wait to make this recipe. Has anyone tried adding veggies to cook with the chicken?

danasfoodforthought said...

I am definitely going to try this! I love pesto, and so does my boyfriend, so this will surely be a winner at our table!

Pam said...

Yikes! I've still got pesto in my freezer from last summer!

TrippyTexan said...

Wow, this looks great. I've been stuck in a rut with chicken lately... this looks different but so easy too!

Carrie said...

This looks great, and I love the simplicity! Pesto and chicken is such a great combo.

Lemons and Lavender said...

Every time I use my homemade pesto in a baked chicken dish, it turns out looking more brown than green. I've had to resort to jarred pesto *gasp* for the baked dishes and use the homemade for pasta, etc. What's your secret to keeping your homemade pesto green in your baked dishes?

Kalyn said...

I've been posting these comments with my phone, so sorry if I have not been replying. I'm glad this sounds good to people. I do add lemon juice to my pesto, so that might be why it stays brighter green. That's the only thing I can think of that might make a difference.

GottaHaveJC said...

Wow! I have always wanted to try pesto but never had the nerve to! This is an awesome recipe! I love pesto! Gonna be on my shopping list for a long time to come! Thanks for this recipe! Great!

Kalyn said...

GottaHaveJC, glad you liked it. Pesto is delicious stuff!

Ritters said...

Yummy I guess this is what we will be having tomorrow night for dinner. Every single one of your recipes we have loved. Starting our fourth week on SB and I think we owe a lot to you for having wonderful recipes to try. Thank you!

Kalyn said...

Ritters, hope you like it, and good luck for continued success on the diet. So happy to hear my blog has been helpful for you.

T.W. Barritt at Culinary Types said...

Wow, that looks mouthwatering! I really have never made pesto from scratch, but there is so much basil available at the farm, I should it a try before the season concludes.

Kalyn said...

TW, you must try making pesto from scratch! It's like the difference between bottled salad dressing and homemade; the bottled kind can definitely be good, but the homemade is just a little better! Plus you can add extra things, like the lemon I always put in mine.

A.Hancock said...

We had this for dinner last night and it was really wonderful! The flavors were bright but not overpowering. My husband enjoyed the sauce over some pasta, but I just had it with a side of steamed artichoke hearts. Delicious!

Ciao Chow Linda said...

I've got way too much pesto to us and this looks like a delicious and quick way to use some of it.

Kalyn said...

A. Hancock, so glad you enjoyed it. I love your idea of eating the sauce over artichoke hearts, brilliant!

Linda, hope this turns out to be a good way to use some of your extra pesto! (Too much pesto - that's a good problem to have!)

Pam said...

Wow - that looks wonderful. I think chicken and pesto go so well together.

Thanks for the soup recipe - we all loved it!

Kalyn said...

Pam, you're welcome, and glad you liked the soup!

Amy @ Simply Sugar and Gluten Free said...

Hi Kalyn!! Every time I read your blog I think about all the kids that were lucky enough to have you as a teacher. I used to teach elementary school, too, and can always spot someone with 'the gift.' You've got it.

I'm with everyone else - simple to make and too delish to pass up!

Kalyn said...

Amy, thanks! I'm kind of missing those kids at this time of year. This was indeed very tasty (and gluten-free too!)

Susie Bee on Maui said...

Kalyn-looks like anothe winner! I just made some Basil Walnut pesto for the freezer. This will be the recipe I use it on!

Kalyn said...

Susie, love the sound of walnut pesto! I bet it will be great on this.

Kisha West said...

Today was my first day on your blog. This post stood out to me as some friends brought over several basil plants from her garden yesterday. I had half of a left over roasted chicken in the fridge so I threw this recipe together - so delicious! I could tell that my boyfriend really liked dinner tonight. I served it with creamy spaghetti squash. Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Kisha, so glad you liked it!

Anonymous said...

I bought some Monterey Jack cheese with pesto today at Sam's Club; perfect in this recipe. I can think of lots of ways to use it. I'd never seen pesto mixed in with cheese. It was $5.99lb and the smallest chunk was slightly over $6.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous, I haven't seen that either, but you're right, it sounds perfect for this! Hope you like it.

Heidi said...

This was deeeelicious! My husband and I decided it was "company" food. I made steamed cauliflower as a side, but broccoli would probably be a better "green" visual. Another winner!

Heidi said...

PS - I used prepared pesto, Buitoni, because the Florida heat has been brutal on my basil plant.

Kalyn said...

Heidi, so glad you liked it.

Kevin said...

That looks like a great way to enjoy some pesto!

Sandy-LA 90034 said...

Kalyn:

I made this last night, using Trader Joe's (Trader Giotto's) Pesto alla Genovese Basil Pesto. It was easy, fast, juicy and flavorful!!!

Today, reheated pieces were absolutely scrumptious!

This is a definite keeper and especially because it's South Beach inspired.

Thanks for your wonderful blog and delicious recipes!

Kalyn said...

Sandy, so glad you liked it! (And how I wish we had Trader Joe's in Utah!)

Mini said...

I made a pan of this last night (supposedly for lunches this week), but as it cooked, Dan said "is that dinner?" No... chili is dinner, this is for lunches. The response "I can't wait for lunch!!!"

It was delish and nutrish. :) A perfect combo with my new fave, the raw kale salad and some fresh green beans. Yum!

Thank you for keeping this blog... my inner foodie doesn't have to do battle with my need to be on a low glycemic diet. :)

Kalyn said...

Mini, so glad it was a hit (with you *and* Dan!)

Roy said...

I made this tonight wondering if the wife and kids would eat it. (I knew I would, LOL) When I pulled it out of the oven my wife and 10 year daughter asked me what it was. They both looked at it and made faces but the truth was on the plate. Both had eaten it before I had finished mine. (This is the best evidence of it passing the test!) It really is delish! Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Roy, that's great! So glad to hear it was a hit.

Marisa said...

Your recipes never cease to delight me and this is yet another winner! Can just imagine the flavours from the pesto & cheese.

Kalyn said...

Marisa, thanks! It was definitely a good one.

Stephanie said...

This was wonderful. We're not super low carb so we served it on a bit of rice pasta. It was sooo tasty that my hubby said it could replace our Friday night "treat" meals (pizza, nachos, etc). Wow!

Thanks a lot!
Steph

Kalyn said...

Stephanie, glad you liked it, and I can imagine this would be great served over pasta!

JenH said...

Wow. This was so easy and so delicious. As I ate this, I marveled that I'm on a diet at all. Excellent with your roasted broccoli and mushrooms. Thanks again.

Kalyn said...

Jen, thanks. So glad you're enjoying the food.

Michelle said...

This one is so easy...and now I have pesto in my freezer for another meal too! Very flavorful and loved it! You are making my family happy ;-) LOL

Amy C. Bleser said...

Another wonderful recipe - all three kids and hubby really enjoyed it! Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Amy, so glad you liked it!

Janne said...

I made this recipe and it absolutely delicious and wonderfully easy! It's so great, I am making it again, two weeks later, for a different set of guests. I am wondering if you have some suggestions for how to double the recipe? It looks like I will be serving 12 ppl. Would you pile more chicken into one pan and cook it for longer or use two pans? Not sure and I don't want to make the chicken tough. Thanks!

Kalyn said...

I would definitely use 2 pans.

Janne said...

Altering for 14 people-
I ended up using my electric roaster on 325 because my oven was being used for roasted veggies. It didn't have the nice brown top, but it turned out delicious and everyone loved it!
Thank you!

Kalyn said...

You're welcome, good idea to use the electric roaster!

"Intentionally Katie" said...

This looks great! I might have to try it next week...

(PS My daughter's name is Kaylin!)

Kalyn said...

I've run into quite a few other Kalyn's since I've been writing the blog (even some with the same spelling.) Always surprises me because it seems like a rather uncommon name.

Keri said...

My husband has made this twice now and it is oh so good! Goes great with rice and asparagas...especially when you drizzle some of the sauce from the chicken over the rice :)
Thanks so much for sharing!

Kalyn said...

Keri, that does sound good! Glad you are enjoying the recipe.

that girl said...

I've been eyeing this recipe for a long time and finally tried it tonight! It was to die for! The only thing I added was a pinch of parmesan cheese. My husband who is a chicken hater asked me to pack the leftovers for his lunch :)

Thank you Kalyn, heaven sent!

Kalyn said...

That Girl, so glad to hear you liked it!

Emily said...

I LOVE THIS RECIPE! So much so that I featured it on my nutrition blog- gowellnessu.com :)

Kalyn said...

Emily, so glad you enjoyed it!

Lynne said...

We LOVE this recipe, and we made it again last night. We altered the recipe slightly, and it was phenomenal! We put the pesto/chicken/pesto in the pan, and then we layered on thinly sliced onions and red bell peppers. We served it over quinoa, and it was to die for! Thanks, Kalyn!!!

Kalyn said...

Lynne, I love the sound of your variation; thanks for sharing!

Linsey said...

So good and so easy! Love this one! I am not a huge chicken fan, but this recipe was perfect! The chicken was super moist and well seasoned. I will be adding this to my regular rotation!

Kalyn said...

Linsey, so glad you enjoyed it!

Anonymous said...

This was just the latest of the MANY recipes that I've tried from your site and it didn't disappoint! I really appreciate when you make the suggestions on what to serve the dish with. Really helps to plan my menu. Thanks so much!

Kalyn said...

So glad you are enjoying the recipes, and good to know that the menu suggestions are helpful too.

Melissa said...

I come to your site over and over again, week after week...I'm a very picky eater trying to find healthy recipes for my family! Thank you so much for all you share with us!
This chicken is on this week's menu!

Kalyn said...

Melissa, thanks for that nice feedback. I to hear that you're enjoying the recipes.

Anna said...

Kalyn,

Today is my second day of Phase 1. First time on SBD ever! I made this for dinner last night and it was DELICIOUS!! You saved my night (family gathering with tons of fried goodies). Tonight I'm trying your squash casserole and for breakfast I'm going to make the broccoli egg dish that reminds you of Grandma Denny.

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I truly feel that your blog will pull me through and help me immensely.

Kalyn said...

Anna, you're welcome, and I do hope the blog will be helpful. Hang in there and I know it will work!

Chad said...

This was a delicious way to use the basil from my garden. My only change was to add some cherry tomatoes. They really complimented the basil and mozzarella. Thanks for the recipe!

Kalyn said...

Chad, so glad you liked it!

nicole said...

Oh. My. Word. That's all I can say about this! I will be freezing pesto made from the plethora of basil in my garden just for this recipe.

Kalyn said...

Nicole, so glad you liked it!

Micki said...

I just started SBD and stumbled across this recipe looking for new chicken ideas. I left off the cheese and placed the chicken on a bed of field greens with fresh tomatoes and mozzarella for a SBD phase 1 twist on caprese. YUM!! Thanks for the recipes!

Kalyn said...

Micki, glad you like it!

JillyBee said...

Kalyn,
First off, you have a beautiful site. I found this recipe and had to try it! Fantastic! Question: I have started sort of a personal blog of recipes to share with family and friends. So far, all recipes are my own but I would like to add this (with full credit to you of course, can I and if I do should I link back to your site? Not sure how this works but would love to share this.
Jill

Kalyn said...

JillyBee, thanks for the nice thoughts about the blog. You are welcome to share my photo of the dish with credit and a link to the recipe on my blog. However, I can't permit people to copy my recipes and post them in other places on the web; that screws up my results in search engine rankings.

Of course if you make the recipe yourself and take photos you may then re-write the recipe in your own words and post it; crediting me as the source. Thanks for asking. I think what I've outlined here is pretty much what most food bloggers permit.

Cherilyn said...

I had never had pesto but do love basil so I figured I'd give it a try. I actually made 2 dishes of the same for my once a month freezer cooking and it turned out perfectly. So easy to prepare, then throw in the oven for a busy day - thanks for the great recipe!

Kalyn said...

Cherilyn, so glad you liked it!

Mimi's Kid said...

This looks really good, but I can't quite see from the picture - is the liquid in the bottom oily or is it more like a broth?

And, frozen basil isn't nearly as good as fresh, it's one of the herbs that just doesn't freeze or dry well. In fact, it turns black unless steeped in oil.

Do you make the pesto first, then freeze that? I've never tried doing that, and I hate bottled pesto...

Kalyn said...

The liquid is a combination of broth from the chicken and some oil from the pesto, but I don't remember it being overly oil.

Yes I have made pesto and frozen it, although I don't remember if I used previously-frozen pesto for this.

Tiffeny Wilbourn said...

LOVE this recipe!!! I have already made it twice this week... once just as you posted it and the second time I added asparagus around the dish and it too was AWESOME! but gives it a bit of a different flavor. Thanks for posting=) BTW found it on Pinterest

Kalyn said...

Tiffany, so glad you like it! And I love that idea of adding some asparagus.

Nicole Bagnull said...

Thank you so much for your awesome recipes! You rock!

Kalyn said...

Nicole, thank you!

Rachel R. said...

I made this recently without the parmesan cheese and it turned out very good. Will definitely be making again!

Kalyn said...

Rachel, glad you liked it. (I was curious about whether you completely omitted parmesan, including in the pesto, or just the extra on top?)

Elle said...

This is one of my kids' favorite recipes now since the first time I made it.
Thanks Kalyn!

Kalyn said...

Elle, so glad you're enjoying it. (And lucky you to have kids who like pesto!)

lholley said...

This recipe is so delicious and easy!! I used store-bought pesto, and after cooking for about 20-25 minutes, I sprinkled diced Roma tomatoes over the chicken and then sprinkled on the cheese. The tomatoes added a nice flavor and made the dish more colorful. Definitely making this again!

Kalyn said...

What a nice idea to sprinkle with tomatoes. I must try that version.

Stratton Family said...

LOVE IT!! I was afraid my 3 year old daughter would not like it because it has "eeeww green stuff" on it. She doesn't like green stuff.

The WHOLE family loved it. Our 15 mos old, 3 year old, and both of us. MY 3yr old daughter said "MOM you should make this ALL of the time!"

Kalyn said...

So, so happy to hear it was such a hit!

Andrea C. said...

I've found myself bookmarking so many of your recipes. I think I'm just going to come to your website and browse around when its time to do meal planning. Thanks so much!!

Deborah said...

This has my mouth watering at 8 in the morning!!

Kalyn said...

Thanks Deborah. It is really tasty, especially with homemade pesto.

nancy@skinnykitchen.com said...

Mmm...Looks so yummy Kalyn!

Lauren said...

I was directed her by EA (Spicy RD) and a comment on my blog, love this recipe though I may have to forego the cheese for 1 cheese-hating (but pesto loving) child.

Kalyn said...

Lauren, hope you enjoy it!

CherylK said...

I can't think of a single person who wouldn't LOVE this. It's gorgeous, too, so would make a wonderful dish for guests. You are a genius, Kalyn.

Kalyn said...

Cheryl, you are sweet! I am not a genius in any way, but I do think I have a little talent for looking at a cookbook recipe and seeing how it can be adapted to being just a little bit better, if that makes sense.

CJ said...

Oh my gosh. Super easy and extra delicious. Perfect for weeknights but even better for entertaining.

Paula {Salad in a Jar} said...

Only 3 ingredients? I'm in.

Anonymous said...

I didn't see the nutrition info. Did I miss it?
Thank You

Anonymous said...

Oh Kalyn, bless you! I just started SB (doctor's orders) and you have inspired me beyond belief. I want to cook, grow herbs and make meals special, nothing I ever wanted to do before. This looks so delicious and easy, it seems like cooking can be fun! ~Lynn

Kalyn said...

CJ and Paula, glad you like it.

In the FAQ (at the top) I talk about why I don't provide nutritional information.

Lynn, cooking can definitely be fun!

Gigglingtoes said...

I love pesto and am thinking of featuring pesto spaghetti...its pretty delicious. Thanks for this great idea! I hope you can check out my recipe blog too!

Adelita said...

WoW! I made this tonight and it was delicious!!!! I threw in some grape tomatoes at the last 5 min mark just to get more veggies in my husband's belly and yum yum yum!!! Thank you!

Tesse said...

I love this recipe - it's a staple at our house, especially on busy nights. Great over pasta (if you're not on SB, of course) but also works with roasted veggies.

Jackie Conner said...

This looks so yummy! Do you think this meal would work well in the crock pot?

Kalyn said...

Personally I would not make this in the crockpot. I think the pesto would separate and get greasy. Plus it only bakes for about 30 minutes and I think the browning of the cheese adds a lot to the dish.

sdemanti said...

So delicious! I used sliced fresh mozzarella because it's what I had on hand as well as a little provolone. Turned out really moist and flavorful, definitely will make again.

Kalyn said...

I love the idea of using fresh mozzarella in this!

Amber said...

Thanks for all of the great recipes, Kalyn! This one has also become a Phase 1 staple for our family.

To turn it into a one-dish meal, I start with a bag of frozen "extra fine" green beans that I run under cold water until just thawed. I drain them, then toss w/ 1/4 to 1/2 cup of pesto, salt and pepper, as well as two thinly sliced, colored bell peppers. Place that mixture on the bottom of the pan, then top with chicken and pesto and bake accordingly. It usually takes around 40 minutes before I add the cheese. YUM!! I think this modification would work with almost any firm vegetable that tastes good with pesto. :)

Kalyn said...

Amber, that sounds great to me! Thanks for sharing.

CherylK said...

Well, I can hardly wait to try this! I love, love, love pesto and pairing it with the chicken strips just sounds scrumptious!

Jordan - Queen of LA! said...

Kalyn, I found your blog through Google and as soon as I saw this recipe, I knew it was what we were having for dinner! Is it okay if I post it and link back to you on my own blog? It was seriously delicious!!!

Kalyn said...

Glad you enjoyed it. You're welcome to write the recipe in your own words and post it with your own photo. Or you can use my photo with a link to the recipe on my site (but not the recipe text from my blog.)

Jonesy said...

I made this last night and it was so good! I used the weight watchers cheese on top. Loved it : ) Next time when I want to have a little treat, I may put this between two pieces of bread and make a panini sandwich. YUMMY!

Kalyn said...

I do think this would be delicious on a panini!

CherylK said...

This looks terrific, Kalyn. I'd have to use Parmesan, instead, since soft cheeses bother my tum, but I think Parm would be great.

Kristen said...

See I'm not the only one who loved this recipe! Recently started Phase 1 of SB and google sent me to your site for recipes. Tried this and the egg muffins and shrimp/green beans this week and my husband loved them too, even though he's not on SB. I guess I was surprised the food could be that tasty. Thanks for all the great ideas and recipes!

Kalyn said...

Cheryl, I'm sure Parmesan will work.

Kristen, so glad you are enjoying the recipes.

Gaby Godoy de Porras said...

Sounds delicious!!! Definitely gonna try it soon! I'll let you know how it goes!

Unknown said...

How many carbs are in this yummy recipe?

Kalyn said...

I chose South Beach to manage my weight so I would not have to count carbs, points, calories, or fat grams, so I don't have that information.

Divinephoenix1 said...

Made this last night and everyone was so impressed. The pesto is so much better than store bought. So much great flavors. The lemon is truly the kicker. I wonder how it would taste with a lil ginger.

Kalyn said...

So glad you enjoyed it. I do love the homemade pesto with some lemon. Ginger might be good too.

Mel said...

I made this last night...it was amazing. I can't wait to try making my own pesto now!

Kalyn said...

Mel, so glad you enjoyed it!

KristiLove said...

Made for dinner and fell I love. I can't believe such a simple chicken recipe tastes so delicious. I'd eat this even if I were not on South Beach. Thanks, Kayln!

Kimberly Fisher said...

I am making this as I write this! Was in Dean & Deluca and needed a healthy, quick dinner recipe and this came up. Thank you!

Grace Eliz said...

Hey Kalyn!

I used your recipe to make pesto chicken the other night. It was delish! Also, I am new blogger (as of this week) and posted my version of this recipe to my site. I mentioned and linked to your recipe and said mine was an adapted version. I think I followed your FAQs correctly. Please let me know if I violated any blogging rules, I hope I didnt. Just want to make sure I am doing everything correctly! http://spokesandsprinkles.wordpress.com/2012/06/06/whats-cookin-good-lookin-pesto-chicken/

Thanks,
Grace

merrilykaroly said...

I made this for my family tonight and it was easy and delicious. My 4 year old even asked for more, which is unheard of. Do you have any suggestions for how I might make the sauce a little creamier? I'm not on a diet (although I probably should be) and I wondered if adding milk or a little cream might work or what you thought about that. We served it over brown rice so it was nice to have the extra sauce from the pan.

Kalyn said...

So glad you enjoyed it! I had some liquid in the pan when mine was done, so for a creamier sauce I might just put that in a small pin, stir in some cream, sour cream, oven cream cheese and heat it a little (don't boil it.) I'm not sure how it would work if you mixed one of those ingredients with the pesto before you cooked it, but that might work too.

Bless said...

I found this recipe a few days ago and finally tried it this evening. Omitted the pine nuts (none in our local grocery) and used shredded daiya cheese instead. Sooooo delicious!!! And unbelievable easy! I will definitely make this again and will try to add the pine nuts. Thanks so much for sharing and I look forward to trying more recipes. Husband and I are on the SB diet; currently we're in Phase #1/Day 4. This meal was definitely rich and gives me hope! :)

Kalyn Denny said...

Bless, so glad you enjoyed it!

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

Kalyn, I bought some chicken breasts today and tomorrow I am harvesting some basil and making pesto. Here is my question: could I make these and freeze? And like a frozen dish just heat it up and eat it at a later date? If so, how long do you think I need to cook it for so it doesn't get dry? I think these would go wonderfully with some brown rice and salad.

thanks

Kalyn Denny said...

Tereza, I can't say for sure without trying it, but I am guessing you could make this ahead and freeze. It only takes about 5 minutes to throw it together though, so I don't know if it's that much of an advantage. I would thaw before cooking, so the cooking time would be the same.

Tereza Crump aka MyTreasuredCreations said...

Hi kalyn, thanks for your reply. I got 4 kids and during fall we run around a lot because of soccer and karate. So I always have dinner ready to just throw in the oven for a few minutes, or something in the crock pot. I like to cook lots in advance and then freeze. Yes, I know fresh is always better, but sometimes it's just not possible. So I rather do my homemade frozen dinner than junk fast food. :)

iamcookingwithlove said...

Hello Kalyn, it's about to go in to the oven. I can't wait.

I found your recipe trough Pinterest, i love that, and fell for the picture. You can almost taste it.

Bye bye from Holland!!

Tessa

Kalyn Denny said...

Hi Tessa, hope you enjoy and how fun to hear from someone in Holland!

Dorothy67 said...

Thank you for the recipe Kayln I made this tonight and it was amazing!!! The chicken was cooked perfectly!!!! :)

Kalyn Denny said...

So glad you liked it!

Marissa Foradas said...

Has anyone tried adding pine nuts and sun dried tomatoes? What about substituting feta cheese?

Kalyn Denny said...

Marissa, all of those sound good to me!

Alisha Lovell said...

In the oven right now! Going to serve it over some whole wheat pasta

Maureen said...

Thanks for this easy and delicious recipe! My teenager keeps asking for it! I re-blogged in my "Top 10 Pinterest Recipes" Post!

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Maureen; really appreciate it! And so glad you have enjoyed the recipe so much.

Meredith said...

I Just wanted to tell you that I found your recipe on Pinterest and we have made it several times. It is a hit with everyone, including my picky 5 year old son! Thanks for a great recipe.

Gina @ MoneywiseMoms said...

Made this last night and served it over quinoa, spooning the juice on top and sprinkling with some fresh Parmesan cheese. The kids absolutely loved it, and it will definitely go into our rotation. Thanks!

olivasayana said...

I have found a wonderful sun dried tomato spread, have used it in so many recipes. I would like to add that to the pesto to make an even richer sauce. This recipe is a great idea! Thanks!

Lisa said...

This has become one of our favorite recipes! I am making it for the 3rd time, and as always, I went to put it in the oven and realized I hadn't covered it with foil. A picture really is worth a thousand words! Thank you for including it and helping me avoid the same mistake 3 times. :)

Rachel Henderson said...

This was a wonderful dish! We used chicken thighs and it was extremely moist! We are hoping to use tuna next time and see how it turns out!

Julia said...

I made this last night for my husband, who claims he only mildly like spesto, and isn't a fan of cheese or baked chicken. Guess who LOVED it?? Ya, that same husband. I asked him if it's a dish I should keep in my repertoire of dishes to make for dinner guests. He, very confidently, said 'YES!' Soooo all that to say, this dish is a total winner!

Anna said...

Holy c@#p this was good! Can't believe I hadn't tried this earlier; it was so good. Thanks for the recipe.

TheClines said...

I've been cooking from your blog all week. This recipe and the West African chicken stew were huge hits! I think we will be able to succeed on the SBD, thanks to your great blog, recipes, and photos. The photos are excellent. Thank you!

Shelby Thomas said...

I make this almost twice a week! I got my pesto from Costco and get about three meals out of it. My spinach hating boyfriend loves it! Thank you for sharing.

Kimberly Cameron said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rj said...

Kalyn. I tried this tonight for the first time and had to come and comment. It was just fabulous! I was surprised at how much I liked the pesto in a jar. Just for the fun of it I added mushrooms cut in half while baking,and of course they turned out wonderful as well. How something so good could still be in Phase 1 is beyond me,but I am so grateful that I needed to comment along with all the other followers. Many thanks for what you do.

Kalyn Denny said...

Love the idea of adding mushrooms to this.

Elizabeth Parker said...

I'm going to try this out tonight! Thanks. I bought some chicken tenderloins at Meijer and last time I tried OJ and mustard, but I have some pesto in the house this time. I hate cooking but this seems easy to make. :)

Jerilynn Bapst said...

I am just about to pull this out of the oven and it smells delicious! I can't wait to try it.
I have a question though, is there anything you can do with the leftover juices in the pan? It seems a waste to through it away.

Kalyn Denny said...

You could certainly serve the sauce over rice or noodles.

Isla Bee said...

Thank you for this recipe! I used thighs, placed thin slices of tomato over pesto, and added whole wheat panko on pieces for those who requested in last 5 minutes of baking. Delicious!!!

Dolores said...

I've had this in my queue for a while now, and finally got around to making it tonight. I served it over couscous with rehydrated sun dried tomatoes and a CSA-inspired green salad. Forty minutes from fridge to table. Yum!

Kalyn Denny said...

Dolores, glad you enjoyed it!

Gerri Detweiler said...

Kalyn - Fabulous recipe! I used pesto from Costco, along with chicken tenderloins and parmesan I also picked up there. Literally takes 5 minutes to assemble and then it just takes time to bake. Made it twice already. Thanks for a super easy delicious recipe!

(BTW, I see no reason to grease the pan. I did that the first time but the second time didn't bother since there is plenty of oil in the pesto.)

iamafirstgradeteacher said...

I made this tonight for dinner my family Loved it. They want to know when I will make it again. Thanks for the amazing easy receipe

Kalyn Denny said...

FirstGradeTeacher, so glad you all enjoyed it! And guess what, I was a first grade teacher for 6 years!

Ash B said...

I have made your recipe several times! It is also a hit with everyone, and I have a picky toddler! It is amazing with rice and how the juice gets into the rice! This is again in my oven tonight!

Kalyn Denny said...

So glad you're enjoying it!

Jennifer Hampton said...

This was amazing! I kicked it up a notch and added sauteed mushrooms, onion, and garlic before I added the cheese. After everything came out of the oven, I plated it and topped the chicken with diced tomatoes. Delicious! Even my skeptical husband loved it! Thanks for yet another great recipe!

Kalyn Denny said...

Jennifer, your version sounds great! So glad you enjoyed the recipe.

Lindi Harris-Axon said...

I just put this in the oven - i hope it is good because it is sure easy. If I don't like the basil, I will try it with the cilantro pesto because I have never found anything cooked with cilantro that I didn't love.

I love this site, btw.

Kalyn Denny said...

Thanks Linda! And may I just say I don't think I've ever found anything with cilantro that I didn't love either!

Lindi Harris-Axon said...

Yay! A hit with the family and even with DH, who usually groans at the idea of chicken again!

Kalyn Denny said...

Lindi, so glad!

Ilyas Tirmidzi said...

Hi Kalyn, is this possible if I use lamb for change chicken ? I have a lot of lamb in my refrigerator but I'm not good at kitchen, looking for simple recipe and I choose this. I need your suggest. Thank you. Love from Indonesia.

Kalyn Denny said...

I don't really have a lot of experience cooking lamb, but I'm having a hard time imagining it in this recipe. I'd choose a recipe that has beef; that would be an easy substitution. (Just enter "beef" into the search bar.)

Kalyn Denny said...

Apologies to Stefanie who left a nice comment saying she liked this recipe and I accidentally hit delete instead of publish! Stefanie, glad you enjoyed it.

Raising Mama said...

So excited to try this tonight! I love homemade pesto...and I usually throw in some baby spinach when I make it at home. It doesnt change the flavor, helps it stay vibrantly green, and my husband and kids dont notice. Perfect summer recipe!

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