Tag Archives: pesto

Chicken Pot Pie (Two Ways)

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No fancy recipes today: just some good old fashioned comfort food. And a great way to use leftover chicken (or turkey) and vegetables. This is a basic recipe for chicken pot pie with two different crusts: the traditional pie crust or refrigerator biscuits topped with thinly sliced onions.

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A pot pie is such a versatile meal because you can use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I almost always include some potatoes, carrots and onions, but the other green vegetables vary. Small amounts of leftover veges are perfect, but you can also use frozen vegetables. I do not thaw or cook frozen broccoli, beans or peas before adding them to the casserole dish. They will cook through while the whole thing is baking. Precooking will make them mushy. The potatoes, carrots and onions do need to be cooked first.

I almost never make this starting with raw chicken, but you certainly can. I prefer to wait until I have leftover chicken or turkey from a roast chicken (or Thanksgiving turkey) or extra shredded chicken from another meal: like these Enchiladas.

22211 061-1You can top your Pot Pie with a traditional Pie Crust (either homemade or refrigerated). I do not use a bottom crust, just a top one. Just be sure to place a sheet of foil or a baking sheet on the oven rack beneath the pot pie to catch any drips.

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If you are deciding what to put in your herb garden this spring (assuming the snow stops someday), I loved these two varieties of sage that I planted last year (a variegated silver and purple). Replacing the ground sage in the recipe with fresh chopped sage is really delicious. I  can’t wait until I can use my own fresh herbs again!

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For a twist on the traditional pot pie filling sauce, try adding 1/2 to 1 cup of prepared Pesto to your sauce. It makes a great change!
(Don’t use the sage and other herbs if you are using pesto)

My family really likes this biscuit topping on their pot pie. Starting with a can of refrigerator biscuits, divide biscuits in half cross-wise (into 2 thinner round biscuits). Flatten slightly with your hand. Press a slice of very thinly sliced raw onion into the top of each biscuit half.

22211 065-1 The filling needs to be cooked partially before putting the biscuits on top, or the underside of the biscuits will be doughy while the tops burn. But if you cook the filling until it just starts to bubble and then lay the onion-topped biscuits over the hot filling in the pan, everything will come out perfect! Most of our family loves the onions on top, but I do leave a couple of biscuits plain for those who object. Any extra biscuits that do not fit on top can be baked separately as directed on the package.

RECIPE:

Chicken Pot Pie

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1 single Pie Crust
—-(or 1 can refrigerator biscuits & thinly sliced onions**see note at bottom)
3-4 cups cooked, cubed chicken (or 3-4 raw chicken breasts)
2-3 medium potatoes, peeled & diced
1 large carrot, peeled & diced
½ zucchini, diced (optional)
1-2 cups frozen broccoli, green beans, and/or corn
½ cup frozen peas
¼ cup butter
1 onion, chopped
2 Tbs flour
2 cups chicken broth
¾ cup milk (or half milk, half cream)
½ tsp marjoram
½ tsp ground sage (or 1 Tbs chopped fresh sage)
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

If you are starting with raw chicken, boil chicken until tender, remove from broth (do not drain broth) and chop. Place in 3 qt casserole dish. Cook potatoes and carrot in remaining chicken broth (or water if not starting with raw chicken) until potatoes are just tender; drain. Add potatoes and carrots to casserole dish with chicken and chopped zucchini. Add frozen beans, corn, broccoli and/or peas (do not thaw).

Melt butter in the same skillet. Sauté onion until soft. Stir in flour; cook 3-4 minutes until roux is light brown. Using a whisk, stir in marjoram, sage, salt and pepper. Stir in chicken broth and milk. Whisk until smooth.  Cook until thickened and bubbly.

Pour over chicken and vegetables in casserole dish. Arrange pie crust over dish, sealing to edge of casserole dish. Flute edges. Cut several slits in top of crust.

Place a cookie sheet or layer of aluminum foil on bottom rack to catch drips. Place pot pie on center rack. Bake at 425°F for about 30 minutes, until filling is bubbly.

FOR CHICKEN-PESTO POT PIE:

Add ½-1 cup prepared Pesto to sauce (eliminate marjoram and sage)

ALTERNATE TOPPING:

Instead of a pie crust, use refrigerator biscuits. Divide biscuits in half cross-wise (into 2 thinner round biscuits). Flatten slightly. Press a thin slice of raw onion into top of each biscuit half.

Cook filling, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes at 425°F, until hot and bubbly. Lay onion-topped biscuits over hot filling in pan. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F and cook for 20 minutes, or until underside of biscuits are cooked through (they will still be soft and have a dumpling consistency on the bottom, but you don’t want raw dough). If top of biscuits brown too quickly, cover with foil.

If you have extra biscuits, bake separately as directed on package and serve with the pot pie.

 

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Pesto Stuffed Flank Steak with Garlic Roasted Broccoli

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If you are not going with the traditional baked ham for Easter, this makes a great alternative. We had this for Brian’s birthday a couple of weeks ago, and it was a big hit!

It is easy to prepare, and only uses two ingredients: a flank steak and prepared pesto. I used this Basil Pesto that has been hanging out in my freezer since the end of last summer. Still tastes great! You could use any prepared pesto; next time I would like to try a sun-dried tomato pesto in this.

The only tricky part of this recipe is butterflying the flank steak, and even that is not too tough. A large knife really helps. To butterfly the steak, cut almost all the way through the thickness of the flank steak, keeping the steak intact on one side.

021910 011-1 To reduce mess, place your flank steak on a foil lined baking sheet and open it up flat. Spread with the pesto.

Optional step: Sear steak in a hot skillet on all sides. I did not do this and it turned out fine.

Roll up the flank steak and secure with kitchen string or toothpicks.

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Spread top of steak with some of the pesto drippings (some are sure to have leaked out). Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Roast at 425°F for 30-40 minutes, or until thermometer reaches 130-140°F (for medium rare). If you sear the steak first, it will need slightly less time.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

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I served this with some sautéed mushrooms and this Garlic Roasted Broccoli. Roasting vegetables with garlic is definitely our favorite way to eat veges around here. See the recipe below for some alternate roasted vege ideas.

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RECIPES:

Pesto Stuffed Flank Steak

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1 flank steak
1 cup prepared Basil Pesto
salt & pepper

Preheat oven to 425°F.

Butterfly flank steak: Cut almost all the way through the thickness of the flank steak, keeping the steak intact on one side. On a foil lined baking sheet, open up butterflied steak and lay flat. Spread with pesto.

Roll up flank steak. Secure with kitchen string or toothpicks.

Optional step: Sear steak in a hot skillet on all sides.

Spread top of steak with some of the pesto drippings (some are sure to have leaked out). Sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper.

Roast at 425°F for 30-40 minutes, or until thermometer reaches 130-140°F (for medium rare). If you sear the steak first, it will need slightly less time.

Remove from oven and let rest for 10 minutes before slicing.

Garlic Roasted Broccoli

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1 pound fresh broccoli
3 Tbs extra virgin olive oil
5-6 large cloves fresh garlic
salt and fresh ground black pepper, to taste

Cut broccoli into bite-sized pieces. Smash garlic slightly with edge of knife or cut each large garlic clove into 3-4 slices. Put cut broccoli, garlic, and olive oil into large Ziploc bag and let marinate 30-60 minutes. (This is optional, but marinating will make the broccoli more garlicky.)

Preheat oven to 425°F. Place mixture on a foil-lined baking sheet and season with fresh ground black pepper and salt. Roast until vegetables are slightly softened and edges are starting to brown slightly, about 10-15 minutes. Serve hot.

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Alternate Preparations:

Roasted Broccoli with Sesame Seeds:
Follow recipe above, adding 1 Tbs soy sauce, 1 Tbs toasted sesame seeds, and 1 tsp sesame oil to marinade (use less garlic, if desired).

Other Roasted Vegetables:
Try this cooking method with: asparagus, brussel sprouts (cut in half), green beans, carrots, cauliflower. Adjust cooking time based on thickness of vegetable.

This post was entered into the “Grow Your Own” roundup, created by Andrea’s Recipes and hosted this month by House of Annie.

 

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Pizza with Roasted Zucchini Pomodoro Topping

Copy of DSC01851Last week the weather turned cold, and it was time to bring in all of the remaining vegetables and herbs. Some of these things will be dried or frozen, but I took the opportunity to use some of the last of our oregano and thyme to make this pizza topping.

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This recipe came my way from a good friend Amelia, who had given it to my daughter, Middle K. M-K was working on a project where she had to plan and prepare all of the meals for our family for two weeks. I was surprised that she chose such a healthy pizza option as one of her dinners, but I am so glad that she did. We have made it several times in the last month since her project finished. We modified the recipe quite a lot, roasting the vegetables instead of sautéing them and changing up the spices.

Grow Your OwnI have followed the Grow Your Own event for some time now, and I am excited (as a new blogger) to now submit my own garden harvest recipe. I love seeing how other people use the fresh produce from their gardens. For all of the Grow Your Own recipes this month,visit host Andrea Meyers.

Slice fresh zucchini and tomatoes and place them on an olive oil brushed roasting pan.

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Brush the veges again with additional olive oil and then sprinkle with salt and fresh ground pepper. Roast at 450°F for 10 minutes.

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DSC01815Meanwhile chop your herbs of choice- we used oregano and thyme  (basil would also be good)  and stir in some chopped garlic. Top zucchini and tomato slices with herb/garlic mixture. Roast again for another 10 minutes.

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While the zucchini and tomatoes are roasting again, prepare your pizza crust. Instead of a regular pizza crust, we used sliced French bread and some whole wheat tortillas. I loved how the tortillas turned out. The flavor of the toppings really dominated the dish! It did require a fork for eating, however!

We also used a Basil Pesto for sauce instead of a tomato based sauce. It was fabulous-highly recommended.

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Add a layer of cheese to your pesto-topped crust and then arrange roasted tomatoes and zucchini over the cheese. I would have liked for these to have had even more of the toppings, but we didn’t have quite enough for all of our pizzas. Next time I will roast lots more zucchini and tomatoes.

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Cook for an additional 10 minutes, or until cheese is melted. Serve with crushed red peppers, if desired.

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RECIPE:

Pizza with Roasted Zucchini Pomodoro Topping

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Topping:
1 lb fresh plum tomatoes, cut in half (or any variety, thickly sliced)
2 zucchini, cut into slices
2 Tbs olive oil
salt & fresh ground pepper
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tbs chopped fresh oregano
1-2 Tbs chopped fresh thyme or basil

Pizza Crust
Pizza Sauce/Pesto Sauce
Cheese (try mozzarella, shredded or fresh, goat cheese, Parmesan)
Crushed red pepper flakes

Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a broiler pan with foil and spray lightly with nonstick spray.

Arrange tomato and zucchini slices on the pan. Brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 10 minutes.

Combine garlic, oregano and thyme (or basil). Sprinkle over partially cooked vegetables and return pan to oven. Cook an additional 10 minutes.

Spread crust with pizza sauce, pesto sauce, or use no sauce. Add a layer of cheese and then the roasted tomatoes and zucchini. Bake until cheese melts. Serve with crushed red pepper flakes.

 

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Pesto Stuffed Chicken

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We have been trying all sorts of new recipes with the Basil Pesto that we made this summer. One of our favorites has been this Pesto Stuffed Chicken, adapted from Kayln’s Kitchen. Everyone loves it except BigA, who hates cheese in all of its varieties. But I make a cheese-less version for her, and while I think her version seems pretty dry, she is happy with it. This can be prepared with either homemade or purchased pesto. If you do buy it from a store, I recommend draining off some of the oil on top before using it.

The following recipe is for 6 large chicken breasts, but it can easily be adapted for fewer (or more) servings. To begin, the chicken breasts need to be thin so that they will be easier to roll and will cook evenly. The 4 chicken breasts that I used were extremely large, so I just cut through them cross-wise, giving me 8 pieces of chicken. With normal-sized chicken breasts, I flatten them in a large ziploc bag. Place the chicken (one at a time) in the bag; leave the zipper end open (so your bag doesn’t explode) and pound the chicken with a mallet on the back side until it is uniformly thin.

The pesto stuffing is a mix of prepared pesto, sour cream and grated cheese (mozzarella, Monterey Jack and Swiss all work well).

Spread pesto mix on the ragged side of the pounded chicken breasts. Roll up each piece, beginning at the widest end. Secure each chicken roll with a toothpick or two. Place chicken rolls in a greased 9×13″ pan or a large casserole dish.

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This recipe has a simple Parmesan cheese coating. It is too much work for me to individually dip each chicken roll in egg and then cheese, and I have found that it doesn’t really make it any tastier (or prettier), and I often end up wasting cheese. So now I just brush the chicken rolls (while they are in the pan) with an egg wash and then sprinkle shredded Parmesan over each one. And add a little Parsley for color.

Pour a small amount of chicken broth (about 1/2 cup) in the bottom of the pan. I try to use a low-sodium chicken broth, or else it ends up overly salty with all of the Parmesan. Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes. Then increase temperature to 425°F, uncover, and bake 15-20 minutes longer, until nicely browned and cooked through.

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You can strain the drippings and make a sauce, but we prefer to just spoon the cheese and pesto laden drippings over our chicken (and vegetables and rice/couscous/noodles).

RECIPE:

Pesto Stuffed Chicken

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6 large boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 cup prepared pesto
1 cup grated cheese (Mozzarella, Swiss or Monterey Jack)
1/3 cup sour cream
1 egg + 1 tsp water, mixed
about 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
1 Tbs chopped parsley
½ cup chicken broth (low sodium, or slightly diluted with water)

Preheat oven to 375°F.

Pound chicken into thin, flat pieces: Place the chicken breasts (one at a time) in a large Ziploc bag; leave the zipper end open (so your bag doesn’t explode) and pound the chicken with a mallet on the back side until it is uniformly thin. If your chicken breasts are really large, you can cut them in half crosswise and then pound, if necessary.

In a small bowl combine pesto, sour cream and mozzarella (or Swiss or Monterey Jack) cheese. Spread each chicken breast with about 2 Tbs of the pesto mixture. Roll up each piece of chicken, beginning with the widest end. Secure with toothpicks. Place chicken rolls in a greased 9×13″ pan or casserole dish.

Mix egg and water. Brush over chicken rolls. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan. Sprinkle with parsley. Pour the chicken broth into the bottom of the pan (but not over the chicken rolls). Cover with foil and bake at 375°F for 30 minutes.

Increase oven temperature to 425°F, uncover chicken and bake 15-20 minutes longer, until chicken is nicely browned and cooked through.

Serve with drippings from the bottom of the pan.

Adapted from Kalyn’s Kitchen

 

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Basil Pesto

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Last month I got a half-bushel of basil from a local farmer’s market. It was fresh picked about an hour before I got there. It smelled divine in the car on the ride home! So what do you do with a half bushel of basil? Make pesto, of course. I love to grow basil at home, but I don’t have a large enough crop to make large quantities of pesto. So I watch this farmer’s market at the end of summer when they cut their large crop of basil and sell it cheap!

Actually, I only made full-blown pesto with about half of the basil.The other half I put into the food processor with olive oil (in the proportion of 1 cup packed basil to 1/4 cup olive oil). This basil/olive oil mixture I spooned into ice cube trays and froze. Once frozen, I put the basil ice cubes into a Ziploc bag, then back into the freezer. I use them to season all kinds of dishes throughout the next 3 seasons, until I have basil growing again in my garden. The proportion above is also the same proportion of basil to olive oil in the pesto, so if you just want to freeze the basil/olive oil, then you can add the remaining ingredients later to make fresh pesto.

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But I love being able to pull pesto out of the freezer and not worry about whether I have pine nuts ready to be toasted. To make fresh basil pesto, combine 4 cups of packed basil leaves (don’t use the thick, stiff stems; smaller stems may be used),  4 cloves of garlic and 3/4 cup toasted pine nuts in a food processor. Blend well.  Add 1 cup fresh grated Parmesan, processing just until blended. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream while food processor is running.

Pour pesto into jars, freezer containers or small Ziploc bags. If you are using jars or plastic freezer containers (like below), drizzle a small amount of olive oil over the top of each container. This will help keep the basil from darkening or becoming freezer-burnt. This container is obviously not full, it is one that I currently have open in my fridge. Pesto makes a great addition to so many things: pasta, pizza, sandwiches, fresh tomato salads, bruschetta.

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When thawing pesto from the freezer, DO NOT MICROWAVE! It will melt the Parmesan and leave you with a gloopy mess (trust me on this one). Still tastes good, but looks pretty funky. Let thaw in the refrigerator overnight, or on the countertop for several hours.

RECIPE:

Basil Pesto

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¾ cup pine nuts
4 cups fresh basil leaves, firmly packed
4 cloves garlic
1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toast pine nuts until lightly browned, checking and stirring every 4-5 minutes. Cool.

Using a food processor, blend basil, garlic, and pine nuts. Add Parmesan, processing just until blended. Add olive oil in a slow, steady stream while food processor is running.

Makes about 2 cups

Notes:

  • Substitute toasted walnuts for the pine nuts.
  • Low on basil? Substitute fresh spinach for 1-2 cups of the basil
  • To Freeze: Pour pesto into jars, freezer containers or small Ziploc bags, leaving about ¼” headspace. If using jars or plastic containers, drizzle small amount of additional olive oil over the top of the pesto. Freeze.
  • Alternate Preparation: Blend basil and olive oil in proportions above. Spoon into ice cube trays or small Ziploc baggies. Freeze. Use to prepare fresh pesto later, or to add to recipes calling for fresh basil.

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