Going Green!

“Going green” is a hot slogan these days in an effort to be more environmentally friendly. One way my husband and I have contributed to this effort is by participating in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). A CSA’s focus is usually on a system of weekly delivery or pick-up of vegetables that support small, independent, labor-intensive, family farms. In doing this, we receive a weekly box of organic and local produce.

My box this week included dandelion greens and beets. I don’t usually eat nor cook with these so having this CSA has definitely introduced me to produce I wouldn’t have purchased on my own. So can I make with dandelion greens and beets?

Well today I focused only on the dandelion greens and beet leaves. The dandelion greens are on the bitter side with a peppery taste, similar to arugula. I didn’t feel like making a salad so… I decided to make a pesto! Because the greens were similar to arugula, I figured it would make for a nice pesto. And because I’m not one to waste anything, I threw the beet leaves in for good measure.

Here’s my recipe for dandelion pesto:

1 bunch dandelion greens – leaves only
1 handful of beet leaves
1 cup pine nuts
1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
1 cup grated fontina cheese

In a blender, add oil and greens a handful at a time.
Process and continue adding greens until all have been processed.
Add pinenuts and process.
Stir in grated cheese and store.

This will last in the fridge for a week or can be frozen in ice cube trays for portioned amounts to use later.

Oranges, Lemons, Basil & Parmesan

After catching an episode of Everyday Italian on the Food Network, I was inspired to make Giada’s Garlic & Citrus Chicken. For dinner tonight, rather than roasting a whole bird, I had some large chicken breasts on the bone that I used instead. After baking for about 45 minutes in my dutch oven at 350 degrees, I served it with roasted asparagus tips and pesto orzo, which I’ve submitted for the Presto Pasta Night blog event hosted by Ruth on her blog, Once Upon a Feast. Dinner was wonderful… the chicken came out moist, with a nice hint of citrus and the flavors carried well with the pesto & asparagus.
Here’s my recipe for pesto orzo:

1 tablespoon pesto*
1-2 cups cooked orzo pasta

While the orzo is still hot, fold in the pesto.
Serve with dishes that can compliment the basil & parmesan flavors.

*For pesto, combine the following in your food processor & pulse until you have a spreadable consistency:
1 cup fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon pinenuts
2-3 tablespoons grated parmesan
1-2 garlic cloves
splash of extra virgin olive oil
pinch of salt
*Adjust proportions to fit your tastes*

Pesto Potatoes w/Button Mushooms

Pesto Potatoes w/Button Mushooms

2 large potatoes, cubed

1 tablespoon pesto sauce (prepared or homemade)
seasoning: salt, pepper, italian seasoning
1 small carton button mushroom, halved
1 small roma tomato, diced

Toss potato cubes in pesto sauce and seasonings (to taste).
Place in lightly greased baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes.
Add mushrooms and toss with potatoes.
Continue to bake for another 10 minutes.
To serve, top with chopped fresh tomatoes.

Simple Supper

It was another night of something simple using a hodge podge of leftover ingredients that were yearning to be consumed. With some goat cheese, basil, pesto, marinara, I whipped up a pasta dish paired with chicken.

Here is my recipe for Pesto Marinara Pasta & Chicken:

2 chicken breasts, pounded
garlic powder, salt & black pepper
olive oil

– Heat oil in pan
– Pound chicken breasts flat, to 1/2 inch thick
– Season chicken with spices
– Dredge chicken with flour
– Pan fry until golden brown; set aside.

1/2 cup pesto
1 3/4 cup marinara sauce
1 cup fresh artichoke hearts, quartered & steamed
1 tablespoon minced garlic
olive oil
1-2 oz goat cheese crumbled
3 fresh basil leaved, chopped
2 oz angel hair pasta, cooked

– Combine pesto & marinara sauce
– In pan, heat oil and garlic.
– Add pesto/marinara sauce.
– Add steamed artichokes.
– Add cooked pasta.
– Toss and heat thoroughly.
– Plate pasta and top with goat cheese & basil.
– Slice cooked chicken and serve with pasta.