Basil Pesto

there are few better flavors than basil pesto. great on pasta, pizzas, bruschetta, as a dip, in soups, etc. oh, and it freezes great in small air-tight containers.

1 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, left whole
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4/ cup fresh, grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (i put just slightly less)
1 tsp salt

1. put basil, pine nuts, garlic, and parmesan in a food processor or blender and process until well mixed.
2. add oil and salt and process until it makes a thick paste. done.
(3). stir into drained, hot pasta.

this size batch is perfect for a one pound box of pasta. i recommend penne rigate because of its pesto-clinging ridges.


Honey Mustard Chicken

This recipe comes from our sister-in-law, Jen, and is delicious, healthy, and light making it perfect for the summer season. It is an easy meal to make but looks great on a plate which makes it ideal for entertaining.

Serve atop brown or white rice with a fresh fruit or vegetable salad.

4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless, and frozen)
1 teaspoon paprika
8 lemon slices
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard or Dijon
1 teaspoon dried minced onion
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon curry powder

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

2. Line a 10x9 baking pan with foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray (I just use a glass Pyrex dish and forgo the foil and just spray with olive oil non-stick spray).

3. Remove protective ice glaze from frozen chicken breasts by holding under running water for 1-2 minutes. Arrange frozen chicken breasts in single layer in prepared pan. Sprinkle chicken, breasts with paprika then place 2 lemon slices on each breast. Bake for 30 minutes.

4. Meanwhile in a small microwave bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Stir to mix in well. Microwave sauce on high for 2 minutes. Stir.

5. After chicken has baked for 30 minutes, drain and discard juices. Spoon sauce over chicken in pan. Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until done.

hint for rice:
Add a little olive oil (a recent tip from kel) and chicken bullion (about 1 cube or to taste) and a small bit of garlic to the water before it begins to boil. This will make the rice have a little flavor to add to the dish.

"Quick Like A Bunny Rabbit" Cinnamon Rolls

because the dough doesn't have to rise, these cinnamon rolls are super fast and easy... and oh, so delicious!

2 cups flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup chilled butter plus 3 Tbsp melted butter
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)
1/3 cup raisins (optional)
1 Granny Smith apple (optional)

1. preheat oven to 375. in a medium bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. cut the 1/4 cup chilled butter into 1/4-inch pieces. with your fingers rub the butter into the flour mixture until it resembles coarse meal. pour the milk in all at once and stir just until combined. refrigerate until cool - about 15 minutes.
2. meanwhile, melt 1 Tbsp butter in the bottom of an 8" x 8" square or 9" round cake pan. melt remaining 2 Tbsp butter in a small bowl, set aside.
3. in another small bowl whisk together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and nutmeg, set aside. if you choose to add the apple, peel, core and slice it as thinly as possible.
4. turn dough onto a lightly floured surface. knead about 15 times, adding just enough flour to keep dough from sticking. with a floured rolling pin, roll dough out into a 12-inch square. brush with melted butter enough to cover the whole surface. sprinkle most of the sugar/spice mixture over the surface. add nuts, raisins and apple.
5. working from the bottom, roll up the dough, squeezing as you go; pinch the edge to seal. cut the roll crosswise into 9 slices. sprinke the remaining sugar/spice mix on the bottom of the pan. lay slices flat in the pan.
6. bake until rolls are golden brown, 25-30 minutes. let cool for about 15 minutes. ice with an ever-so-light icing of milk, powdered sugar and vanilla if desired. serve warm.

Zucchini Soup

summer is here, now here come the zukes. whether you're growing them yourself or being bombarded by neighbors just giving them away, this soup will help you make good use of them.

1 large onion, copped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 medium zucchinis or 2 large, chopped
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tsp salt
pepper to taste
1/2 cup half and half

1. sauté onion in oil over medium heat until tender - about 8 minutes. add zucchini, salt and pepper, and stir in with onion. add broth, bring to a boil and simmer for 10 minutes.
2. transfer to a blender and puree just until chunky. stir in half and half.
3. garnish with shredded cheese if desired.

you can also add a little crumbled bacon for extra protein and flavor.


Huevos Rancheros

This recipe can be found in the Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book on page 232, (a great recipe book by the way with many good recipes and it reminds me of home). However I have made a few changes.

Recommended serving size is 4, but I find that I have been able to serve almost twice that amount.

2 tablespoons oil (olive works great, you may use less if you desire)
5 6-inch Corn Tortillas
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1 14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes, drained
1 4-oz. can diced green chile peppers, drained
2 tablespoons snipped fresh cilantro (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
4 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese of your choice

For Salsa
1. Using a frying pan, cook onion and garlic in 1 tablespoon of oil for 2 to 3 minutes or until tender.

2. Stir in drained tomatoes, chile peppers, cilantro, and cumin. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered, for 5 minutes.

3. Transfer mixture to a blender or food processor. Tear 1 corn tortilla into pieces; add to blender or food processor. Cover and blend or process until a coarse puree results. Keep warm.

For Eggs
basically all you need to do is poach the eggs. I know we all know how to do this well. But in case you need some direction, here is what the cook book suggests.

1. In the skillet heat 1 tablespoon oil over medium heat. Carefully break eggs into skillet. When whites are set and edges turn white add 1 tablespoon water.

2. Cover skillet and cook eggs to desired doneness (2 to4 minutes for soft-set yolks, 4-5 minutes for firm-set yolks).

To Serve
The cook book suggests dipping the corn tortillas in hot oil and then keeping them warm in the oven, I tried this and it did not work very well and it was quite oily. So here is what I suggest.

1. When eggs are finished, drain water from the pan and any excess egg. Place corn tortillas in the hot frying pan and heat until warm. Flip them over and heat for another few minutes.

2. Place a warm tortilla on each of four dinner plates. Top each with a fried egg. Spoon some of the warm salsa over each egg. Sprinkle with cheese.

This is a really easy, light, colorful, and delicious meal.

I also apologize for the scanned image from the recipe book (I know it does not hold up to the excellent standards of the Agreeable Recipe Book...).