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A SIMPLE WEEKNIGHT SOLUTION For a quick, easy schoolnight dinner that everyone will love, pull together pasta with pesto, peas and chicken.
Now that we have blown through Labor Day and the real school year is upon us, I, for one, am trying to think of some easy, healthy recipes to add to my weeknight repertoire. I need something fast, that can be thrown together after a long day, before a long night of homework, and I need something delicious that will trump any thoughts of Chick-fil-A pickup on the way home from ACT tutoring. And, I need something that won’t heat up the kitchen: The forecast still says 100 degrees-plus all week long. Just because September is technically fall does not mean that Houston has cooled off.
Pasta with Pesto, Peas and Chicken is my solution. First of all, it’s pasta, which always sounds enticing to my crew (you can always sub in whole wheat pasta if you’re looking to eliminate the white stuff). Homemade pesto is a breeze to make, and basil is still out there in abundance. Bonus: Make the pesto ahead of time and freeze it according to the instructions in the recipe. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw for a couple of hours on the kitchen counter, and you’re good to go.
Sneak some veggies in with the addition of frozen peas, and add some protein with grilled chicken breast that you’ve bought at the prepared counter at the grocery and sliced at home. You’ll have something that is homemade and healthy but took no energy at all to put together. And the kitchen stays cool!
Pasta with Pesto, Peas and Chicken
1 pound spaghetti
1 ½ cups frozen peas
2 tablespoons olive oil
¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
1 ½ cups homemade pesto, get the recipe here
Salt and pepper
2 store-bought or pre-cooked grilled chicken breasts, sliced or cut into cubes
Bring a large pot of water to boil with a teaspoon or so of salt added to it. Add the spaghetti and cook for about 8 minutes, or until the spaghetti is al dente. Add the frozen peas to the boiling pasta. Drain the spaghetti and peas and place them in a large bowl. Add the olive oil and parmesan and toss gently. Add the pesto to the spaghetti and peas, and, again, toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with the grilled chicken.