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Grilled Lemon Chicken with Flatbread and Pesto

July 17, 2009

When Aidan was a toddler he would refuse to eat anything with “stuff” on it. “Stuff” usually referred to chopped basil on the top of pizzas or pasta dishes. Sean and I became expert at either hiding evidence of basil or preparing his food without it. It was a shame, since I love to use basil in everything.

He still scrunches his nose from time to time at the site of tiny bits of basil, although he has learned not to ask that it be removed anymore. Unbeknownst to him, Aidan’s new favorite meal doesn’t just contain chopped basil – it mostly IS chopped basil. Bob grows the most amazing Italian Large Leaf Basil. The leaves are as large as a dollar and their fragrance will fill up your kitchen. It has been my mission to introduce this wonderful ingredient to my little boy and I have finally found success. This is one of our summer favorites.


1 package of chicken breasts

1/2 lemon

3 tablespoons olive oil

¼ cup chopped basil

Dash of salt and ground black pepper

Use the juice from the half lemon and combine with other ingredients to marinate the chicken for ten minutes. Grill over medium-high heat.


1 cup fresh basil leaves

½ cup grated Parmesan cheese

¼ cup toasted pine nuts

½ cup olive oil

¼ teaspoon salt

Dash of ground black pepper

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend. For those who like garlic, a tablespoon of minced garlic added before blending is also good.

This also freezes nicely. To freeze the pesto, cut the amount of olive oil by half. Spoon into a ziplock baggie and squeeze the air out. Lay it flat in your freezer. When you are ready to use it, let it thaw at room temperature and then put it in a pan at low heat for a few minutes and add the remaining amount of olive oil.


It you have the time, there is a wonderful recipe for Mario Batali’s flatbread on the blog It takes only minutes to prepare, but needs about an hour and a half to rise.

Nothing beats homemade, but in a pinch, I also like to use Trader’s Joe’s whole wheat pizza dough. I let it rise briefly while covered in olive oil and then break off golf-ball sized chunks and roll out in flour. One package of pizza dough can make about eight palm-sized flatbreads. We then throw it on the grill on medium-high heat and coat with Olive Oil again. Cook thoroughly until slightly charred on each side.

P.S. This combination makes for a killer sandwich for the next day’s lunch as well!!

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