Yesterday my daughters, their friends, and I drove home from an overnight stay at a water park hotel to celebrate her 10th birthday. We had a fun time jumping the waves in the wave pool, I faced and conquered the “Howlin’ Tornado” water slide, and five girls and I stayed up past midnight painting our nails blue and pink. But the downside of leaving the comforts of home is having to depend on hotel amenities for meals and snacks. This particular hotel only allows you to eat food purchased from their snack shack in the water park. In other words, families are forced to eat cheeseburgers, nachos, and other similar types of food. I couldn’t wait to get home to eat a home cooked meal and sleep in my own bed.
We didn’t arrive home until 6 p.m. The kids were hungry and I had already called my husband to let him know that I was making dinner. My initial dinner idea was to make spaghetti. I wanted to keep it simple using ingredients I knew I would have in my pantry. Makes sense, right? WRONG. I had pasta but no sauce.
So I searched my refrigerator and pantry for ingredients to pull together. Fortunately I found a bottle of pesto sauce which I knew would be the key ingredient to our dinner.
What I ended up doing is making a quick and easy pesto pasta dish with grilled chicken, sauteed mushrooms, bell peppers, and wilted spinach. Our pasta dinner hit the spot and the kids loved the noodles and chicken. And there was no side of onion rings with our dinner.
Here’s the recipe for this fast but great family style dinner.
Recipe: Pesto Pasta with Grilled Chicken
A simple and flavorful pasta dinner.
- 1 pound box spaghetti
- olive oil
- 2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
- salt and pepper
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- One 8-ounce package sliced mushroom
- 4 cups baby spinach
- 1/2 cup pesto
- Parmesan cheese
- Cook the pasta, al dente, according to the package directions and drain.
- Heat the grill to medium-high heat. Brush olive oil on both sides of the chicken. Season with salt and pepper.
- Grill the chicken breasts for 4-5 minutes on each side or until the chicken is cook. Allow the chicken to rest for 5 minutes before cutting it into cubes.
- While the chicken is resting, saute the red bell pepper, mushrooms, and spinach for 3-4 minutes.
- Drizzle the pasta with a couple tablespoons of oil and add the pesto sauce. Toss the pasta until the spaghetti is coated.
- Cut the chicken into cubes. Add the chicken and the vegetables to the pasta and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.