Almond Cilantro Chicken

I made ground beef stroganoff Yesterday, I hate to admit it, but needing two quick meals (lunch and dinner), we ate a lot of pasta…I figure that it being Organic pasta makes it all okay right???  First, for lunch yesterday, I made creamy almond cilantro pesto pasta (pictured above), and then for dinner .  On Sunday night, I made the Almond cilantro pesto sauce, then for lunch on Monday, I crisped up some Costco fried chicken strips to throw on top.  Wound up being such a high protein meal, I hardly touched half of it!

First let me start with the sauce.  I was very excited to get some Cilantro in my house this week!  I love the stuff and it is pretty difficult to find in Korea.  I made pineapple salsa with it a few days ago, and I decided to do a creamy pesto with it for one day this week.  Only instead of using cream, I thought I would try my hand again at almond cream.  I had tried it before, inspired by a recipe found here by macheesmo.com.  I looked up a few creamy cilantro pesto recipes, and the directions basically said cream, cilantro, garlic and pine nuts.  I skipped the pine nuts, as I was going to use almonds (and I didn’t have any pine nuts although I love them too!).  To start the almond cream, you have to soak almonds for a minimum of six hours.  Overnight works pretty well.  I have noticed that soaking tends to bring out the sweetness a bit of the nuts, but it also makes them very easy to peel.  So once the nuts are soaked, just squeeze the husk off to peel them.  I had two cups of nuts when that was done (remembering they are now swollen).  I put them in the food processor with two cups of water which seemed like too much at the time because the water started overflowing out of the machine.  I forgot there is a reason I usually do this in the blender, not the food processor!

Turns out actually looking some different recipes for nut creams online…there is supposed to be more nuts, less water…OOPS!  I still have a lot of nut pulp when I do this, as I don’t have a top of the line food processor with a powerful enough motor to really do what I want of it.  Once the cream was started (I was worried about how runny it was, I added in a loosely packed cup of cilantro, some garlic powder, Parmesan cheese, and some 1/4 cup olive oil and just let it mix together for a long time.  I pulsed the machine a few times to get some of the pulp off of the bottom.  Then my sauce was done.  I put it into a canister jar to serve the next day.  On the second day, I ran it through a blender to try and break up more of the pulp, and added maybe a 1/2 cup of sour cream, cause it needed a little bite to it.  It could have probably used more cilantro, but I already had the rest in the dehydrator.  I also threw in some artichoke hearts from Costco.

 I cooked this organic pasta from costco, and cooked my sauce to thicken it up a bit in the frying pan I cooked the chicken in, and then pored it over the top.  Turns out it will thicken quite a bit!  Holy Mole, it was so thick by lunch time, I could hardly stir it up to eat it!  The artichokes were a very nice touch, as they added the needed salt.  Even with the cilantro, the flavor was a bit bland in the sauce.  I have to admit, my favorite part was the chicken…

Well that is me and my food blog…I like to experiment, so not every recipe will turn out right and not every recipe will be good…
I will leave you to decide if you want to experiment also, or if you just want to read, and think that I am crazy!  I probably am, but what is life without a little crazy?! 
       

Recipe:
2 cups soaked and husked raw almonds
2 cups water
1/2 cup sour cream
100 grams of cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups artichoke hearts marinated in oil (I used Kirkland brand)
4-8 slices of frozen fried chicken
1 bag of pasta
Milk (opitional)

blend the raw almonds and water in a blender or food processor until it is as liquefied as you can get it.  Add cilantro, sour cream, oil, and cheese one at a time until all blended very well.
Fry up pre-cooked frozen chicken to get it crispy in a pan.  Put sauce into the same pan when chicken is done.  cook until thickened.  Add some milk if you need to thin it out a little bit.
Boil water for pasta, and cook until al’ dente (or done if you are eating immediately).
Chop up artichokes and chicken into bite sized pieces.  Either mix in with the sauce or put over the top when done dishing it up.  Put pasta in a bowl, pour sauce on top, and if you choose, add the chicken and artichokes on top of that.

Note*I prefer the the artichokes in the sauce and the chicken on top…but that is just me.

Enjoy!

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