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…]

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…]

Cheesy Rice and Meatball Skillet Dish

Remember all the 88 meatballs I made and froze?  Some of them were destined for this dish.

This is based on a recipe in an old church cookbook.  I made it according to the recipe the first time (unusual for me to follow a recipe exactly!), which means I used the Velveeta it called for.  Much as we like Velveeta, it was too gooey and sticky for us.

A week later, I gave the recipe a make-over.  I swapped out the Velveeta for Italian blend cheese and added garlic and Italian seasonings.  It’s still a quick stove-top meal, but with much better flavor.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

BBQ Chicken Sandwiches in the Slow Cooker

I could have called this 3-point BBQ Chicken, because I was literally tossing things into the slow cooker from across the kitchen.  No stirring.  No mixing.  No thawing took place.

We were in a hurry to get out the door at 7:25am.  I grabbed a bag of frozen chicken breasts and dumped them in the slow cooker.  Then I tossed other ingredients in, based on the Pulled Pork recipe.  I didn’t stir or mix, just turned the pot on and let it cook.

We came in that evening to wonderful smells, so much better than if I’d just used bottled BBQ sauce.  I quickly shredded the meat and served it on buns.  This was the meal we tried out popcorn as a side dish.  It had been a crazy, busy day and popcorn was the fastest thing I could think of.  I’m pretty sure I threw some apples and/or carrots on the table too.  Some nights you’ve just got to get everyone fed.  Can I get an amen?

Here’s what you’ll need.  No ingredient photo this time, because I was in such a hurry when I made it. [Read more…]

Bean and Bacon Soup – Ready in 10 Minutes

This soup is really just assembly only, as long as you’ve got the bacon and onions in the freezer. It’s a good one to keep in mind for those nights when you really don’t have time to cook, but everyone needs to be fed.

The bacon, onion and tomatoes add a lot of flavor to the beans.  It reminds me of the flavor of Italian Sausage and Bean Soup.

Here’s what you’ll need: [Read more…]

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