Pesto Chicken Pasta

So many recipes online and packages in the grocery store boast “no carbs!” or “25% fewer carbohydrates” or the like, and countless fad diets claim that a reduction in carb consumption will lead to weight loss. In reality, carbs aren’t just good for you, they are essential for your body being able to function. The misunderstanding stems from there being two types of carbohydrates: simple and complex. Complex carbs are made up of stronger strands of sugar molecules and thus take more time to break down in your body. This keeps you feeling fuller longer and provides more consistent energy throughout the day. Examples of complex carbs are whole wheat breads and pastas, sweet potatoes, and beans. The simple carbohydrates are the ones to avoid. They are digested quickly and contain little nutritional value for your body, resulting in the name “empty calories.” Simple carbs are high in sugar and low in fiber leading to energy highs and lows during the day. Foods like soda, candy, white bread, and pastries fall into this category. Pasta is one of the best tasting and healthiest ways to consume your daily dose of complex carbs, and this recipe features the Italian staple at its finest!
The first thing you’ll need is a box of Farfalle pasta. Cook it in boiling water following the instructions given on the package.
 In the meantime, grill ten small boneless chicken breasts at 370-450 degrees Fahrenheit. The meat grills quickly and really only needs to cook for a few minutes on each side. Chicken breast is a great source of protein and iron, and helps build up lean muscle mass. Compared to other types of meat, chicken breast has dramatically lower calories and fat.   IMG_5065

Finally, you will need pesto and about 2-3 cups of cherry tomatoes. The olive oil in pesto is full of heart healthy monounsaturated fats, and basil provides antioxidants to your body and kills cells that can lead to heart disease and cancer. Slice the cherry tomatoes in half and mix the pesto until it is consistent throughout.
 Strain the pasta in a colander and pour it into a large serving bowl. Add in the pesto and tomatoes, then stir the mixture. Once the pesto is covering all of the pasta and tomatoes spread evenly throughout, add the sliced chicken. I didn’t end up adding all 10 breasts, but feel free to add in as many or as few you would like.
 Now hit the gym and eat this perfect post-workout dinner! The carbs may be complex but the recipe sure isn’t, just a few minutes of prep and your body will reap the benefits for hours!

Ingredients:

  • Box of Farfalle pasta
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes
  • 11 oz basil pesto
  • 10 medium chicken breasts

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta in boiling water following the directions on the box.
  2. Grill the chicken breasts at 370-450 degrees for a few minutes on each side.
  3. Slice the tomatoes and chicken, mix the pesto.
  4. Combine the pasta, pesto, and tomatoes and mix.
  5. One uniform throughout mix in the sliced chicken and enjoy!
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