Italian Chicken Bake with Creamy Pesto and Herbed Pistachios

Ingredients

  • ½ cup of shelled pistachios

  • 4 tablespoons of Salted Challenge Butter

  • 1 teaspoon of dried Italian herbs

  • ½ teaspoon of garlic powder

  • 1 cup of diced onion

  • 2 cup of large diced bell pepper

  • 2 cup of large diced fennel (also known as anise) saving the fennel fronds for garnish

  • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans of petite diced tomatoes with oregano

  • 1 (3.8 ounce) can of sliced black olives, drained

  • 3 cloves of crushed garlic

  • 6 thin sliced chicken breasts

  • 1 teaspoon each of salt and pepper or to taste

  • 8 ounces of Challenge Cream Cheese

  • ¼ cup of milk

  • ¼ cup of pesto

 

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

  2. In a large skillet, add 4 tablespoons of Challenge Butter over medium-high heat. Once butter is melted, add pistachios and lightly toast until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in Italian herbs and garlic powder, stirring until well coated. Remove pistachios from pan and place on a small plate to cool.

  3. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt and pepper and place into a large glass casserole dish.

  4. Add bell pepper, fennel, and onions on top of chicken.

  5. Pour tomatoes on top, and add the olives and garlic

  6. Place uncovered casserole dish in the preheated oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes, or until chicken reaches 155 degrees.

  7. Carefully remove from oven, cover with a sheet of tin foil and place on countertop. Let chicken rest for at least 10 minutes in the hot pan with vegetable as it continues to cook in the hot bubbling mixture. Remove foil when chicken registers at 165 degrees and the chicken is no longer pink in the middle. 

  8. While chicken is resting, place Challenge Cream Cheese, milk and pesto in a microwave-safe bowl loosely covered to prevent spatters. Microwave for 60-90 seconds, or until cream cheese is warm. Whisk ingredients together to create a creamy sauce.

  9. To serve, place chicken on a serving plate. Cover with the Italian vegetable mixture, and a dollop or drizzle of creamy pesto sauce. Sprinkle top with the Herbed Pistachios and fennel frond for garnish.

Creates 6 servings