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Easy, Cheesy, Chickeny Good

March 23, 2010

I had big plans for dinner last night. Big plans. I started a batch of ratatouille in the crock pot earlier in the day, and it was smelling mmmmm, good. (Let me know if you’re interested, and I’ll post that recipe.) I cut up some fingerling potatoes and onions, tossed them with olive oil, s&p, and threw them in the oven to roast. And then I got everything ready to prep the chicken.

And every smoke detector, carbon monoxide detector, and Bengal cat in the house started screaming. I changed batteries in every one I could reach, and then gave up. They kept screaming, off and on for about an hour. And I prepped the chicken while trying not to lose my mind.  If the quantities are a little off, you’ll understand why.

I was just about to take a baseball bat to each and every detector in the house (the cat ran and hid, or she was next), when Mr. Alfa came home and started yanking the bleating bastards off the ceiling. After about the third one, he found the defective unit (yes, I said unit), and it got quiet.

He deserved a really good dinner for saving my sanity and The Lilikoi. Thank heavens, he got one. The chicken rocked. And it was easy, cheesy, crispy good.

Pesto-Parmesan Crusted Chicken

5 chicken drumsticks (or whatever pieces you want)

3 tbps. pesto sauce (the stuff in the jar will work; or just run a handful of basil leaves and a few glugs of olive oil through the blender to make a paste)

1/3 cup grated parmesan (parmigiano reggiano, pecorino romano, locatelli, or whatever you shake on your pasta, as long as it doesn’t come in a green can)

2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs

Assorted Italian dried herbs of your choice (I used oregano and parsley)

Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line a sheet pan with a baking rack (or a cooling rack, or some kind of rack that will let air circulate around the chicken).
  2. Pull the skin off the chicken legs. Or not, if you’re a skin eater. Personally, I’d rather go through the ick of pulling it off than eating it, but you make the call.
  3. Put the pesto in a shallow dish; if it’s really thick, add a glug of olive oil to thin it.
  4. In another dish (or a big ziploc bag), mix the grated parm cheese, the panko, whatever dried herbs you’re using, and the salt & pepper.
  5. Drag the chicken through the pesto (you’re going to need to get physical with it to get the pesto piled on the chicken), then coat the chicken with the dry mix.
  6. Put the breaded chicken on the racks in the sheet pan. Let it rest about 10 minutes, so the coating will stick.
  7. Bake the chicken for 20ish minutes, turn over, then cook for another 20ish minutes. It’ll get brown and crispy.

That’s it. Really. I told you it was easy.

7 Comments leave one →
  1. Tracey permalink
    March 27, 2010 10:12 pm

    Just made this and it is very good!! I used chicken breast and Knorr pesto. This is so good I would serve it for company. Thanks!!

  2. March 30, 2010 1:30 pm

    That sounds fantastic, I wish I could have it right now.

  3. Cindy Norman permalink
    March 31, 2010 10:58 am

    So good. My husband is so happy we made extra.

    Thanks for another winner.

  4. E11even permalink
    April 12, 2010 8:44 pm

    Oh my, this smells delicious cooking right now.

  5. Vegas05 permalink
    May 3, 2010 6:55 pm

    We all loved this. Even my very picky 17 year old!

  6. Trish permalink
    October 9, 2010 4:56 pm

    I’m making this tonight for company! Love it.


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