Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Chicken and Artichoke Pesto Chicken

Hi , everyone !!

   Again , I intended to post last night. Seems that my youngest child has now contracted the  "plague" that my oldest has.The fun, inevitable truth that every mother with one sick kid knows. It's coming. The healthy one is just a sitting duck ! Normally , I try not to get to stressed out about these kinds of every day things. But, we are leaving to Mexico in just a few days. The anxiety alone of flying with a 15 month old is already enough to make me want to take up a severe heroine addiction immediately. Flying with a sick kid ? Uh-huh. Not happening . I'd rather claw my own eyes out. Am I right ? He has croup , and after a one time dose of some magical potion , should be better in the next day or so. Apparently. Fingers crossed !

   When I started transforming our family to this way of eating , I was having a few little tantrums about all the recipes I was missing out on because I didn't have a food processor. And after roughly ten million tantrums , my loving husband came home with a lovely , new food processor for me. I seriously could not live without it. I use it at least once daily. Sauces, flours, butters, ice creme, dips, dressing....I could go on. If there was one kitchen item I recommend , its this. If you can , spend the money and get a decent one. No point getting one if it doesn't have the balls to chop and shred !

   The next recipe I am going to share was a random one that I just happen to come across on a Facebook group I'm in. It sounded good , I had all the ingredients and needed to use up my squash. Sold. I find myself being so thankful for the Internet and how easy and fast it is to find recipes . Can you imagine what our grandmothers must think of that ? No more paging though the 2 cookbooks you own, trying to come up with something different and healthy. Right at our fingertips . So , here goes another one . Hope you try it, this one was a total success. The sauce by itself could be used as a dip for an appie at your next party ! Baked in the oven with a bit of parm or shredded cheese, and you've got yourself a real crowd pleaser. Can you hear the "ooooh's " and "ahhhhhhhh's" already ? Enjoy !!

Chicken and Artichoke Pesto Spaghetti Squash

You need : 

1lb boneless chicken , cubed (breast or thighs)
1 large spaghetti squash (get the mothership sized one)
2 cans artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup walnuts (I used almonds , that's what I had)
3-5 tbsp olive or coconut oil
4 tbsp chicken / veg broth
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup fresh parsley*
1/2 cup fresh basil*
juice of one lemon
3-5 cups spinach 
sea salt and pepper to taste

* do not sub these herbs for the dried variety. Homey don't play that. Hit up the store and get the fresh stuff

pre heat oven to 400. My oven is convection , and cooks on devil-type temp's. So cook according to your oven.
Cut your spag squash in half , and remove seeds and strands. If you're feeling Martha Stewart-ish , save the seeds and roast later. Late like, when your kids are grown and you have 150 years to dig out and dry the slippery little buggers. Put the squash cut side down in a baking tray with a few inches of water. Into the oven for 35-45 minutes. Until a fork can be inserted easily to skin. Be careful when opening the oven to peek , the skin gets very hot and will burn the wrinkles right off your squinty little eyes!

Start the pesto. Add your oil of choice to a large frying pan. Once heated ,add one of the garlic cloves and the artichokes and cook until very tender and browned slightly. Season with sea salt and pepper.

Add this, along with walnuts, broth, olive oil  and your second garlic clove to your food processor .(see , ya really do want one). Puree until smooth. Then add basil, parsley, lemon juice, and salt and pepper. Hit the gas on that again until blended and smooth. T this point , it can be eaten with a spoon, by yourself , in a dark corner. The end. Uh , I mean taste it and add more lemon if you like.

Add your cubed chicken into pan that you used for the artichokes. Cook chicken until browned on all sides and cooked through. Add about 1/4 cup of the pesto mix (if you haven't eaten it all by this point) to your chicken , and add the spinach. Mix to combine. Cover and cook 2-4 minutes until the spinach is wilted and mixed in. 

Assuming you remembered to take out your squash and didn't singe off your eyebrows...now is the time to thread out the strands of that bad boy. I like to add it to a large mixing bowl. If your pan is large enough, you can use that, too. Mix your squash , chicken mixture and desired amount of remaining pesto, and stir to combine. Transfer to serving dishes , garnish with some of the fresh basil...and call the woman of the year committee, because you just made a kick ass meal !!! Enjoy!!

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