This time of year is always busy. So many weddings, BBQs, birthday parties, and of course, work (work, work, work, work). Come the weekend, all I want to do is sleep in, wake up to birds chirping and a strong cup of coffee, and shop locally at our farmer’s market. In Wisconsin, we currently have a plethora of carrots, cucumbers, squash, zucchini, potatoes, and of course, green beans.
Green beans and wax beans as far as the eye can see. $3 for how many beans? Um, done. Goodness, I love summer.
Combine minced shallot, oil, vinegar and salt in a mason jar and set aside.
Bring several inches of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add beans. Boil until the beans are bright green and crisp-tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove the beans from the saucepan and submerge in an ice bath. Shake dry and place on a platter.
Spread the corn on top of the beans. Shake the dressing to blend and drizzle it over the vegetables. Top with fresh basil and pepper. Serve at room temperature or cold.
Recipe adapted from http://www.healthyseasonalrecipes.com/
This is my new favorite, quick and easy snack or side dish. This couscous salad is packed with bright flavors from the lemon, basil and fresh vegetables. It’s also light and refreshing, perfect for these warm days ahead of us. Plus it keeps for awhile, so you can prepare it ahead of time for parties.
I didn’t have any chickpeas or garbanzo beans on hand, but I bet a can of these would make this couscous salad more filling and packed with protein.
Hello friends! It has been too long since we’ve chatted. It turns out that I did not have internet in Wisconsin after all. I apologize for the hiatus. I know you were worried and I dearly appreciate your concern. All I can do is promise you that it will not happen again… anytime soon that is. I have many photos from my time in Wisconsin, but I will save those for another day.
Colorado weather has been absolutely beautiful the last few days. As I catch up on laundry and chores, I also began working on my balcony garden. I planted my seeds (fresh herbs, lettuce and tomatoes) and purchased flowers to plant on my deck. I also took a couple bike rides and my first hike of the year. Spring has sprung here!
Now, you know the old saying, “April showers bring May flowers,” right? Do you know what else April brings? Grilled Cheese month!! Being from Wisconsin (the land of cheese and beer) this is an extra special month for me.
Upon every return from Wisconsin, I bring back an embarrassingly large amount of cheese (I swear that’s the real reason Mister doesn’t mind me going to Wisconsin so often, he does get to eat a lot of delicious cheese afterwards!). I bring home anything from squeaky cheese curds to stringy mozzarella sticks, creamy cheese spreads to rich chocolate cheese; there is always an amazing selection to choose from. This time around I brought back some tomato basil monterrey jack, which inspired this recipe.
If you do not have access to tomato basil MJ for this recipe, simply use regular MJ and load extra basil and tomato onto your grilled cheese. It’ll be just as good, I almost guarantee it. You can also omit the chicken breast if you’d rather keep this vegetarian. We just like to eat meat in this household.
1/2-pound chicken breast tenders, pounded to 1/2-inch to 1/4-inch thickness
salt and pepper
Oil for sautéing
1 cup shredded cheddar
1 cup shredded tomato basil monterrey jack
4 slices of tomato
10 large basil leaves, slightly chopped
8 slices of white or sourdough bread
Put about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and bring it to medium heat. Pound the chicken so all pieces are even in thickness. Season both sides of each tender with salt, pepper and a bit of Italian seasoning. Saute chicken on one side until the sides begin to turn white, about 2-3 minutes. Flip each piece over and cover with a lid. Cook chicken for another 2 or so minutes, or until the chicken is fully cooked. Set aside.
Heat a griddle or a large pan to medium. Assemble each sandwich by adding a pile of shredded cheese, basil leaves, chicken, tomato, and another pile of cheese on top of a piece of bread. Heavily butter another piece of bread and place it on top of the sandwich, butter-side up. Yep, these mamba jambas look tall and intimidating, but they will shrink down once you start cooking them.
Place each sandwich, butter-side down on the hot griddle. Cover with lid and leave until the bottom of each sandwich is golden and toasty, about 2 minutes. Lift the lid and carefully flip each sandwich over (this takes a little finesse), re-lid and cook for another 2 minutes. Remove each sandwich, cut in half and serve hot.
Folks, you are in for a very special treat today. You are witnessing a part of Foodie McBooty history — a huge milestone in the cooking life of Foodie McBooty: I just bought my first basil plant! Before this, I have never attempted growing an herb garden — in fear of my cat eating more of the plant than I actually would.
(*Jaws Theme Plays* AHHHHHH!!!!)
But I couldn’t resist the sweet smell of fresh basil and gave in.
So what’s a girl to do now that she has her own basil plant? I ripped off as many leaves as possible and made fresh basil pesto! I think I left enough plant for the little guy to survive. I think…
1/3 cup pine nuts (or walnuts, almonds, etc... *see note)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup freshly grated pecorino romano cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper, to taste
Combine the basil and garlic in a food processor and pulse a few times. Add the nuts and pulse a couple more times. Add part of the olive oil and process for a few seconds. Repeat this step until all of the olive oil is used and your ingredients are smooth. Season with salt and pepper and add the cheeses. Pulse until just combined.
Pesto freezes really nicely. Pop any extra you may have into a freezer bag or small container for future use.
Also, experiment with using different nuts in your pesto. Each provide a slightly different flavor and you might find a new favorite. I've heard toasted macadamia nuts are pretty good. Haven't tried it myself yet.