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PGF: Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale Sandwiches

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Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale sandwiches make a quick and healthy meal. These warm, toasted sandwiches can be made with GF or wheat bread. Perfect for a group of people who have differing dietary needs. The lemon and pesto combination is irresistable. Whether you are eating GF or not you will love this sandwich!

I really enjoy eating soup. There’s nothing else like a tomato soup and grilled cheese, and any time I feel sick with anything I make Avgolemono Soup. I have a whole pinterest board just for soups I want to try!

Soup is a cold weather food. The last thing you want to do on a hot day is eat a big bowl of steaming soup. Hot days are the majority here, so as summer approaches I’ve been trying to get my fill of soups.

A few weeks ago, when the temperature starting getting into the 70s, I kind of freaked out about all the soup recipes I wanted to try and hadn’t had the chance yet! There was one soup in particular that I was anxious to try so I planned to make it that very night. I needed something a little more substantial to go with the soup so I invented these sandwiches out of ingredients from my refrigerator.

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The soup, sadly, wasn’t that great but the sandwiches were awesome! The lemon flavored kale and pesto go together strikingly well. As someone who usually eats all of my foods separated I was honestly a little worried, but the sandwich was 100% enjoyable. The tastes and textures all blended together perfectly. Even the GF bread was perfect. It browned and crisped up so much better than the sandwiches I made on wheat bread for Steve.

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Before actually putting together these sandwiches you’ll need to cook some chicken and saute some kale. It sounds like a lot of work for a sandwich, I know. First, I will tell you that it’s worth it! I’ll do a little extra work for a healthy, delicious meal that everyone in the family likes! Second, these two steps take about 20 minutes total and can be done ahead of time. These sandwiches are a great use of leftovers if you happen to have some extra cooked chicken laying around!

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Pesto Chicken & Lemon Kale Sandwiches

Steps 1 – 3 can be done ahead of time. Store the cooked chicken and kale in the refrigerator until ready to use.
 
Ingredients
  • 8 slices of bread (GF, wheat, or combination of both)
  • 8 tsp pesto
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese
  • 1 boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped into bite sized pieces
  • 1 Tbs olive oil
  • 1 Tbs lemon juice
Directions
  1. Fill a saucepan with water. Bring to a boil and add the chicken breast. Reduce heat to medium and let simmer until the chicken is cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
  2. While the chicken in cooking, heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large frying pan. Add the kale and saute for about 5 minutes. The kale will turn to a brighter green color and then soften and wilt. Add the lemon juice to the pan and cook, continuing to stir, until there is no more liquid remaining on the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
  3. When the chicken has finished cooking shred it using two fork (or cut into bite sized pieces).
  4. Heat a skillet (the same one you cooked the kale in is fine) over medium heat. Prepare the GF bread by spreading a tsp of pesto sauce on one side of each piece of bread. Spray the other side of the bread with cooking spray, and place that side of the bread down on the baking pan. Put about 1/4 of the chicken on one slice of bread, topped with 1 tbs of cheese. On the other slice, spread out some of the lemon kale and top with another tbs of mozzarella.
  5. Cover the skillet with a lid and let cook until the cheese is mostly melted. Remove the two bread slices from the skillet and carefully put them together. Press down on the top of the sandwiches with a spatula to help keep the sandwich together.
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 with the reaming bread. Be sure to cook all of the GF sandwiches before cooking any sandwiches using wheat bread.
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Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

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It’s September, school is back in session, and a lot of people are celebrating fall with pumpkin flavored baked goods. As a northerner transplanted to the south, there is nothing about fall going on right now in my mind. It’s still gardening season and temperatures are still in the 90s here. This is summer. The last thing I want to do when it’s time to cook is turn on the oven when it’s already so hot! The grill is now my most used appliance.

I’ve been grilling 3-5 days a week all summer and tried bunches of marinades, sauces, and grilling techniques. I stumbled upon this Pesto Ranch marinade just about a week ago.

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It was 3:45pm on a Saturday, and I hadn’t given dinner a thought. I pulled out some random ingredients from the cupboards and started brainstorming. Pesto is good. Ranch is good. Okay, Pesto Ranch!

The marinade took approximately 1 min to put together. Add in another 3 or 4 minutes to cut the chicken into bite sized pieces. I mixed it all in a bowl, let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours, and then grilled it on skewers with some large chunks of onion. It was probably the simplest meal I’ve made in weeks AND the absolute tastiest.

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

The chicken smelled so good fresh off the grill that about half of my pictures ended up blurry because I was rushing them in order to get to the eating! I managed to get a few good shots and then we chowed down. There were no leftovers.

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

So, you need to try this! If you happen to live somewhere that is actually experiencing fall weather be sure to make this before you pack up your grill for the winter. If you live in the south . . . well, you have plenty of time left for grilling. Let me know what you think! I hope you enjoy this as much as we did!

Un-skewered and ready to eat!

Un-skewered and ready to eat!

Grilled Pesto Ranch Chicken

 

Ingredients
  • 3 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
  • 3 Tbs pesto
  • 2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/4c plain greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp ranch seasoning (the powered kind that comes in packets. Hidden Valley’s ranch seasoning is labeled GF)
  • 1 onion, chopped in large chunks (optional)
Cooking Directions
  1. Mix the pesto, olive oil, yogurt, and ranch seasoning in a medium sized bowl.
  2. If you haven’t already, cut the chicken into bite sized pieces, then stir it into the marinate so all the pieces of chicken are well coated.
  3. Cover the bowl and refrigerate for 30 min up to overnight (I marinated mine for 2 hours and it was quite flavorful).
  4. Take the chicken out of the refrigerator about 30 minutes before you want to grill it.
  5. Slide the chicken and the onions onto your skewers.
  6. Grill over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes on each side. I visually check for doneness, and use a meat thermometer to double check. Chicken should be cooked to 165°F.

I served this with corn on the cob.

 

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