The grocery store had a sale on chicken breast, so naturally I stocked up. It didn’t even occur to me that the package weighed roughly the same as a cinder block, it was a good deal, and it looked fresh. I was sold.
I dusted off my go-to cookbook, Saving Dinner, and flipped to the dog-eared, stock-stained page with the garlic lime chicken recipe. I measured and mixed up the spices, then got to work cutting up the chicken breast, my own variation on the original recipe. There sure was a lot of chicken, but no worries, I would simply cook it in two batches.
It wasn’t until the second batch was in the pan that it dawned on me that I should have doubled the spices. Duh. Regardless, it turned out fine, and there were zero complaints at the dinner table. Still, I was disappointed.
The next day at lunch I choked down some leftover chicken, tasting regret with each bite. I silently berated myself for my oversight, taking my penance in the form of bland chicken. It was a bleak moment.
Sadly, the regret only intensified several hours later as I steeled myself to prepare dinner. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t eat that sorry chicken for a third meal in a row, but I couldn’t throw it out either. There was nothing technically wrong with it, it just wasn’t quite right.
That’s when inspiration hit, in the form of a tub of pesto. What if I cut the chicken into very small pieces and added some mayo? What if I mixed some pesto into that? What if I made pesto chicken salad? I didn’t have any bread, but I did have fresh spinach and romaine. Yes!
I mixed up the chicken salad and was surprised by how good it tasted. My teenage son not only devoured it, he asked me to add it to the list of recipes to make again. The combination of the chicken salad and the greens was perfect, and the pesto brought out the best of that formerly sorry on-sale chicken.
Redemption was mine that night, won with the help of a few spoonsful of pesto and a glob of mayo. Who would have thought that condiments would become my heroes, but in this case, they truly did save the day.