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Malea and the Tourists cook Chicken Pesto Extreme Chocolate Cake, New Album Workout and Cats Marti's Music Kitchen Season 2 Episode 7

By MARTI MENDENHALL // On this episode of Marti's Music Kitchen, Malea will prepare her “go to” quick and easy recipe for Chicken Breasts with Pesto, and Fall Leafy Greens w/Butternut Squash, Nuts, and Dried Cranberries. For dessert, bandmate Steve Morgan will prepare his family’s Extreme Chocolate Cake.

 Welcome to Marti’s Music Kitchen, the Fun Music and Food Podcast, where anything can happen! Today’s guest is Malea, a vocalist, entertainer, and band leader who loves to cook dinner for her band for rehearsals. Malea and the Tourists are very prominent in the Pacific Northwest, and they just finished cutting their third album.

“When I decided to put my own band together, it took a few years to find the right fit,” says Malea.” The first guy I pulled in was Kit Taylor, and then it was a matter of finding the right personalities music-wise and friendship-wise.  So, here we are!”

 On this episode, Malea will prepare her “go to” quick and easy recipe for Chicken Breasts with Pesto, and Fall Leafy Greens w/Butternut Squash, Nuts, and Dried Cranberries. For Dessert, bandmate Steve Morgan will prepare his family’s Extreme Chocolate Cake.

 Does the lure of great food make for a better rehearsal? What is Malea’s secret to booking so many gigs?  And did someone say Chocolate?  Come with me into this great kitchen . . and let’s find out!


Chicken Breasts with Pesto ( serves 6)


  • 6 Chicken breasts or Salmon or Tilapia fish filets
  • 1 ½ c Pesto ( fresh or I use Costco pesto as a backup when fresh not an option)
  • 2 c Chopped Tomatoes – love when in season, I use a variety. If off season, go with what tastes the best!
  • 1 ½  c Fresh Parmesan or for a change up add Mozzarella
  • Dash of Salt & Pepper
  • 1 c. Olive Oil    

Directions - in an 11x12 baking dish, add ingredients in order:

  • Spread olive oil on bottom of dish
  • Place chicken breasts on top of olive oil
  • Spread pesto on top of the chicken
  • Top with sliced tomatoes
  • Top with parmesan cheese
  • Sprinkle with salt & pepper

For Chicken, bake at 400 degrees for 35-40 minutes depending on chicken breast size.

For Fish, bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes until moist but done.


Additional Notes:

  • The “fork in the middle of the largest section of the dish & corners are a good test.
  • Remember, once removed from the oven your dish is “still baking” from the temps.
  • It’s always easier to put back in the oven if not cooked enough but “over done” not so much!
  • This dish freezes very well for “in a hurry” leftovers.


Fall Leafy Greens with Butternut Squash & dried Cranberries


  • 5 oz mixed greens ( approx. 8 cups) of arugula, baby spinach ( fresh or boxed)
  • 3 cups chopped butternut squash ( fresh or frozen)
  • 1 c feta cheese or any cheese you have on hand that you need to use up
  • 1 c dried cranberries
  • 1 c chopped almonds or any nuts to your liking.


  • ¼ c lemon juice, 3 T. olive oil, 1 T. balsamic vinegar mixture or a mix of white balsamic vinegar. If in a hurry, use ½ c lemon poppy seed dressing.


  • In a medium sized bowl, toss greens, squash, cheese, cranberries, almonds
  • If using fresh squash, chop up, toss with a light coating of butter & brown sugar or honey, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for approx. 25 mins, until done but still moist.
  • Toss lightly with the dressing
  • Salt & Pepper, optional

Additional Notes:

  • I prefer to go light on the dressing, it’s easier to add more than take away. Plus, it has plenty of flavor with the squash, cranberries, and nuts.
  • The salad can be served warm or cold. If served warm, toss spinach in a pan with a bit of olive oil and add to other ingredients.
  • You can also marinate the dried cranberries & almonds (or nut of choice) with the spinach in a pan with light olive oil before tossing in the salad bowl.


Extreme Chocolate Cake (Recipe from Steve Morgan; bass musician & his family, wife Anna, daughter Aria and son Campbell)

 Cake Ingredients:

  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ½ cup vegetable oil
  • 2 tsp. Vanilla extract
  • 1 cup strong coffee, cooled

 Frosting Ingredients:

            3/4 cup butter

  • 1 1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 5 1/3 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2/3 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the sugar, flour, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Add the eggs, milk, oil and vanilla, mix for 3 minutes with an electric mixer. Stir in the coffee by hand. Pour evenly into prepared pans.
  3. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans then cool completely.
  4. To make the frosting, cream butter until light and fluffy. Stir in the cocoa and confectioners' sugar, alternately with the milk and vanilla. Beat to a spreading consistency.
  5. Split the layers of cooled cake horizontally. Cover the top of each layer with frosting, then stack them onto a serving plate. Frost the outside of the cake and serve.





"Bring Me Sunshine" available at ITunes + Rhapsody + Spotify


“Have You Seen My Angel?”  available Nov 2019



#Malea #Maleaandthetourists #NewMusic #NewAlbum #MartiMendenhall #MartisMusicKit #Cooking #Podcast #Recipe #WorkingOut #Dance #BeachBody #LesMillsOnDemand #Cats #CatShelter


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