Basil Pesto Chicken with garlic tomato pasta

basil pesto chicken tomato pasta 2

I can NOT wait until we can start planting our garden this year. We have such a short growing season here that you really need to appreciate that couple of months you get to grow your own food. There is something so special about it! My tomatoes last year were UNREAL. I had 5 tomato plants in pots (yes I have all my garden goodies in pots, and they’ve been doing better and better each year) and I got an unreal amount of tomatoes. I had batches on batches of salsa, stewed tomatoes and sauces. This year, I’m going to try doing passata as well!

Anyways, this dish is inspired by my excitement for my tomato season and basil season, and obviously my all time ever lasting love for pasta. Here is a delicious supper full of tomato, basil pesto and perfectly seasoned chicken. If you want this to be vegan, use kabocha squash or chickpeas in place of chicken. this will change your cooking process.

 

Ingredients: (serves 2)

  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 2 chicken breasts, pounded so they’re even for cooking
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5c grape tomatoes, halved
  • 1/2 red onion, diced
  • 5 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1/2c veggie or chicken stock
  • 1/2c or more of smoked mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4c basil pesto homemade or store bought (I always make this one)
  • linguini, fettuccine or spaghetti work well for this dish.

Directions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions
  2. Add EVOO to a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  3. Season chicken breasts on both sides with salt, pepper, garlic powder and basil. Once the skillet is hot, add the chicken. let it brown on one side for a couple minutes then flip it over and brown it on the other side. this might take anywhere from 4-6 minutes per side depending on the size of your breasts. if your chicken is a nice golden brown then it’s safe to flip it over.
  4. Remove the chicken from the skillet to a plate.
  5. Turn your heat down to medium. Toss your tomatoes, onions and garlic into the skillet. De-glaze with your veggie stock, and stir often until your tomatoes start to burst. if they’re not bursting fast enough for your liking, use a potato masher and do it yourself. Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
  6. Add your chicken back to the skillet and cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 160F. add your pesto on to the chicken breasts and sprinkle them with cheese. Put a large lid over your pan and let the cheese melt for a minute.
  7. Remove the chicken to dinner plates. Toss your cooked pasta with the tomato mixture and serve! Sprinkling more cheese on top is also never a bad idea.

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Sesame chicken with sweet harissa sauce

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I love lazy supper days. I ate this right off this plate. By myself. Because I was alone with my two little babe’s who don’t want to eat harissa sauce. So they get to eat plain old sesame chicken!!!! Anyways, without marinading the chicken, this recipe takes next to no time and very VERY little prep.

Ingredients:

  • 2 chicken breasts, cubed in to 1/2″ pieces
  • 1C Buttermilk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3c tahini
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 TBSP Sesame oil
  • 1 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • fresh ground sea salt and cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp minced onion flakes

Harissa sauce:

  • 3/4c Harissa sauce from a can
  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 1/2 tsp onion flakes
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, add your chicken, buttermilk, garlic cloves, tahini, lemon, salt and pepper. Toss to coat. Marinate 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  2. Discard marinade. In a bowl, add your chicken, poppy seeds, sesame seeds, salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion flakes. Toss to coat.
  3. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Add your sesame oil. Once hot, add your chicken and start to cook.
  4. In a separate sauce pan, add your harissa sauce ingredients over medium heat. Don’t have your heat too high, you don’t want the honey to burn. mix ingredients together. bring to a small boil, then reduce to simmer until your chicken is done cooking.
  5. Once your chicken is done cooking, remove from heat. serve with cucumber tomato salad, or in taco’s and top with your sweet and spicy harissa sauce.

Blackened pork tacos with a poblano tomatillo salsa

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This last week I haven’t had any time to make a meal plan. I’ve been too busy with sick children, being sick myself and trying to catch up on sleep.. So a meal plan was the LAST thing on my mind. So I did what any regular person would do- go to the grocery store and buy whatever is on sale or looks good! That is when the idea of these taco’s were born.

Poblano peppers, jalapeno peppers, cilantro, tomatillos… All green everything. It should be called the mean green charred salsa of the west. Right, there’s pork too. Blackened pork which is delicious. But the SALSA. I mean come on, this batch makes over a litre of salsa so you have an excuse to eat nacho’s smothered in cheese later.

The secret to this recipe that keeps the pork moist and tender is a DRY rub and an over night marinade. Or at least over an hour. Preferably 2. Ok the secret is baking soda. Why? because google said so. “Baking soda is an antacid. In other words, it works to neutralize acid. Rather than “denaturing” the meat as salt does, baking soda raises the pH on the surface of the meat, making the outside of the meat more alkaline. This chemical reaction makes it more difficult for the proteins in the meat to tighten up together.”

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You’ve got to char these bad boys. (Jalapeños orange and extra lime not shown, oops.)

Blend it up and BAM – a deliciously fresh salsa with a citrus-y kick and the heat comes right after you get that citrus kick. It hits alllll the right spots on your tongue. I’m going to stop blabbing now, and post the recipe. You have GOT to try this.

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Ingredients: Serves 8-10

For the rub/marinade:

  • 1 pork tenderloin
  • 1 TBSP baking soda
  • 2.5 TSP oregano
  • 1/2 TSP cumin
  • 1 TSP coriander
  • salt and pepper

For the Mean Green Salsa:

  • 2 poblano peppers
  • 2 jalapenos
  • 8 tomatillos, shucked and washed
  • 6 scallions, ends trimmed
  • 5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
  • 1 large red onion, quartered
  • 1 large lime, or 2 small limes halved. (1/4c fresh squeezed lime juice.)
  • 1/2 large navel orange
  • EVOO for drizzling
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1.5 loosely packed cilantro, rough chopped
  • 1/2 TBSP honey or agave

For cooking the pork:

  • 2 TBSP EVOO
  • 1c red wine preferably, or chicken stock
  • 10 organic volcanic stone ground corn tortillas

Optional toppings:

  • Radishes, Avocado, diced tomatoes, cilantro, cheese

Directions:

  1. For the dry rub marinade: mix baking soda, oregano, salt, pepper, cumin and coriander in a small bowl. Rub all over your pork tenderloin. Put in the fridge to marinate uncovered for 1 hour up to 24 hours.
  2. For the salsa: Turn your oven to the broil setting. (about 550F) Place your poblanos, jalapeños, tomatillos, scallions, garlic cloves, onion, and limes on a baking sheet. drizzle with EVOO, sprinkle with sea salt and fresh cracked peppercorns. Put in the oven for 2-4 minutes. put a timer for 2 minutes, and check to see if they need an extra minute. It depends on your oven. there will be a bit of smoke. You’re charring the veg after all. Once the veg are slightly charred, remove from the oven.
  3. In a blender or food processor, juice your limes and your orange. Rough chop your charred vegetables and add to the blender. Add cilantro, honey and season again with salt and pepper. (not too much, I would blend ingredients first and taste. adjust your seasoning accordingly.)
  4. For the pork: Preheat your oven to 400F. In a well seasoned cast iron skillet over med-high heat, add your EVOO. Once hot, add your tenderloin. Blacken on all sides. This does not take long, I swear it’s the baking soda. once blackened on all sides, de-glaze the pan with your wine or stock. Swish (can I say swish?) your pork around to soak up and roll around in all those black bit flavours stuck on the pan. Remove from heat and put in the oven for 15 minutes. (Or until cooked to 145F)
  5. Remove pork from the oven and let it rest for 5-10 minutes while you chop up your Avo’s, radishes, cilantro and char your tortillas. I do this right on my gas burners. if you don’t have a gas stove, use a stainless steel skillet over med-high heat and add your tortillas to toast them. (not a non-stick, it’s dangerous to heat food with no oil or fat.)
  6. Slice your pork and assemble your tacos. YUM.

Thai chickpea & cauliflower taco’s with coconut peanut sauce

I said yesterday in my last post that I would be posting a micro green slaw recipe soon – that day is today! I decided to do a vegan dinner tonight, and what better protein replacement is there than chickpeas? Throw in some cauliflower and you’ve got a hearty taco filling! This isn’t a 30 minute dinner by any chance, especially when you have two tiny children under the age of 2.. but it is so worth it. This can be taco’s as shown, or make some rice noodles and have as a stir fry or even just eat it as a salad. I’m not the boss of you, do whatever you want with it! It is delicious either way!!

cauliflower chickpea tacos

Ingredients:

for the filling:

  • 2c chickpeas
  • 1 head of cauliflower cut into small florets
  • 1 tsp each of garlic powder and coriander
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp evoo
  • 12 corn tortillas

For the slaw:

  • 1 red pepper, thinly sliced
  • 1 bunch of green onions (greens only) thinly sliced
  • 3 medium carrots, grated or mathsticked
  • 1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
  • 1 small handful each of these micro greens: cilantro, cabbage, onion and basil. (you can easily substitute regular herbs and cabbage for this. I am only using what I have on hand.)
  • salt and pepper to taste (about 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper.)
  • 1/2c rice wine vinegar
  • 2 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp toasted sesame oil (regular sesame oil is okay too.)
  • handful of raw cashews or peanuts  (throw them in when youre ready to eat.)

For the peanut sauce:

  • 1/2c natural peanut butter (nuts to you is my favourite.)
  • 5 tbsp coconut cream (do not shake your can of coconut milk. simply open, and scoop the cream off top.)
  • 5 tbsp coconut water (now you can stir your can and mix it together.)
  • 1 1/2 limes juiced
  • 1″ knob of ginger, peeled and grated
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp sriracha, plus more to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F.
  2. In a large bowl, add your cauliflower, chickpeas, evoo, salt, pepper, garlic and coriander. toss together. Place on a baking tray. bake for 26-30 minutes.
  3. in a medium sized bowl, add all slaw ingredients except for the nuts. let it sit for at least 10 minutes. mix frequently.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together all peanut sauce ingredients
  5. add peanuts to your slaw mixture.
  6. Once your chickpeas and cauliflower are cooked, it is time to assemble your taco’s. heat your taco shells on your stove (or microwave or oven) add your cauliflower mixture, then your slaw, and then smother with your peanut sauce. and enjoy!

Skirt Steak microgreen salad with chimichurri sauce

 

My mother in law has got me hooked on these “micro greens” and I want to put them in everything! I’ll be posting a micro green slaw for taco’s in a couple days, that is sure to be delicious!

If you need an easy healthy dinner idea- this is for you. I made this with a skirt steak, but I highly recommend using a marinated flank steak. The skirt steak is too chewy for me! 

microgreensaladprep

Ingredients:

  • 1 LB skirt steak or flank steak, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, garlic powder, smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4c red wine
  • 1/2 of a large onion, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 lb asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1c peas
  • 1 heaping cup of heirloom grape tomatoes, thinly sliced
  • 1 avocado, thinly sliced, or diced
  • 1 head of butter lettuce or arugula
  • a handful of cilantro and onion micro greens (however you much you prefer.)

For the chimichurri sauce:

  • 3/4c good quality EVOO
  • 3 TBSP red wine vinegar
  • 1 large shallot, rough chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, rough chopped
  • 1c mint, stems removed
  • 2c parsley, stems removed
  • 2c cilantro, stems removed
  • 1 jalapeno, rough chopped (remove seeds and ribs for less heat)
  • 1 large lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper

Directions:

  • In a blender or food processor, add in all chimichurri sauce ingredients and blend until chunky-smooth.
  • Add 1 tbsp EVOO to a medium sized pan on medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot, add your sliced steak. Season with salt, cumin, coriander, garlic and smoked paprika. Once halfway cooked, add in your onions and saute until the steak is finished cooking. Add in your wine, and let it reduce.
  • Meanwhile, bring a pot of water to a boil. once boiling, add your asparagus and peas. Turn the heat to low, and cook for 2 minutes.
  • In a separate bowl, tear up your lettuce leaves. Top with the beef and onion mixture, asparagus, peas, tomatoes, avocado and micro greens.
  • Add in some chimichurri sauce, and toss it all together. Serve immediately and enjoy!

 


Caprese Panzanella with Chicken

Chicken. Bread. Cheese. Tomatoes. Basil. Heaven. That is all.

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the chicken-

  • 4 6oz chicken breasts, pounded to the same thickness for even cooking
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, oregano and thyme
  • 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper
  • 2 TBSP EVOO (for pan frying)

For the salad-

  • 1 1/2 C (226G) FRESH mozzarella cheese, diced into 1/4″ cubes
  • 2 1/2C fresh torn basil leaves
  • Balsamic vinaigrette or glaze (optional)

For the Tomatoes-

  • 3-4c cherry tomatoes
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled and halved
  • 1/2 white onion, cut into 1/2″ chunks
  • 1/4 tsp salt and pepper + a little more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp each garlic powder, thyme and oregano
  • 1-2 TBSP EVOO

For the croutons-

  • 6c day old bread or buns (approx 3 Portuguese rolls) diced into 1″ cubes
  • 1/2C EVOO
  • 3 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F. Line 2 baking pans with tin foil.
  2. In a large bowl, add your cubed bread, olive oil, oregano, thyme, garlic powder, salt and pepper. Toss everything together with your hands to make sure everything is mixed up. Pour on to one of your tin foil lined pans. Bake at 400F for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
  3. In the same bowl, add your tomatoes. Drizzle with 2 tbsp olive oil. Add your garlic cloves, onion, salt, pepper, garlic powder, thyme and oregano. Toss everything together with your hands and make sure everything is coated evenly. Pour tomato mixture on to the second tin foil lined pan. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes, or until nicely roasted.
  4. In a small bowl, mix together your chicken seasonings. (salt, pepper, oregano, thyme, and garlic powder.) Once mixed, season both sides of your chicken breasts.
  5. In a pan over medium heat, add your 2 tbsp of olive oil. Let it get nice and toasty. Add your chicken breasts to the pan. Let cook on the one side for about 5-7 minutes. Once browned nicely on that side, turn the chicken over and continue cooking until it is fully cooked through. (This will be about another 7 minutes.) Once your chicken is fully cooked (check with a meat thermometer for a temperature that reads 160F) remove from the pan and to a cutting board to rest.
  6. Slice your chicken in to thin strips, or dice it.
  7. In a large salad bowl, add your roasted tomatoes, croutons, chicken, mozzarella cheese and torn basil. Drizzle with a balsamic vinaigrette or a balsamic glaze. Or eat it without it! It is delicious either way!

Greek Chicken Skewers with Tzatziki

House cleaning day/laundry day/shopping day/day at the park day means this 40 week pregnant mama has zero time to spend making and preparing dinner.  I can get the marinade done early in the day or the day before, marinate the chicken and do the tzatziki at the same time. So by the time it comes to BBQ, all I need to do is cut up some veg and make a side salad. for me, this is simple!

Cheers to the BBQ and healthy dinners!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

For the chicken + marinade-

  • 10 boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1″ cubes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 palm full of fresh basil, minced
  • 1 palm full of mint, minced
  • 1 palm full of parsley, minced (roughly 1-2 tbsp)
  • 1 palm full of dill, minced
  • 3 tbsp EVOO
  • 3 TBSP full fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1 lemon, juiced (About 3 tbsp)
  • salt and pepper, to taste

For the Tzatziki sauce-

  • 1 1/2C full fat plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 red onion, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1/2 English cucumber, grated
  • 2 tbsp mint, minced
  • 1 tbsp dill, minced
  • (If the garlic doesn’t sit in the yogurt for a little while, it can have a very strong flavour, especially if it is fresh garden garlic. If the flavours are too strong for you, I would suggest adding in 1 tbsp of honey. This can really help!)

Directions:

  1. In a medium sized bowl, or a food storage bag add all of your chicken and marinade ingredients. Let marinate for 30 minutes, up to one hour.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together all of your tzatziki ingredients except for the DILL. Set aside and let sit for as long as your chicken is marinating.
  3. Heat your outdoor grill to just below medium heat. Start skewering your chicken on to metal skewers or pre-soaked wooden skewers. brush the skewers with the marinade, and add them to the grill.
  4. Turn once your chicken starts looking opaque. *Note- if your chicken skewers are sticking to the grill, your heat may be too high. To avoid pulling all the meat off the skewer itself, I suggest using a metal spatula and gently scraping underneath the chicken skewers to move them before you turn them with a pair of tongs.
  5. Once your chicken is no longer pink (test a large piece or use a meat thermometer and make sure the temperature reads 160F) remove from the grill.
  6. Add your dill to your tzatziki and mix together.
  7. Serve with grilled peppers + onions, your tzatziki sauce and my Fresh Dill and cucumber salad!