MAKJ – Red Pepper Pesto and Bacon Chicken Strips

Oh, great digital camera fairy! Take pity on me and magically plop one on my doorstep! 10 photos and this is the best I have!

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So, basically this recipe (just smaller) for the Red Pepper Pesto but with the following changes:

  • 2 large red bell peppers, roasted, skinned, and seeded (maybe add one more if not using the spicy peppers)
  • 2 jalapenos, roasted, skinned, and seeded (optional)
  • 2 cayenne peppers, roasted, skinned, and seeded (optional)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil, roughly
  • 1/2 to 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt, to taste
  • 1/2 freshly ground black pepper, to taste

For the chicken:

  • 3 large boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into about 1-inch strips crosswise
  • 1/2 to 1 pound bacon

Bamboo skewers worked wonderfully but you might be able to do this with toothpicks or just laying the bacon ends underneath the chicken on the baking racks

For the Red Pepper Pesto:

Set your oven to 350 degrees F.

To make the Red Pepper Pesto, line a baking sheet with foil. Slice the bell peppers in half (or quarters), removing the seeds, then throw all the peppers (and the unpeeled garlic cloves if you intend to store any of this in the refrigerator for later use)on the baking sheet and roast in the oven for roughly half an hour (you’ll know everything is done when the bell peppers look shriveled). Remove the baking sheet, then fold the foil around the peppers and seal the edges. The resulting steam will enable the skins to come off easily. Leave them until they are cool enough to touch. Now, for the first messy part: grab a small knife (or use your finger nails, as long as they are clean ~grin~) and peel and remove the stems from the peppers (I left the seeds of the spicy peppers) and peel the garlic (which should come right off). Toss all your peeled goodies into a food processor or blender. Add the almonds, cheese, salt, pepper and about 1/2 cup of olive oil. Blend. If the paste isn’t quite the consistency you want (I could grab some in my hand, so a paste that will plop rather than drip), add more olive oil. Taste. Now, about the salt content. How much salt you use depends on how much bacon you are using. If you end up wrapping the whole piece of chicken with bacon, you may want to hold off on adding too much salt BUT I didn’t do that, added about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and it wasn’t quite enough. The original recipe stated that to store this in the refrigerator for later use, place it in a jar and pour a layer of olive oil over the top, to prevent air from spoiling it. If you do this, make sure the garlic is roasted, not raw. I’ve talked about storing garlic various ways and aside from roasting and storing in oil in the fridge and pickling, I’ve had tons of people tell me how dangerous it can be. Here’s an article from vegkitchen.com about preserving garlic: http://www.vegkitchen.com/tips/preserving-garlic/.

For the chicken:

Slice your chicken breast crosswise and place in a large bowl. Pour the pesto over the chicken. Now, for the second messy part: massage the pesto into the chicken pieces. Make sure it gets into all the nooks and crannies. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let it marinate for roughly 3-4 hours (or longer. I was surprised with how mild the flavor was so you could probably let this go overnight in the refrigerator but use your best judgement).

If you have a lot of bacon, use roughly one piece per chicken strip. If not (like me) I cut them in half crosswise. It’s much easier and cleaner to take the skewers or toothpicks out of the container before moving forward (unlike me, where I had to toss some because I got raw chicken-infused pesto on some).

Turn your oven back on to 350 degrees F.

For the third and final messy part. Cover another baking sheet with foil and place some baking racks (I used the little racks from old toaster ovens) on the sheet. You don’t want to have to touch anything extra once we proceed. Grab a chunk of chicken and wrap it with bacon. Secure with toothpicks or skewer it (you can put more than one per skewer). I didn’t have enough bacon so I basically ended up with half a piece of bacon on top of each chunk of chicken. Once that’s all done, scoop out the rest of the pesto and slather it all over the bacon and chicken pieces.

Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for about 45 minutes (bacon will be crispy and look almost burned, and the thicker pieces of chicken will have had time to cook thoroughly). I would start watching at about 30 minutes.

That’s it! We will, from now on, be turning all of our bell peppers into pesto like this. Since going keto (and limiting my veggie intake so much) we both have had issues with indigestion and intestinal issues when eating bell peppers. Not last night!

Entered into MyFitnessPal as “MAKJ – Red Pepper Pesto and Bacon Chicken Strips”

Calories: 775 Carbs: 8 Fats: 61 Protein: 57 Fiber: 4 (net carbs: 4)

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2 thoughts on “MAKJ – Red Pepper Pesto and Bacon Chicken Strips

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