Here is why I love cooking…
I love when the season is right, the produce is fresh, and Mother Nature gives us some awesome ingredients where we can make a meal that tastes so unbelievable good and is good for you. I have been inspired lately to make more food that my body needs versus what it wants. Don’t worry, I am not turning my blog into a gluten-free, paleo, raw, or vegan/vegetarian food blog. You will still get some of the foods from me made with butter and sugar. But I do believe in balance. You can eat some of those fatty foods in moderation and create delicious healthy meals (like this) and you won’t feel that you are missing a thing.
Let me talk about basil for a minute. Well, I love it! Hello! When I smell basil, my nose is happy, my brain is happy, and my taste buds begin to salivate. I mean I should put this stuff under my pillow and I bet I will sleep better at night. But basil is the super star in this entire dish. You will need 3 bunches of this natural herb to make the pesto sauce that will cover the chicken. It is absolutely amazing. The best thing about this pesto sauce is you can freeze what you don’t use. You can use it for a quick pasta dish, a spread on a sandwich, or a dip. The first time I had pesto I was not a fan, but there is a qualitative difference between pesto that is made fresh in your kitchen versus pesto that is in a bottle.
Also, I am really trying to learn to appreciate and enjoy vegetables more in my diet. I am not a huge veggie person…AT ALL. Therefore, I have to work extra hard to make myself enjoy them. I think I did it with this vegetable medley. See when you try to eat healthier and you don’t put love in your food, it tastes bland and….”healthy”. But if you use a little olive oil, fresh garlic, and fresh herbs it can taste amazing. I encourage you to try it. Here is what you do, go to a farmers market and buy a bunch of vegetables and herbs and get in your kitchen and cook! Explore! You will love it I promise!
Yep! That is eggplant…not a fan. I did have eggplant fries once and they were delicious. I made a horrible assumption that I liked eggplant because I liked those fries. Can we all agree, if you deep fry anything it is naturally going to taste better? Duh, Nicole. But try this meal. Like seriously. It is delicious and the best thing is my man loved it! If he likes it then I know its good.
- PESTO SAUCE
- ⅔ c. virgin olive oil
- 3 bunches basil
- ½ c. pine nuts
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 c. feta cheese
- ½ c. parmesean cheese
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. pepper
- VEGETABLE MEDLEY
- 3 tbsp. olive oil, more for drizzling
- 4 medium red potatoes, baked then diced
- 1 zucchini, diced
- 1 yellow squash, diced
- 1 lb. green beans
- ½ c. green onions, chopped
- ½ pint cherry tomatoes, halved
- 2 garlic cloves, minces
- 2 tbsp. oregano, chopped
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 Chicken Breasts
- olive oil for drizzling
- salt and pepper
- Making the pesto: Using a food processor, combine olive oil, basil, and pine nuts. Pulse until all ingredients are well blended and pulverized. Add both cheeses, garlic cloves, salt,and pepper. If the pesto is too thick for your liking, slowly pour in a little more olive oil until the consistency of the pesto is to your liking (you may only need a few more tablespoons of olive oil, if necessary). Pour the pesto in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap allowing the plastic wrap to directly be placed on top of the pesto to eliminate browning. Place in the refrigerator.
- Making the vegetable medley: Bake the red potatoes or bake in the microwave until tender. Dice the potatoes. Using a large saute pan, drizzle the pan with olive oil on medium heat. Turn the potatoes to the pan allowing them to crisp on the sides. Try not to stir to much. You want the potatoes to keep its form as much as possible. After about 10-12 minutes, turn the potatoes to a medium sized bowl and set aside.
- Using the same pan, drizzle with a little more olive oil and add the green beans, zucchini, green onion, and squash. Allow to saute for 10-12 minutes. Add the tomatoes, and continue to saute for another 5 minutes. Return the potatoes to the pan with the rest of the vegetables and add the fresh oregano. Lightly toss so the potatoes don't mash. Season with onion powder, salt, and pepper and remove remove from heat covered with lid.
- To make chicken: Season both sides of the chicken breast with salt and pepper. Drizzle grill pan with olive oil and turn heat on medium high. Grill chicken on both sides for about 5-7 minutes. Remove from heat.
- Serve the pesto on top of the grilled chicken alongside with the vegetables.