4.03.2013

Pesto Chicken Sandwich [PLUS] Two Delicious Soups.

I haven't posted a recipe in a while...I feel like I've been stuck in a rut lately. BUT when my Bestie came to visit last month, we just had to cook together, just like the old days. I guess you could say that lifted me right out of my "rut" >> and so you get THREE delicious recipes, not just one.

If you are looking for a quick delicious lunch option, look no further than this pesto chicken sandwich - on a french baguette with avocado, fresh mozzarella and baby arugula. YUM. I'm drooling just typing this up. This is how you make it:

- 2 small-med chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
- 1/2 cup basil pesto, the fresher the better
- 1/4 cup greek yogurt
- 1/4 cup mayo, optional
- Salt and fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1 baguette, cut into 3 pieces
- fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced ~1/4" thick
- sliced Roma tomatoes
- baby arugula
- 1 ripe avocado, sliced

Mix up chicken, pesto, yogurt, mayo, and salt/pepper in a medium size bowl.
Serve sandwiches on toasted baguette layered with arugula, tomato, mozzarella, chicken and avocado. Slather extra pesto right on the baguette for added flavor.
Enjoy the sandwich by itself, or with one of the soup options below...

SOUP option #1:
Wisconsin Cauliflower Soup
It's creamy, velvety, and pairs perfectly with this lovely, fresh sandwich!

-2 tablespoons butter
-1 medium onion, chopped
-1/4 cup all-purpose flour
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1 can evaporated milk* - or double the regular milk
-1/2 cup regular milk*
-2 cups chicken broth* 
-1 ~ 2 cups water*(to desired thickness)
-1 head cauliflower, cut into 1-inch pieces
-1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
-1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
-1/2 ~ 1 cup shredded pepper jack cheese
-Bacon, cooked and crumbled (optional)
In 4-quart saucepan, melt margarine or butter over medium heat. Add onion and cook until golden, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in flour and salt; cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Gradually stir in milk, chicken broth, and 1 cup water (add the rest later adjusting to desired thickness); add cauliflower and heat to boiling over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat to low; cover and simmer until cauliflower is tender, about 10 minutes. In blender (with center part of blender cover removed to allow steam to escape, but cover with papertowel/cloth to avoid splashing of hot liquids), blend cauliflower mixture at low speed in small batches until very smooth. Return cauliflower mixture to saucepan; heat over medium heat until hot, stirring occasionally. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in mustard and slowly add 1 1/2 cups cheese until melted and smooth. Optional: Garnish soup with remaining cheese and crumbled bacon.


SOUP option #2

Tuscan Tomato Soup
Use up the left-over pesto in this favorite soup of mine!

- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 2 (14.5-oz) cans diced tomatoes
- 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
- 3/4 cup heavy whipping cream, I sometimes substitute evaporated milk or just regular milk
- 1/2 cup basil pesto
- Salt and Pepper, to taste

Heat oil in a medium soup pot. Add onions and cook over med-low heat until translucent. Add tomatoes and chicken stock, bring to a simmer. Allow to simmer for about 15 minutes. Add pesto.
Blend to desired consistency in a food processor or blender. Return to pot. Add cream or milk, then adjust seasoning to taste with salt and pepper.

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