Bacon, Tomato and Basil Pasta – 20 minute meal

I love pasta for a lot of reasons, but one of them is that pasta makes a quick meal.  And it’s extremely versatile.  For this dish, I used angel hair.  It cooks in just a couple of minutes.

Bacon Tomato Basil Pasta - 20 minute meal

 

Some friends gave us a bunch of tomatoes from their garden.  Now that’s a great gift!  But they needed to be used soon.  Pairing them with pasta made perfect sense.

I also had a pound of bacon in the fridge, some white wine and fresh basil in the garden.  My original thought was to make this pasta dish. It also has bacon, tomatoes and basil, but it requires more Parmesan cheese than I had on hand.

So I decided to do a lighter sauce, with no half & half and no Parmesan.  We had just enough cheese to garnish, so it worked out great.

And this is a quick meal.  Especially if you already have the bacon cooked.  I needed to cook mine, but I still had it made in about 20 minutes.

I usually cook the bacon in the oven.  Not only is it easier and less messy, it allows me to do other things while it cooks versus stand at the skillet and get popped with hot grease.

Here’s what you’ll need:   [Read more…]

Quick and Easy – Tomato Basil Chicken Soup

This is the soup that made me wish I owned an immersion blender.

Alas, I don’t have one.  But even without smoothing out the soup base, this dish is a winner.  It’s creamy and full of the summery flavor of tomatoes and basil.  The chicken adds heartiness and keeps the boys from whining for meat.

And if you’ve got cooked chicken in the freezer, this soup only takes a few minutes to make.  I love a quick meal!

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Ingredient Spotlight: Fresh Herbs 2012

I love growing fresh herbs in the garden.  There’s something lovely about wandering out to the backyard and pulling fresh basil leaves to add to the dinner pasta.

Or enjoying the scent by running my hand through the lavender while I water the plants.

Basil is my favorite fresh herb to grow.  It grows well and adds so much flavor to dishes.  But I also like growing chives, rosemary, thyme, mint…  I grow lavender just for the scent.  I’ve never tried cooking with it.  Have any of you? I’d love to see some recipes that use lavender, whether for food or homemade soaps or lotions.

Here are some of my recipes that use fresh herbs:  [Read more…]

Summer Corn Salad

I have wanted to try this recipe for a long time, but somehow I just recently got around to it.  It comes from the cookbook Country Gourmet (a fantastic book that is out of print now, I think).

One of the reasons it took me so long to try it is that the recipe calls for fresh corn cut off the cob.  I’m super lazy.  I think I’ve mentioned that before.

I finally realized I could cheat with this recipe and use frozen corn instead of fresh.  I’m sure fresh would be better, but I also know I’ll be making this salad a lot more often since I can cheat with a bag from the freezer section.

Here’s what you’ll need:  [Read more…]

Pepperoni Pizza Pasta – 15 Minute Meal

I am a huge fan of the 15 minute meal.  Some days, there just isn’t any more time than that to pull dinner together.

I’ve even got an eBook full of 15 minute meals.  I frequently pull it out when I need something quick for dinner.  A quick scan of the book, matched up with the items in my pantry will always yield a dinner idea.

This meal idea came from my mom.  She had something similar when she ate out recently.  I’m not sure what restaurant and I don’t know exactly how she fixed hers.  There are many different ways you could take this, depending on what your family likes and what you’ve got in the pantry.

I happened to have a variety of bell peppers in the fridge, so I used them to add color and flavor.  Doesn’t this pan of cooking peppers and onions look good?

Here’s what you’ll need for this quick meal:  [Read more…]

Italian Parmesan Herb Chicken and Potatoes in the Slow Cooker

I put this together before church one Sunday morning.  It smelled (and tasted!) fantastic when we got home.  If you have garden fresh tomatoes, they make a wonderful side dish.  A simple tossed salad would be good too.

I don’t have an ingredient picture this time.  I think I was too busy getting ready for church, cooking as fast as I could.  I forgot to snap the photo.

I did use frozen chicken tenders and skipped thawing them.  They cooked just fine.  You can also save time by estimating the herb measurements instead of measuring.

Here’s the how-to:  [Read more…]

Ingredient Spotlight: Fresh Herbs

Do you grow your own herbs?

I don’t have much of a green thumb, but I do like to try to grow herbs.  Right now I only have basil and chives, but in the past we’ve had parsley, cilantro, thyme, rosemary, mint and lavender.

Basil is my favorite to cook with.  I love to walk out to the garden boxes and gather a handful while the pasta boils.  Small pleasure.

Here are a few of my recipes that use fresh herbs:  [Read more…]

Italian Seasoned Salt Chicken in the Slow Cooker

A few weeks ago I decided to make some flat bread with homemade Italian Seasoning.  That didn’t work out too well on my first try.  I’ll have to play around with it a bit.

But I have been using the Italian Seasoning on all kinds of other foods and it’s been really good.  The seasoning adds lots of flavor to chicken or pasta dishes.  This time, I used it on chicken thighs in the slow cooker.  Here’s what you’ll need:

[Read more…]

Bowtie Pasta with Italian Sausage and Bell Peppers

There are nights when I stare into my pantry, wondering what I’m going to fix.  On this particular night, the contents of the pantry made me consider making Italian Sausage with Bowties but I didn’t have any stewed tomatoes.  I decided to change the recipe up a bit and came up with this.

Like the original, it’s a cinch to make and quick too.  This one gets an added taste boost from the peppers.  Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

Meatballs and Spanish Rice

I found this recipe in Whole Foods for the Whole Family cookbook.  I’ve done a little altering to it though.  First, it calls for brown rice, which I swear I bought, but is nowhere to be found in my pantry.  So I subbed white rice.

The method for making this involves baking the raw meatballs on top of the rice.  Because of this, you’re going to need to use very lean meat or else the dish will be too greasy.  I’ve made it before with ground bison.  This time I used some of the 88 meatballs I made and froze.  I froze some of them raw, specifically to use in this dish.  A quick thaw in the microwave was all they needed.  It sped up the prep work a lot to start with the meatballs already made.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

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