Lynne's Kitchen

You don't have to be a professional chef to cook tasty meals

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta with Asparagus and Sundried Tomatoes

Now… say that 10x’s fast!!

This was a fabulous dish to say the least. Nothing is better than fresh basil pesto, asparagus, and pasta on a well-weathered Bay Area day! What I love about the basil pesto sauce is the freshness of it. I’ve bought ready-made packets and jars at the store before, and although its good for a quick pinch, when I can help it (and I have time for it), I like to make what I can from scratch. This sauce is great and although most recipes will call for pine nuts, I was inspired to use toasted walnuts instead. And it was complimented nicely by the Tomato Basil Bruschetta on cracked sourdough bread.

My Notes:

  • For the Basil Pesto Sauce, I substituted toasted walnuts for the pine nuts. I also dumped the entire Basil Pesto Sauce into the dish and may use less of it next time just so it doesn’t look so saturated – we’re talking SUPER GREEN. Depending on your personal preference, my advice would be to add half of the Basil Pesto Sauce to start off with and adjust to your liking as need be. But even at the full amount, it tasted fabulous and not overwhelming to the dish at all! (I sure wish I had some to warm up right now…)

Family Verdict:

‘Twas a good selection is what I interpreted from the “babe, this is good!” and the kids who came around when the pasta was finally addressed as “butterflies” with other methods of coaxing. The kids did an overall pass on the asparagus but managed to enjoy the pasta and chicken, although Little K did continue his food testing ritual of putting the asparagus in his mouth, chewing for a little bit, then spitting it all out. Coaxing was not as easy the following day on Little K (oddly enough he’s the kid that is more open to food in general); however, Big K did a wonderful job on cleaning his plate once he got into the groove that “green food is okay to eat”. Perhaps there are dishes kids consider one-hit-wonders?? Something about green food is just not appealing to kids.

I personally liked the added touch of the sundried tomatoes. I was getting a little obsessed in wanting to have one with each bite! Trader Joe’s has a really good one in olive oil, which was the one that I used for this recipe.


Definitely! We will be making again!

Bon appetit,

Basil Pesto Chicken Pasta with Asparagus and Sundried Tomatoes
Printer-Friendly Version
Yield = 6-8 servings


  • 1/2 – 1 cup of Basil Pesto Sauce (recipe to follow)
  • (1) 12 oz. box of Farfalle (bow-tie) noodles
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 bunch of asparagus, washed and cut into 2″ lengths
  • 1/3 cup of sundried tomatoes


  • Cook pasta according to package instructions. Drain and set aside.
  • Season chicken breast with salt and pepper. Grill or using a skillet using medium-high heat. Cook until done. Slice into thin bite-size pieces.
  • Steam asparagus over 1″ of water and cook until fork tender. Salt, optional.
  • Toss pasta, chicken, asparagus, sundried tomatoes, and Basil Pesto Sauce together in a bowl. Start out with 1/2 cup of the Basil Pesto Sauce and add sauce to your liking.

Basil Pesto Sauce
Yield: 1 cup


  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts (toasting is optional)
  • 3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


  • Combine the basil in with the pine nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. (If you are using walnuts instead of pine nuts and they are not already chopped, pulse them a few times first, before adding the basil.) Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
  • Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
  • Set aside.

Source: Adapted from Erin’s Food Files, who adapted from All Recipes

April 30, 2010 Posted by | Chicken, Pasta | Leave a comment

Chicken Tortilla Casserole

All I can say is… where has this recipe been all my life?!

This dish has AMAZING flavor! Those chipotle peppers in adobo sauce really do bring out the wow factor – and I mean WOW, WOW, WOW!! Served this with some warmed up pinto beans, but one could easily use black beans. If there is one recipe that needs to be added to your list of things to cook, by golly, this is the one!

My notes:

  • Omitted the shallots (never have any in the kitchen… because I don’t ever buy any, hah)
  • Used one chipotle pepper in adobo sauce (kid-friendly)

Family Review:

Not only did Hubbo go a-scarfin’, but Big and Little K did their due diligence on their plastic little plates! If there is any of this delicious meal remaining, leftovers will taste twice as good. I’m sad that our leftovers have already been demolished because I would love to warm some of this up right now – can you tell how much I LOVE this dish?



Bon appetit,

Chicken Tortilla Casserole
Printer-Friendly Version
Yield: 4-6 servings


  • 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, butterflied into halves (4 halves total)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil, divided
  • 1 shallot, minced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tablespoon(s) chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
  • 1¾ cups chicken broth
  • 5 cups tortilla chips, broken into large pieces
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and diced
  • 4 oz. sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 2 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped


  • Pat the chicken breast halves dry and season with salt and pepper.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the vegetable oil in a 10-12 inch oven-safe skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken to the pan and cook until golden brown on both sides (chicken does not need to be fully cooked at this point.)  Transfer to a plate and set aside.
  • Add the remaining oil, shallot, garlic, chipotle, and ¼ teaspoon of salt.  Cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds.  Add the chicken broth, scrape the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, and bring to a simmer.
  • Stir in half of the tortilla chips.  Nestle the chicken into the broth and cook over medium-low heat until cooked through (reading 160° F on an instant-read thermometer), about 10 minutes.  Transfer the cooked chicken pieces to a cutting board and shred into bite-sized pieces when it is cool enough to handle.
  • Return the shredded chicken to the skillet with the tomatoes, ½ cup of the shredded cheddar cheese, and 1 tablespoon of the cilantro.  Stir in the other half of the tortilla chips until they are incorporated and moistened.
  • Sprinkle the remaining cheese on top and place the pan under the broiler until the cheese is melted and browning, about 2-3 minutes.  Top with remaining cilantro and serve, allowing the casserole to cool 5 minutes before serving.

Source: Annie’s Eats, who adapted from Pink Parsley, who adapted it from Cook’s Illustrated

April 23, 2010 Posted by | Casserole, Chicken, Kid-Approved, Main Meal | 1 Comment