Freshly made basil pesto is heavenly. I learned about the sauce through a food talk with a friend a long time ago and I’ve been hooked ever since! Basil really liven things up. Not to mention the fragrance…oh so delightful. I have them growing in a container outside of our apartment this summer. So I’ve been able to use them a lot for pesto, on pizza, and on tomato salad. Yumm!
Anyway, one time last month I picked a bunch of basil leaves and made pesto sauce. Then I mixed it with roasted chicken breast and made sandwiches out of the delicious combination. I packed them up along with another type of chicken salad sandwich with mayo, chives, and celery and brought them for lunch on our hiking trip. The pesto sauce, with that fantastic aroma of basil, crunchy pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, olive oil, and garlic, wrapped the roasted chicken so well. Super easy to make and packed with great flavors. Now that’s a great combination 🙂
What we’ll need:
- 1 pound of thick-cut roasted chicken breast meat from the deli section. (Next time I will roast bone-in and skin-on chicken in the oven, like this recipe. I was rushing to pack for the trip since I had miscalculated my schedule that day. Hence the deli alternative to create the sandwich at the time. It worked really well though!
Chop and mix in a food processor:
- Two handful of fresh basil leaves (maybe close to two cups)
- 3-4 garlic cloves
- A tablespoon of pine nuts (I’ve read that walnuts work fine too)
- 1/4 cup of Parmesan/Asiago cheese
- 1/4 cup of olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- Dice the roasted chicken
- In a large bowl, mix basil pesto sauce with the chicken
- Serve with Italian or Pumpernickel bread
During the warmer months, Jeff and I try to squeeze in a few hiking trips. Sometimes we’d camp out and other times we’d simply go for a day hike. It all depends on location and distance. For the shorter outdoorsy excursions that we do, I like to pack up some simple and good food with us. I keep them in a small cooler in the car. Though energy bars work fine, in my humble opinion, there’s something incredibly comforting about having real food before or after a hike.
Last month we went on a day hike at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. For the trip, I made a couple of chicken salad sandwiches for lunch. One with mayo dressing (inspired by Ina Garten’s recipe) and the other with basil pesto (next blog entry). The sandwiches made the perfect meal for that afternoon.
Here are the things that we will need for the chicken salad sandwich with mayo dressing:
- 1 pound of thick-cut roasted chicken breast meat from the deli section. (Next time I will roast bone-in and skin-on chicken in the oven as the original recipe suggests. I was rushing to pack for the trip since I had miscalculated my schedule that day. Hence the deli alternative to create the sandwich at the time. It worked really well! The second time I did the salad, I poached skinless and boneless chicken breast and it was a bit dry.)
- 2 celery sticks (chopped)
- ½ cup of light Mayo with Olive Oil (My friend, Leena, recommended this type a while back when I was looking for a good mayo. The suggestion worked. I like it very much.)
- ½ tablespoon of dijon mustard
- ½ tablespoon of horseradish
- Black Pepper
- Cayenne pepper powder
- 4-5 fresh green stems of chives (minced). I have chives growing in my container garden. I love its mild onion-like flavor and aroma.
- Dice the thick-cut roasted chicken breast
- In a large bowl, mix mayo, dijon, horseradish, chives, celery, pepper, and cayenne pepper powder
- Add the chicken into the mayo mixture
- Place in a container and a cooler for your picnic
- Serve on either Italian or pumpernickel bread