Tag Archives: basil

Peach, Basil & Goat Cheese Pizza

As they say, simple is best!  Especially when it comes to summer suppers.  We often enjoy this with fresh peaches from our yard and if in the mood, we’ll even prepare this on the grill!  This sweet and savory pizza is perfect as an appetizer or paired with a side salad for a light dinner.  I kept this meal as light as can be with only four toppings, but feel free to add on what you wish.  Perhaps mozzarella, thinly sliced onion or red pepper flakes or pepperoncini’s for a kick!  Just remember…simplicity is key with this dish!

The Starting Lineup

Refrigerated pizza crust (i.e. Pillsbury’s BEST Classic Crust)
• 2 TBSP olive oil
• 1 -2 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced
• 4oz goat cheese
• 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
• Balsamic Glaze (*NOT to be confused for balsamic vinegar)

 
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Unroll your dough, place on a baking sheet or pizza stone and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes.  Remove the par-cooked dough and add on the peach slices and crumble the goat cheese overtop, place back in the oven for another 10-12 minutes or until the crust is a golden brown.  Remove and immediately sprinkle on the fresh basil and drizzle with the balsamic glaze.

*Bake dough according to your recipe or store-bought package directions. Remove halfway through, add toppings and finish baking. Dusting cornmeal under the dough before baking yields a great crunch!

PeachBasilGoatCheesePizza2

Springtime Tortellini Pesto Soup

When it comes to Spring, many ingredients come to mind, but one of my main go-to’s has to be asparagus!  I also let go of my rich, creamy soups for a light, broth version.  I know I’m about to make this soup whenever I can get my hands on that crisp, stalky green vegetable.  I also know I can prepare it on a busy weeknight, as it takes a mere 30-40 minutes to make.  Plus, since it fills a large pot, the leftovers can be had the following day for lunch or dinner!  Pair with a side salad and warm rolls and you have the perfect Spring time supper!

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 8 cups (64oz) chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup prepared basil pesto, plus more for garnish
  • 2 (15oz) cans great white northern beans, rinsed
  • 16 oz frozen tortellini
  • 1 pound asparagus, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 6 oz fresh spinach leaves
  • Precooked chicken sausage, sliced (i.e. HEB Naturals Apple Gouda)
  • Shaved parmesan cheese, garnish
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions, garlic and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes (*add garlic towards the end of the 5 minutes, careful not to burn).

To the onion and garlic, add in the broth and whisk in the pesto.  Add in the tortellini and white beans and bring to a simmer for 20 minutes.

Lastly, add in the asparagus, spinach leaves and sliced sausage and simmer until warmed through, about 5 minutes.

Ladle into bowls and top with more pesto and parmesan cheese.  Enjoy!

SpringtimeTortelliniPestoSoup

 

Balsamic Strawberry Chicken Quesadilla

I’m quite the advocate of a great balsamic reduction.  No, not the vinegar (though good where it is needed), but the rich, slightly sweet glaze.  Now, while I mainly consume it over pillow-like soft slices of mozzarella sprinkled with coarse salt, I felt I needed to broaden both the sauce’s and my horizon.  With that being said, I have concocted the easiest hand-held, Springtime delight!

Likely from my raising in Arizona, I am quite partial to the quesadilla, so I decided what better than to “stuff” a few of my favorite light and fresh ingredients into a tortilla and grill up!

Man oh man, when I tell ya that the popular Mexican favorite doesn’t have to contain south-of-the-border ingredients after all!  It was everything sweet, tangy, crunchy and fresh with the addition of fruit and herbs, vegetables, goat cheese and pecans…last but not least, the balsamic reduction to bring it all together!

*If you like it extra, ooey-gooey cheesy, please feel free to add mozzarella as well! 🙂

The Starting Lineup

  • 2 large chicken breasts, boneless and skinless
  • 6 flour tortillas (regular, spinach, low-carb, whole wheat, etc)
  • 1 pint strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup pecans, chopped
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1 (8oz) bottle Balsamic Reduction (not to be confused with vinegar)
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Salt & pepper, to taste

In a Ziploc bag, combine the extra virgin olive oil, a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and 1/4 cup of the balsamic reduction with the chicken.  Zip up, massage to coat and set aside for 20-30 minutes to marinate.

Grill the chicken, until cooked through and the juices run clear; thinly slice.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat with the butter.  On each tortilla, layer an even amount of the cooked chicken, strawberries, spinach leaves, pecans and goat cheese crumbles.  Fold in half and cook each side of the quesadilla until golden brown in color.

To serve:  Slice into wedges with a pizza cutter, sprinkle with a bit more fresh basil and drizzle the remaining balsamic reduction overtop, enjoy!

quesadillaStrawBasilChx

 

Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s (w/ semi-homemade Parmesan Risotto)

In the mood for Italian food but tired of the same ol’ pasta dish? going for the “Meatless Monday”? or maybe even the gluten-free route?  Well, as always, I have a goodie that fits all of those bills!

Honestly, my reasoning for this creative dish was that my oldest son and I are mushroom fanatics and my dear husband was out of town with work (dang trains!).  The “my husband” part is important to this because he does NOT eat meals without meat.  Salads are for the meat he eats, aka cows. 😉 but I digress…

I relished at the opportunity of a meatless meal and obviously that is where the Portobello fit in!  Rich and meaty in it’s own right that pairs so well with Italian flavors!  Now for the non-heavy, gluten-laden feeling, I went with rice…and in Italian fashion, I tweaked it to a cheat-sheet risotto!

I tell ya, this will be a staple in my home from here on out!  On Mondays.  On day’s my carnivore husband is away. 😉

The Starting Lineup

Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s

  • 4 large Portobello mushrooms, “gills” scraped out of center)
  • 2 ripe Roma tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick and quartered
  • Fresh mozzarella (sliced, torn or small individual ball’s i.e. BelGioiosa or Galbani, etc)
  • Fresh basil, torn
  • 2+ Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Balsamic reduction (i.e. FINI brand), garnish drizzle
  • Parmesan cheese, garnish

Semi-Homemade Parmesan Risotto

  • 1 box risotto (parmesan flavor if possible, i.e. Lundberg Creamy Parmesan Risotto), substitute low-sodium chicken broth/stock in place of water required
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped for garnish

_____________________________________________________________________________________________

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees, line baking sheet with foil or parchment.

“Risotto”

Prepare similar to your package directions:  Toast the Arborio rice with the 1 TBSP olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat for 2 minutes.  Add 2 1/2 cups chicken broth and seasoning packet to rice, stir, bring to a boil.  Reduce to a simmer, leaving uncovered for 20 minutes, until rice is tender, stirring occasionally.  Once thickened, add in the butter and parmesan cheese; fold in the parsley.  *If too thick, stir in 1/4 cup more chicken broth at a time. 

Meanwhile….

“Caprese Stuffed Portobello’s”

Place your cleaned out Portobello onto your baking sheet, hollow side up.  Drizzle with a bit of olive oil.  Layer on the fresh mozzarella cheese, followed by the sliced tomatoes, a bit of the fresh basil and a hefty pinch of salt and pepper.  Drizzle a bit more olive oil overtop.  Place in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, until cheese appears melty and gooey and tomatoes slightly roasted; juices appearing.

To serve:  Spoon the creamy risotto in a bowl making a slight well.  Place the roasted Caprese Stuffed Portobello overtop that well you made and sprinkle with a bit more fresh basil and a drizzle of balsamic reduction.  Enjoy!

CapreseStuffedPortobello

 

Mediterranean Chicken Pasta

Like the years before, halfway into Fall, I actually begin to crave something other than rich soups, stews and casseroles…weird, right?  I also did not want to take the time needed to make a few of those yummy, indulgent dishes.  So instead, it was back to a favorite, trusty 30-minute meal!  Another plus, it’s a bit on the healthier side compared to the latter mentioned too!   Keeping myself in check for that Thanksgiving feast this week!

*Another great thing about this dish is you can easily make it to your liking by choosing regular or gluten-free noodles, chicken, shrimp, halibut or no protein at all!  Please make it your own!

The Starting Lineup

Blackened Chicken

  • 1 lb Chicken breasts
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp thyme
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • cooking oil
  • Fresh lemon

Pasta

  • 12oz pasta noodles of choice, boiled and drained
  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1/2 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jar Roasted Piquillo (or red) Peppers, drained and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup chicken (or vegetable) broth
  • 1/2 cup (8oz) heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • Kosher salt & pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled, plus more for garnish
  • Kalamata olives, no seeds
  • Chopped fresh basil

MedP1.jpeg

 

CHICKEN:

In a bowl, blend all of the dried and ground herbs together.  Squeeze the fresh lemon and a bit of cooking oil over the chicken breast and sprinkle the spice blend evenly over the chicken.   You can pan sear, bake or grill the chicken till cooked through and juices run clear.  Tent with foil and set aside as you prepare the sauce.

NOODLES:

Prepare about 2 minutes less than package directions.   Drain.  Set aside.

SAUCE:

Have a large skillet and your food processor (or blender) at  hand.

In your skillet over med-high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter.  Next, add in the onions and garlic and sauté for 3 minutes or until softened.  Next, add the chopped and drained piquillo/red peppers and cook for another 3 minutes.

Transfer the veggie mix from the skillet to a food processor or blender.  Blend till fairly smooth, some chunks left are ok!

To that same large skillet, melt the remaining butter over med-high heat and pour the pepper puree back in.  Next, whisk in the broth, and a pinch of salt & pepper.  Finally, whisk in the heavy cream and parmesan cheese till smooth.

Add the cooked pasta, Kalamata olives, 1 cup feta cheese and fresh cut basil to the sauced skillet, toss to coat.

Serve with the blackened chicken, sliced, over top and sprinkle with a bit more feta and fresh basil.  Enjoy!

MedP4

 

Pan Seared Salmon with Sun Dried Tomato Bacon Cream Sauce

I know this is hard to believe with a recipe title as such, but this meal took less than 30 minutes to prepare and have on the table.  Yes, I tell no tale, less than a half of an hour.

What’s also great about this quick, and arguably almost healthy meal, is that since it’s so quick to cook up, it can be in your weeknight dinner rotation.  Plus, since it’s flavors are so “high-end”, it is also a no-hassle recipe for a dinner party or perhaps even an at home date with your loved one.  *One extra thing, my five year old son ate this up TWICE and even proclaimed, “I just love this stuff”.  Again, I tell no tales…

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 1/2 lbs salmon fillets
  • 3 strips bacon, chopped
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4oz sun dried tomatoes in oil, drained, sliced (Plus 2 Tbsp of the oil)
  • 1/4 tsp smoked paprika (regular will work as well)
  • 1 Tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 1/2 cup vegetable (or chicken) stock
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
  • Fresh basil, torn (garnish)
  • Parmesan Cheese, shredded (garnish)
  • Penne pasta, for serving

Salmon1

Let the Salmon come to room temperature for 15 minutes. Gather all of the ingredients and bring a large stockpot of salted water to a boil (for the pasta) while you begin to sauté the diced bacon in a large non-stick skillet.  Remove the rendered, slightly crisped bacon to a paper towel lined dish and set aside.  Also (if needed) drain all but 2 Tbsp of the bacon grease.  *When the stockpot of water is boiling, add in the penne pasta and cook to the package directions.  Drain and set aside till plating.

Bring the skillet with the bacon grease to medium heat and sear the salmon fillets for 2-3 minutes on each side.  Set aside.

To that same skillet, add in the onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes + oil, paprika, Italian seasoning and crushed red pepper.  Sauté together for about 2 minutes.

Add in the vegetable/or chicken stock over to deglaze the pan and let simmer for a couple minutes.  Pour in the half & half along with the 1/4 cup parmesan and stir together, salt & pepper to taste.  Add the seared salmon back into the creamy, fragrant sauce to bring back up to temp.

Serve this delightful dinner individually plated or family style…Coat the cooked penne in the creamy sauce, place the salmon overtop and sprinkle the freshly torn basil, parmesan and crisped bacon overtop!  Enjoy!!

Salmon5

 

 

Baked Spaghetti Pie

Back when we lived in hot and sunny Arizona, we would frequent a certain Italian food joint that was close to our home.  However, it wasn’t the close proximity that made us end up there, it was my husband’s love for their Baked Spaghetti that brought us.

Fast forward years and years and he still spoke of it…so I began to give it a whirl!  With much success, I give you my version which in using a spring form pan, gives many ooh’s & ah’s at dinnertime!  Looks quite impressive for such an easy recipe!

*If you do not have a spring-form, this recipe works just as well in a casserole dish or deep dish pie pan! 🙂

**Feel free to add in/change ingredients to suit your tastes and what you may have in your pantry and fridge!  I.e. Italian sausage, mushrooms, bell peppers, different cheeses, maybe no meat at all!

The Starting Lineup

  • 16oz spaghetti noodles (boiled 8-9 minutes/drained)
  • 24-32oz jar marinara sauce
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 container ricotta cheese
  • 2-3 cups mozzarella cheese, shredded
  • 1 tsp Italian seasoning blend
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/3 cup parmesan cheese, shredded/grated
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil, torn (optional garnish)

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.  Bring a stock pot of salted water to a boil (for the noodles) while you have a large skillet browning the ground beef with the chopped onions, minced garlic and olive oil.  *Feel free to add a pinch of salt and Italian seasonings of your choice if desired.

Once the noodles have finished (slightly under cook them at about 8-9 minutes, as they’ll finish in the oven), drain and toss in a large bowl with the beaten eggs, parmesan cheese and teaspoon of Italian seasoning.  Set aside.

As the ground beef becomes browned, pour in the marinara sauce of your choosing and stir together.

Now I used a lightly greased 10″ Spring-form pan for this (what you would typically make a cheesecake in), however, you can also use a deep dish pie tin, a 2-quart casserole dish, etc.  Just make sure to spray with a bit of non-stick.  **With the spring-form pan, I wrapped the bottom in foil just to ensure no leakage, which I didn’t have anyway.

First layer in the egg coated noodles and then top with dollops of the ricotta cheese.  Pour the meaty red sauce overtop, finally topping with the shredded mozzarella cheese.   Place your prepared spaghetti pie, covered, into the oven for 30 minutes.  Remove the foil cover and let bake another 10 minutes.

Once finished baking allow to rest for a good 5 minutes before slicing into.  If desired, top with a bit more parmesan cheese and freshly torn basil.  Enjoy!

BSP2

 

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