Basil Pesto Chicken with garlic tomato pasta

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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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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 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.

 

 


Home made Raviolli with spinach and ricotta filling

I honestly believe there is nothing in this world as amazing as home made pasta. It is SO fresh and so delicious, I swear I can’t go back to store bought boxes of pasta. You just need to find a really good recipe, and I have tried many. My favourite is from Chef Michael Smith. I made a home made tomato sauce as well, but I will not be posting it for a while, so you will have to make or buy your own!14355589_10157410985795099_816792382677748228_n

Ingredients:

-1 lb favorite pasta dough, rolled into  thin strips

-16 fl oz or 2 cups ricotta cheese

-4 cups spinach, chopped as small as you can get it!

-salt, pepper and a pinch of nutmeg

-1 egg, beaten

-1/4 cup parmigianno reggiano

For topping-

home made or store bought tomato sauce

basil

grated parmesan

 

Directions:

mix your ricotta, spinach, egg, parmigianno, salt and pepper and nutmeg together in a bowl.

Lay your pasta flat on a floured surface. Using a cup, or ravioli cutter, cut out circles big enough to hold 1 tsp of filling, or big enough to fold the pasta over itself. I cut out enough circles so I could put another piece of pasta over the filled ravioli. And then i just used an egg wash to help the edges stick together.

Bring a pot of water to a boil. Once the water is boiling, season the water with salt. A LOT of salt. Add your ravioli and cook for 7-9 minutes.

Add to a plate, throw pasta sauce on top and add some grated parmesan cheese and some basil.


Cardamon rice + Chili Beef

The beef cooked with this rice dish is a straight copy from Chef Ramsays “Great escape” cook book. It’s a great one, I suggest you get that book!! the rice is just something I thought to make with it. And it is sure delicious. Packed with flavour.

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Ingredients:

-chef ramsays chili beef from “the great escape”

-1.5c long grain rice (basmatie or jasmine)

-3c chicken broth

-4 cardamon pods, crush them so the seeds can fall out. keep the pods.

-1 heaping tsp coriander

-1 tsp red pepper flakes

-1/2 a lime, juiced – keep the juiced lime half for cooking

-salt and pepper to taste

-In a medium to large sauce pan over med-high, add your chicken broth. Once the chicken broth is warmed, add your cardamon seeds and pods, coriander, red pepper flakes, lime juice and lime half, salt and pepper. Whisk, and bring to a boil. once it has been brought to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 15 minutes to let the flavours meld together. once that is complete, cook your rice in the broth according to package directions. I cheat by using a rice cooker 😉


Herb buttered chicken and a white bean puree

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Ingredients: (serves 2)

-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts, butterflied and flattened to less than 1/2″

-salt + pepper + red pepper flakes (enough to coat both sides of chicken)

-EVOO

-3 tbsp butter

-2 tbsp each minced garlic, parsley and oregano

For the white bean puree:

-Immersion hand blender or regular blender

-1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained

-1 cup chicken stock

-4 cloves garlic, chopped

-1 red onion, rough chopped

-salt and pepper, to taste

For the salad:

-1 large handful of arugula

-1 tbsp grainy dijon mustard

-1 tbsp red wine vinegar

-1/2 tsp honey

Directions:

Season both sides of pounded chicken with salt pepper and red pepper flakes. In a little bowl, add butter, garlic, parsley and oregano.

In a skillet over medium heat, add your EVOO. Once the pan is hot, add your chicken breast. Do not move the chicken, let it sit in the pan to brown and cook. After about 6-7 minutes, flip your chicken breasts and cook on the other side for another 6-7 minutes. Add your herbed butter, and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through. This cooking time depends fully on how flat you’ve pounded your breasts. If you’re unsure of the doneness of your chicken, i suggest a kitchen thermometer. Chicken should be 160F.

In a medium sauce pan over just under medium heat, ands your onions and garlic. Cook until the onions are slightly translucent. Once they are, add your white kidney beans. Cook for another minute or two. Add your 1 cup of chicken stock. Season with salt and pepper. let these flavours boil and cook together for at least 7-10 minutes. After that, puree your mixture with a hand blender. (Or transfer to a regular blender.) Once blended, turn the heat to low and keep warm.

In a medium bowl, add your dijon, red wine vinegar and honey. whisk to mix together. Throw your arugula on top, and toss with your hands to coat the arugula with the dressing.

When ready, serve your chicken on top of your puree with your salad on the side.

This meal tastes best when you eat the puree , salad and chicken in one bite. Yummy!!


Warm Thai Steak Salad

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I’ve got a hankering for something gingery and garlicky… And I just so happened to have a flank steak pulled out. Thai inspired steak salad, here we come!!

Ingredients:

1 flank steak

Marinade:

-1/4c sesame oil

-1/4c soy sauce

-3 tbsp worcestershire sauce

-2″ knob ginger, grated

-5 cloves garlic, minced

-2 tbsp sriracha sauce

-2 tbsp rice wine vinegar

Noodles:

-1 lb boccatini spaghetti, cooked

-2 tbsp tahini sauce

-1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

-1 tbsp honey

-2 cups romaine lettuce, chopped

-1/4c fresh chives, sliced

-lightly toasted sesame seeds

In a resealable freezer bag, add all your marinade ingredients. Score your flank steak across the grain from one end to the other. this will allow the marinade to sink in. Marinate 4 hours or over night.

Remove steak from the bag. KEEP the marinade. Pat the steak dry with paper towel. Turn your BBQ to medium-high heat. BBQ steak 6-7 mins a side for a medium rare. Remove from the BBQ and let rest.

in a sauce pan over low-medium heat, add your marinade and the rest of the sauce ingredients. (All except the sesame seeds and chives.) Bring to a boil, and let simmer. Once the sauce is thickened to your liking, add it to the noodles. Add your chopped up lettuce and mix. Top with steak, chives and sesame seeds.