August 21, 2017

Jarred pesto is a quick and easy way to turn boring into bold. When you are short of time turn to pesto to get the job done, but be sure to stir the pesto first, as it settles over time.

 

Slow Cooker Pesto Mozzarella Chicken

At beginning of summer, Sonia Walsh of Carroll had a goal to try several new recipes. This was one of them and it was a hit. She said it was not only easy it was  good and tastes fancier than a crockpot meal normally tastes.

During the day you can cook the chicken, and in the evening all you need to do is boil the pasta. The buttery pesto sauce and melted mozzarella cheese top off this winning dish.

 

1 1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

1 cup jarred pesto

1/4 cup salted butter

1/2 of a whole lemon

1 lb rotini pasta cooked and drained (add at the end)

1/2 cup parmesan (add at the end)

2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese

1/4 teaspoon dried basil, for garnish

 

Add the chicken to a 6 quart or larger slow cooker. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Spread the pesto over the chicken and then squeeze the lemon juice onto the top of the pesto and chicken. Slice the butter into pats and place on top.

Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours. Do not open the lids while chicken is cooking.

Near the end of the cooking time, cook the pasta according to the package directions and drain well.

When chicken is cooked shred the chicken with two forks. Add the cooked pasta and parmesan cheese. Stir everything until the pasta is coated with the sauce and the chicken is evenly dispersed throughout the pasta. Sprinkle the mozzarella cheese over the pasta. Cover for about 15 more minutes or until the cheese has melted.

Sprinkle with dried basil and serve.

 

Pesto Tortellini Salad

Tailgate season is fast approaching and pasta salad always scores big. This salad combines cheese tortellini and rotini to make enough for a small crowd. Add the veggies you prefer to customize it.

 

1 (14 oz) can artichoke hearts, drained, quartered

1 (20 oz) pkg cheese tortellini, cooked al dente

8 oz (half of a 1 lb box) rotini pasta, cooked al dente

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 (8 oz) jar basil pesto

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons minced garlic

1 (10 oz) grape tomatoes, halved lengthwise

1 (6 oz) black or green olives, drained, sliced in half lengthwise

1 green bell pepper, diced

1/2 red onion, diced

12 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed

 

Cook pastas according to package directions to al dente stage, drain, and set aside to cool off.

In large bowl whisk together the olive oil, parmesan cheese, pesto, salt, and garlic. Add tomatoes, olives, green pepper, and onion to bowl. Stir and then fold in pastas and mozzarella cheese. Be sure all ingredients are coated in pesto. Serve immediately or refrigerate until serving. Pasta salad can be served cold, room temperature or warm.

 

Note: If pasta salad is the made day before, you may need to add additional olive oil and parmesan cheese.