Monday, December 22, 2014

Spinach Pesto

This is one of my favorite because it can be made fresh or ahead of time.  I usually make two batches when I make so I can use it for dinner as well as throughout the week or freeze it for future use.  If you choose to freeze, do not add Parmesan cheese.

I use this pesto on pasta but there are a multitude of other use such as:
- Pasta Sauce
- Pizza topping
-Pesto chicken salad
-Sandwich spread
- Serve with grilled chicken
-Serve with grilled lamb chops

I love to make pesto chicken salad for sandwiches to bring to work.  Just mix the pesto with 2 cups shredded chicken.  Serve on a baguette with mozzarella and tomato.

There are also a number of variations to this recipe including substituting arugula for spinach or an all basil pesto.  I also make a mint feta pesto to accompany grilled lamb chops. (recipe to come)  I prefer using spinach since it gives the pesto a bit of a bite

Ingredient Count: 8 (only needed to buy 4)

Spinach Basil Pesto


1 1/2 cups spinach
3/4 cup fresh basil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup pine nuts
4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 Tbsp lemon juice
Lemon zest
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and Pepper, to taste


Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, cheese, garlic, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth

Scrap the sides of the bowl as necessary

 Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the pesto and process until smooth

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken

This recipe is as fresh and simple as they come so there is no better recipe to start this blog with.  There is nothing better than the smell of fresh lemon, garlic and rosemary roasting in the oven. These are also three ingredients I always keep in the house because they are so versatile and can be used in almost any dish.  The Herb saver ( is a great tool to keep herbs fresh.  It can help to keep herbs fresh for up to 2 weeks, which is the greatest thing for someone who likes to use fresh herbs.

 I have found over the course of cooking this and other roast chickens that the quality of the ingredients in this recipe is the key.  I used to use a regular store brand chicken ( I normally shop at my local Harris Teeter and buy specialty items at Whole Foods).  but spending a bit a more on a higher quality chicken is definitely worth it (Trust me).  The tend to cook more evenly since they usually were never frozen.  The brand that I usually buy is Smart Chicken.

The trick to cooking a recipe with few ingredients is to use the individual ingredient for all their worth.  You need to use all parts of the lemon in this recipe.  I use lemon zest, a few slices, the juice from one half and I put the juiced half in the in cavity.

Ingredient Count: 6 (needed to buy 4)

Lemon Rosemary Roast Chicken

1 3-4 lb.Whole Chicken
1/4 cup Olive oil
1 Lemon
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
Rosemary, 3-4 sprigs
Salt and Pepper, to taste

Preheat the oven to 350°.  Salt and pepper the chicken.

Zest the lemon.  Cut lemon in half, juice half the lemon and mix juice with zest, set aside juiced half.  Cut a few slices from the other half.

Whisk olive oil, lemon mixture and garlic in a bowl and spread over the entire chicken.

Place lemon slices and rosemary springs on chicken. 

Place the juiced lemon half in the cavity along with one rosemary sprig.

Roast the chicken, basting frequently with pan juices, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 165°.