Pesto Sauce Recipe

Pesto Sauce Recipe

In the “about” tab on my blog I state in the very last paragraph that I spend summers trying to keep up with Huz and since my last post that is what I have been up to.  Holy cow he is a whirl wind at times, between the bees, 2 acre garden (which is really coming along), house remodel projects, beer brewing, and putting up food it has been crazy.    As a result I have lots of good posts coming because we have started to put up beans, make pesto, dehydrate blueberries, can pickles…the list goes on.

Let’s get to this pesto recipe.  This post is for Huz’s Gram, each year she gives us a subscription to Taste of Home.  Usually this magazine is hit or miss with recipes since we like 1 ingredient foods, but this recipe was a little golden treasure I discovered a few years back.   Initially I just clipped it and it sat in a stack of “have to try” recipes.  A couple of years ago Huz was knee-deep in his masters project building chem models, we had a ton of basil in the garden, and I was feeling experimental.  So I hunted thru my stack until I found the recipe, gave it a try, and it has been a staple ever since.  If you don’t have basil you can easily find at your local farmers market or grocery store.

Ingredients: Yield is 1/2 cup.

  • 3/4 cup loosely packed basil leaves
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts or sunflower kernels/nuts (I use salted sunflower nuts that I get from the grocery store)
  • 1 garlic clove, peeled (I just use my pampered chef garlic press and press in one clove, I find it mixes better)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper (I actually add 1/4 but that is only due to my love of pepper)
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese (if you have the pampered chef microplaner use it, it gets the cheese nice and fine)

Pesto 1

Directions:

Cut the basil leaves from the stem.  The rinse and drain water, I usually throw mine in the salad spinner to get excess water off.  (NOTE:  In this picture the amount of basil leaves I have is for about 6 batches, which is how many I made and froze, these directions are for one batch as that is all that my food processor can hold at a time.)

pesto 2

Next pull out your food processor, measure all the ingredients in to the processor.  For the garlic the recipe says to add a clove, but I like to add a crushed clove.  I have found that the garlic does not incorporate as well if left whole.  Other than that once all the ingredients are added turn on and food process for a like 30 seconds until well blended.  See before and after pictures below.

pesto 3

If using fresh, enjoy the fruits of your labor… If freezing pour into your freezer container.  Note from the Taste of Home Recipe “When freezing the pesto, leave about 3/4 inch in the top of the container, then cover the top with a thin layer of olive oil, so the pesto doesn’t brown during freezing.”  Below is a picture of my freezer container, if you look closely you can see my thin layer of olive oil drizzled over the top.  I freeze mine up to a year.  ENJOY

pesto 4

Tips:

  • This 1/2 cup batch makes about the perfect size pesto meal for about 4-5 people, maybe even more depending on the recipe.
  • Goes great tossed with spaghetti noodles, topped with some grilled chicken and served with french bread and fresh fruit. – This recipe is Grandma approved (my Grandma).  Will blog about it in the future, but needed to give you this base recipe first.
  • One of the meals I want to try is a pesto pizza, let me know if any of you have a great recipe for this.

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan

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Kale: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Kale: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

Kale … it is a super food!  The nutritional value of this stuff is off the charts awesome, here is a quote regarding that value from WebMD:

“One cup of chopped kale contains 33 calories and 9% of the daily value of calcium, 206% of vitamin A, 134% of vitamin C, and a whopping 684% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus.

Kale’s health benefits are primarily linked to the high concentration and excellent source of antioxidant vitamins A, C, and K — and sulphur-containing phytonutrients.

Carotenoids and flavonoids are the specific types of antioxidants associated with many of the anti-cancer health benefits. Kale is also rich in the eye-health promoting lutein and zeaxanthin compounds.

Beyond antioxidants, the fiber content of cruciferous kale binds bile acids and helps lower blood cholesterol levels and reduce the risk of heart disease, especially when kale is cooked instead of raw.”

Kale 1As seen here growing in our garden, kale is a green leafy looking thing…So the question is how do we cook with it?  Well here are a few breakfast, lunch, and dinner ideas from us, hopefully you will find them delicious also!  Anyway to sneak this food in you should!

Kale for Breakfast:  We love it in scrambled eggs, here is how.  (Serving Size 2-3 people)

  • Cut, rip, or chop about 1.5 cups of raw kale leaves add them to a pan with about a tablespoon of butter.  Add the lid for a steam effect, and cook on a medium heat for about 3 – 5 minutes stirring occasionally as so ensure the butter coats evenly and the kale does not burn.  The kale will wilt down and have almost a steamed spinach look.  Once they have wilted down, add your scrambled eggs (I used 4 eggs for this size batch), salt and pepper if desired and cook until your eggs are done.  Sometimes we throw some canned cherry bombs or hungarian wax peppers in if we are feeling spicy.  In the picture below, I was feeling spicy and added hungarian wax peppers.  This pairs wonderfully with Potato Bread as toast and Juice or Coffee.

Kale 2

Kale For Lunch:

  • Idea 1 – Rip, cut, or chop a cup and toss in with your lettuce salad.  Acts as another leafy green, enhances the flavor of your salad.
  • Idea 2 – Kale Chips.  A lot of people make these, we tried them last year and were not huge fans, BUT taste buds are different so this might be fun to try, plus it is super easy… here is the recipe we used last year, feel free to search for others.  KALE CHIPS LINK
  • Idea 3 – Green smoothies.  A lot of people add kale too smoothies, again we are not a fan of any green smoothie period, we like fruit in ours, but again if this sounds appealing to you give it a try!!!  This is an excellent food to experiment with!!!

Kale For Dinner:  We love to add it in with our rice, for you quinoa fans out there, you could probably sub the rice with quinoa.  Here is our recipe.

  1. In a large skillet  over a medium high heat add 3 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, about 2 – 3 cups of cut/torn kale, 1 medium diced onion, 2 cloves of crushed garlic
  2. Saute this mixture for about 4 or 5 minutes.
  3. Add 3/4 cup of rice
  4. Saute for another 2 or 3 minutes to really mix and coat the rice.
  5. Add 1 1/2 cups of chicken stock, can sub with water if you do not have the stock.
  6. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 20 minutes.  Usually once or twice during the 20 minute time I fast lift the lid and give it a quick stir to ensure the rice does not stick to the bottom of the pan and burn.  This pairs great with chicken on the grill or stir fry.  See steps below.

kale 3

Please let me know if you have any comments or questions or any delicious kale ideas to try!  Enjoy ~ Megan

Peanut Butter Bars & A Honeybee/Beer Update!

Peanut Butter Bars & A Honeybee/Beer Update!

This peanut butter bar recipe is super simple and very very quick to make… 30 minutes start to finish!  As a bonus anywhere I take it to share it is an instant hit!  This is one of those sweet treats that does not look scary…meaning it is a straightforward cookie bar looking dessert with chocolate chips and substance so people gravitate towards trying it and it is delicious!  This is usually my go to dessert if Huz has to provide a snack for conferences at school, or we are going to a social gathering with a dish to pass.  This is a favorite all around, plus they freeze awesome for long-term storage, we actually love to eat them frozen.  Lets get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1 Cup White Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 2/3 Cup Peanut Butter
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon fo vanilla
  • 2 Cups of Flour
  • 2 Cups of Oatmeal (I use the quick oats)
  • 1 12OZ bag of Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:

I use my mix master for this recipe, but it is easy enough to do by hand if you want to work on your arm muscles a bit.

  1. Add butter, brown sugar, white sugar, and eggs to bowl and mix until smooth and creamy.
  2. Then add the peanut butter, mix again until incorporated.
  3. Then add baking soda, salt, vanilla, mix again until incorporated.
  4. Next add flour, mix until incorporated – I add a cup at a time so it does not all poof out of my mixer.
  5. Lastly add oatmeal, and mix until incorporated. – *See some of these steps below.

Peanut Butter Bars 1

Next grease a 10×15 bar pan I use a bit of pam spray.  Dump the mixture into the greased bar pan and spread.  TIP:  Sometimes it is hard to spread since it has a cookie dough constancy so as I dump into my bar I try to spread it a bit, then I spray a bit of pam on my spatula and spread.  It takes a few minutes to spread, and I sometimes have to spray the spatula more than once to prevent the dough from sticking.  See pictures below.

Peanut Butter Bars 2

Then spread the bag of chocolate chips around, I slightly press them in with my hand, then bake at 350 for 17-20 minutes.  Below is the pre-oven shot.

Peanut Butter Bars 3

I like to pull it out of the oven when the edges are just slightly brown, in my oven which is pretty accurate it takes 18 minutes on the nose.  Below is a picture of the finished product.  Then I let them cool on a rack until ready to cut and freeze or bring to a party!

Peanut Butter Bars 4

Some other news… around the farm!

  • Our honeybee family has expanded!  Last week we picked up 6  bee nucs from Iowa, they are Russian Honeybees and are supposed to be more tolerant of the colder climates.  Of course the scientist in Huz had to try them, also over this past winter he built a special hive to try, it is long rather than up, we have named it the coffin hive.  The idea is when he gets older he won’t have to lift as much since the bees will be at waist level.  Here are some shots of the coffin hive…

coffin hive

  • The other update is we have brewed our first batch of all grain beer.  This is a step up from the type of brewing we have been doing, it also allows us to control the flavoring and style of our beer more.  We brewed a Dry Belgian Blonde, here are some shots of the brewing process, will keep you posted on the result of this beer.  Here is hoping it is a success as we brewed an 8 gallon batch!

Dry Belgian Blonde

Let me know if you have any comments or questions!  Enjoy ~ Megan