Saturday, 26 April 2008

Cheat's dinner - Chicken Pesto Pasta

Making meals from scratch taste better and will be more healthy than processed food, but sometimes you are short on time and even just too tired to think about ingredients and cooking times. For such occasions I use what I call my 'cheat's dinner' recipes. These often combine ready prepared food with some home cooking - creating a meal that isn't as bad as a TV dinner but is quick and easy to pull together.

Every so often I visit my friend Mac at his flat in Edinburgh. We often go out for dinner but when we are feeling a bit skint, we take turns to bring round food and cook at his place. I stay a couple of nights a week in Edinburgh so it's fun to go round to someone's flat and cook a meal, have a glass of wine and have a good gossip.

This dinner came about when I was flailing about in the aisles of the Marks and Spencer outlet at Waverly Station - a place I spend too much time in - as it was my turn to cook and I was running late.

Bag of fresh pasta (I used tagliatelle but any would do)
Pot of green pesto
Packet of chicken breast pieces (I think they are meant for sandwiches but they are like bite sized pieces of chicken breast)
French loaf
Bag of salad leaves

Cook the pasta as per the instructions. Drain and add back to the pot adding the pesto and stir over a low heat. Slice the tomatoes up and add to the pasta.

For the salad, put the leaves in a bowl, add some olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper. If you have it, I like to add some wholegrain mustard. Toss and serve with the french loaf and some butter.

Check the pasta is fully combined and serve (I like to serve it in a bowl).

This all takes about ten minutes but is very tasty and looks like it takes longer. For a proper full-on home cooked version you could make this on a Monday night using the roast chicken from a Sunday dinner and make your pwn pesto. But as a cheat's dinner it is pretty good.

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