Baked Pesto Chicken

  Today’s recipe is one we’re going to have to try again.  My Mr. is a fabulous cook, and that’s partly because he’s willing to take risks.  Thing is, risks don’t always pan out.  With this recipe he experimented with brining the chicken in a salt water bath to improve the texture.  Apparently the brine wasn’t quite put together right though, because our chicken turned out unbearably salty.  Everything other than the super saltiness was fabulous though, so we’ll be giving this another try without brining sometime soon.

  Here’s what we’re making:

Baked Pesto Chicken

  Here’s what you need:

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into strips

olive oil (for pan)
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup basil pesto*
1/2 c mozzarella cheese, grated

*Normally I would buy fresh basil to make our own pesto.  Our store was out, so I got premade in a jar, was still delicious!

  Start by preheating your oven to 375 degrees.  Grease a baking dish with olive oil and spread half of your pesto on the bottom.  Place your chicken on top and cover with the remaining pesto.
  Put aluminum foil over the dish and bake until chicken is barely firm and cooked through (25-30 minutes). Make sure you don’t cook too much at this point, or the chicken will be dry by the time the cheese is melted.
  Remove your foil and top the chicken with your mozzarella. Put everything back into the oven without foil and cook it until your cheese is melted.  If you want to brown your cheese a little bit, you can stick it back into the oven under the broiler for about 5 minutes after the cheese melts.

  Like I said, ours got a little jacked up by the brining this time around, but aside from the extra salt, this was incredible.  We all enjoyed it, and lamented that we couldn’t really appreciate the flavors because of the uber saltiness.  

  This really is a very simple dish with great results.  Even using jarred pesto it had wonderful flavor…I can’t wait to make it using fresh-from-the-garden basil!

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