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


Blackened pork tacos with a poblano tomatillo salsa

porktacos

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.”

porktacos5

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.

porktacos3

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.