Saturday, March 1, 2014
Baked Pesto Chicken Parmesan
Does it get any easier than this? 4 ingredients, 5 minutes prep time, 30 minutes baking. Voila. Dinner is ready.
I've always eaten/made chicken parmesan using chicken breasts. I don't know about you, but I've eaten so many chicken breasts that no matter the recipe, every once in a while you need a change. Chicken breasts really came onto the scene some time ago when folks starting looking for lower fat/calorie meals. But really, the difference is pretty moderate, especially when the skin is removed. Breasts are only slightly higher in protein and while the a 3 ounce serving has 7 grams of fat, the thigh has 13. Remove the skin and lower it even more. Calories, too, are only slightly higher for the thigh (210) versus for the breast (170).
Since the winter froze all of my basil, I used prepared pesto in a jar which worked just fine. But to me the big difference in this recipe is using fresh mozzarella. You could certainly used shredded mozzarella in a pinch, but it will never have the pull that comes with the fresh version.
I made potatoe wedges because they cooked at the same temp and time as the chicken (cut a baking potato in half lengthwise and then cut each half into four wedges). And served with a simple Caesar salad.
BAKED PESTO CHICKEN PARMESAN (4 servings)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs (could use chicken breasts pounded thin and then cut in half)
1/3 cup pesto
1 cup marinara sauce
8 oz fresh mozzarella, sliced
Preheat oven to 400F. Season chicken thighs with S&P then add to an 8x8" or 9x12" baking dish. Add pesto then use your hands to evenly coat. Spoon marinara sauce over the top of the thighs followed by the mozzarella cheese then cover tightly with foil and bake for 20 minutes.
Remove foil then bake for 10 more minutes, or until chicken is cooked through and cheese is golden brown and bubbly.