Thoughts on Weddings & New Recipe: Pesto Chicken Summer Pasta

There are always things people want to tell you when you get engaged, when you’re getting married, after you’re married – so let me give one piece of solid advice, before I get into the pieces I was given and should have paid MUCH more attention to – take all pieces of advice with a grain of salt. Just because it worked for someone doesn’t necessarily mean that it will work for you…that being said, I do have a few sound pieces of advice I want to impart.

Pesto Chicken Summer Pasta 10-23-2018


  1. GET HELP! Honestly, if my mom hadn’t offered to basically be grand planning poobah of our wedding, I think we may have thrown our hands up and eloped! It also helped that she had spare time on her hands now that my older brother is driving him & his little brother to school, we had it in the city she lives in, and had the reception at the country club she is a member of, but I know without a doubt that our wedding never would have happened without her. Or without my mother-in-law or any of my sister-in-laws who helped with the preparations the month before and made sure I didn’t lose my mind, or my best friend Alex and Molly who was grabbing this that and the other day of, or my sorority sister Maggie who was making sure I had everything I need from water to food to extra arms to carry ceremony items. Each and every one of these people made the wedding possible, so, if you have a family member or a little extra cash to shell out for a wedding planner – DO IT – it’ll be well worth it in the end to not have to think about how all the little pieces are going to come together on the big day so you can really enjoy it!
  2. DON’T STRESS THE SMALL STUFF: I wish I had done this more, but ultimately I wish I had actually listened to all the folks who told me to do this – at the end of the day a) no one will know that something wasn’t right except for you and your partner (honest, they’re having too much fun celebrating you than nitpicking at your wedding day), and b) at the end of the day, the only thing that matters is YOU & YOUR PARTNER! That love is all that matters at the end of the day. So what that your wedding favors didn’t make it in time for the wedding? NO ONE KNEW ABOUT IT! And no one asked, and no one cared! You know what they did notice? How amazing the desserts were, how beautiful I looked, how happy we were (and still are!), and how much fun they had! So there!
  3. Take time AWAY from everything & everyone: I wish we had also done a little more of this – that being said, having a sweethearts table rather than a bridal table was also a very good decision on our part because that did help us enjoy our surroundings more. But during the night we went from dancing to photo booth to photographs to dancing to talking to dancing to more photo booth antics – 5 minutes would have been enough to just sit back and say, yeah, this was an AWESOME day!
  4. CHIPS!!! And no, not tortilla or potato chips, but family chips that you allot to each family member who is helping plan/pay for the wedding. In our case, only the parents got one chip each that they could turn in for anything that they wanted (within reason of course) and there would be no argument about it. Mom turned in her chip for a sit down dinner that included a steak (because that’s what my dad wanted…such a loving woman she is), Dad turned his in for the car we arrived/left in for both Frankie & myself (a 1968 rolls royce silver cloud for me to go to the church, and my dad’s own Ford GT 40 for Frankie to go to the church in), my mother-in-law wanted a photo booth, and my father-in-law picked the priest who officiated the ceremony! Done! Everything else we picked was completely up to us, and no one argued with us or with each other about it! IT WAS AWESOME – Sophie (from Science with Sophie!) who got married last year provided us with this advice, and it was by far one of the BEST pieces we got.

Pesto Chicken Summer Pasta 10-23-2018

Those are the biggest takeaways from our wedding, but there were a few other things we did/didn’t do:

  1. Food: Whenever you decide to get ready, MAKE SURE you have enough food for two meals!! We started getting ready at 9am, and had breakfast for sure, but since the ceremony wasn’t until 2pm, we didn’t quite figure in enough food to cover the lunch situation and I was definitely a little on the peakish side of the hunger scale during the ceremony.
  2. Receiving Line: If this is something you want to do, do it after the ceremony so that you can focus on saying hi to your tables during the course of dinner/dessert rather than making sure you say hi to every single person.
  3. HYDRATE – you’re going to be so drunk and high on all the love and good feels, you don’t need the alcohol and honestly won’t have time to finish a drink before you have to put it down and walk away to do something else. You’ll forget about it too – I think I lost about 5 drinks over the course of the night? But water – that was my main drink of choice.

As I said though, take everything with a grain of salt and do what you know is right for you and your day – no matter what, it’s YOUR day, so make it count and do what you want! OH and I have a couple of photos to share at the bottom of the post, so make sure you scroll down to check them out!

Pesto Chicken Summer Pasta 10-23-2018

But how can we forget that this is the first Tuesday back, which means NEW RECIPE! I know, I know, it’s not summer anymore, BUT the weekend we got home from the wedding, my CSA had one last round of cherry tomatoes that I wanted to take advantage of, and this pasta recipe is amazing!! Super easy, super convenient, and so so delicious! The pesto recipe is actually adjusted from using whole chicken breasts to cubed chicken to save on time, but worry not! I will also be making the whole chicken breast recipe (complete with sides) in the coming weeks because it is a goodun’! But by cubing up the chicken, you reduce your cooking time by almost a half hour, which for a weeknight when I’m trying to pack and make sure I get a little gym time in is a lot of time to be spent else where! It reheats fantastically too, which is a bonus when I’ve been highly dependent on these past few days at work! The sauce for the pasta is incredibly light and doesn’t take a ton of time to heat up, especially if you throw it into freshly made pasta. Plus, the recipe is written so you can make the marinade the night before so all you have to do is boil water, cook pasta, toss with all of the sauce for 5 minutes, then munch munch munch! For a weeknight meal, you can’t get any better than that, and it brought back those last fleeting moments of summer before they are chilled into full sweater weather mode – not that I’m complaining, I love sweaters to a fault, but as an August baby I fully appreciate those warming glints of sunlight on my skin when I can get it. I hope you enjoy the new dish and am looking forward to this week’s recipe remake! — Cooking Maggie


Pesto Chicken

  • Author: The Real Cooking Maggie
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes


  • 3-4 Chicken Breasts, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1-2 Teaspoons Cooking Oil
  • 3/4 cup cream


  • 2 cups of fresh basil leaves, tightly packed
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 3/4 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter


  1. For the pesto, combine basil, salt, garlic, pepper, and pine nuts in a food processor until the basil mixture is finely chopped. Then slowly add the olive oil until the basil mixture is at your desired consistency. Add butter, pine nuts, and cheese, then pulse until cheese and butter have been blended into the basil mixture. This makes 1 ½ cups of pesto. Remaining pesto can be stored in fridge for up to a week.
  2. Cook the chicken in the pan until cooked, then add in basil mixture and cream, stirring until all the chicken is coated in the delicious sauce! This chicken pairs great with wild rice, pasta, or veggies!

Ina Garten’s Summer Garden Pasta

  • Author: Ina Garten (Food Network)
  • Prep Time: 4 Hours 15 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 5 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours 20 minutes
  • Yield: 6 Servings


  • 4 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Good olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic (6 cloves)
  • 18 large basil leaves, julienned, plus extra for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound dried angel hair pasta
  • 1 1/2 cups freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus extra for serving


  1. Combine the cherry tomatoes, 1/2 cup olive oil, garlic, basil leaves, red pepper flakes, 1 teaspoon salt, and the pepper in a large bowl. Cover with plastic wrap, and set aside at room temperature for about 4 hours.
  2. Just before you’re ready to serve, bring a large pot of water with a splash of olive oil and 2 tablespoons salt to a boil and add the pasta. Cook al dente according to the directions on the package (be careful – it only takes 2 to 3 minutes!). Drain the pasta well and add to the bowl with the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and some extra fresh basil leaves and toss well. Serve in big bowls with extra cheese on each serving.

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