Walnut Pesto

I decided to plant a small garden this year. Granted, my garden isn’t your typical one. I opted to plant my herbs and veggies (peppers, tomatoes & zucchini) in pots instead of in the ground. Although, I ended up having to transplant my zucchini plant into the ground when it started to take off and produce a lot of zucchinis, or zucchini flowers which will ultimately turn into zucchinis.

The first thing I ended up picking from my garden was cilantro. I picked this super early, back in the beginning of June.

And decided to make Cilantro Lime Rice with it.

Soon after it got quite hot outside and my cilantro bolted and began to flower. I did a little research and I learned that the flowers would ultimately become seeds and those sees are coriander. So, after letting the coriander seeds stay on the plant for a while they began to brown. I then cut off the stems with the seeds and hung them upside down in a brown paper bag to dry them out. I am planning on crushing the dried seeds into coriander powder.

There’s also some flat leaf parsley in my herb garden that I have been cutting to use in salads.

Also, from my mini herb garden… Basil. I planted three basil plants and while at first it didn’t seem like they were growing, they had a bit of a growth spurt and one of them started to flower. I pinched the flowers off hoping that by doing so the plant will continue to bear leaves.  I ended up picking a bunch of the larger basil leaves off the plants…

And turned them into a delicious pesto sauce, using walnuts instead of pine nuts. Totally random, but did you know there was a condition called Pine Mouth / Pine Nut Syndrome. With it you end up with a metallic taste in your mouth soon after eating pine nuts, it’s not permanent, but it can last a few weeks. This isn’t the reason why I used walnuts, but something I came across that I found interesting and thought I would share.

Here are some jalapenos that I grew as well. Thankfully these will keep in the refrigerator for a few weeks until I decide what to do with them.

And here is a picture of my zucchini plant and the zucchini that I recently picked. I learned that you can’t leave zucchini on the plant too long as they will end up with too many seeds. I am hoping that I will have a few ripe ones at the same time so I can make zucchini fries.

And I also picked some of my tomatoes that have grown to a decent size. I didn’t intend to pick them green. I had one red tomato on the plant that was going bad (it had a huge black spot on the bottom) and when I went to cut it off, two of the green ones came off with it. After doing a little research to make sure that it would turn red sitting on my counter, I went and picked off the other two tomatoes that were also a decent size.

I’m also growing some bell peppers and snacking peppers, but they are not ready for picking yet.

And there you have a tour of my mini garden.

Walnut Pesto

Ingredients:

2 cups lightly packed basil leaves

1/3 cup walnut pieces

2 garlic cloves

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon fresh black pepper

2/3 cup olive oil

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

 

Directions:

In the bowl of a food processor chop the walnuts into fine pieces. Add the garlic, basil salt and pepper and process until the mixture resembles a paste.

With the processor running, slowly add the olive oil through the feed tube.

Add the parmesan cheese, and process for an additional minute until well combined.

Use immediately or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 4 to 5 days. Add olive oil as needed so the pesto does not dry out. Alternatively, you can divide the pesto among an ice cube tray to freeze and once frozen transfer to a resealable bag to have on hand when needed.

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls

You may recall a while back I made Chicken Egg Rolls that were super simple and quite delicious. Well, the wrappers I used came with a few more recipes and I finally got around to trying one of them out… A Southwestern Chicken Egg Roll.

I began my mixing together chicken, cilantro, salsa, jack cheese and fresh lime juice in a bowl and chilled it in the refrigerator for a few minutes. Instead of cooking chicken I opted to pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco… they are cheap enough and then I have leftovers to make other things or for lunch.  I should note that the original recipe also called for a slice of avocado in each egg roll and while I had every intention of adding it, my avocado never ripened properly. On a side note, have you noticed that the price of avocados is rising and they don’t taste as good? I guess once something goes mainstream prices must rise. There is that whole rage of avocado toast now, can I just say that I have been eating avocado on bread  – as I always have referred to it as – for years, way before it was cool… LOL!

Next, I filled the wrappers and folded them to create the egg rolls.

 

I ended up with 12 egg rolls…

And then fried them for 2 minutes…

Then transferred them to a baking sheet….

To then bake them in a 425 F oven for about 4 minutes – until they were crispy and the filling was hot.

There’s no need for a dipping sauce for these egg rolls as the salsa added to the chicken mixture kept the filling moist and quite honestly I didn’t miss the avocado! I can’t wait to make these again!

Southwestern Chicken Egg Rolls

  • Servings: 12 Egg Rolls
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Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups chicken meat, cooked and shredded

2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped

3/4 cup salsa

1/4 cheddar jack cheese, shredded

1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice

12 egg roll wrappers

oil for frying

Directions:

Preheat oven to 425 F.

Mix chicken, cilantro, salsa, cheese and lime juice together in a bowl and set aside in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes.

With a wrapper in front you in a diamond shape moisten all 4 edges of the wrapper. Place 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture just below the center and fold up the bottom corner, then fold in the sides and finally roll the egg roll and seal the top corner.

Fry for 2 minutes in 350 F oil and then place on a baking sheet. Once all the egg rolls have been fried place the baking sheet in the oven for 3-5 minutes until the egg rolls are crispy and the filling is hot.

Recipe adapted from JSL Foods

Slow Cooker Sunday: Chicken and Hominy Stew

Hey Everyone! For this week’s Slow Cooker Sunday I am bringing you a stew that those of you who are sensitive to spiciness may find too spicy and those of you on the other end of the spectrum will say “Where’s the spice?” I’m on the latter side of that statement. I truthfully didn’t think the stew had any kick to it but others who tried it did, but, not so much that they weren’t able to enjoy it. So, what is this stew? Well, it’s a Chicken and Hominy Stew.

Once again, this is another of my favorite types of slow cooker meals… Just chop, drain then add to the slow cooker and let the machine work its magic. After cutting boneless skinless chicken thighs into approximately 1-inch pieces I placed them in the bottom of my slow cooker. Next I added in 2 seeded and chopped poblano chile peppers, half a bunch of cilantro that I roughly chopped and two cans of hominy that I rinsed and drained. If you are wondering what exactly is hominy check out this link.

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I then added in my liquids… low-sodium chicken broth and a jar of mild salsa verde.

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And finally I added in two corn tortillas that I tore into small pieces. I then covered it and set it to cook on low for 7 hours. Now, if you have a programmable slow cooker you need not worry about your start time, but, if you have a slow cooker like mine – I have one that has a 4 and 6 hour cook setting for high and a 8 and 10 hour cook setting for low, and a separate warm setting – make sure you take note of your start time. You don’t want to “overcook” the soup and end up with chicken that’s on the verge of shredding. You want a bit of bite to this soup since it is a stew.

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And after 7 hours it was time to enjoy a bowl. I topped it with some chopped avocado and enjoyed it with an extra corn tortilla on the side. Overall there’s not one thing about this stew I would change. The flavors all worked well together and like I said earlier I definitely didn’t feel like it was too spicy, it was just right!

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Slow Cooker Chicken and Hominy Stew

Ingredients:

1 1/2 pounds boneless skinless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces

2 15-ounce cans hominy, drained and rinsed

2 poblano chile peppers, seeded and chopped

1/2 bunch fresh cilantro, roughly chopped

2 cups low-sodium chicken broth

1 16-ounce jar salsa verde

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 6-inch corn tortilla

Kosher salt

Options for topping:

sour cream

avocado, diced

cilantro, chopped

romaine lettuce heart, shredded

corn tortillas, warmed

Directions:

Add the chicken, hominy, peppers and cilantro to the slow cooker. Add the broth, salsa verde and salt and stir to combine. Next, tear the 2 corn tortillas into small pieces and add to the slow cooker. Give everything a good stir, cover and cook on low for 7 hours.

If serving with the tortillas, warm them according to the package directions. Top each serving of the stew with your favorite topping and enjoy. Serve with the warmed tortillas on the side.

*Please note I use a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Recipe modified from The Food Network