How to Prepare Chicken Breasts Coated with Pesto, Panko and Cheese
Last night I made this dish from Hello Fresh for my daughter and myself that was so good, I had to share it with you. Hello Fresh is one of those services similar to Blue Apron that sends you ingredients plus a recipe for three individual meals. They are very similar to each other but have their differences.
My wife enjoys having these services send us meals for several reasons but mostly because these two:
- They offer up new ideas for weekday meals often including ingredients new to my wife and me. This helps us keep us out of the rut of preparing the same meals week after week.
- They cut down on the weekly shopping chore.
There are more reasons we like about these services plus some negatives but I will save them all for a future post.
About the Ingredients
I think you are going to enjoy this recipe because it is simple to prepare and less than 30 minutes cook time. The Hello Fresh recipe uses shredded mozzarella cheese but I can see myself experimenting with other cheeses including Parmesan, Provolone or Monterey Jack.
If you are not familiar with panko, think breadcrumbs. Panko is the Japanese term for breadcrumbs and are very similar except they are processed a little differently. You can read more about panko here.
Pesto is a sauce that is thought to have originated in Genoa, Italy and is typically prepared with garlic, pine nuts, salt, basil, Parmesan cheese and olive oil. There are many varieties of pesto depending on where you are located whether in Italy or other parts of the world.
Hello Fresh sent me a nice little tube of pesto but there are many good commercial brands to be found in your local markets. If you have access to fresh basil, you might want to make a batch of your own. Check out my recipe for pesto here.
Panko and Pesto Coated Chicken Breasts Recipe
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese
- olive oil spray or bottled
- salt & pepper to taste
- 4 chicken breasts boneless and skinless, rinsed and dried
- Preheat your oven to 400°F. The Hello Fresh recipe suggests 450°F, but I prefer to roast at 400°F for a little longer to prevent the coating from burning and it gives me a little more control over time and temperature.Saying that, I always recommend you determine chicken doneness using an instant thermometer and use time and temperature as only a guideline.
- Combine the panko breadcrumbs with the mozzarella in a small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper, then add a drizzle of olive oil and combine all the ingredients. If you need a little more olive oil to help combine the ingredients, add a little at at a time.
- Lightly coat a baking pan with a little spray olive oil or bottled oil. Transfer the chicken breasts onto the baking pan.
- Spoon and spread a couple of tablespoons of pesto onto each chicken breast. I used my hands to press the panko/mozzarella mixture on top of the pesto. Make a nice even layer to cover the entire top of the chicken breast.
- Transfer the pan to the oven and cook for 20 to 30 minutes until the center is no longer pink. Government food safety sites will tell you to cook chicken breasts to 165°F in the center but I think at that point the chicken is overcooked. I prefer to cook chicken breasts to 155°F.