Food Challenge Week 1: One Pan Pesto Chicken

For the first week of my food challenge (and if you don’t know what that is, please refer to a previous post for the sitch), I knew I wanted to choose something fairly healthy, fairly simple and something I knew I had the skill to cook.

Enter Pinterest for inspiration. It being the New Year, after having indulged in a lot of heavy and rich foods (my skin is screaming for respite) I picked something of the roasted chicken and vegetables variety.

vine tomatoes, new potatoes and green beans

Being dairy-free (not by choice, I’ll add) means I can veto a huge bunch of recipes, but there’s also a huge bunch I can adapt. The recipe I actually found was promoting the Sacla Free From Pesto. I already knew this existed, but I think seeing the post promoting this ingredient probably spurred me on to choose it over any others.

jar of sacla pesto

I’ll post a link to the particular recipe I used, but it’s dead simple.

Roasting new potatoes in a little oil, then adding the chicken, then smothering it all in pesto before introducing the green beans and vine tomatoes towards the end and basting with the chicken/pesto juices. Then serve. It’s as simple as that!

roasted pesto chicken and vegetables

I won’t lie, I avoided basting the tomatoes in the pesto mainly because I ran out of room in my pan and for the sake of nice photos (!) I didn’t want them to break off the vine during vigorous jigging of veg. So these probably didn’t cook down as much as they’re supposed to. But they did start to burst a little and were pleasant enough. I’m not a massive fan of a cooked tomato, but that’s what this challenge is about – broadening my food horizons….

roasted pesto chicken and vegetabl

So, as you can see, the potatoes cooked down beautifully, and were nice and buttery-soft on the inside but lovely and browned and nutty on the outside. (Just writing this is making me hungry…) The green beans were roasted but still moist (yes, I said moist) and had a little crunch to them when you bit in. The chicken was… I’ll say, okay – I didn’t like the chicken we’d bought from Tesco if I’m honest. I’d much rather pick mine up from Costco, but I didn’t have any of theirs in the house. But the pesto on top was a nice addition. And the tomatoes I’ve mentioned. They were warm roasted tomatoes – not much else you can say about them!

plate of pesto chicken and vegetables

As an overall dish, the flavours and textures were nice together. It wasn’t too greasy, despite pesto being traditionally oily. I feel like the Free-From iteration was less oily – on opening the jar I didn’t need to stir in any oil on the top into the pesto, which you do with standard pesto. I do feel like this pesto was a lot less salty, and the whole dish was fairly under seasoned, despite me adding what I would consider to be enough salt and pepper. If I was to make this again, I’d add some more salt.

All in all I’d give this recipe a 6/10 – it was fine, but I don’t like fine for dinner – I like yummy!

If you’d like to see the original recipe I used, you can find it at The Taming Twins here.

Let me know if you’ve tried or if you will be trying this recipe, and how you got on with it. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

So, on to week 2! I already know what the next recipe for my challenge is going to be, so stay tuned for next week’s post!

Free From Nasties

I’m part of a Tesco programme called Orchard where you can sample products for free or for less with vouchers they send. They recently sent me some vouchers for their Free From range.

This range offers gluten, wheat and dairy free products and though I’m not familiar with their whole Free From range I have been buying their coconut milk for a good 8 months now. I don’t drink dairy milk at all, not through an intolerance but just through choice, and now I prefer it (and so does my body!)

I decided to use my vouchers, not on the milk I usually buy, but to treat myself to a couple of their chilled desserts. I enjoyed them so much I had to share them with you!

indexTesco Free From Rich Choco Mousse Dessert (the old packaging is pictured) was literally the best chocolate mousse I’ve ever eaten. No exaggeration. I made so much noise whilst eating it that Gary told me off….. It was a lovely aerated but dense texture and the top is sprinkled with cocoa powder. The flavour was rich but not too rich and I basically licked the bowl clean. You couldn’t tell it was dairy free. It’s vegetarian so no gelatine concerns and it’s also gluten and wheat free. I felt positively virtuous eating it.

Next I tried their Creme Caramel Soya desserts.

photo credit fatgayvegan.com

Again these are vegetarian, which surprised me, dairy, gluten and egg free. They didn’t lose anything in their texture, were creamy and light with a nice wobble and the caramel sauce was delightful.

I have a couple of lactose intolerant friends, gluten intolerant friends and vegetarian friends and family, hence my insistence to share my findings. If you frequent Tescos and find yourself down the dairy aisle, give these a look. You won’t be disappointed!

I wasn’t asked to write this blog, I just really really wanted to share! I was able to get these items for free using the Tesco Orchard programme. Give it a try if you want to!