Pesto Chicken with Cabbage Sketties

Apparently when I was a kid I couldn't pronounce spaghetti, so I used to call it sketties.  This word has come in handy recently when describing things that are pasta like, but not pasta.  When eating paleo, you see things in a new light. For example, cauliflower is now rice and mashed potatoes.  Zucchini is spaghetti (we will address that in a later post).  You get the gist.  We received a small head of cabbage in our CSA basket last week, and instead of making the usual coleslaw, Ian had the idea to turn it into noodles.  He's so smart!
Quick tangent, if you haven't already, scour your weekly circular for deals on meat.  When holidays roll around, any holiday, the supermarkets stock extra meat in anticipation of increased demand.  But, they don't know what KIND of meat people are going to eat on any given holiday, so they just buy extra of everything!  How does that help you?  Meat is cheap during the holidays.  I got a turkey, not the most traditional Easter staple, for $1.97/lb!  14.25 lbs of free-range yummy for $28 and some change.  Score!  Most likely the hams and lambs everyone didn't buy for yesterday will be on sale this week, so keep your eyes peeled for deals.
Back to the pesto sketties.  In this recipe I used a simple chicken thigh but made it interesting by adding a Sun-dried Tomato Cilantro pesto on top and making a bed out of the cabbage noodles.  This meal took me about 30 minutes to prepare, it's a quickie.  We Californians like things spicy so I added a bit of red pepper flakes to the cabbage, feel free to cut that back or omit completely.  You should have leftover pesto which will be perfect for my next recipe, so keep it on hand!  You can even freeze it since there is no cheese in this one.
There are three recipes here.  My suggestion is to make the pesto before hand so the flavors can meld, then chop your cabbage, season your chicken and cook them both at the same time.  Multi-tasking is a must in the kitchen!  $12.52 for this meal, $3.13 for each of the 4 servings.  I'm getting pretty good at this.
(Print Recipe)
1.  Sun-dried Tomato Cilantro Pesto

3 c. Basil leaves, lightly packed ($1.50)
1/4 c. Cilantro leaves, lightly packed ($0.35)
10 Sun-dried tomatoes (2 more for garnish) ($2.00)
2 cloves garlic, smashed ($0.25)
1/4 c. Pine nuts, toasted ($2.00)
Juice of 1 Lemon
Olive Oil (about 1/2 cup, depending on desired consistency)
Salt & Pepper

Note: I used dry sun-dried tomatoes, like these, so I reconstituted them in some warm water for 30 minutes before using.  If you use the jarred kind, no need to reconstitute.  

In a food processor combine basil, cilantro, tomatoes, garlic, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  Pulse to combine. Add your pine nuts once the rest of the ingredients are chopped.  With machine running, drizzle olive oil until the pesto reaches desired consistency.  I like mine on the thicker side, others like it thin.  If you like thin, add some more oil!

2.  Cabbage Sketties

1 head Green cabbage, sliced ($1.50 at the farmers market)
2 cloves Garlic, minced ($0.25)
1 Tbls Coconut oil
1 Tbls Olive oil
1/2 tsp Red pepper flakes  (optional)
Salt & Pepper

Slice your cabbage in quarters and remove the core, then slice into ribbons about the width of fettuccine.

Melt coconut oil in a large saute pan, add sliced cabbage, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until "al dente", soft but still has a bite, about 10 minutes.  At the end, add the garlic, olive oil and red pepper.  Saute for 1 minute more.

3.  Spiced Chicken Thighs

4 chicken thighs, about 1 1/2 lb. ($4.67)
Coconut oil
Cumin
Coriander
Salt & Pepper

Heat a large saute pan over medium-high heat, add enough coconut oil to coat the bottom of the pan.  Season your chicken thighs on both sides with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper.  Place your chicken in the pan smooth side down.  Don't touch it for 5-7 minutes, let it develop a crust!  Flip and cook for 5 minutes more, until cooked through.

Now it's time to assemble.  I made a bed of the cabbage sketties, topped with sliced chicken, pesto on top of that, garnished with some diced sun-dried tomatoes!




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