Tag Archives: Basil

Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Mediterranean Feta Chicken Pasta

The other day my wife and I picked up some Zoe’s on the way home from work. Generally, we order the chicken kabobs and maybe some hummus. But the lady taking my order asked if I wanted to try this baked feta app that consists of sliced cherry tomatoes and kalamata olives cover served with fresh basil and olive oil over a slab of Feta cheese. That is baked off until the cheese is slightly melted and served with pita chips. It’s really simple but tasty.

So I was trying to come up with a recipe for dinner and that app popped into my head so I thought I would try to incorporate a little pasta and some grilled chicken and make a meal out of it. Kind of like a Greek version of a chicken divan, chicken spaghetti, or a favorite in Texas the King Ranch Casserole. It’s got to be healthier than the later but maybe not by much.

This turned out really tasty. You get the punches of salty tang from the feta and kalamata olives balanced by the sweetness of the fresh tomatoes and red onions atop a hearty chicken pasta dish.

Ingredients:
Penne Pasta
2 chicken breasts (free range, air chilled)
Container of cherry tomatoes
Handful of spinach
Handful of mushrooms
4 tbs of diced red onion
4 cloves of garlic diced
1 tbs of fresh diced basil
Dashes of dried oregano and red pepper flakes
1 tbs of butter
1 tbs of flour
1/4 cup of chicken stock/broth
1/4 cup of red wine vinegar
1/4 cup of olive oil
Paprika for the chicken
Block of Fresh Feta Cheese
Kosher Salt
Pepper

Directions:
Prep: dice your garlic, red onion, mushrooms. Slice about half of the cherry tomatoes. Assemble three bowls based upon cook times.. 1. Red onion, whole cherry tomatoes, and mushrooms. 2. Garlic and spinach 3. Sliced tomatoes, olives, basil, vinegar, olive oil, red pepper flakes.
1. Preheat oven to broil but use the bottom rack.
2. Get a pot of boiling water going and follow the directions of your favorite pasta. Pull it out right before they say to do so. Set aside a cup of pasta water in case you need to add moisture later on.
3. On to the chicken… Heat up a cast iron skillet with some olive oil in it. I used medium to medium-low heat. I salted, peppered and paprika my chicken breasts and cooked them so that they were done with a nice color.
4. Remove your chicken to rest.
5. In that skillet add butter and your bowl of mushrooms, whole tomatoes, and red onion. Sweat them out.
6. Now add flour to the pot to build a rue that will help us thicken the sauce. When it’s golden brown add your second bowl of garlic and spinach for 30 seconds and then quickly add the chicken stock and stir until thickened. About three minutes.
7. While your mixture thickens cut up your chicken breasts into bite sized pieces.
8. Now add your pasta and chicken to the skillet and turn off the heat. Crumble and stir in half the feta cheese and slowly stir to get everything well coated with melted cheese and sauce. If it looks dry, add some pasta water and stir until it has the consistency of mac n cheese.
9 Pour that mixture into an oven ready dish. Top with the third bowl of halved cherry tomatoes, olives, basil with the vinegar and spices. Lastly, top with the remaining block of Feta and crumble it over the top. Put it into the oven uncovered for about 4 to 5 minutes so that the feta takes on some brown color. It won’t melt like other cheese but it is soft despite looking like it did when it went into the oven.

Serve with pita bread or anything else that you come up with.

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 50mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Creamy Cajun Chicken Pasta
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If you ever scroll through pintrest for recipes and use the word chicken you will likely see some of the canned,”way to professional” posts with cajun pasta dishes. But even if you go to food.com or foodnetwork.com you will see this type of recipe pop up. So I tried it and thought it was pretty good. Wasn’t mind blowing but has a nice balance of savory and creamy parmesean sauce paired with the spice punch of typical cajun food.

When I make these type of pasta dishes I really don’t measure anything but instead rely on taste, color and texture but I will try to remember about how much of each ingredient I used.

Ingredients:
2 Chicken Breasts (boneless/skinless/diced)
2 tsp of Slap Ya Mama Seasoning
1 tsp of chili powder
1 tsp of garlic powder
1 tsp of Black Pepper
Little pinch of cumin (optional)
Pasta
1 can of rotel (Drained)
1 red onion (diced)
1 red pepper (seeded and diced)
2 tbs of cream cheese
1 tbs of butter
1/4 cup of cream
1/4-1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese

Directions:
1. Dice your chicken into bite sized pieces. Combine your spices and cover the chicken for 30 minutes or so.

2. Cook your pasta (whatever shape you like) per the package but salt the water when it comes to a boil. Reserve a cup of the liquid for your sauce.

3. In a medium-low heated cast iron skillet add a little butter and your seasoned chicken. Cook until done and then remove from your pan and set aside.

4. In the same pan, add your pepper and onion. Cook until you achieve your desired softness. Now stir in your cream and cream cheese and lower the heat. Add your chicken in and then the Parmesan cheese. Put your pasta in and mix well. Turn off the heat and taste it. Add spices and cheese to your taste.
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Pizza Margherita

Pizza Margherita

  • Servings: 2
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Pizza Margherita

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While I am still working on my pizza dough experimentation my Basil has been thriving in my herb garden. Tonight we were going to hunker down and watch the World Cup Finals. So I picked up a ball of dough at our favorite pizza joint and decided to make a Margherita pizza. This pie really turned out well. Thin crispy crust, perfectly melted mozzarella with a super simple tomato sauce and my fresh basil.

I purchased one of those Presto gas powered pizza ovens because it can get up to 900 degrees. I prefer to stay at 700 degrees to let the crust really crisp up. So really the only thing I made here was the sauce and it was super simple because I cooked the two cloves of garlic in olive oil and added crushed San Marzano tomatoes and 2 tsp of sugar. I also used low moisture mozzarella cheese.

We recently saw an episode of Best 5 Pizza Places in the US on FoodNetwork. It showed the Chicago joint called Pequod’s that does a deeper dish but they line the edges of their pan with cheese so as it cooks it makes a nice crispy cheese edge. Jill tried it on one of the pies and it really did turn out perfectly. (if you’re into burnt cheese).

Ingredients:
pizza dough
14 oz of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
handful of fresh basil
2 tsp of sugar
2 tsp of crushed red pepper
Kosher salt
Parmesan cheese
Low moisture Mozzarella

Directions:
1. Made the sauce by cooking the garlic in olive oil for a few minutes and then adding the tomatoes and spices.

2. I took a non stick square brownie pan and put some olive oil on the bottom. I spread out the dough to the edges and then added some parm, then the sauce and finally the mozzarella and basil. IMG_0308

3. My oven was right around 700 degrees so it took about 6 minutes to cook.
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Attempt at Pequod's crispy cheese edges
Attempt at Pequod’s crispy cheese edges

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 30mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Turkey Asparagus Basil Pasta Bowl
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I was trudging towards another healthy dinner and wanted to make my “Might Fit Foods Lemon Turkey Asparagus” copycat. Jill inquired what we were having for dinner and when I told her she politely and unknowingly gave me a vibe that she wasn’t that excited about dinner. It’s the lemon that repels her. So I had to improvise and work in some pasta. The outcome was a almost healthy version of creamy pasta ground turkey and vegetable dish.

This dish does have carrots, onions, garlic, asparagus and basil so there is some healthy aspects. The ground turkey lightens it up also. It’s creamy as you want it to be with cream cheese and Parmesan. I still used the juice of a lemon but it was much more subtle so she didn’t even really notice. No doubt a bit random but it did turn out well.

Ingredients:
1 package of lean ground turkey
1 bunch of asparagus (trimmed and diced)
2 carrots (diced)
1 red onion (diced)
4 cloves of garlic (pressed)
1 lemon (juiced)
handful of fresh basil
3 tbs of cream cheese
3 tbs of Parmesan cheese (finely grated)
Kosher Salt to taste
3 tsp of dried thyme
2 tsp of dried basil
1 tsp of cayenne
Angel Hair Pasta for two

Directions:
1. Cook your pasta per the package in salty water. While it is coming to boil and cooking work on the other part of the dish by first browning your turkey in a medium heated pan with some salt, dried basil, dried thyme. When done remove and set aside.

2. Put your pan back on the heat and soften your onions and carrots until the onions are translucent. It will be 5 minutes or so. Now add the asparagus, lemon juice and garlic. see below
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3. Okay by now your pasta is close to being done. Add your cream cheese and Parmesan cheese and stir well. Taste, salt and season accordingly. Take your pasta directly from the pot and add it to the mixture. You will want some of that pasta water to keep it loose. Turn off the heat and mix well. Top with fresh basil and a little extra Parmesan cheese.
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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Summer Vegetables

Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Summer Vegetables

  • Servings: 6
  • Time: 24hrs marinade, 40mins cooking
  • Difficulty: easy
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Thai Green Curry with Chicken and Summer Vegetables

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I love green curry coconut milk recipes. It was love at first taste similar to Tikka Masala. The smoothness paired with the heat and flavor of the green curry are magical in this guys opinion.

The lady who cuts my hair is Thai. Her mom owned a restaurant which now her sister runs. I was talking to her the other day and we got to talking about her mom, cooking, meals etc.. When I asked her what was her Mom’s “go to” dish that you love the most? “Green curry” replied. So naturally it made me put it on the menu for this week.

As we close out summer and enjoy the season’s vegetables, I decide to incorporate some of them into this curry.

Ingredients:
1 jar of Green Curry Paste (used store bought)
1 lbs Chicken Thighs and Breasts (chopped into bite sized pieces)
Red Bell Pepper
Zucchini diced
4 ounces of shitake mushrooms
2 ears of corn (cooked and kernels removed)
Fresh Basil and Lemon Verbena
2 cans of Coconut milk (add more if you need more liquid or water)
Dash of Fish Sauce
1tbs Sriracha
Juice of a lime
Brown or Jasmine rice

Directions:
Stir in 2 tbs of Green Curry Paste in a medium heated pot to heat it up. Then add coconut milk, stir and combine. Add chicken pieces and cook for about 15mins. Then add red peppers, fish sauce and Sriracha and stir for about 15 mins. Taste and add more green curry paste if you need it. Then add the rest of the veggies and based upon how firm you like it them stir and for another 5-15mins. Turn off heat and stir in basil and verbena and let it cool to serve over rice.
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Green Goddess Bibb Salad

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Making your own dressings is super easy and I really think it makes a difference as you can enjoy the freshness and brightness of the flavors. This recipe is adapted from Ina Garten where I reduced the amount of lemon and punched up with some spice. Serving with buttery bibb lettuce and topping with roasted crispy bacon bits.

Ingredients:
1 cup of Dukes Mayo
1 cup of Sour Cream
1 tbs anchovy paste
1 lemon (taste and add more if needed)
3 cloves minced garlic
1 bunch of green onions
1 cup of fresh basil
pinch of cayenne
dash of tabasco
Kosher Salt and Pepper to taste

Bibb lettuce
Diced Tomatoes
Crispy Roasted bacon

Directions:
Place everything in a food processor and blend until smooth. Taste and adjust according to your taste. We quartered Bibb lettuce and drizzled with the dressing and topped with diced tomatoes and crispy roasted bacon.

Sunny Summer Pasta with Crispy Bacon Bits

Sunny Summer Pasta

  • Servings: 4
  • Time: 50mins roasted bacon and 20mins for the rest
  • Difficulty: easy
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Sunny Summer Pasta
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This was adapted by Amanda Hesser from Food 52. It’s summer in a bowl with bright yellow colors, fresh herbs and balanced with crispy bacon bits. Light dish that would make a nice light lunch or dinner.

Ingredients:
5 strips of thick cut bacon (dusted with salt, pepper, brown sugar and cayenne)
2 ears of corn
½ yellow onion
2 cups of bow tie pasta (Farfalle)
2 cloves of minced garlic
3 yellow squash
Fresh Basil
Kosher Salt, Black Pepper and Red Pepper Flakes (to your taste)
Parmesan cheese

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Directions:
1. Roast your bacon for 50 mins at 275 degrees until done to your liking. We like it crispy so pushed it to 1hrs. If you use thinly cut bacon be extra careful and reduce the cook time. Save 1tbs of the melted bacon fat.
2. Cook your pasta according to the directions on the box. Save 1 cup of pasta water when draining just in case you need to thin out the pasta.
3. Amanda had specific directions on the squash so I followed her steps exactly. Shred your squash on a box grater and then take it and put it in a bowl with 1½ tps of Kosher salt. Let that sit for 10-30mins. What we are trying to do here is remove the moisture.
4. I took a large skillet on medium and put my corn in it to heat it up and lightly brown it. Remove it and start putting together your pasta by adding the bacon fat to the skillet. Cook your chopped onion in until translucent and soft. Then add your minced garlic for a couple of minutes. I added a few slices of squash along with the shredded squash. While adding the squash squeeze out the moisture with each handful added. Now cut your corn kernels and add them to the skillet. Cook everything for several minutes.
5. Finally, turn off the heat and add your pasta. Stir until well combined and then shred parmesan on top of the pasta and incorporate with some crushed red pepper flakes and crumbled bacon. If it is dry you can add a splash of pasta water to loosen it up or even more bacon fat Serve in a bowl and top with fresh basil, a few bacon crumbles and additional parmesan cheese.