Nut-Free Pesto with Pasta and Veggies

Today was a hard day for me. Grandma would have been 91 today. While it was easy holding things together to get through my workday, after work was another story. I had made plans to pick up a bundle of Gladiolas and bring them to her. I got extra lucky and my Fiance had finished work a little early and was able to be there with me and help me get the flowers situated  in the vase. After a few emotional moments we headed home and decided we should make a recipe of grandma’s that I have tweaked and changed. Grandma’s recipe is a basic pasta, zucchini, yellow squash, with olive oil. My recipe includes the addition of chicken, and a pesto instead of using just oil to coat the pasta

20190812_1631126637389299058216408.jpg I start by prepping the chicken and cutting them in half through the middle so that they will be thinner pieces and will cook more quickly. I just add a little salt and pepper to the cut breasts and pass them off to my fiance. He prefers to have the chicken cooked on the grill. While I wait for the chicken to be cooked, I start getting my pot for pasta coming to a boil and get some butter melting in a skillet for my veggies.

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I slice up my veggies and toss those in the skillet with salt and pepper and let them cook. Once the pasta water come to a boil I add in my pasta. This time we used fettuccine but literally any shape will work for this recipe. Once everything is cooking make sure to keep the heat on low so that we can make the pesto without worries of burning or over boiling.

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Pesto is pretty simple. Though unlike a normal pesto, I cannot eat pine nuts so this recipe is nut-free! I add in all the needed ingredients, garlic, basil leaves, salt, pepper, olive oil, and red wine vinegar, and then blend.

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Typically I blend for a few seconds, stir the stuff on the stove and repeat 3-4 times. The pesto will look a little watery but all the pieces should be finely chopped. Once the pesto is ready I let it sit until the pasta and veggies are finished cooking.

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When the veggies are cooked I shut off the burner and let them sit until the pasta is ready. Because I used fettuccine it takes just a little bit longer to get all the noodles cooked.  Once the pasta is ready I drain out the water and flip the noodles into the skillet with the veggies. I add in a glob of butter and mix it around to keep the noodles from sticking to each other.

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Once the butter is melted I pour the pesto onto the pasta and mix it around. You need every bit to be coated by the pesto. I know this doesn’t look like much sauce but it is enough for the amount of pasta and veggies.

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Once the pesto is fully mixed into the pasta, I plated my pasta and veggies into a bowl, added my chicken and of course some Parmesan cheese! Its definitely a favorite anytime I make this recipe there is usually no leftovers!


Ingredients

  • 1 box of pasta
  • 1 or 2 zucchini, sliced
  • 1 or 2 yellow squash, sliced
  • 3 chicken breasts, thinly sliced
  • 1 container of Basil, leaves only
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1/3 cup of olive oil
  • 6 tablespoons of butter
  • 4-6 cap fulls of red wine vinegar
  • salt and pepper

Directions

  1. thinly slice chicken breasts. Add salt and pepper to taste. cooked until no longer pink in the middle. let it cool then slice up into bit-sized pieces. Set aside.
  2. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil. Add in pasta. Add 3 tablespoons of butter to a skillet. After most of the butter has melted, add in the chopped squash and zucchini.When the veggies are cooked turn off heat.Once pasta is cooked drain water and add pasta to skillet with veggies.Toss in remaining 3 tablespoon of butter into pasta noodles to avoiding sticking.
  3. While pasta and veggie are cooking add basil, garlic, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to a blender. Blend for 5-10 seconds using the blend setting. repeat 3 to 4 time until pesto is watery and have fine basil and garlic pieces. Pour pesto over pasta and mix until  well combined.
  4. Serve pasta in a bowl. Add the chicken and Parmesan and enjoy!

Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Its been a cold and blustry winter this past month and a half in Michigan. I feel like it is time to share one of my favortie winter meals, Chicken Pot Pie. While I do have a from scratch recipe, its more difficult to do as an after work meal so this version is a little more of a dump and cook recipe. This is also a good recipe for finishing off those half bags of frozen veggies.

To start off I melt a little butter and olive oil in a pan. Once melted I add in the chicken pieces.

I let it go until its browned nicely. I don’t add a whole lot of spices until the cream of chicken is added in. After the chicken has been browned I dump in the veggies.

Tonight I had a few half full bags of frozen corn, peas and carrots, and green beans. I add them to the pan with a little more butter and allow it to cook until tender. Once tender I add in the cream of chicken soup. For my recipe I use the cream of chicken with herbs that way I dont have to go rummaging for too many spices. My family prefers a thicker gravy like consistency so I use 2 cans of cream of chicken and about 1/2 a can of chicken broth.

After the soups have been added I reduce down to a simmer and start on the biscuits. I normally go for a refrigerated tube of whatever is on sale and sounds tasty. While the pan is simmering away I set up the biscuits to bake.

It’s important to not cook these all the way through, because the biscuits will be going back into the oven, but you still want them to look a little golden. Once the biscuits are ready, pour the pot pie mixture into a greased pyrex dish and top with the biscuits. I like to flip my biscuits upside down so that the bottom will get crispy.

Once everything is set, I pop the dish into a 400 degree preheated oven for 10 minutes. Sometimes its more, sometimes its less, it all depends on what level of crispiness you prefer your biscuits.

And here it is fresh out of the oven! After allowing it to cool and thicken up a little bit its ready to be eaten. I like to add a handful of cheese to my bowl before digging in!