Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Jalapeno Pesto Jack Cheese Chicken Roll-ups

How's that for a title?  The inspiration for making tonight's dinner came from Pinterest, but the actual ingredients fell together based on what I needed to use from my fridge.  Frozen chicken, monterey jack cheese, and a jalapeno pesto that I love making and eating because it is so fresh, spicy, and delicious.

Jalapeno Pesto Jack Cheese Chicken Roll-ups
you'll need:
  • 4 boneless, skinless, thinly sliced chicken breasts*
  • 1 block of Cabot monterey jack cheese
  • 1 bunch of cilantro
  • 1 bunch of parsley
  • 1 jalapeno pepper
  • 5 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts or sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • juice of half a lime
  • salt and pepper for seasoning the chicken
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F.  

Begin by making your pesto by combining cilantro, parsley, chopped jalapeno, garlic, nuts, parmesan and lime juice in a food processor.  Process these ingredients until they become pesto-like, then add olive oil and blend again until mixed well.  

Cut four wedges of jack cheese.  I would say the wedges I cut were 1 cm wide, and as long as the short side of the block of cheese.  

*Thin boneless chicken breasts are key here.  The thinner, the easier they will be to roll and stay together, and they should be of uniform thickness to ensure they cook evenly.  If you have chicken that isn't thin or even, place it between two pieces of plastic wrap and go at it with a meat tenderizer or rolling pin.  

Season both sides of your chicken with salt and pepper, then spread 1-2 tablespoons of pesto on each piece of chicken.  

Place one wedge of cheese on each piece of chicken, then roll it up tightly.

Place each roll-up in a baking dish or sheet lined with foil, foil sprayed with cooking spray.  Make sure to place the rolls seam side down.  

(At this point feel free to secure the open ends of the chicken with toothpicks if you'd like.  I didn't because I didn't have any, but I would have to make them look "prettier.")

Bake for 35 minutes.  

These were really delicious, and if I could do it all over, I would definitely try to keep the ends tighter because I lost some of the cheese-- but I'm adding them to the dinner rotation for sure!

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