Why do all the truly great things in the world turn out bad for us somewhere down the line? Why does chocolate, cigarettes, whiskey and too much Reality TV end up detrimental to our hips, lungs, liver and general mental state – respectively. And don’t even get me started on crispy chicken skin! It’s mind-numbingly unfair that small pieces of what can only be described as heaven clog our arteries while grinning in all their saturated fat glory.
We all know that moderation is the key, but we certainly don’t apply that as often as we should. So I devised a way to make “deboned, skinless chicken breast fillets” (I know your head is ringing B-O-R-I-N-G, because mine does every time I type those words) – taste fabulous! You will forget all about that droolingly delicious chicken skin and its evil side-effects. For now…
Pesto Fillets – Your New Breast Friend
4 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Fillets
1 TB Olive Oil
125g Fat-free Smooth Cream Cheese (I use In-shape brand)
2 TB Basil Pesto
Salt and Pepper
Preheat your oven to 190deg C.
Mix the pesto and the smooth cream cheese well and set aside until needed.
Make deep incisions diagonally into the fillets, about 3/4 of the way through, and season well with salt and pepper.
Heat 1 TB olive oil in a non-stick pan and place the chicken incision-side down to get some good colour on it, and turn it once it has browned beautifully. Lightly fry on the other side and set aside onto a chopping board where we will fill the incisions with our delicious, creamy pesto mix.
NOTE: We are only doing this to get colour on the chicken breast, not to cook it through so remember you are still working with raw chicken and all utensils and chopping boards should be washed thoroughly afterwards.
Fill the incisions with the pesto mix and place into a lightly greased oven dish. Pop it into the oven for 25 minutes.
To test when the chicken is done, pierce a thick side and check to see if the juices run clear. You won’t believe how absolutely delicious this can be – without the guilt!
This can be served with a salad or side veg … but I decided to trick my husband into thinking that if he was eating something white on the plate, certainly they must be carbohydrates (pasta, rice or potatoes). Well, they weren’t. I mashed up steamed cauliflower with salt, pepper and mustard – and served this alongside steamed baby carrots that I had just dug up from my garden.
NOTE: The thing that took the longest in this whole dish was probably cleaning the carrots – so if you are in a hurry – choose a different vegetable, but I just had to use up what I had grown in my garden.
Things taste sweeter if I think of all the pigmentation and back ache I suffered tending to the garden I am now leaving behind …