Saturday, March 17, 2012

St Patty's Day Chicken Pesto

With St. Patty’s today, I'm in the mood for something green. ;) Growing up we always made green pancakes for Saint Patricks day and usually wore something green, but its never been a day that I celebrated to too much of an extent. As I got older, most of my friends celebrated “green beer day” and drank the day away ( a tradition I never joined in on!) Now that I have kids of my own, I want to keep up the tradition of making it a fun day to wear green and eat some green food! Since we do have some irish in our blood, definitely want to pass down the fun to Lily and Charlie!

So besides using food color to make everything green, I thought I’d put a recipe here for something a little more natural.  Pesto! I realize that this is a meal that can be an acquired taste, but adding the alfredo sauce to this recipe definitely tones down the spicy flavor of the basil….even my husband likes it!
Here’s a basic recipe for your pesto sauce….honestly, when I make it I just throw a bunch of basil, pine nuts, garlic and parmesan cheese into my food processor until it looks and smells right, then stir in the olive oil.  But if you want an official recipe, this is one that I have used in the past and it comes out really great!

Garden Pesto Sauce
3 cups. fresh basil leaves
1/4-1/2 c. pine nuts
4 cloves garlic
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
about 1 c. olive oil
Blend together the first four ingredients in a food processor. (If you don’t have a food processor, coursly chop the basil first, and you can use your blender instead!) Add the olive oil slowly…you can definitely adjust the amount of olive oil due to your personal taste.  This is really a recipe that you can’t go wrong with!
Pesto sauce is amazing as a topping on all kinds of foods as well…especially breads.  Brio serves up a summer bruchetta with roasted tomatoes and mozzarella cheese and they drizzle pesto sauce on top – it’s delicious!  It’s also really yummy as a topping for garlic bread.  If you want to use it for regular pesto pasta, just add a little extra olive oil and toss it with a box of hot spaghetti. It really is worth trying again, even if you haven’t liked it in the past!  There’s something better about it when you make it yourself (and even better if the basil and garlic are fresh from your own summer garden!)
Now onto the chicken pesto….this is a recipe that I’ve tried about ten different times, ten different ways and never quite found the right one!  This is a combination of several different recipes that I’ve tested out and the simplest way to make it as well.  Hope you enjoy! Also, you can always substitute store bought pesto or even a pack of pesto seasoning for the fresh pesto…it’s totally up to you!
Creamy Chicken Pesto
1 – 1/2 lbs chicken tenderloins
2 tbsp. butter
salt/pepper to taste
8oz. package bowtie pasta, cooked
15 oz jar alfredo sauce
1/2 cup. fresh pesto sauce
garnish: parmesean cheese
In a skillet, over medium heat, cook chicken in melted butter until juices run clear.  Season with salt and pepper to your liking.

This is my husbands favorite type of cooked chicken!
Meanwhile, in a large pot, mix together cooked pasta, and alfredo and pesto sauces. If you like a little wetter pasta, you can add a bit of milk to thin it out a bit.   If you want it to be a little greener for St. Patty’s day, you can always add a few drops of green food coloring!

Serve up a big plate of your pesto pasta and top it off with a couple of chicken tenderloins and sprinkled parmesan cheese.  So yummy and SUPER easy!  Pair it up with a thick slice of garlic bread and a fresh salad for a really great dinner!

Not sure what's going on today, but I'm looking forward to enjoying some more of this warm weather!!! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! Happy St. Patty's Day!!

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Friday, March 16, 2012

Peanut Butter Brownies and a Fabulous Friday

What is it about a Sunny warm Friday that makes the weekend even more exciting?  I don't really have anything planned for the weekend, Matt has to work tomorrow and we don't really have a lot going on, but still....the weather makes it FEEL exciting!

Today I've been in a cooking and baking kind of mood - Lily's feeling better and Charlie took a nice long nap so we had lots of "girl" time this morning.  We decided to bake some strawberry "mini-cupcakes" and they are SO good! Lily and I also put together my mother-in-law's famous cheesy potatoes that we'll be having for dinner with my herb crusted pork chops - I'll share the recipe's tomorrow after I get some pictures!  I SO love that Lily likes to cook and bake with me - By the time she's ten she'll have my cooking skills beat!

This weather really has me dreaming of my garden - I'm planning on an even bigger veggie and herb garden than last year and I can't wait to get's been so warm I can't help but wonder if it's warm enough to start planting!  I'm thinking we'll do a couple different types of tomatoes, some green peppers, snow peas and green beans, cucumbers, and TONS of hebs....I just can't wait to get my hands in the earth - I always find it so exciting to watch it all grow!   

Last year, we came across a small "kids" raised bed at the Hardware store - it's 3x3' and we bought it up for Lily so she can have her OWN garden (and hopefully stop feeding my tomatoes to the neighbors dog!).  I think it'll be so fun to take her to the garden center and let her pick out whatever she wants to put in it. She can water and weed it, and tend to it herself - I'm pretty sure it'll be a huge confidence booster to her when she sees it grow and produce flowers or veggies!  I know she'll love it! 

When we replaced our doors I saved one of our entry doors and I'm planning on turning it into a potting table this year as well - I'm so excited!  It's something I've seen before but didn't want to go spend the money on a door - now I don't have to!  I'm going to set it up right behind our garage so it'll be right next to my I have to decide what color to paint it - I'm thinking yellow or turquoise??  I'm not sure yet :) 

Since I'm in the baking mood I thought I'd go ahead and share one of my favorite brownie recipes - I think I'll be making these tomorrow!!  They are YUMMY!


1/3 c. shortening
2 T. baking cocoa
1 c. sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 c. flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. creamy peanut butter
In a small saucepan over low heat, melt shortening and coca together. Cool; transfer to a medium bowl. Stir in sugar and eggs; add flour and salt. Mix well; fold in peanut butter (the batter will be thick! Almost dough-like) and spread in a greased 8×8 baking pan. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.  Cool and cut into squares.

This recipe is participating in a Linky Party!!  If you want to find out some other great recipe's check them out here:

weekend potluck

Time for me to head off of here - I think I'm going to dive into my NEW Gooseberry Patch Cookbook and get some new ideas!!  Hope you all have an amazing weekend - whatever you do!!!

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Thursday, March 15, 2012

Pasta Salad and a Cozy Welcome

Hello and WELCOME to my new blog!! If you've known me for long you've probably read some of my other blogs - YES I'm starting over again!  I've decided to move over here to Blogger for a fresh start and so far I'm loving it!

If you don't know me, I'll give you a little mini-introduction. :) My name is Kate - I'm a twenty-something Momma of two little ones who keep me busy and loving it!  I am a "hobby collector."  I have way too many things to do and never enough time in the day.  I love to cook and bake, and you'll find tons of recipes here as time goes o n, I love any kind of crafting, crocheting and knitting, painting, art projects with my kids, paper crafts and TONS more.  I have a little vegetable and herb garden and even though my thumb is NOT green, I try hard anyway and I love it! I also LOVE to decorate and you'll probably find lots of pictures here of my little home in a constant state of "redecoration." I own a little crochet shop on etsy and my Mom and I are opening a another shop called "Verbena Lane Botanicals" which will hopefully be opening up SOON! 

Here's me, in case you were wondering ;)

Miss L is my daughter, she's three and she's my wild child!  She LOVES to play outside no matter what the weather, loves to bake with me, and roughhouse with her Daddy.  Mister C is my youngest, he's 9 months old and just starting to get into everything!  He's at such a fun age, learning to crawl and stand and getting quite a personality.  He is a no-doubt-about it Momma's boy and I love it! 

That's really about it for now, If you want to get to know me better, you'll just have to keep reading ;)  

Spring is in the air around here and I am loving every second of it!  Before I had my little ones, Fall and Winter were my favorite times of year...I always LOVED the coziness of winter and getting to spend my spare time cuddled up with a project or a book or even a favorite movie.  NOW things are a bit different when my spare time is spent entertaining Miss L and Mister C. So now I find that I enjoy spring more than ever....after being cooped up we get to go outside and PLAY!  Also, I so enjoy watching the flowers bloom, the grass turn green and the trees budding.  It's such a cheerful time of year!  Today, when I ran to the grocery I came across these cute little Spring decorations I just had to bring home!  Now I'm in the mood to start putting up the rest of it! (I just have to get my hubby to find it all for me!) 

As I mentioned before, I LOVE to cook so I'll be sharing lots of recipe's for you...I do a lot of "simple" cooking.  Foods that can be fixed easily and quickly.  Being the Mom of two toddlers, our lunches consist of a lot of Peanut Butter and Jelly and Macaroni and Cheese...which I am SO tired of!  I've been working on coming up with some new, lighter, healthier lunches for us and here is one I just made today!  It only took about 20 minutes so it's fabulously quick!  This would also be a great side dish for grilling out hamburgers or hotdogs....a GREAT summer side! 

Quick and Easy Pasta Salad

1lb box Tri-color rotini
1/2  c. chopped pepperoni
1/2 c. crumbled feta
1 c. Italian Dressing 
optional: diced tomatoes

Cook Pasta according to package directions and cool by running under cold water. In a large bowl toss with pepperoni, feta and tomatoes (if using). Add in dressing and mix well, Chill for at least 1 hour before serving.  Enjoy!! 

Time for me to get off this computer and get a few things done while the little one's are sleeping!  Hope you have a beautiful day!!  

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