Monthly Archives: August 2020

pesto chicken and pasta

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A few simple ingredients and dinner is served. Chicken breast, pesto, tomatoes and pasta. I like making my own pesto but you don’t have to. You can find it at most grocery stores.

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If you happen to have an abundance of basil out in the garden or on the windowsill you can never go wrong with making pesto. Actually just go buy some basil at the store or farmers market because basil pesto is delicious by itself with a cracker, some bread, pasta, chicken just about anything.
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basil pesto

Equipment

  • food processor

Ingredients
  

  • 6 ounces washed and dried basil leaves, stems removed
  • 4 ounces pine nuts toasted
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 2 ounces parmesan cheese grated
  • olive oil
  • kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper

Instructions
 

  • Toast the pine nuts until they are a little brown in color and let them cool a little
  • in a food processor add the basil, pine nuts and garlic, pulse until combined.
  • while processing add the olive oil until you get the consistency you are looking for.
  • add some salt and pepper to taste. use what you need and store the rest in a sealed container in the fridge.

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I really love sheet pan meals and I mostly make them in the cooler months which I am not sure why that is, there is no reason to wait. So I decided to make use of what I had on hand fresh tomatoes and garlic from the garden and basil off the back deck.

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pesto chicken & pasta

Ingredients
  

  • 4-6 pieces boneless chicken breast
  • 3/4 cup basil pesto
  • 1 box pasta - spaghetti or ziti

Instructions
 

  • Line a sheet pan with some tinfoil or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 350'F
  • Season each piece of chicken with salt and pepper. Using approximately 1/4 cup of basil pesto over all of the chicken. Arrange each piece of chicken on the sheet pan and bake for 20-30 minutes.
  • remove from the oven and place the tomatoes around the chicken and return back into the oven until the chicken is cooked through.
  • cooked pasta according to the package directions.
  • once pasta is cooked and drained add some pesto to the pasta. slice some chicken and add some tomatoes to your dish of choice and add some shaved Parmigiano Reggiano cheese

blueberry zucchini lemon bread

Sitting on the porch just finished having a couple of buttermilk biscuits for breakfast with my husband and daughter. When I first came outside the sun was hitting one lonely little sunflower which I don’t usually see or maybe it’s more like notice. It is slowly following the sun around and by the afternoon will have done a 180′ turn which is pretty cool if you think about it.
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The porch has become THE place this summer. We have been spending a lot of time out here either alone and with friends and family. I wonder when the pergola; affectionately called the Parthenon (it’s huge, white columns in all) my husband has been building all summer will take over as THE place to be once it’s done.
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I have made this bread a couple of times and tweaked it a bit to not only have a lemon glaze on top but to add some lemon to the dough. I mean blueberry and lemon are fantastic together. I am not entirely sure what zucchini is bringing to the party except maybe some extra moisture but I am happy to have somewhere for all of our garden zucchini to go.  This year since I am working from home and can’t really share with my co-workers I have a little table I have been placing at the end of our driveway and filling it with whatever we cannot use up or give way to family and friends. I think the people who pass by are happy since the harvest is gone a short time later.
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Blueberry Zucchini Lemon Bread

quick and tasty bread, this make 2 large loaves or several small ones
Course bread

Ingredients
  

  • 3 extra large eggs large are fine
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon good vanilla extract
  • 21/4 cups sugar
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini squeeze excess liquid out
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 pint fresh blueberries
  • 1 small lemon zested add a little or a lot - your choice

Lemon Glaze

  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 small lemon juiced use the lemon you zested
  • 1 tablespoon milk optional

Instructions
 

quick bread

  • Pre-heat oven to 350'F. lightly greased 2 large loaf pans or several mini pans. whatever you have on hand. You might want to cut parchment paper to fit your pans to lift out the bread intact. I did not and will next time. the bread is a wet dough and doesn't like to come out of the pans nicely.
  • in a large mixing bowl add the eggs, oil, vanilla and sugar. beat on low till combined. Fold in the zucchini. add the flour, salt, baking powder and soda beat till combined. gently fold in the blueberries. Pour into the prepared loaf pans.
  • Bake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. adjust timing for the size loaf pans you are using; smaller pans less time. Cool for 20 minutes, remove from loaf pans carefully to a wire rack to cool completely.

Lemon Glaze

  • whisk together the lemon juice, powdered sugar if you are opting not to add milk then I would drizzle this on top of the warm bread.
  • If you decide to add milk to the glaze then I would wait for the bread to cool completely before your drizzle.
Keyword blueberry zucchini lemon bread

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quick chicken parm

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It is Wednesday morning and I am sitting on the porch writing this weeks blog. It is so quiet and peaceful at the moment even the birds are still being quiet. I know it won’t last long pretty soon the hummingbirds will be stopping by for breakfast and we have a couple of squirrels who for some reason seem to peck at each other ALL the time. They are constantly going from one side of the driveway to the other and up one tree than over to the other one all the time squawking at each other. They are actually quite annoying I tell them to knock it off all time but they don’t listen. They must be teenagers.
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The other night we had a fish taco night and I know I have mentioned this before but when I make fish tacos I tend to always make shrimp and chicken as well. My soon to be daughter-in-law doesn’t like seafood. I know it sounds crazy but if I am going to bring out my fryer I am putting it to use. We had some friends over to discuss catering the food for my sons wedding. It is going to be a very small wedding; under 20 people but I hope it will be a great one for the kids. My friend is a great chef so I know the food will be fantastic.
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The fried mahi mahi is always the first to go, which is good because leftover fish is not something I particularly care for. There was a handful of leftover shrimp which I put on my salad for lunch the next day. There was a lot of chicken left over so I decided to make chicken Parmesan with it. My husband walked in seeing me with the leftover chicken out some cheese and marinara sauce and was like “chicken parm? yum” he was right it was yum and so simple.
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The hummingbirds are awake now!
This is how I made this yummy chicken parm dish with leftover fried chicken tenders

chicken parmesan

quick weeknight meal with leftover fried chicken tenders
Course Main Course

Equipment

  • dutch oven or heavy duty pan that can handle hot oil

Ingredients
  

Chicken Tenders

  • 1 package chicken tenders
  • 1 cup flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 jar your favorite marinara sauce
  • 2 packages mozzarella cheese
  • 1 package provolone cheese or swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 4+ cups cooking oil

Instructions
 

chicken tenders

  • In a heavy duty pan, a dutch oven works great if you have one. Add the oil and heat to 350'F
  • In three separate pie plates or similar add your breading station with flour in one, egg in another and the panko in the last and season each one with salt and pepper. If you want add garlic powder, or paprika or some other flavoring.
  • dredge the chicken in the flour one at a time; shaking off the excess. dip each piece in the egg and finally into the panko. Set aside until your oil is hot at 350'F
  • Once the oil is hot add several pieces of chicken turning a couple of times till browned and cooked through. Drain on a rack or a stack of paper towels until you are ready to assemble.

Chicken Parmesan

  • In a baking dish big enough and deep enough that you will be able to add a couple of layers of chicken. Add some marinara to the bottom just enough to cover the base of your dish.
  • Place chicken tenders on top of the marinara, then cover with some mozzarella and your other cheese. add some more marinara and then another layer of chicken. repeat this with what you have left and will fit. Cover your layers with the rest of the mozzarella cheese and bake till golden brown.
Keyword chicken parmesan, chicken tenders, fried chicken tenders

 

Baked Cod and Mango Salsa

We should eat more fish – I think this a lot but yet we really don’t eat it very often and that makes me sad.  We live in New England and although our coastline is pretty small; not that that matters; we still have one and we all love eating most kinds of fish; my daughter is the only one in the family that likes salmon weird huh! None of us actually want to go out and catch it but we all enjoy eating it. I love buying fresh fish but I am not opposed to grabbing the flash frozen variety in my local grocery store. It has never done me wrong so if you see it grab some and enjoy! 

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If you have never had or made a mango salsa I would like you to check it out. I haven’t had a bad one yet and it goes great with fish cooked any way. I also make a little different one for the fish tacos we love (see link here) Taco Tuesday (Fish Tacos)

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A simple salt and pepper on the fish and place it in the oven, while it is cooking I made my salsa to spoon over the top using some fresh cilantro. I also made some sweet potato wedges using some of my fresh rosemary. I really love having fresh herbs on hand, they grow quite nicely out on my back deck in my over the railing window boxes. I wish I could have them year round but that’s not happening here in New Hampshire. At least not outside!

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baked cod and mango salsa

a simple quick any night meal
Course Main Course
Servings 4 people

Ingredients
  

Fish

  • 1 1/2 pound cod fillet cut into 3-4 sized portions
  • Kosher salt and black pepper season both sides
  • paprika if you want to add a little more seasoning

Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mango's peeled and diced
  • 1/2 red pepper diced
  • 1 fresh lime squeezed
  • 1-2 fresh scallions diced
  • 1 teaspoon cilantro fresh and chopped

Instructions
 

fish

  • preheat oven to 400'F bake for 20-30 minutes just until the fish is cooked through and flaky

mango salsa

  • while the fish is in the oven, add all the ingredients into a bowl and mix to combine.

sweet potato fries

  • peel and slice up one or two sweet potatoes into wedges or fries. Add a little olive oil, salt and pepper plus some fresh chopped rosemary. place on a baking sheet and add to the oven with the fish. takes about 20 minutes or longer if you want them a little browned.
Keyword baked cod, mango salsa

 

baked stuffed zucchini

We are having a bumper crop of zucchini this year, I think we have only had one year in the last 30 where we didn’t have a bumper crop. So you would think we wouldn’t plant more than; I don’t know one two maybe even three plants instead of a six pack. Today I will be starting to bake with the monster ones. I try to get out there daily, even working from home I can’t seem to get out there, could have something to do with us being crazy busy and me working till dark.
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We have been having to fight the deer for the carrots, beets and broccoli even despite the spraying for them, they are winning and pissing us off. I would be totally OK if they ate a zucchini plant or two but noooo they don’t like those. I do share with others and sometimes quite sneakily; just this last week we met friends for dinner out and I brought each of them a bag of fresh veggies. They got cucumbers, summer squash and yes zucchini and I am nice and give them eating zucchini but they also get a monster one; sharing is caring 😉

Speaking of sharing the other night I planned on making this baked stuffed zucchini for us for dinner and figured I would slice up extra to send home with my son and my in-laws. See how I did that; I got rid of some of the large ones that I know neither would have ever taken. I used what I had on hand for this dish. I had some sausage I hadn’t put in the freezer yet in the fridge, I had some leftover risotto that I figured I would use up a little of it. You can also use what you have on hand and make it your own. Slice, scoop, fill and bake. It is as easy as that!

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baked stuffed zucchini

another way to use up some of your garden zucchini
Course Main Course

Ingredients
  

  • 1-4 med-large zucchini
  • 1-4 links sweet Italian sausage casing removed, chopped up and browned
  • 1 medium onion diced
  • 1 cup mozzarella
  • 1-2 cups rice cooked, leftovers fine
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese sliced
  • 1 large jar marinara sauce

Instructions
 

  • preheat oven to 350' F - bake for about an hour
  • Slice the zucchini lengthwise, scoop out the filling onto a chopping board, rough chop the filling and place in a large bowl.
  • brown sausage and drain the excess fat off. saute the onions until they are soft. set aside till they cool a bit, 5 minutes is fine. add these to the zucchini in the bowl.
  • dice or shred up some mozzarella and add it to the bowl with the onions, sausage and zucchini
  • Add the rice and Parmesan cheese and season to taste with salt and pepper
  • place the zucchini boats into a large baking dish. Fill each boat with the stuffing you just made.
  • cover each boat with marinara sauce and the shredded cheese. cover your dish with tinfoil and bake for 30-40 minutes. You may need to remove some of the excess liquid. Remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes or until browned.

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