Monday, August 10, 2009

Chicken with Pesto-Mushroom Cream Sauce

Boneless chicken breast is a staple in my house, my family will attest to that. I figure it is a healthy way to get protein into our diets.

Sometimes, however, we get chickened out. How many times can you eat grilled chicken breast in a summer? Looks like I'm on my way to setting a record.

A few days ago, I made homemade walnut pesto which I used as a sandwich spread in one of our favorite sandwiches, which we affectionately call "tomato mozz". You can put fresh basil in the sandwich, or you can use pesto. Both ways make for a delicious sandwich.

Then I had a little pesto leftover. This recipe uses two of my favorite ingredients - boneless chicken breast and pesto. I modified it so that there is not much "cream" in it. If you want it to be thicker and richer, feel free to increase the cream and decrease the chicken broth. It was delicious!

Chicken with Pesto-Mushroom Cream Sauce

1-1/2 lb. boneless chicken breasts
3 T. olive oil
10 oz. white mushrooms, sliced thinly
5 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup half & half
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup pesto
2 T lemon juice

Heat 1 T. olive oil in large skillet over medium high heat. Cook chicken until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and cover with foil.

Add 2 T olive oil to skillet and cook mushrooms until browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in garlic and cook about 30 seconds. Add half & half, broth, and chicken to skillet and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until chicken is cooked through (about 15 minutes).

Transfer chicken to serving platter and cover with foil. Return skillet to high heat and simmer until sauce is thickened (about 5 minutes). Off heat, stir in pesto and lemon juice, season with salt and pepper. Pour sauce over chicken and serve.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Blueberry Buckle

Warm blueberry buckle is like a big hug from Mom. Juicy blueberries are mixed into a light, moist buttery cake, topped with cinnamon scented crumbs. This is comfort food at its finest.
Think of it as a coffee cake, but it does have a bit of healthy fruit in there. I know this is a stretch, but can we all agree it's a way to get more antioxidants into our diets? Humor me.

Serve it for dessert or as a snack with a nice hot cup of coffee. I recommend that you take the extra time to zap it in the microwave when you snack on it the next day, if it lasts that long.

Blueberry Buckle

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup shortening (I used butter flavored Crisco)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup butter, softened (I used less)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Grease one 8x8 inch pan.
2. Cream together 3/4 cup sugar, shortening, and egg. Sift into the bowl 2 cups flour, baking powder, and salt. Stir in blueberries. Pour into greased 8x8 inch pan.
3. To make topping, combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/3 cup flour, cinnamon, and butter. Sprinkle over cake batter.
4. Bake at 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) for 30 - 40 minutes until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Tomato, Basil and Feta on Penne

Today we had the good fortune to go to a farmer's market. Included in my many purchases were some juicy tomatoes. For dinner tonight, I wanted to do something with the tomatoes and the gorgeous basil that is multiplying like crazy on my back porch. I made this pasta dish, and it is summer on a plate!

The great flavors of garlic, tomato, fresh basil and feta cheese combine to give you something different to put on that pasta of yours. (Aren't you so sick of marinara. Enough already!) We always have feta on hand. As we always say in our family, "Feta makes it betta."

This recipe is so simple and so delicious. You can eat it hot or cold (think summer buffet), although tonight we had it warm with some grilled lemon chicken, salad, and corn-on-the-cob. It was my first time making it, but it won't be my last.

Tomato, Basil, and Feta on Penne

2 cloves garlic, crushed

2 T olive oil

2 cups tomatoes, seeded and chopped

1/2 pound penne pasta

3 T chopped fresh basil

1 cup chopped feta cheese

Cook penne according to pasta. Meanwhile, warm olive oil in saute pan. Saute garlic for a minute or two (do not let it brown). Add chopped tomatoes. Let it simmer for 5 to 10 minutes so the natural juices come out. Season with salt and pepper. Once penne is cooked, drain and toss with tomato mixture. Add fresh basil and pasta. Toss to combine.