Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken

Holy moly. For only four ingredients this was super yummy! Not to mention it was also super easy. Who wouldn’t want a meal like that? All you need is a few minutes of prep and the crock pot will do the rest for you.

pesto ranch chix

Crock Pot Pesto Ranch Chicken

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut in half

6 oz. jar of pesto

1 pkg Ranch dressing mix

1/2 cup chicken broth

1. Spray the inside of the crock pot with cooking spray.

2. Clean chicken and cut each breast into two or three large pieces. Place into crock pot.

3. Combine pesto, ranch mix, and broth together well and pour over chicken.

4. Set on low for 6 hours (or high for three).

5. Serve with buttery mashed potatoes and veggie of your choice.

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April Menu ~ 2013

Spring has officially arrived and with it comes some great eating. It’s almost time to pull out the grill and make some awesome Balsamic Grilled Chicken (I’ve been craving that!) or make a Caprese Pasta Salad or some Black Bean Taquitos.

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Hot Hamburger Plate (Number One’s birthday) and Caramel Cake

Oven Baked Tacos with Crock Pot Pinto Beans and Pico de Gallo

Balsamic Grilled Chicken with Pesto Parmesan Green Beans and Oven Roasted Potatoes

Cheeseburger Salad

Black Bean Taquitos with Salad and Mexican Rice

Caprese Pasta Salad

Romano-Crusted Chicken with Skillet Veggies and Cheesy Pesto Bread

Pan-Seared Tuna Steaks with Lima Bean Butter 

 Homemade Mac ‘n Cheese

Taco Cornbread Pizza

Chicken and Rice Pilaf with Roasted Asparagus

~ Recipes I am working on this month ~

Chili Lime Chicken Fiesta Salad with Chili Lime Ranch

Poor Man’s Mongolian Beef

Wonton Taco Cups

Amazing Cashew Chicken

Poached Salmon with Sour Cream & Dill Dressing 

Beer Battered Fish & Chips

Chicken Asadero Chimichanga

Artichoke Crusted Chicken

Eggplant Pizza

Buffalo Chicken Quinoa Salad

Asian Chicken Pizza with Peanut Sauce

Crock Pot Chipotle Chicken Tacos

~ Sides ~

Smoked Salmon & Creme Fraiche Bruschetta

Macaroni Salad

Spinach Squares

Cheesy Stuffed Zucchini with Ragu

Asparagus Feta Tart

Crispy Parmesan Baked Potaotes

Arancini w/ Marinara

Homemade French Bread

~ Desserts ~

A Little Bit of Everything Cookie Bars

Raspberry Coconut Squares

30 Minute Mini-Cini Buns

Margarita Cupcakes

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Cheesy Pesto Bread

Need a little something extra for your dinner table? Perhaps a covered dish meal at church? Maybe a neighborly get-together? Or maybe you’re just craving something savory and cheesy and oh, so yummy.

That’s it, isn’t it? I knew it.

Well, then I’ve got just the thing for you. This pull-apart bread is fabulous, and the best part is you really can pair it with any number of other dishes. There’s just no wrong time for this sumptuous bread.

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Cheesy Pesto Bread

1 large loaf bread (I used whole wheat Italian)

1/2 cup prepared pesto

3 cups shredded cheese, any blend*

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1. Preheat oven to 400* and cut a piece of foil big enough to wrap the bread in. Spray surface with cooking spray.

2. Place the bread on the foil on the baking sheet and cut lengthwise in 1-inch strips. DO NOT cut through to the bottom.

3. Now cut in the width direction in 1 -inch strips so that your bread has 1-inch cubes cut all over it, but make sure that it’s all still intact at the bottom.

4. Using a knife, spread the pesto inside each slice, in all directions so that every bit of sliced bread has pesto on it.

5. Pull each bit apart carefully and stuff the cheese into every little space. *I used a mozzarella and parmesan blend combined with a cheddar blend. It’s best to start with the edges of the bread and work your way toward the middle.

6. Wrap the foil around the bread (Make sure it’s all sprayed so the cheese doesn’t stick) and bake for 10 minutes.

7. Unwrap the bread and place back into the oven for an additional 5 minutes, or until all the cheese is melted and the bread has slightly browned.

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Pesto Panko Tilapia

This was definitely an experiment. I don’t mind so much when the dish turns out good, which thankfully it did. But I will say that because tilapia is difficult to fry anyway, I would recommend *baking this dish instead of frying. Also, you could use any fish, even salmon, but if you’re going for a white fish other than tilapia, try halibut.

Pesto Panko Tilapia

4 fish fillets

1/4 prepared pesto

1 cup panko

1/4 EVOO

1. Wash and dry fillets

2. Coat fish with pesto

3. Coat pesto-covered fish in panko

4. Carefully place in hot oil and allow to cook through, turning once.

5. Drain on paper towel before serving

*Bake at 350* – about 7 minutes per inch of fish until done. For a thin fillet like tilapia this would only take about 10 or 15 minutes.

The picture doesn’t do the flavor justice. If you like pesto then this is definitely a new and tasty way to make fish. I wasn’t disappointed with the overall taste- just the presentation. But once again, I am sure that baking the fish would yield much better results aesthetically 🙂

Pesto Parmesan Green Beans

You will probably think that this does not qualify as a real recipe post and I am inclined to agree with you. However, ever since I stopped buying and feeding my family canned foods, it hasn’t been as easy to get Number Two to eat his vegetables. This is just a little blurb on what I did recently to jazz up some green beans. He kinda liked it. I loved it 🙂

Back in the old days I’d open a can of green beans, or peas, or what have you, pour the contents into a pot and heat it up with some chicken bullion. Sounds salty, right? It is tasty, I will admit, but very bad for you and completely sans of any nutrients at all.

Now I cook fresh or frozen veggies only. My favorite way to cook fresh is by tossing them in EVOO and salt and pepper and then roasting said veggies under 400* until done to my desire. I especially love asparagus this way, but green beans are awesome, too.

Frozen veggies go into a pot of chicken broth. Very simple. But the green beans I made this way came in a microwave steam pack and so I had to come up with a way to season them post cooking.

So, I looked into my fridge and I saw the always handy Parmesan cheese. But then I also saw the pesto 🙂

I love pesto. This particular pesto is homemade and delicious and wonderful, but unfortunately it was not made in my home or by my hands. BTW I am working on getting and sharing that recipe with you. But have you ever tried pesto on a veggie? It’s not just for pasta, you know. In fact, the first time I really started to step outside of the pesto box was only a few months ago when I was at a fundraiser dinner and pesto was served veggie-dip style as an appetizer. So it really didn’t seem all that crazy to me to stir some in with the green beans and top with Parmesan.

If you’re looking for a new way to serve the same old things, try this, it was super yummy!

Tuscan Chicken Skillet

As one of my first-timers that I’d added to my April Menu, this chicken dish did not disappoint. It was super delicious! Everyone thoroughly enjoyed it and it was quick to prepare. I served it with roasted asparagus and Trader Joe’s grain mix of orzo, pearl cous cous, and quinoa. A complete meal in 30 minutes. And it has a creamy pesto sauce that you will love!

Tuscan Chicken Skillet

4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts

3 oz. cream cheese, cubed

2 oz. sour cream*

1/4 cup water

1/4 cup pesto**

HEAT a large nonstick pan and add 1 tsp EVOO. Add chicken; cover. Cook on each side 5-7 minutes or until done. Remove chicken from skillet; cover to keep warm.

ADD  remaining ingredients to the skillet. Cook, uncovered, on medium heat for 2 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.

RETURN the chicken to the skillet. Cook and stir 1 minute or until chicken is coated and heated through.

*You could forgo the sour cream all together and just use 4 oz. of cream cheese.

**Pesto is easy enough to make and there are recipes available all over the internet, but you can also buy it prepared from most grocery stores. I buy mine in a large container from Sam’s and then freeze smaller portions so they’re ready to go.

This was lots of potential for other meals. It would be lovely served with pasta, and the sauce, if doubled, would make a great alternative to an alfredo sauce. Small tomatoes, broccoli, even asparagus tips could be added to the sauce.

You should definitely make this soon. Even your pickiest eater will love it. I promise there won’t be anything left over!

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