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.

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! 

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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!

 


Bacon Mango Rice

The perfect side dish for almost anything is RICE in my opinion!! My 14 month old son would also strongly agree… It’s simply one of our favourite things to eat!

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Ingredients: (serves 4)

  • 1 1/4c dry jasmine rice
  • 2 1/2c water
  • 6 strips of bacon, diced
  • 1 mango, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 white onion, diced
  • 4 TBSP butter
  • small handful of chives, chopped

Directions:

  1. Cook your rice according to package directions.
  2. In a large skillet over medium heat, add in your 6 slices of bacon. Cook until almost crisp (or however you like to eat your bacon.) Drain ALL of the bacon fat that you can out of the pan. Add in your onion, and cook until soft (a couple minutes.) Add in your garlic and your mangoes, cook while stirring for a minute or two.
  3. Once all your veg and fruit are done cooking, add 4 tbsp butter to your pan and then add in your cooked rice. Toss everything together and then let the rice sit for a couple minutes to crisp up a bit. Stir, and continue crisping up your rice.
  4. Add in your chives and toss everything together again. Serve along side some nice juicy tender Chipotle Mango BBQ’D Pork Tenderloin and carrots!

Pork Tenderloin with Mustard BBQ sauce

If you’re all for a different kind of barbecue sauce, I suggest this one! It is a bit spicy, so if you don’t normally eat a lot of spicy foods your head might sweat! This BBQ sauce is made with mustard and a delicious combination of spices. Try it out!

mustard BBQ pork

Ingredients: (serves 2)

For the pork-

  • 1 Lb pork tenderloin
  • 1/2 TSP each of dried: Rosemary, garlic powder, thyme and onion powder
  • 1/4 TSP chili flakes
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 TBSP EVOO

For the sauce- (This makes about 2 cups so there will be left overs.)

  • 1/3C Ketchup
  • 1/2C Mustard
  • 3 TBSP apple cider vinegar
  • 2 TBSP worchesterchire sauce
  • 3 TBSP Franks red hot sauce
  • 3 TBSP honey
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 1/2 TSP each of dried: onion powder, garlic powder and smoked paprika
  • Fresh ground salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. In a small bowl, mix together  your spice rub ingredients – rosemary, garlic powder, thyme, onion powder, chili flakes, salt and pepper. Mix until well combined. Rub the spice mixture all over your pork tenderloin.
  2. In a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add your EVOO. Once the oil is nice and hot, add your tenderloin to the skillet. Brown it on all sides to get a nice crust.
  3. Once the tenderloin is browned, move it right to the 425 degree oven for 10-15 minutes, or until its internal temperature reads 145F.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk all of your sauce ingredients together. Set aside.
  5. Once the pork is done cooking, remove it from the oven and place it on a cutting board. Let it rest 5 to 10 minutes. Once the tenderloin is rested, slice it into medallions and serve with the mustard BBQ sauce.
  6. Serve this with mashed potatoes and a broccoli cole slaw! Yummy!

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!

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!!