PESTO MUSHROOM CHICKEN


Craving pasta? This is the recipe to reach for when you want a “pasta” meal that will not ruin your blood sugar levels nor weight loss. Using a pre-made pesto with quality ingredients saves time while adding restaurant quality flavor to every bite. This quick meal can be made in the morning and ready for dinner by the time you get home.

One does not have to look far to find doctors and other medical sites recommending diabetics eat whole wheat pasta. This “conventional wisdom” is poor nutritional advice at its best. Reading the label of any whole wheat pasta will show carbohydrate amounts as high, or higher, than white pasta. The higher the amount of carbs, the greater your blood sugar will spike. Whole wheat pasta can also hide countless low-quality ingredients such as high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), sugar or cellulose, a filler made from sawdust. Avoid the marketing health claims on packaged products and go directly for whole foods, like zucchini, to avoid being duped.

Allergens and substitutions: To avoid dairy omit the parmesan cheese and buy a dairy-free pesto.

 

HEALING BENEFITS

Chicken has high levels of vitamin B along with being a high source of protein, the building block of muscles. Only buy chicken (and all other poultry) that is raised without antibiotics to get truly healthy meat. Read the ingredients on the sausages. Food manufacturers can hide some horrible ingredients in tube meat. If you cannot pronounce it or recognize the ingredient, it’s best to not eat it. Honorable mention goes to Applegate Organics meats for producing real food available widely in the US. It’s not cheap, but real food raised properly seldom is.

 

Broth made from the bones of animals raised on a healthy diet provides deep rich flavor to recipes and countless nutritional benefits. Simmering the bones over low heat for hours brings out high amounts of rich collagen, providing for stronger bones, full-bodied hair and superior skin health. Store bought broth is much lower in nutrients compared to homemade broth. Save all your animal bones from past meals in your freezer and make a batch of bone broth every few weeks. Your body will thank you for it. Here’s our recipe for browned bone broth.

 

Mushrooms have been on the foragers plate for thousands of years. The store-bought varieties all have many concentrated healing properties. Most mushrooms are considered to be cleansing for your body from the antioxidants and can reduce inflammation and increase cellular immunity. Raw mushrooms contain a high level of prebiotics, the healthy bacteria for your digestive tract. Shiitakes have anticancer, antiviral and antibacterial properties. Wood Ear mushrooms have been proven to control blood sugar levels.

 

PUTTING IT ALTOGETHER

Follow the instructions below to make this savory meal. Look for fresh mushrooms in the refrigerated section at Trader Joe’s. They offer pre-washed and pre-sliced white mushrooms, which are a great time-saver. Substitute fresh shiitakes for even better healing properties. Mushrooms do not make it on the Dirty Dozen list, so do not worry about finding organic shrooms for your pasta. But if you can find organic, I am willing to bet they taste even better.

It’s good practice to pull out all the pots and pans you need before cooking. Likewise, pulling out the ingredients you need to measure or chop beforehand will simplify your cooking. The French call this practice mise en place which translates to “putting in place”. It is practiced in restaurants and taught to chefs in culinary school.

Pesto Mushroom Chicken IngredientsTime savers: Most stores sell pre-sliced onions in the frozen or refrigerated sections. Frozen works well for this recipe since it gets slow-cooked for hours. Trader Joe’s also sells pre-sliced mushrooms. It makes it as simple as opening the bag and pouring it in. TJ’s also sells my favorite affordable pesto. You could make your own pesto, but it would certainly cost more time and money.

This might be the easiest recipe we offer on our website. Simply add all the ingredients, except the zucchini and parmesan cheese, to your crock pot. Give everything a quick stir and turn it on high. Cover it and let it slow-cook for 4 hours on high. If you’re putting this together in the morning, you can let it cook all day on low heat for 6-8 hours.

Pesto Mushroom Chicken Crock Pot

While the chicken pesto mix is simmering away in the crock pot, you can prep the zukes. You can spiralize all 6X of the zukes and store for later use. Typically, I will reheat the sauce in one pan then lightly sear the zucchini noodles (zoodles) in a separate pan with ~1 tbsp of butter or olive oil. These gourds release a fair amount of water that needs to be cooked off before combining with the sauce. You can skip the two pan method and just add the zoodles to one pan with the sauce, but expect a watery bowl of pasta/soup. If you do not have a spiralizer you can use a julienne peeler or just a plain potato peeler. A potato peeler will make something more like a ribbon noodle or fettuccine. While Dr Valerie always points out that my spiralizer is a one-trick pony, I always argue that we use it at least once per week, so it justifies it’s space in the cupboard. Store your zoodles in a covered container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Zoodles Spiralizing Zucchini

 

Substitutions: If you do not have any broth on hand, just use filtered water. Likewise, if you want to reduce the calorie amounts, omit the broth. If the zucchini is not in season or if you do not have a fancy spiralizer, substitute romaine hearts to make healthy tacos.

If you’re using homemade bone broth it will have more flavor than the store-bought variety. Always dilute your bone broth 1:1. Since it is much more concentrated, use 1/4 cup of bone broth and 1/4 cup of water in place of the 1/2 cup of store-bought broth.

The best store-bought broth at Trader Joe’s is the Organic Free Range Chicken Broth. The other selections contain some poor quality ingredients, such as dextrose, cane sugar, caramel color and yeast extract (read: MSG). Choose carefully since this food stuff can go from a healing food to a toxic one.

Optional: If you’re trying to cut your calorie intake, skip the cheese. Likewise, if you’re having a hard time getting your weight loss started, skip the cheese. Parmesan is tasty and adds a salty element to this easy dish. Trader Joe’s has excellent choices for parmesan and grana padano in whole chunk forms. A simple box grater makes easy work of freshly shredding the cheese. Only shred what you need since it tends to dry out if sitting in your refrigerator for too long.

Serving Size: To portion this recipe out, divide the chicken pesto mixture into 3 or 4 servings. If you’re packing this for lunches, cook the zucchini first then evenly divide into containers and top with an even amount of the chicken pesto mixture. This dish reheats well in the microwave and will keep for a few days in your refrigerator.

 

PESTO MUSHROOM CHICKEN
 
Prep time
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Craving pasta? This is the recipe to reach for when you want a “pasta” meal that will not ruin your blood sugar levels. Using a premade pesto with quality ingredients saves time while adding restaurant quality flavor to every bite. This quick meal can be made in the morning and ready for dinner by the time you get home.Craving pasta? This is the recipe to reach for when you want a “pasta” meal that will not ruin your blood sugar levels. Using a premade pesto with quality ingredients saves time while adding restaurant quality flavor to every bite. This quick meal can be made in the morning and ready for dinner by the time you get home.
Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: Italian
Serves: 4 servings
Ingredients
  • Chicken Thighs, NO ANTIBIOTICS, Boneless, Skinless 1.25lb (Sub: Bone-In 1.5lbs)
  • Zucchini, Spiralized, 6X
  • Onion, Sliced, 1X
  • Pesto, 7 oz
  • Chicken Broth, ½ cup (Sub: Water)
  • Mushrooms, Sliced, 10 oz
  • Optional: Red Chili Flakes, 1 tsp
  • Optional: Parmesan Cheese, Shredded, ½ cup
Instructions
  1. Simply add all the ingredients, except the zucchini and parmesan cheese, to your crock pot. Give everything a quick stir and turn it on high. Cover it and let it slow-cook for 4 hours (or low heat for 6-8 hours).
  2. Spiralize the 6X zucchini and store unused in the refrigerator.
  3. Lightly sear the zucchini noodles (zoodles) in a separate pan with ~1 tbsp of butter or olive oil (3-5 min). These gourds release a fair amount of water that needs to be cooked off before combining with the sauce.
  4. Combine some meat sauce with the zucchini and reheat or just combine.
  5. Optional: Sprinkle with some parmesan cheese.

 

Photo by Fotolia.

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