BASIL AND BABY SPINACH PESTO

For a long time I caught myself in a food rut, I would make the same thing every other week and even though the food tasted good we were all getting a little bored. If I left it up to my 4 year old, he would eat pizza every night and not complain * then again, who would?!*. So I decided to try one new recipe every week to break up the monotony.

This week I though I would try this Basil Pesto recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction. I made a couple of changes because my poor little basil plant looked  a bit naked after I picked a cup’s worth of leaves 😀

I mixed the pesto with penne and grilled some chicken breasts, my son made a salad and we had a quick and easy dinner! It was very tasty and both kids thought it was so cool to eat alien green pasta 😀

Ingredients:

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  • 1 cup fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup fresh baby spinach leaves
  • 1/3 cup pine nuts (i used toasted walnuts)
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 cloves roasted garlic
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon each salt and fresh ground pepper

Directions:

  1. Blend the basil, spinach, pine nuts, cheese, and garlic together in a food processor or blender. Pour oil in slowly while still mixing (or a little at a time, then mix, then more oil, then mix again, etc). Scrape down the sides, then add lemon juice, salt, and pepper. Pulse until everything is blended together and relatively smooth. Taste and add more salt/pepper if desired.11059555_10155465329315431_1961515948782417702_o1522819_10155465329410431_2926072482058021621_o11141124_10155465329030431_1796391813302743001_o11008807_10155465329025431_6305651781852818019_o

I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday hosted by  Dini @ Giramuk’s Kitchen and Mollie @ The Frugal Hausfrau 

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TROPICAL SALSA

I love love love salsa and this tropical spin is so fresh and perfect on grilled meats! I’m making this to go along with Jamaican jerk pork. My tummy is going to be happy tonight!

  • 2 cups fresh pineapple, chopped
  • 1 semi-ripe mango, chopped
  • 1 kiwi, chopped
  • 1cup purple onion, chopped
  • 1cup fresh cilantro, chopped (or to taste)
  • 1/2  tablespoon fresh ginger, chopped fine (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon rum (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon jalapenos (or to taste)
  • 1/2 tsp salt (or to taste)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Put all ingredients in a bowl, mix it up, and let it sit for a little bit to allow the flavors to mingle.

So easy!

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My family had this salsa, with jerk pork and Jamaican rice and peas!

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I’m bringing this dish to Fiesta Friday because every fiesta needs salsa!   The party is hosted at blogFiestaFriday.net.Thanks to the new co-host Anna @Anna International! For having us!

DHAL

Dhal, a staple in Trinidadian cooking. We make this dish alongside curries or to be eaten alone like a soup or with roti *flat bread*. It’s healthy, flavorful and filling.

So funny story, when I was a teenager I was a bit rebellious *What? Really?! No way!*… I know, hard to believe right!? Anyway, my mom was forcing me to learn how to cook and I wanted no part of it, so I was throwing a hissy fit about cooking dhal and deliberately doing it wrong so she would just get mad at me and shoo me away. Well….she didn’t and I got a pot spoon thrown at me and she made me count each grain of dhal *split peas* in the package! Ever since then I’ve hated dhal and refused to make it! *Yeah! I’ll show her!!*

Years later, I’m pregnant and craving dhal and I didn’t know how to make it! According to Caribbean superstition, when you get pregnancy cravings and you don’t satisfy it, your child will be born with a birthmark shaped like what you were craving! And I was not about to have a child with a dhal birthmark on his head! 😁

Luckily my sister Giselle was visiting me and she is the best dhal maker I know *Yeah! Take that mom!!*, so I paid close attention and wrote down this recipe. I like my dhal not too thick and not too runny, just in the middle.

RECIPE
1 cup yellow split peas
2 1/2 cups water
7 grains garlic
1/2 onion chopped (medium)
1/2 habanero pepper ( keep whole if you want the flavor and not the heat)
1/4 tsp saffron powder
2 pimento peppers finely chopped (or you can use jalapeños)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp whole geera (cumin)

DIRECTIONS

1. Soak split peas for a couple hours and drain.
2. Boil 2 1/2 cups of water and then add the peas.
3. Add the 5 garlic grains, onion, peppers and saffron powder.
4. Let boil until peas are very soft and tender.
5. In a small pan, heat oil and add 2 grains garlic and geera, let it brown over low heat.When the garlic is brown, carefully pour the oil mixture into your split peas. (This process is called chunkaying)

6. Whisk the mixture or puree until smooth and add salt to taste (about a tsp)

TIP: If your dhal is too thick you can add hot water until you get to your desired texture.

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SAUTEED MUSHROOMS AND ONIONS

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  • 1/2 lb sliced button mushrooms (crimini works as well)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced into wedges
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 tsp garlic salt

DIRECTIONS

  1. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a frying pan and add the mushrooms and onions; let them cook slowly, over medium heat, until the mushrooms are getting a little brown and the onions are nice and soft, about 20 minutes.
  2. While there’s still some moisture left from the mushrooms, add the Worcestershire sauce, pepper flakes and garlic salt.
  3. The mixture will thicken and it’s ready to serve.
  4. Serve with grilled steak and use leftovers for omelets.

OODLES AND OODLES OF ZOODLES!!

Forgive my awful phone picture, but I just had to share with you how much I love zoodles! Finally something to keep my away from that treacherous spaghetti who haunts me daily, softly whispering my name, begging me to kiss h… Anywayyyy!

BTW how cute are my fat carrots that I just pulled from my garden!?! Man, life is hard in California!  😉

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SPIRALIZER…you complete me!

I have a new love and his name is Paderno… Paderno spiralizer and he makes my life complete! I don’t know whether I love watching the spirals of veggies flow quickly through his sharp blades or eating the quick and super easy meals he gives me. Either way, he makes yummy recipe options, especially if you’re trying to lose your Christmas weight *thanks a lot sugar cookies and eggnog*

The spiralizer is really easy to use, you select a blade according to how thick or thin you want your veggie noodles, attach your vegetable and turn the handle and watch your beautiful noodles filling your plate!

For my dish, I kept it really simple. I spiralized zucchinis, carrots and onions. Then I sliced some garlic cloves. Sir fry the garlic, with kosher salt and red pepper flakes in a little olive oil and then add your noodles and cook until the texture is to your liking! Easy peasy and oh so yummy!!

My quick and super easy veggie noodles
My quick and super easy veggie noodles