Cooking my way to happiness with Rachael Ray

My Most Memorible Meal Ever…..Pesto-Presto Italian Flag Chicken

10:41am Jan, 5 2010.  That will go down in my history as a moment never to forget.  My kids were back at school after a long winters break.  I was back to my normal routine of working out in the morning, watching what Rachael Ray was making for dinner on her show, running by the grocery store to buy the ingredients of what she made for dinner and then after working some and running errands finally recreating what Rachael had made on her show before the kids returned from school.

I had just got home from the grocery store when my cell rang with a number from New York.  I almost didn’t answer it…..but I did.  It was the Rachael Ray show.  WOW WOW WOW!  They were asking if I would be interested in making a video of me making a meal from start to finish.  They gave me some recipes to choose from and said they would pay to have it overnighted.  My deadline was Thursday.

What am I gonna say?  No?  I’m on it!   Of course, it is already Tuesday.  That means I have to cook tonight to get it there by Thurs.  Panic sets in.  Can I get the kitchen clean in time?  Can I actually make this recipe without messing something up?  Is my cookware good enough for national tv?  When did I last have my hair highlighted?  When did I last clean the kitchen floor?  Will you even be able to see how clean the kitchen floor is on tv?  Deep breath.

I was headed back to the grocery store and to Bed Bath and Beyond because my cookie sheets are beyond old and I need one for this recipe.  I even bought a Rachael Ray cookie sheet.  I get a couple new cutting boards, too,  I mean this is a pretty good excuse to buy a couple new things!

The recipe is Pesto-Presto Italian Flag Chicken.  Ingredients are simple so nothing to Google.  In and out of the store in 15 minutes.

I hurry to find the perfect outfit, not too dressy, not too casual.  My friend Kim comes over to stage my kitchen.  I have found out thru the years that when you aren’t good at things find friends that are to help you!  Thanks Kim!

The kids got home from school and thought I was totally lying.  Tyler was disappointed that I wasn’t making Stuffed Michigan Dogs with Cheese Sauce, that was what Rachael was making on her show today.  I tell Tyler that when you get a call from the Rachael Ray show and they tell you to make Pesto-Presto Italian Chicken… do it!

Favorite daughter Kayt helps me prepare this meal. She now thinks we are famous, let’s just go with that till after dinner.  Like Julie & Julia only Tracy Kay (my middle name) & Rachael Ray.

First I needed a camera shot of all the ingredients on my counter.  I laid them all out and I thought wow, if the ingredients are this pretty the finished product has to be, too.  What a joy to cook with pretty ingredients. My whole style of cooking has drastically changed since I began this whole journey back in August.

Pesto-Presto Chicken is made by basically making a cheese sauce by pureeing fresh basil, flat leaf parsley, Boursin garlic and herb soft cheese, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt & pepper and some toasted pine nuts (which I toasted in EVOO).  You butterfly the chicken breasts (that means slice halfway thru and open like a book just in case you are like me and didn’t know), pound it flat then scoop in the  cheese sauce and close it up.  Top with fresh tomato slices, EVOO and more Parmigiano-Reggiano. Throw it in the oven for 20-25 minutes while you enjoy a glass of wine.  That’s what Rachael did when I watched her prepare this meal, so of course I had to.

You serve this with a garlic and cheese orzo.  That is better than garlic bread (which is my number one weakness food so that is a very bold statement).  You could serve it with anything.  All you do is cook it according to the package then toss with melted butter and fresh garlic and Parmigian-Reggiano.

Lots of grating and chopping and smashing in these recipes which is perfect because I am very nervous with a camera recording my every move.  OMG doesn’t the camera add 10lbs? I don’t have time to lose 10lbs by NOW.  I just needed a little more wine before dinner was served.

I open the oven and dinner is perfect.  It is just gorgeous!  Of course since I am making a video I forgot to take any pics.

After a couple kid activities and retakes we finally all sit down to dinner and of course favorite sister Tiffany shows up just in time.  Tiff  was amazed with the dinner and how great my kitchen looked.  Let’s face it I am amazing! Well just for tonight anyways.

Everyone rates this dinner as a 9.5 or higher (on a scale of 1-10).  And no they didn’t just say that because they were being filmed.

I know there have been many people who have been asked to cook and send in a video for the Rachael Ray Show and that the chances of me even being on the show are slim, but I felt pretty special so I just didn’t think about that.  Ignorance is bliss, even if just for a little while.

This will be the dinner I make for any extra special occasions, not just because of the taste (which is completely incredible) but because of the memory.  That is the true joy of cooking……all the fond memories of making, as well as sharing, all the meals in our lives.


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  1. * Carol Mullen says:

    I can’t wait to see you on TV! Of course she’ll show it! I’ve begun recording her show every day so I can’t miss it. I only wish I could have shared in that meal with you. Way to go Tracy!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago
  2. * Shelley Kirk says:

    Wow, what an experience! I love your blog and really enjoy the pictures. The meals you make always look so delicious. Congrats! Let us all know when they have you on the show!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago
  3. * Trula Shipman says:

    Tracy, I really enjoyed reading your blog. I have put some of the recipes in my “recipe” file to use at a later time. Keep up the good work!!!!!!!! Trula

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago
  4. * D says:

    Tracy – I really enjoy your food blogs! Clearly, there is more to your writing than simply cooking each dish from the show. I hope you continue to enjoy your experiences with family and friends – as food done in a creative way can truly connect people as you are finding out in this process!

    Congrats on getting noticed by the show…perhaps you can find a way to post portions of the video via youtube for those that follow your journey here in case your pesto presto chicken dish doesn’t survive the cutting room floor! Just a thought and enjoy the rest of this journey!

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 5 months ago
  5. * Lucia says:

    I recently came across your blog and have been reading along. I thought I would leave my first comment. I don’t know what to say except that I have enjoyed reading. Nice blog. I will keep visiting this blog very often.

    Italian bed

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 4 months ago
    • thanks for the comment! It has been really fun cooking and blogging. I am glad to hear you are enjoying it!

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago

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