Friday, May 12, 2017

Foodie Fridays: Baked Pesto Chicken

I recently found a recipe called Mr. Right's Baked Pesto Chicken on the Mystery Lovers' Kitchen website and thought it sounded delicious, so I had to give it a try.  This quick and simple dish is based upon the flavors of a Caprese salad, and how can you go wrong with a combination of basil, tomatoes, and cheese?  I especially loved the way the tomato slice on top roasts and gets a crispy cheese crust.  Next time I will layer more than one tomato slice on top!

Be careful not to overbake the chicken or it will dry out.  When I make this again I may put an additional layer of pesto on the top before adding the tomato and Parmesan cheese to keep the top layer moist and to add even more pesto flavor.  Perhaps I will even marinate the chicken in the pesto for about 30 minutes before baking.  I just love finding new ways to cook chicken!

Baked Pesto Chicken

2 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
2 T. pesto
2 fresh mozzarella slices
1-2 T. olive oil
1 large tomato, sliced
2 T. grated Parmesan

Pound the chicken breast halves into 1/2-inch thick cutlets, or cut them in half lengthwise to form a pocket.  Spread 1 T. pesto onto one side of the cutlet and top with a mozzarella slice.  Fold the other half of the cutlet over the top.

Lightly oil the bottom of a glass baking dish with the olive oil.  Place the chicken in the baking dish and top each with a tomato slice.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over each one.  Bake at 450 degrees for 25-30 minutes until the top is golden and the chicken is cooked through.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes before serving, topped with the pan juices.  Serves 2.

Note: Our local Publix sells chicken cutlets made by slicing chicken breast halves in half again lengthwise, so I used those and just stacked the two pieces.  Also, the amounts of pesto, cheeses, and tomato slices are only guidelines, so be as generous with any of them as you like (although too much mozzarella may end up in the bottom of your baking dish instead of staying inside the chicken!).

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