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.

basil chicken tomato pasta 3


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!

10 Spice Beer Can Chicken

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It was 29 degrees today. WOW. What an ABSOLUTELY beautiful day!!! But on super hot days like today, I don’t really feel like heating up my house any more than it already is – so I decided to BBQ outside! Tonights dinner is a super simple, yet delicious (moist) beer can chicken!!!! If you have never tried something like this, I suggest you do. Serve it up with some BBQ’D sweet potatoes, and BBQ’D whole carrots, and a home made Caesar salad.

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Ingredients:

  • 1 3-4LB whole chicken
  • 1/3c EVOO
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP garlic powder
  • 2 TBSP smoked paprika
  • 1 TBSP cumin
  • 1 TBSP coriander
  • 1 TBSP onion powder
  • 1 TBSP salt
  • 1 TBSP pepper
  • 1/2 TBSP cinnamon
  • 1 TSP cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 can of your favourite beer

Directions:

  1. Wash your bird thoroughly inside and out. Pat dry.
  2. In a small mixing bowl, mix together your brown sugar, garlic powder, smoked paprika, cumin, coriander, onion powder, salt, pepper, cinnamon and cayenne pepper and your evoo.
  3. Place your chicken in a LARGE bowl. Rub your seasoning paste all over the bird.
  4. Heat your outdoor grill to LOW on one side, and MEDIUM on the other side.
  5. Make sure to use some kind of drip tray safe for a BBQ to place your chicken on. Put the beer can in the chickens cavity, place standing up on the drip tray and put it on the LOW heat side of the BBQ. Close the lid. If the brown sugar on your chicken is getting black within the first 10-20 minutes of being on the grill, turn the heat down a little lower.
  6. Set a kitchen timer for 1 hour. This can take up to 90 minutes depending on the efficiency of your grill. My 4lb chicken only took about 1 hour.
  7. Once the thickest part of the chicken reads 165F, it is ready to come off the grill.
  8. Place chicken on a cutting board, let rest for 15 minutes.
  9. Once the chicken is well rested, carve and serve!

Spring Gnocchi with fresh herbs

Dinner tonight is super fresh and super simple! There’s a little bit of chopping, and we cheated by buying our gnocchi instead of making it today. Oops! No time for that today! This was quite the refreshing dish. I love all the green in it! Give it a try!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 700g fresh potato gnocchi
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 4 tbsp butter, divided
  • 1 large leek, diced and rinsed to remove dirt
  • 1 small bunch of asparagus, tough ends broken off, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 large green onions, whites and greens separated, and sliced
  • 4 large garlic cloves, sliced (not minced. we want nice big but thin pieces.)
  • 1c Peas
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2c parmigiano reggiano + more for serving
  • few leaves of basil, torn
  • 1/2c parsley, rough chopped

Directions:

  1. In a large skillet over medium heat, add 2 tbsp EVOO and 2 tbsp butter. Let the butter melt and the oil get nice and hot. Add your gnocchi in and brown on both sides.
  2. Once your gnocchi is browned, add in your leeks, asparagus, whites of the green onions and garlic. Cook until the leeks and asparagus start to get tender. (a few minutes.)
  3. Add in your fresh peas, remaining 2 tbsp butter, greens of the green onions, and season with salt and pepper.
  4. Add your lemon zest and your lemon juice, 1/2c parmigianno reggiano, parsley and basil. Remove from heat and serve immediately. Sprinkle with more cheese!
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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and spring veggies

This Thai Curry uses a home made green curry paste that you can find here

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Ingredients: (Serves 2)

  • 3 medium carrots, sliced on the bias (about 1/2C)
  • 7 stalks of asparagus, hard ends snapped off, cut into 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 large green onions both whites and greens sliced on the bias, keep whites separated from the green.
  • 1 398ML can of coconut milk or cream
  • 2 6-8oz chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 tbsp Green Thai Curry Paste
  • 2 TBSP china lily soy sauce
  • 2 TSP coconut sugar
  • 2 kaffir lime leaves, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup loosely packed basil leaves, torn into pieces
  • 2.5C cooked basmati rice (for serving.)

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Directions:

  1. Heat 1/2C of the coconut milk in a wok over low heat. Add your green curry paste and mix until well combined.
  2. Add your cubed chicken and turn the heat up to just over medium. Cook until your chicken is no longer pink.
  3. Add in the rest of your coconut milk, soy sauce, coconut sugar, carrots, asparagus, white parts of the onions, and kaffir lime leaves. Let the curry come to a boil. Once the curry is boiling and foaming, turn the heat back down to low to let the curry simmer for about 7 to 10 minutes, or until your vegetables are tender-crisp. (To your liking.)
  4. Once the curry is done cooking and your vegetables are done, stir in your green onions and torn basil leaves. Serve immediately over steaming hot basmati rice
  5. Enjoy!!

Green Thai Curry Paste

Spring is in the air!! It got up to maybe 13 or 14 degrees today in Edmonton, and let me tell you it was AMAZING. 13 degrees is pretty warm for me after our winters… sadly. Needless to say, I was feeling extra inspired for my meal plan I made this morning! I want to do spring dinners with all the beauty produce that is out and in season! If only I could cook this way the whole year round and not go broke, I would be the happiest girl in the whole entire world!

First meal of this weeks plan is a green curry with chicken and spring veggies, with a home made green curry paste. It is so much better to make your own so you don’t have a store bought container in your fridge with one or two spoonfuls out of it until you end up throwing it out 6 months later. What a waste. Grab your mortar and pestle (or a small blender or food processor) and lets get to it!

 

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Ingredients:

  • 1/2 TSP ground cumin
  • 1/2 TSP ground coriander
  • 1″ piece of lemon grass, OR 1 TSP ground lemon grass
  • 2.5 TBSP fresh grated, and peeled ginger root
  • 2 small kaffir lime leaves (it is okay to use dried leaves.)
  • 1.5 TBSP shallot, minced (About half of a shallot.)
  • 1 TSP fresh grated turmeric
  • 1.5 TBSP grated garlic cloves (about 3 large cloves)
  • 5 large basil leaves, minced
  • 2 red Thai chili’s, minced (Use more if you want spicier.)
  • 1/8 TSP freshly ground sea salt

Directions:

Add all your ingredients to your mortar and pestle or food processor and turn it into a paste. This makes about 3.5 TBSP of green curry paste.

I scaled down the spice of this as my 13 month old eats what we eat for dinner, and he sure does not approve of anything too spicy. That being said, up that chili pepper amount and use green Chile’s with red Chile’s. This is a little less than medium spice.


Thai coconut shrimp

I have this little tiny thai cookbook straight from Thailand from my dear mother in law. Unfortunately it is still packed away in the basement with the rest of my books that NEED a home up stairs… I had a hankering for Thai and this is the closest and most authentic I can get without the PRO’S. By the by, it was friggen AHMAZING.

thaicoconutshrimp

 

This recipe perfectly serves 2, with a bit of left over rice for lunch the next day, or it can be pureed in to baby food for your little one!

Ingredients:

Rice:

-1.5c jasmine rice

-3c chicken stock, or water

Shrimp marinade:

-16-20 shrimps, shelled, deveined, tails removed (or you can leave them on.)

-3 tbsp soy sauce

-1 tsp chili flakes + 1/2 tsp garlic powder

Sauce:

-1 tbsp sesame oil

-2″ knob ginger, minced

-5 cloves garlic, minced

-1/2 large white onion, diced

-1/2 large red bell pepper, diced

-2 chili peppers, sliced. (remove the seeds and ribs for less heat.)

-1/4c tamari or soya sauce

-1 can (398 ML) coconut milk

-Juice of 2 small limes

-1 tbsp brown or white sugar

-1 heaping tbsp smooth peanut butter

-2 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro or parsley

 

Directions:

-The absolute best way to have a super quick and stress free dinner is to PREP before you start cooking. This way, everything is ready to just toss in the pan when you need to.

-First, marinate your shrimp. This only takes 10 minutes to 30 minutes depending on your time. it isn’t a huge deal if you can’t marinate it. So combine shrimp, soya sauce and chili flakes in a bowl, put in fridge and marinate.

-Second, cook your rice. Get that started first, as it takes the longest.

-Next, in a large pan or wok add your sesame oil. Put heat on medium. once the pan is hot, add your shrimp. Cook until they are pink. Once they are pretty pink, remove them from the heat, place on a paper towel.

-Next, add more oil if need be. Let the oil heat up for a minute. Add your onion and red pepper and chili peppers. Cook until the onions start to brown and the peppers get a little soft. Add your ginger and garlic. Saute for a minute or two or until fragrant.

-Now add in your tamari, your brown sugar, peanut butter and coconut milk. Stir to combine, and cook until slightly thickened. After about 5 minutes, you can add your lime juice and add your shrimp back to the pan. Heat the shrimp through, and remove the pan from heat immediately.

-Serve over your rice and garnish with your cilantro or parsley.