Easy Cheesy Pesto Chicken

posted by Andrea | 06/13/2017
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A couple weeks ago, I was showing the kids a YouTube video when a commercial for an easy chicken recipe “interrupted” our video.

The kids were annoyed… but I made some quick mental notes as the recipe looked fantastic (and really REALLY simple!)

The next day, I made my own version of this cheesy pesto chicken — and boy was it tasty. I boiled some fettuccine noodles while the chicken baked and served up this super simple, summer time meal in less than 30 minutes from start to finish.

It was a huge hit with our entire family!

Recipe for Easy Cheesy Pesto Chicken

serves 4 (or more if you have little kiddos!)

{print recipe}

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 2 large chicken breasts; cut in half widthwise to make them thinner
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • pesto sauce (I used roughly 14 oz. for the chicken AND the pasta — probably only 4 0z. for the chicken)
  • 2 tomatoes, sliced
  • 1/2 c. mozzarella cheese

DIRECTIONS: 

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking dish or line with foil.

Place chicken breasts in baking dish. Season with salt and pepper

Spread roughly 1 to 2 T. of prepared pesto sauce on each chicken breast.

Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes.

Remove from oven, layer chicken with sliced tomatoes and cheese.

Bake for another 5-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted and chicken is cooked through

Serve with pasta (and additional sauce) or a big salad.

See… it really is THAT simple! 

In fact, the most time-consuming part was preheating the oven… and the most ‘difficult’ was trying to evenly slice the chicken breasts in half so they would be thinner and bake faster.

All 3 kids gobbled this up, along with the pasta — even though Simon exclaimed he would not eat green pasta. I told him it was kind of like “green eggs and ham” so he figured he should try it. He quickly changed his mind and proclaimed me “the best cooker mom”. 🙂

We will definitely enjoy this a few more times throughout the summer months… and one of these times, I might just have to make my own pesto sauce from scratch!

Do you make your own pesto sauce?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

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21 comments

  1. Calliope

    06/17/2017

    Sooo good. I made the pesto sauce from scratch and had beetroot salad on the side. Thank you!!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    sounds yummy!

    [Reply]

  2. Tara

    06/14/2017

    We love pesto too! I’m so glad my kids do because it’s one of my favorite things ever. Sometimes we make it and it is reeeeaaally easy. About the same amount of work as a smoothie. If you grow any basil in your garden your kids will probably like helping you pick it and make it once in awhile like mine do. We experiment with different nuts like walnuts, pistachios or hemp seeds. We’ve even made it without the Parmesan and it’s all been yummy. For a fun quick creamy pesto check out avocado pesto recipes. There’s definitely nothing wrong with store bought pesto too. Like you, I’ve never had a bad one yet! Yum!

    [Reply]

  3. Pamela

    06/14/2017

    Looks delicious and simple! Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    The recipe title under the second photo says chicken spaghetti, which is different than the title of the post so I was a bit confused at first… No matter what it’s called though, it looks wonderfully versatile!

    I love the idea of cutting the chicken thinner from the start. Less cutting to do at the table for my little ones.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh whoops — just changed that typo 🙂 Thanks!

    [Reply]

  4. Jenny

    06/13/2017

    My grocery has the thin-sliced boneless/skinless Perdue or Tyson chicken breast halves (AKA chicken cutlets) on BOGO sales, so I buy a bunch and freeze them, since the trying to slice horizontally is hard! Also, it’s easier if you partially freeze your chicken breast halves before trying to cut them yourself.
    If I have basil (which I grow) but no pesto made, I just lay the beautiful healthy basil leaves on the chicken and cover with some parmesan cheese. “Deconstructed” pesto. Voila!
    The better the tomatoes, the better this is! If the tomatoes aren’t so good, like in winter, canned ones or tomato sauce works, or try mushrooms or olives.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    thanks for the tips Jenny! Also, I use a kitchen scissors to cut my chicken in half and it’s really not too difficult at all. That said, buying the chicken cutlets still sounds easier!

    [Reply]

  5. Jeanine

    06/13/2017

    Under what section of your recipes is your own pesto sauce found? I did not see it anywhere but wasn’t sure where to look. Thanks

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t have a recipe because I never make my own 🙂 I mentioned that maybe one of these days I’ll try to make my own!

    [Reply]

    Jeanine Reply:

    Ok, I guess I misunderstood and read it wrong!

    [Reply]

  6. Deborah

    06/13/2017

    It looks really delicious! What section of the grocery store would I find pesto in?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    probably either by the jars of pasta sauce or in the refrigerated section (by the cheeses)

    [Reply]

  7. Melissa

    06/13/2017

    Andrea, what kind of pesto do you use?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I don’t have a specific kind — just whatever is on sale. I haven’t had a bad one yet!

    [Reply]

  8. Maria

    06/13/2017

    Wow! This recipe looks awesome and so simple and quick to prepare – just great for a week-day meal. Thanks for sharing.

    I also use pesto on fish (like sole or haddock); also very easy to prepare – very similar to your chicken recipe above except without the cheese.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    our kids don’t love fish yet — so I’ll probably stick with chicken for now. however, good to know it taste yummy on fish (I wouldn’t have thought of that myself)!

    [Reply]

  9. Alicia

    06/13/2017

    This looks delicious! I’m always on the lookout for easy chicken recipes for my picky family! I’ll have to try this soon!

    [Reply]

  10. Kimberley

    06/13/2017

    Oh yum! I am going to have to try this. I have tried so many of your recipes over the years and we have loved them all, so I see us loving this one too 😉

    In fact, I just made your sweet and sour pork ribs in the crockpot the other night. Big hit with the hubs and I! It’s so tasty! Funny thing, I actually mixed the brown sugar in with the sauce (by accident…I was multi-tasking and wasn’t fully paying attention to what I was doing) and it turned out tasting no different…so just in case you make the same mistake ever, don’t fret! lol

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    ooooo, we LOVE the sweet and sour pork! and yes, you can easily add the brown sugar to the sauce — it’s a very forgiving recipe!

    [Reply]

  11. Mara Yager

    06/13/2017

    YUM this looks awesome I am definitely making this! Also going back and re-reading your summer lunches post from earlier! I keep drawing a blank for what to serve the home-from-school for the summer kiddos for cold lunches! Have a great day 🙂

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yeah, summer lunches — I feel like I need to make a whole big meal now that Dave is home too. I keep telling myself, “simple is OK”!

    [Reply]