Sunday, September 27, 2009

Basil Pesto

As happy as I was a few months ago when all of my little herb seedlings started sprouting up, I was beyond thrilled when I finally got to use them. This weekend I put some of my fragrant basil to use and made a delicious pasta with basil pesto and grilled chicken. I found myself licking the spatula to make sure there wasn't a drop wasted and didn't even get a picture of it plated up because we couldn't wait to dive in.

I tend to only make pesto in the summer when I have my own basil so I never remember what recipe I like to use. This time I started with a Giada De Laurentiis pesto recipe from Everyday Italian.

Spaghetti with Basil Pesto & Grilled Chicken
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1 garlic clove (I used 2 or 3 - love garlic!)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more
1 pkg. Mrs. Leeper's corn spaghetti, cooked al dente (reserve 1 cup of pasta water)
2 chicken breasts, grilled and torn or cut into bite-sized pieces

Pulse basil, pine nuts, garlic, salt and pepper in food processor until finely chopped. Gradually add olive oil while continuing to blend until it reaches a smooth and thick consistency. Stir in the Parmesan cheese. Add pesto to pasta and mix. Add enough pasta water to thin to desired sauce consistency. Toss in chicken breast and serve topped with fresh grated Parmesan.

"Basil - an Indispensable Herb of French Cuisine." Online Image. French Culinary Blog - Made in Cantal. No date. 9-27-09 .

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Speedy Chicken Pasta

When I need a quick meal that I know the boys will eat this chicken pasta is on that go-to list. Not only does it go together quickly but I feel much better serving this over take-out. I use a jarred sauce, if I don't have any homemade marinara in the freezer, and then add fresh herbs and flaxseed meal to give it a boost.

Speedy Chicken Pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 jar pasta sauce - I like Classico Sweet Basil
8 ounce can tomato sauce
1/4 cup fresh oregano, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons flaxseed meal
salt & fresh ground black pepper
optional: crushed red pepper
Mrs. Leeper's corn spaghetti, cooked al dente
Parmesan cheese

Heat olive oil in a large pan and add onions, garlic and chicken. Cook until onions are translucent and chicken is cooked through. Add sauces, basil, oregano, flaxseed meal, basil and oregano. Salt and pepper to taste. Simmer 5-10 minutes.

Add cooked pasta and serve topped with grated parmesan cheese.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Cinnamon Puffs

Cinnamon puffs/muffins are the most requested item at our house (The kids know they have a better chance of getting these over cinnamon rolls). I think the boys would eat them every day for breakfast if I would make them. It is now one of those recipes I could almost make in my sleep and know it is a memory of childhood that Noah and Joshua will carry with them forever.

They are always a crowd pleaser if you need to provide a breakfast item and couldn't be cuter when made with the mini muffin pan. At home they are often requested "big" which is fine with me since that means they are less time consuming to make. Either way these puffs/muffins will be devoured and leave you hearing cries of dismay when there are none leftover for breakfast the next day.

Cinnamon Puffs
1/3 cup shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cup Brown Rice Flour Mix*
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 rounded teaspoon egg replacer
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted

Heat oven to 350ยบ. Spray mini muffin pan or 9 regular muffin cups with cooking spray. In large bowl mix together shortening, 1/2 cup sugar and egg. In separate bowl mix together flour, baking powder, xanthan gum, egg replacer, salt, and nutmeg. Stir flour mix into large bowl, alternating with milk. Fill muffin cups about two thirds full. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes mini muffins or 22-25 minutes for regular muffins. Mix 1/2 cup sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Immediately after baking, roll puffs in melted butter, then in cinnamon & sugar mixture. Serve with a large glass of milk!
**Rebecca Reilly Brown Rice Flour Mix**
2 cups brown rice flour
2/3 cup potato starch
1/3 cup tapioca starch
Store in airtight container in the refrigerator.