Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paleo Pesto Chicken on Spaghetti Squash

We love Pesto!  I don't know what it is about it but we really love our Pesto sauce around here, and this has quickly become one of our favorite go to meals.  It's perfect for leftover chicken or turkey, or just keep the sauce in the fridge to use as desired on eggs, or other dishes.  Our family is so large and we are such big eaters that we polish this off in nothing flat.  So what I've started doing is doubling it or making the two different Pesto sauces so we will have some leftovers.  My oldest daughter and I love the Basil and Sun dried Tomato Pesto sauce, but those who don't particularly care for tomatoes prefer the Basil Pesto ( quite a few in family don't like tomatoes including my husband).  
I've also started baking my spaghetti squash earlier in the day or even the day before, cooking up a bunch and then refrigerating it for later.  When it's time to eat I just pull it out and reheat it by frying it up in a little bacon grease or coconut oil in a frying pan.  Makes dinner prep a lot quicker and provides quick lunches too.    Yesterday I baked up 4 large spaghetti squash (3-4 pounds each), served 2 of them with the pesto sauce, chicken, tomatoes and bacon.  And tonight we will have the rest of the spaghetti squash  with Mom's Homestyle Spaghetti Sauce, mmmmm...yum!  
A few weeks ago we cooked up a huge free range turkey that we had purchased from a local friend who raises them.  We had tons of turkey leftovers, so this was one of the re-created turkey meals we had, and boy was it good!  My husband says you know it's good when everyone cleans their plates, all the way down to the little ones.  So with Thanksgiving coming I thought I would share this with all of you, in case some of you may be looking for new ways to use up your leftover turkey after the holiday.
Though traditionally made with Pine Nuts, I make mine with either pecans or walnuts, for two reasons, one, it's two nuts I always have around and two, I find they are cheaper than using pine nuts, and taste great.  
I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we have and do!

SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
In advance bake your spaghetti squash ( I usually do 2 large squash to feed our family of 9), see directions here: HOW TO BAKE SPAGHETTI SQUASH.  And don't forget to save your seeds and ROAST THEM just like pumpkin seeds.

BACON:
Next Fry up some bacon or BAKE IT IN THE OVEN, reserving the fat (it's like gold around here, I use it for everything!).  Crumble the bacon and use it as a garnish.

MEAT:
Then either grill some chicken breast or thighs or slice and pan fry your chicken in some bacon grease with salt and pepper (unless you are using leftover meat or seafood).  If you are pan frying your chicken, after slicing it please be sure to dab dry (I use paper towels for this) before placing it in the pan of hot bacon grease.   Oh, and I typically figure on one piece of chicken per person.

TOMATOES: 
Chop up some fresh ripe tomatoes to garnish your Pesto Chicken with if desired.


 PESTO SAUCE: 

3 cups fresh basil leaves, (you'll kind of have to shove them in there a bit)
1 1/4 cups whole walnuts or pecans (toasted*)
4-5 cloves of fresh garlic (depending on your taste)
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil ( a good olive oil can make all the difference in taste!)
salt to taste (I use approximately 1/2 tsp)
pepper to taste

Combine basil, nuts, and lemon juice in food processor, then adding the olive oil very slowly turn the mixture on.  My food processor has a little reservoir I fill and it allows a trickle to go in, which makes it much easier.  Mid way through add some salt and pepper and mix and then taste.  Mix until combined and the desired texture, it's that simple and sooooo yummy!  

* To toast your nuts preheat oven to 375 and bake for 8-10 minutes on a baking tray, mixing 1/2 way through.  Allow to cool before using.
Pesto Spaghetti squash with leftover turkey mixed in and bacon to garnish.


SUN DRIED TOMATO BASIL PESTO SAUCE:
 I WILL PREFACE THIS BY SAYING THAT I USE MY OWN HOME DEHYDRATED TOMATOES FOR THIS.  I TAKE MY FRESH HOMEGROWN TOMATOES, SLICE AND SPRINKLE WITH DRIED BASIL AND THEN PLACE IN MY DEHYDRATOR UNTIL DRY.

2 cups fresh basil leaves
heaping 1/2 cup dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)
4 cloves of garlic
1/4-1/2 tsp sea salt (to taste)
1 cup of toasted pecans * see note above*
1 TBSP lemon juice
pepper to taste
1 cup good quality extra virgin olive oil (good quality makes all the difference regarding taste!)

Place everything except the oil in your food processor bowl, while processing very slowly add the oil to the mixture.  Process until desired texture and taste.  

My apologies for the lack of photos, but I hope you'll try it anyway. Enjoy!

  
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1 comment:

  1. 3 Studies SHOW Why Coconut Oil Kills Fat.

    The meaning of this is that you literally kill fat by eating coconut fats (including coconut milk, coconut cream and coconut oil).

    These 3 researches from big medical journals are sure to turn the conventional nutrition world upside down!

    ReplyDelete