Meal Planning Monday ~ Pesto Perfection

            Hi, my name is Christine Luken, and I’m addicted to pesto!  Really – I can’t get enough of that basil, garlic, and olive oil perfection.  And lately I’ve been eating it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Breakfast?  Yes!  It wouldn’t have occurred to me to put a smear of pesto on an egg sandwich until Panera debuted their Mediterranean Egg White sandwich several months ago.  It’s essentially a breakfast panini – bread, egg white, pesto, cheese, and sundried tomatoes.  It’s super-delicious, but not cheap!

            So I decided to make my own version at home!  First I cook my egg in a little bit of Smart Balance spread or butter.  I take two pieces of whole wheat bread, outsides buttered and sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.  Once the egg is cooked, I add it to the bread with a smear of pesto on one side and some sharp white cheddar cheese and cook it like a grilled cheese sandwich.  My mouth is watering as I type this!

            Of course, pesto isn’t just for breakfast!  You can add it to your sandwiches for lunch instead of mayo or mustard.  And I love making a great pasta dish with a pesto-based sauce and a good glass of red wine for dinner.  Here are a few great recipes ideas for you fellow pesto addicts!

  • Warm Italiano Spread ~ This is one of my favorite appetizer recipes from Kraft!  It’s simple, delicious, and my party guests always love it!

  • Creamy Pesto Chicken & Bow Ties ~ This is a new recipe that I’m trying this week.  It’s a little different from my usual pesto and chicken pasta recipe and I’m excited to try it!  See recipe below.

  • Pesto Stuffed Crescent Rolls ~ Leah suggested I try these rolls for a delicious side dish for dinner.  Pesto and mozzarella cheese tucked into a warm crescent roll – what’s not to love about that?

  • Pizza ~ If you like to make your own pizza, why not top yours with pesto, mozzarella, and fresh tomato slices?

What’s your favorite way to enjoy pesto?

Creamy Pesto Chicken & Bow Ties (From CampbellsKitchen.com)

2 Tablespoons of butter

1 ¼ Pounds of skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into cubes

1 Can (10.75 ounces) of Campbell’s Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup 98% Fat Free

½ Cup of pesto

½ Cup of Milk

½ of a 1-pound package of bow tie (farfalle) pasta (about 3 cups), cooked and drained.

Heat butter in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat.  Add chicken and cook until browned, stirring often.

Stir in the soup, pesto, and milk and heat to a boil.  Reduce heat to low.  Cook for about 5 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.  Stir in the pasta and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling.