Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Pesto Chicken Pasta

I'm back.  Sort of...

You may have noticed my absence from the blogosphere lately.  Well, there's a reason.  I've been on a self-imposed blog exile (a blogxile, if you will) while preparing for a teaching certification test I will take mid-June.  I've been studying like crazy, and not doing much cooking.  All my free time has gone to study.  In order to stay focused, I have restricted my blogging so that I don't get caught up in the fun of posting recipes when I should really be studying.  But in a few weeks, I'll be done with the test and I'll be back! 

In the meantime, here's a recipe that I've been holding on to, but can't wait any longer to share... 

I recently got a new cookbook by Robin Miller, who hosts Quick Fix Meals on the Food Network.  In her section about pasta, she talks about how one of her children gets up at the crack of dawn, so that's when you will find her boiling up pasta to use for the week.  "Eureka!" thought I.  The reason why I don't make more pasta throughout the week: the big pot that I don't want to have to clean up mid-week.  But if I were to do it when I had a little bit of extra time, and keep the pasta in the fridge for a few days until I'm ready to use it...well, that's just brilliant.  So that's exactly what I did.  The pasta was made during lunch one day, ahead of time, and waited in the fridge until I was ready to make the dish.

Robin also employs a strategy that says cook it once, use it twice.  For example, if she's making chicken breasts for dinner one day, she will make a double batch and set the extra ones aside to use later on in the week in another recipe.  "Genius!" said I.  So the chicken breasts were extra that I made from a dinner earlier in the week.  I love it when I'm ahead of the game.

When it came down to making the actual dish, the main components were ready and waiting for me.  All I had to do was heat up a few things and assemble it all.  Easy! 

About this dish: 
  • It is delicious hot or cold.  It would make a great pasta salad to take to a picnic (perhaps minus the chicken).   
  • Artichokes would also be an excellent addition to this.  Just chop up a can of drained artichoke hearts (not marinated) and toss them in the pan before the pasta goes in. 
  • Finally, feta cheese was a great addition to the dish when I ate it cold.  It really brightened up all the flavors. 
  • Oh and by the way...don't skip the salt in this recipe.  I tasted the final dish and thought, "Eh.  Not bad."  Then I salted the dish, tasted again, and thought, "Yowsa! That's a great dish!"  OK, perhaps I didn't say yowsa.  But maybe I did think it.  A little.  Don't laugh!   

Pesto Chicken Pasta
Servings: 9 (at least)
Serving Size:  1 cup
Points per serving: 5 

  • 1 lb cooked, drained pasta, something smallish, like Penne or Rotini (I used Ronzoni Smart Taste)
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • 1 large or 2 small bell peppers, finely diced
  • 3 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4-5 cups spinach leaves, chopped roughly (eyeball the amount: use as much or as little spinach as you like)
  • 2 cooked chicken breasts (4 oz each)
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup prepared pesto
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Heat olive oil in a large pan, and saute onion and pepper until translucent.   
  2. Add spinach and chicken, and stir around the pan until spinach is wilted and chicken is warmed through.
  3. Add 1 cup of the chicken broth and pasta and warm both through.
  4. Add pesto to pasta and chicken mixture.  Add more chicken broth as needed to get the consistency you desire.  I was going for a light sauce, so I ended up using all 2 cups of the chicken broth.  But you can certainly use less, if you're looking for a less saucy consistency.
  5. Salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot or cold. 


  1. Sounds yummy and believe it or not, all of my kids can eat it! That is VERY rare...would just have to use gluten-free pasta. I'm going to have to try this one too, thanks!!

  2. That's great Serena! So glad I could come up with something to make all the kiddos happy.