Pesto Chicken Legs on Brown Rice with Green Beans | Meal Planning

This weekend, we got back on track with our meal planning and budget.  We love food, obviously, so it’s really easy for us to go nuts and buy food every other day on a whim to make at home because it sounds good.  Not only was that bad for our budget, but it’s been terrible for our waistline.  I found a great 6 week meal plan on Jenny Collier’s blog.  I spent some time over the weekend going through which recipes sounded good to us, and literally plotted out our entire month of March in meals.  We spent 50% less at the store this weekend on groceries, have had hot delicious meals every night, and leftovers every day to take for lunch.  I’ve even been able to portion out some things to keep in the freezer which I can build in to April’s plan ( cha ching- savings)!  I took her same format and customized it to work for us ( you can download her version through the link):

MealPlan-01

 

I made notes on what we should prep for the next night, and also planned for the longer cook + prep time meals to land on the weekends when we have more time to spend cooking ( date nights!).  So far this has seriously worked for us, we are loving the schedule!  It can seem a bit over board, but for us, we need this discipline or else we’d be getting delivery and spending a ton of money on extra meals for lunches and the like all week long.  This calendar has eliminated the question ” What should we have for dinner?” and ” Do we have anything to make for dinner?” and similarly ” What can we make for dinner?”.  It’s like being back in school with teh lunch calendar in teh cafeteria, except this is good food, made at home, healthy!  The recipes are all found through Jenny’s blog post but we’ll be sharing our versions here as well when we take pictures.  Each has been super simple, fast, budget friendly and DELICIOUS- perfect combo for success.  Now I just need to build in some time to work out and we’ll be golden.  Today I am sharing the Pesto Chicken- I had frozen chicken legs and frozen homemade pesto already so that’s what I used.  You can use chicken breast/ thighs, store bought pesto etc- I didn’t follow this recipe at all, but want to share it anyhow in case you’d like the baked on cheese yummified version here.

Baked Pesto Chicken
(Makes 4 servings, recipe inspired by http://www.kalynskitchen.com)

pesto_chicken copy
Ingredients:
8 chicken legs
salt and fresh ground black pepper for seasoning chicken
1/2- 1 cup basil pesto (I used my homemade pesto, but you can use purchased pesto)
2 cups cooked brown rice, to serve

Green beans ( enough to serve 4), cooked

Instructions:
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Start your rice to cook ( 1 cup dry rice in to 2 cups boiling water, reduce to simmer with lid for 40-45 minutes)
Spray a foil lined 9″ x 12″ baking dish with non-stick spray for easy clean up, then spread 1/3 cup basil pesto over the bottom of the dish. Lay chicken over the pesto, then spread the remaining basil pesto over the chicken.
Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil (or use a baking dish with a tight-fitting lid) and bake the chicken legs for 35-40 minutes, uncover and bake 10 additional minutes until chicken is cooked through.  Heat up your green beans as the chicken finishes.Serve hot with extra pesto from the pan over brown rice ( couscous, or quinoa) and steamed green beans ( ours were frozen, not fresh)

 

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