Easy, Healthy, & Delicious Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

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This easy chicken pesto pasta is the perfect weeknight meal! Delicious for picky eaters, and easy to meal prep for later.

Meal planning is by far, the easiest way to save on your grocery budget each month.  It’s also one of the most difficult things to make yourself sit down and do!

Cooking dinner is definitely not one of my favorite things to do, but I know we are saving our family A TON of money by planning ahead and avoiding fast food restaurants on our way home.

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    Since my husband and I are on a debt free journey, (and trying to stay healthy too), we only go out to eat on very rare or special occasions.

    We are also super busy at work and wrangling three young kids, which means we have to plan our meals in advance!

    We simply can’t afford the added stress of wondering what’s for dinner, when we are already exhausted from the day.

    Time Saving Tip:  We almost always double the recipe and eat leftovers the following night.  This way we don’t have to cook every night!

    Over the next few weeks, I am going to highlight some of our favorite, quick and easy budget friendly meals!

    I’ve also included some of my favorite time and money saving tips throughout the recipes (because if there’s a cooking shortcut-i’m on it!)

    They are low cost and low calorie, and taste delicious!  I hope you love them as much as we do!

    More Easy Weeknight Meals:

    Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe

    Simple, but filled with so much flavor!  We usually don’t have a side dish with this meal, but you could add a veggie or two!


    Is this recipe Kid Friendly?:  My 3 year old daughter will eat this, but the 5 year old picky guy…no such luck!


    Ingredients needed for Chicken Pesto Pasta

    • 8 ounces ziti (we use whole grain, but regular is cheaper!)
    • 50 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons warm water
    • 4 tablespoons pine nuts (crushed)
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
    Easy chicken pesto pasta

    How to Make Easy Chicken Pesto Pasta for dinner tonight

    Step 1– Boil a pot of water over high heat.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

    Step 2– Combine basil, garlic, water, pine nuts, and oil to make pesto.

    Step 3– Use a non stick cooking spray to coat a medium frying pan.  Cook chicken for about 8 minutes per side.

    Step 4– Once chicken is cooked through (no pink!), chop chicken into strips or cubes, and combine with pesto and pasta.

    Step 5– Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and stir!  Serve warm!

    This makes a great lunch too, and even tastes great cold if you’re on the go!

    This recipe is adapted from our favorite healthy and EASY cookbook The Shredded Chef.

    Favorite Time Saving Tips for Chicken Pesto Pasta

    We have been using this tube of basil (the whole thing) per batch when we want to save time, or can’t find enough fresh basil leaves. Sometimes we use this pre minced garlic (but it’s more expensive than grabbing a mincer and doing it yourself.)

    I love to use this simple kitchen gadget to mix up the pesto quick!  It crushes the garlic, pine nuts, and mixes everything together in about 1 minute flat!

    I always put the lid on the pan for the last half of cooking.  I think it helps the chicken cook through a little better!

    Frugal Hack:  Buy in bulk to save money! We eat this meal several times per month so we always have a Costco bag of pine nuts in the fridge.

    What are some of your favorite easy, healthy budget meals?  Let me know in the comments so I can try them out!

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    Chicken Pesto Pasta Recipe


    • Author: Shannon Cairns
    • Total Time: 25 minutes

    Description

    This easy chicken pesto pasta is healthy and the perfect weeknight meal that even picky eaters will love!


    Ingredients

    Scale
    • 8 ounces ziti (we use whole grain, but regular is cheaper!)
    • 50 fresh basil leaves (finely chopped)
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • 2 tablespoons warm water
    • 4 tablespoons pine nuts (crushed)
    • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
    • 2 6-ounce boneless, skinless chicken breasts

    • 4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

    Instructions

    Step 1– Boil a pot of water over high heat.  Cook pasta according to package instructions.  Drain and set aside.

    Step 2– Combine basil, garlic, water, pine nuts, and oil to make pesto.

    Step 3– Use a non stick cooking spray to coat a medium frying pan.  Cook chicken for about 8 minutes per side.

    Step 4– Once chicken is cooked through (no pink!), chop chicken into strips or cubes, and combine with pesto and pasta.

    Step 5– Sprinkle on the Parmesan cheese and stir!  Serve warm!

    Nutrition

    • Calories: 412


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