Keto Cheesy Pesto Chicken Bake at Cjsketokitchen! This is a easy to make recipe that the Italian food lover is sure to enjoy. This recipe will be loved by everyone and is great for those busy weeknight family meals. This combines classic Italian flavors to make a delicious meal. We hope that you enjoy it!
This is the perfect casserole when you’re short on time and ingredients. If you were looking for a weeknight dinner, cheesy chicken casserole is your answer. It’s super quick to make, and can be prepped ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator until you’re ready to bake it.
Casseroles are the king of one pot meals, and this cheesy chicken casserole recipe delivers. Everything cooks in a single baking dish to be popped into the oven. When you need to know how to make a full proof comfort food meal that’s as simple as it is delicious, this cheesy chicken casserole is the recipe you need
This casserole utilizes, pesto, which can be store-bought or if you’re lucky enough to have any basil growing in your own garden that would be delightful here. Using pesto packs a ton of fresh flavor. Make sure you choose a good quality basil pesto. The best ones are usually located in the refrigerator section of the grocery store.
Some of the other recipes that I referenced to come up with my own version used chicken breast, and of course if that is more economical for you go right ahead. But I changed it to chicken thighs. I like dark meat. But the chicken stays moist while the cheese blanketed on top gets bubbly and crispy. Even those not practicing the keto lifestyle, are sure to enjoy this, and can be served over rice or pasta to those in your family who do eat carbs.
A few tips:
- Basil has an extraordinary and his taste, which gets locked in to the leaves until they are picked… Lightly bruising them before processing brings out the aroma of the herb making the pesto more fragrant.
- I’ve utilized fresh tomato here. For those of you with a growing tomato harvest, this recipe will definitely showcase them.
- Mozzarella cheese can be substituted with an Italian five blamed cheese or Parmesan cheese if you prefer that.
- This step is totally optional… If you’d like to give your chicken a good searing before assembling the recipe, it makes the chicken cook faster, and it gets a pretty layer of caramelization on the outside.
- This recipe can be prepared ahead. Don’t bake it….just cover the assembled ingredients, and keep it in the fridge. Best to leave off the tomato’s until you are ready to bake.
A brief note on browning your meat…..why is browned meat tastier?
Thank the Maillard reaction (which occurs most readily when the surface temperature of food is more than 300 degrees Fahrenheit) and caramelization (which kicks in at about 320 degrees F).These chemical reactions not only bring about a color change, they also produce hundreds of flavor compounds that create the rich, savory notes and appetizing aromas we associate with roasted, grilled, and seared dishes—notes and aromas that are noticeably absent from foods cooked by wet methods like steaming, boiling, and poaching.
FOLLOW-UP TASTE TEST by C.J.
This dish was delicious which wasn’t a surprise. I really do like pesto and the flavor it brings to a dish so this combination of ingredients with the pesto, cream cheese and mozzarella cheese is absolutely fantastic. This dish is easy to prepare, and get on the table within an hour. We garnished ours with tomatoes which is totally optional. Yes, we know that tomatoes are a fruit and yes we know that tomatoes are higher in carbs that’s why it’s an optional ingredient. We live Keto as a lifestyle, and really neither one of us is trying to lose weight, we’ve moved on to the maintenance phase of our Keto diet journey. However, we also realize that we all have different thoughts and ideas about what’s allowable and what’s not for your keto diet journey, so again the tomatoes are optional and mainly for garnish. I personally enjoy tomatoes from time to time on things, like a BLT Chaffle, there is something about that whole bacon, mayo, tomato combination that is absolute delicious. I think you’ll really enjoy this recipe. Don’t forget you can share photos or your creations over in the Facebook Group or on Pinterest.
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Here is a companion blog post to get the best results from our Keto Quick Start Guide
Keto Cheesy Pesto Chicken Bake
- 2 lbs chicken thighs or breast seared
- 8 oz. cream cheese softened
- 1/3 cup pesto sauce
- 1 cup mozzarella cheese more if desired
- 1/2 tomato finely chopped
- 4 basil leaves finely chopped
- Preheat your oven to 375°, and grease a large baking dish
- Sear chicken for better flavor.
- Mix the softened cream cheese and basil pesto together.
- Lay your seared chicken flat into your baking dish, and top them with the cream cheese pesto mixture
- Top with one or more cups of shredded mozzarella cheese, or cheese of choice.
- Bake uncovered in the oven for 30 to 40 minutes or until golden and bubbly.
- Garnish with fresh chopped tomatoes and basil.
CJSKETOKITCHEN RECIPE SPOTLIGHT
In this section we try and highlight other recipes that might interest you. This week we decided to highlight another very popular and easy to make recipe:
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