One-Pot Pesto Chicken Skillet

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Pesto Chicken Skillet 2

Every now and then something simple affects me in a profound way.  Take this quote that my wife posted on social media the other day:  “Comparison is the thief of joy.”   At first, I just dismissed these simple words from Theodore Roosevelt, not putting much thought into them.  But a subsequent conversation with her a day or so later breathed a deeper meaning into these simple words.  We can be completely content with our lives, our houses, our cars, our jobs until we see the newer, the bigger, the better.  You are perfectly content with your paid for 2006 model vehicle as you give it a wash in the driveway until your neighbor pulls up in the brand new 2014 model.  Your house is your dream home until you visit a friend’s home that is bigger and fancier.

The danger of comparing our lives to others is that we each know all the details of our own lives and typically not those of the other person to whom we are comparing ourselves.  We compare our own “behind the scenes” to someone else’s “highlight reel.”  And we can be pretty hard on ourselves.  We decide that we’re not skinny enough, or rich enough, or happy enough, or as good of a father or mother, or as Godly, or as organized, or as successful as someone else when we make those comparisons.  These situations always exist.  Just as there will always be someone who is worse off than you, there will also always be someone that appears better off than you.  But appearances can be deceiving, just remember that.

Social media is dangerous in this equation because it’s commonplace to brag on sites like Facebook and Twitter.  We see all the bragging and don’t see all the bad stuff in others’ lives.  And we all have bad stuff.  But with the exception of those folks who post every single health ailment they might encounter (you know who I’m talking about), folks don’t post the bad stuff.


I’ll admit I’m guilty of doing this very thing.  We all are.  But I want you to know that the only person you should be comparing yourself to… is you.  You should set goals and aspirations for yourself and strive to meet those, not the ones set by your friends, neighbors, or family.    The truth is… you’re awesome.  I know you are.  Now start acting like it.

Y’all this recipe is a new favorite in our house.  We are always looking for quick and easy meals that you don’t have to tear down the kitchen to make – not just for me, but for y’all as well.  Well, this is one of them.  The whole thing cooks in one large skillet; even the pasta – and there’s no draining.  And if you can’t find the pesto mix, you can easily use a packet Italian dressing mix (now without a lot of sugar) or another seasoning to make it just as yummy.  Y’all enjoy!!

Pesto Chicken Skillet

Easy Pesto Chicken Skillet
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serves: about 6 servings
  • 2 pounds chicken breast, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 (0.5-ounce) package of powdered pesto sauce mix
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes with basil, garlic, and oregano
  • 1 (16-ounce) package elbow pasta
  • ½ cup milk
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup shredded Italian blend cheese
  1. In a large bowl, combine the cubed chicken with the pesto mix and allow it to marinate for about 10 minutes.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and chicken and cook until the outside of the chicken turns white. Pour in the chicken broth and the tomatoes with the juice. Stir in the pasta. Reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for 15 to 17 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Remove the lid and stir in the milk. Cook 5 minutes more. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cheese over the top and return the lid to the pan until the cheese has melted.


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  1. Pinned this! Can’t wait to try it and share it! And as far as your wife’s quote goes, I JUST posted that on FB here not too long ago too. My best friend had posted it, and within minutes I “stole” it for my status. So many of us get caught up in the “one up game” and it can become very disheartening. And like you said, social media makes it worse, b/c we are constantly bombarded with things we don’t have, and might like to have, but know we can’t have, and sometimes it can really get us down. But even more importantly, I was trying to make a statement of how if you’re happy with yourself, nobody should be able to compare you to someone else because it doesn’t matter. Thanks for the reminder!

  2. Where in a grocery store would you find powdered pesto? I don’t think I’ve seen it before.

  3. Oh I am on this like white on rice. Or brown on rice. Or rice with chicken. 😉 Sounds delicious and I love your thoughts with it too. I agree whole-heartedly!!

  4. I love your “behind the scenes” / “highlight reel” phrasing. Also love an all-in-one-pot pasta recipe where pasta is not pre-cooked and does not use a crock pot.
    Happy New Year!

  5. I live in Prattville and feel like I know you because I’ve been a long time reader. But I really needed to hear these words from this blog post! Love your positivity and thanks for Southern Bite!

    • Well hey there, Prattvillian! So glad you got something out of this post. I enjoy sharing my heart with folks and it surely resonates when folks are touched by what I have to say. Maybe you can get to one of the book signings we are planning in the area and I can hug your neck! 🙂

  6. This is a must try for me. The pics made my mouth water.

  7. What a fantastic post! Words we all need to hear and remember! The chicken dish looks so good, plus one pot cleaning! Score!!!! Can’t wait for your book. Going to Amazon now to pre-order! Thanks for sharing your recipes and your big ol’ heart.

  8. I just found your site! While I’m a Yankee, my heart belongs to the South. I have already copied two of your recipes and signed up for your newsletter. You just rearranged my dinner menu for the weekend (and that’s a good thing). Having a blast going through your site.

  9. Just made this recipe tonight! OMG! This is delicious. I am a working mother of two small boys so I am always on the look out for simple, quick, tasty dishes. This is perfect. Thanks so much for sharing!

  10. Gail McMichael says:

    Fantastic dinner, so easy and quick. I had an Out Patient medical procedure yesterday, and this was great for me to cook as I have limited “standing” time.
    Love all your comments, and fantastic reciepes…never stop !

  11. Wise words! Thanks so much for sharing!

  12. can you use jarred pesto instead of the powder?

  13. I’m never making pesto pasta any other way again. I added yellow bell pepper and olives. Wonderful!

  14. Does this make a pretty good amount? I’m figuring yes with the 16oz pasta.

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