Tag Archives: pesto

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Chicken Stuffed Roasted Peppers 

The warmer months are upon us where no one wants a heavy meal and eating a reoccurring plate of grilled chicken over salad can get old.  Now this dish isn’t much different, it still has grilled chicken and vegetables, but it’s put together in a beautiful way with extra flavor from a basil pesto and goat cheese crumbles.  Still light and pretty darn healthy!

Another fun thing about this recipe is it can be done in your kitchen OR take it al fresco and do this ALL on your backyard grill for a fun, light dinner!

*I like to serve this either with: pasta tossed in the remaining pesto, with a pich of kosher salt & fresh ground pepper OR if I’m on the grill…I just grill up some more veggies!  Especially fresh asparagus, mushrooms, etc.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1lb chicken
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed 
  • 1 4oz container crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 jar basil pesto
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper

Garnish/Side

  • Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chop
  • 1 pckg pasta noodles of choice or grilled vegetables  

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and rinsing, cutting in half and removing the seeds of the bell peppers.  In a large bowl combine about 1 Tbsp of EVOO along with 2 Tbsp’s of the basil pesto.  Toss the cut bell peppers in the mix. 

      

Lay the coated peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper over the tops.  Roast in the oven until just slightly soft (the skins start to bubble), about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  *Keep the oven on, but you can drop the temperature to 400 degrees. 

 While the peppers are roasting you can prepare the chicken and spinach.  Heat a pan with a bit of oil to medium-high heat while coating the chicken also with a tbsp of pesto and salt & pepper.  Cook/grill the chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side, till just cooked through (I had thin strips, so please cook accordingly), and has a nice golden-brown crust. 

 Also, rinse the spinach and chop off the hard stems (don’t worry if you miss a couple) and place the cut spinach into the same pesto bowl that the bell peppers where in. 

As soon as the chicken is done cooking, remove to a cutting board and chop up.  Immediately tossing the hot, chopped chicken into the fresh spinach.  *The hot chicken will help to wilt the fresh spinach.  Again, add a pinch of salt & pepper and another Tbsp of pesto. …I promise you, this will not be too much of a basil flavor.

   Assembly time!!  Bring over the baking sheet of roasted red peppers and fill with the pesto-chicken-spinach mixture.  Next, take a good amount of the crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle over top.  *I like a lot, so I press that goat cheese in there! 

 

Finally, pop these stuffed peppers into your preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove and serve with a side of pasta or fresh, grilled vegetables.  Enjoy! 

 
*This time I served ours with a side of pasta.  After the noodles boiled, I tossed directly into yes, that same bowl with a bit of pesto in it!  I added more pesto, salt & pepper.  One bowl, three times..LESS cleanup!! 👍 

 


Chorizo & Chilé Potato Empanadas 

I woke up this morning craving a fat burrito…but, I did not have any tortillas on hand.  Yes, yes, I could of made those but I figured why not change it up!  So today we did just that and tried our hand (& tastebuds) out on empanadas!!  I had all of the perfect savory fillings on hand, however, if you have some fruit or chocolate, these would be excellent on the sweet side!

Do not let the name fool you, this is an EASY dough friends!  Very little proofing time, not sticky & easy to roll out.  I may just try this out for a pie crust too, without the chili powder of course 😉

The Starting Lineup

DOUGH

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter, cubed & chilled
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 1 egg

Filling

  • 2 1/2 cups potatoes, cubed & roasted 
  • 1 package Mexican chorizo, cooked
  • 1 can pinto/borracho beans
  • 1/2 cup of hatch green chili pesto (or your preference)
  • Eggwash (1 egg, 1 Tbsp water)
  • EVOO   

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Wash and cut your potatoes into small cubes.  Transfer to a bowl and add about 4 Tbsp of the green chile pesto, a drizzle of EVOO.  Toss to coat.  Pour onto a non stick baking sheet (or lined with parchment) and set aside.

  

 

We’re now on to the empanada dough!  With your food processor, add in the flour, salt & chili powder. 

 

Next, add in 1 egg and the chilled, cubed butter.  Pulse until it forms a crumbly dough, about 1 minute. 

  

 

Remove the dough from the food processor and form into a ball (no extra flour needed).  Slightly flatten the dough ball and place in a Saran Wrap covered bowl.  Keep the dough in the fridge to chill for about 30 minutes.  Here is where you’ll finish up the fillings! 

 

By now the oven should be preheated and you can add in the dressed potatoes to roast.

Also start cooking your chorizo according to manufacturers directions, once finished transfer to a papertowel lined dish to soak up that grease. *I also will slightly heat up the beans. 


Once the beans, chorizo & potatoes are cooked through, remove from heat.  You do not want these too warm when assembling in the raw dough.  *Also, if you have any extra green chile pesto, add to the cooked potatoes.
We’ll now finish that dough!!  Drop the oven down to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

Remove the dough from the refrigerator and divide into two equal pieces.

Roll each section out to about 1/4″ thick. 

 

With an upside down bowl (or anything of your choosing) place onto the dough to create circular cutouts.  This made 8 of decent size.

   

One by one, transfer the dough to the lined baking sheet and begin to fill!

Start with a small scoop of potatoes, followed by chorizo and then the beans on one half of the dough.  Carefully fold the other half of the dough over and pinch the edges shut.   

 

These can either directly go into the 400 degree oven or you can chill in the fridge for 30 minutes before hand (allows flavors to meld and dough holds up even better).

BUT before you transfer to the oven, brush the tops with a bit of egg wash.  This will help create that crunchy, golden brown crust!

Bake these for about 20-25 minutes, till a beautiful crust forms!  Allow to rest for 5 minutes…they’ll still be smoldering hot! 

 

Serve with a dallop of sour cream, a drizzle of chile pesto, spicy salsa or all of the above! 

 

Turkey Pesto Melt

A quick lunch or pair with a bowl of warm soup or a crisp salad for an easy, tasty dinner!  This sandwich came about from some ingredients I had leftover in my fridge and hy hubby’s stomach couldn’t of been more pleased.

Of course, feel free to switch up the flavors here for what you may have on hand in your refrigerator.  This can just be a base model, so suit to you & your family’s taste!

The Starting Lineup

  • Loaf fresh bread (ciabatta, sour dough..)
  • Quality carved deli turkey
  • Basil pesto
  • Mozzarella cheese medallions
  • Fresh, ripe tomato slices
  • Mayonnaise 
  • Butter 
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Balsamic Reduction (optional)
     

Preheat a skillet to medium with 1-2 tbsp of butter.  You can also use a panini press if you have one available.

Cut the bread loaf into 1-2″ thick slices, if possible please use a serrated bread knife for this.  You’ll thank me.

On one side of your bread, spread with a layer of mayonnaise.  This will be the side that touches the hot pan.  As I’ve mentioned before, most old school diners use this method (mayo) whenever making their grilled cheeses, etc.  This makes for a fabulous crust, where as butter just gets soggy, and it easily spreads from corner to corner!

Flip these bread slices over.  On the other side, you’ll now want a good slather of your pesto sauce.  Lots of flavor here already! 

  

Ok…easy enough, right?  Next, top one slice with your turkey, then tomato slices (a sprinkle of salt & pepper over the tomatoes) and finally the mozzarella cheese.   I prefer the tomatoes to not touch the bread, but have a barrier with the meat and cheese.  Leads to, again, less soggy bread.   I’m always thinking… 😉 

I added a drizzle of sweet balsamic reduction ..just because.

Last step before griddle time!  Place the remaining slice of bread onto your filling (pesto side down) and there is a beautiful sandwich…but now, let’s make it taste even better!
Place this beauty into your preheated, buttered skillet.  Cook for 3-4 minutes or till browned.  Turn over (carefully) for another round on the other side.

 

Once golden and crunchy outside, with that mozzarella nice and gooey inside you’re ready to serve!  Cut in half on the diagonal and chow down! 

 

Open Face Caprese Chicken Sandwich

Alright, now THIS is one of my “easy” meals!  There’s almost no actual skillet required (truth be told, you can broil the chicken as well instead) which makes this fantastic for these warm summer months we’re in.

Secret:  Take it up a notch, for flavor too, and cook on your outdoor grill…every bit of it!!  Plus, your home never heats up at all!

  • 1 pckg Chicken Breasts, cut in half lengthwise 
  • Jar of premade Basil Pesto
  • Mozzarella Cheese, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Fresh, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Ciabatta Bread, sliced 1″+ thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO 
  • Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (optional)

In my usual prep method, let’s slice the chicken breasts in half length-wise.  Only a thin cutlet is needed here AND it doubles your serving amount for the same price! 👍 Season both sides of your chicken with kosher salt & pepper and set aside.  (Wash hands ;))


In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle a bit of EVOO in pan (heat) and then add your chicken.  These are thin cuts, so cook just 2-3 minutes per side.   Once finished, set aside on a dish for use a bit later.

Now is time to slice your tomatoes (sharpen that knife!) and cut your bakery fresh bread loaf into your ideal thickness (serrated bread knife if you have one).  *Also, chop that garlic. 

Set your oven’s broiler to high..on a baking sheet lay your ciabatta bread slices down.  Drizzle each slice with a bit of EVOO, a bit of your chopped garlic and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place your baking sheet about 6″ under your broiler, watch this CLOSELY and broil until JUST a light golden brown. 

 Assembly time has come once again!!!  With an oven mitt…take your baking sheet of browned, garlicky ciabatta bread out of the oven.  Leave on baking sheet.

Layer on top of the bread the (cooked) chicken cutlet, the tomatoes and then the mozzarella slices.  I like to sprinkle a bit of S&P on both my tomatoes and cheese.  More flavor my friends..

Place this back in the oven under ther broiler for another few minutes.  Watch closely again, as to not burn the bread, but for the cheese to start melting and become gooey.  Gooey cheese=some sort of heaven, I’m sure of it! 

*This will usually take about 3-5 minutes.

Woohoo!!  This super easy and tasty meal is done!  Let’s just dress it up a bit with a spoonful of the basil pesto and a drizzle of the (optional) balsamic reduction.  Did I mention the word “heaven” yet…. 😉 

 

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