Pesto Chicken Roulade

Chicken has found a larger presence in our diet over the last year. We both enjoy it, but sometimes it's just hard to come up with something different. A gal I work with mentioned buying some stuffed chicken breasts at the store, and one of them was a pesto and something. I mentioned it to Harry and we decided to give it a try.

Roulade is simply a fancy term for "roll-up". The chicken breasts we buy at Lanning's are HUGE and this would easily serve four people. In fact, I think I made it one night when we were kind of tired and it was the only thing we ate - and still had leftovers. I've taken the leftovers to work and heated in the microwave with no issues.

This isn't really a recipe that can be measurement specific. Count on one large breast for every two people you plan to serve.

I trimmed the extra fat from each breast, then put it inside a zip bag. It's great therapy to pound the dickens out of a piece of meat.

I use the zip bag because I'm not fond of raw chicken juice flying around the kitchen.

After the chicken, the ingredients are pretty simple. I used about a half-cup of pesto to cover both breasts, about a half-cup of parmesan-romano blend, one-third of a cup of mayo and just enough panko to coat. Use your own homemade pesto, mayo and crumbs, along with your fresh-grated cheese. We've had to make some sacrifices (read: cut some corners when we don't have hours to spend in the kitchen) since we both went back to work full time.

The pesto isn't coated too thick, nor the cheese - go with your own tastes. In the end, we found a nice balance between the chicken and the filling. I learned by error that pesto can be overwhelming if I use a too-heavy hand.

Then, roll up the chicken from the long side. Place seam side down on your work surface. I did all of this on the paper that the chicken was wrapped in.

I might have gone a little heavy with the mayo on this try. Trust me when I say the mayo does nothing more than seal the moisture in and keep the crumbs attached. After this was cooked, we didn't taste the mayonnaise. The chicken, however, was SO juicy.

Sprinkle on a coating of panko (I've also used regular dried bread crumbs with success) and place the breasts in a pan. Bake at 350 degrees for about an hour, or until your thermometer reads 160 degrees.

The crust browns nicely at 350. I wouldn't recommend going much higher - the crust might brown too quickly and the chicken get dry before the inside is cooked through.

Harry sliced the Pesto Chicken Roulade and it came out rather nicely for our first attempt at something like this. The bruschetta was yummy too!

As I said above, this is more for an idea of what else to do with chicken. Pound your breasts flat, smear them with ingredients you enjoy, roll it up and bake it.


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