Pesto Chicken Bake

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It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This time of year fresh pesto is a regular staple in my refrigerator.  This simple basil and garlic sauce can easily turn pantry basics from ho-hum to fantastic.  When you add ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to the dish you have a new twist on a classic Caprese salad.  Chicken is by far my favorite protein to pair with pesto.  For the sake of time I use chicken filets in this recipe. If you don’t have filets you can make your own by slicing whole boneless chicken breasts lengthwise .  Simply use a meat mallet to pound them to a uniform thickness after slicing and you are good to go.

PESTO CHICKEN BAKE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 chicken breast filets

2 large tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup pesto

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into slices

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a medium-sized baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Place the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the garlic powder, salt, and pepper evenly over both sides of the chicken breast filets.
  • Working in batches, quickly brown the chicken on both sides, placing the cooked chicken in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken.
  • Evenly distribute the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella over the top of the chicken.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

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