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Pesto Chicken Grill Packets

August 24, 2009

One of the things that I have found so effective for me in keeping my weight under control is making healthy meals with the flavors that I normally associate with unhealthy foods.  Those flavors I can’t live without.  For example, my hot wings stir fry keeps my addiction to hot wings at bay by giving me my French’s Red Hot Fix.

I came across this recipe from Rachel Ray and thought it might just do the same thing for my Pesto addiction (thus reducing my dependance on pasta).  I am going to spend a little while experimenting with this recipe to get some more vegetables into the mix.  I am not a big fan of spaghetti squash but I wonder if it wouldn’t taste good in the packet.

Some reviews on this recipe point out that it might be a little too pestoey, so you might want to add a little less.  The original recipe is right here, and the pesto is right here(there are excellent pre-made pestos by the way at the grocery store and they can be frozen, so that can make this meal much easier)

NOTE: Portion sizes.  Eat 1/2 of a chicken breast each.  This meal then should feed 4.  Eat as much veggies as you want, in fact eat them until you are full.  You might want to add more vegetables when preparing for this reason, or add a side of another vegetable dishes or a salad.

CHICKEN DISH INGREDIENTS:

  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 2-1/4 pounds)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 cup pesto (see recipe below)
  • 2 zucchini, thinly sliced
  • 4 plum tomatoes, chopped
  • 8 scallions, trimmed

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Preheat a grill to medium. Cut four 12-inch-long sheets of heavy-duty foil. Drizzle 1 teaspoon olive oil into the center of each sheet.
  2. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Lay 1 piece of chicken in the center of each sheet and spread 1 tablespoon pesto on top.
  3. Mound one-quarter of the zucchini, tomatoes and scallions over each chicken breast. Dollop 3 tablespoons pesto over each mound. Fold the foil over the chicken and vegetables; pinch the edges to seal.
  1. Cover and grill the packets over indirect heat for 25 minutes. Remove from the grill and open carefully.

PESTO SAUCE INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 cups basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

DIRECTIONS:

  1. USING A FOOD PROCESSOR, FINELY CHOP THE BASIL AND GARLIC. ADD THE PARMESAN AND PINE NUTS AND PULSE INTO A COARSE PASTE. WITH THE MACHINE ON, SLOWLY ADD THE OLIVE OIL UNTIL INCORPORATED. SEASON WITH SALT AND PEPPER. (CAN BE REFRIGERATED IN AN AIRTIGHT CONTAINER FOR UP TO 1 WEEK.)
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