Pesto Palooza

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a good weekend. We did. It was full of friends and fun – and a little date night for SuperMan and I as well. So nice.  We went to a local German restaurant and the food was incredible.  We enjoyed our dinner so much, lingering over our food with just one more glass of wine and some great conversation, that we totally missed our movie!  It was just as well. I told SuperMan I’d rather sit and talk with him than watch a movie any day.

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Sunday afternoon the girls and I spent a few hours with our good friends – they invited us over to make homemade pesto!  Cindy and I both have prolific basil plants and we had been talking about making some pesto with the leaves.

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I had never made pesto, so Cindy offered to give us a lesson.  Our other good friends joined in on the fun and we had PESTO PALOOZA!

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All of the kids got involved, from mincing the garlic to loading up the food processor, measuring the ingredients and spooning the finished pesto into the storage containers.

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Many helpful hands make small work …

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Our junior chefs –

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The house smelled SO GOOD – one of Cindy’s sons came home as we were in the middle of a batch and he said the house smelled like spices. And it did! Such good spices…

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I think we ended up with ten or eleven cups of pesto by the time we were finished.  Each family took a batch home to freeze and enjoy this fall – and I know whenever I take a container out of the fridge to use for cooking this winter I’ll remember the fun we had on that Sunday afternoon.  Good friends and good times.

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We enjoyed our first batch last night for dinner. I grilled some chicken and served it with some sun-dried tomato pesto pasta. SO good.

Here is the recipe in case you want to make some of your own:

Basil Pesto

from Family Fun Magazine

Makes about 1 cup of pesto

2 c firmly packed basil leaves (fresh)
1/3 c walnuts of pine nuts
3 Tbs grated Parmesan cheese
2 small cloves garlic (or 1 large)
1/4 tsp each salt/pepper
1/2 c extra-virgin olive oil

  1. In a food processor, combine all ingredients except the oil. Pulse until a thick paste forms.
  2. With processor on, drizzle in oil in a slow stream until mixture is well combined. You may need to clean the sides of the processor to ensure all ingredients are mixed in.
  3. Transfer to an airtight container. Cover with lid, refrigerate up to 4 days or freeze up to 2 months.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

I have a fantastic pasta salad recipe for you today –

But, before I get to that, I have a question for you – especially those of you that print out my recipes and use them at home.  I’ve been including the recipe directly on the blog and adding a print option to the post.  In the past, I’d used AllRecipes.com and posted the recipes there.

I’m considering going back to that method for a couple of reasons and I wanted to know if you had any strong opinions one way or the other… Here are the reasons I’m considering switching back to that method:

  • consistent format
  • easy access
  • super-easy printing
  • you can save the recipes into your own recipe book and have a compilation of your favorite recipes

So, today’s recipe is linked below to the recipe on AllRecipes.com. If you wouldn’t mind, click over and see what you think.  I think I’ll be slowly migrating my recipes over to this site and re-linking them on the Recipes page of this blog so that you can easily access & print them from one place.

I’d love to hear your input, though, so please let me know what you think!

Okay, enough of the business –

Here’s the recipe for you today – a really yummy pasta salad.  I think I’ve mentioned to you before that I absolutely LOVE sun-dried tomatoes.  I love the saltiness, the chew, the just general yumminess of them.  I could eat them like candy, I think.

So, when I was craving pasta salad the other day, I thought about trying to find a way to incorporate some sun-dried tomatoes into the mixture. I wanted something a little different than the usual chicken pasta salad I make, something a little more Mediterranean in flavor.

I have a basil plant on the back porch that my momma gave me and I’ve been searching all summer for some great recipes to make use of the basil. (By the way, anyone want to teach me to make pesto?)

So, I mixed and tasted, chopped and stirred.  And this was the result.  SuperMan absolutely loved it (as did I) and said it was even better the next day or two for lunch at work. I was really glad I was able to give him a tasty (and filling) yet cool salad to eat on the hot, dog-days of summer.

Give it a try – especially if you have some leftover grilled chicken like we did – adding the chicken makes it a hearty meal.

Click on the title to go to the link on AllRecipes.com.

Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta Salad

Ingredients
  • 1/2 lb wagon wheel pasta (cooked)
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes (reserve oil)
  • 1/4 cup olive oil (or use reserved oil from tomatoes)
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan (or use Parmesan/asiago blend)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
Directions
  1. Boil pasta in salted water.
  2. Drain & set aside.
  3. Place basil & tomatoes in food processor. Pulse 4-5 times until blended.
  4. In a large bowl, toss the pasta, tomato/basil mixture, adding the cheese, salt, pepper, garlic & oil.
  5. Toss to coat.
  6. Serve warm or chilled. It tastes great both ways.
Footnotes
  • OPTIONAL: Add 1-2 grilled chicken breasts, chopped, to make this salad a meal. You can also rough-chop the basil & tomatoes if you’d rather have larger pieces in the salad.