Many people love to grow their own vegetables in the summer. If that’s you, you might want to tune in to this post, since it uses fresh tomatoes and basil…and nothing is better than picking it straight out of your own garden right before you begin cooking. That’s one of the biggest thrills of gardening for me, the produce yields. Whether it be fruit or vegetables, it’s still exciting every time you get to pick something that just ripened to perfection, with plans to use it in tonight’s dinner. Tomatoes and basil are both a very simple backyard gardening effort, as long as you have a decent amount of sunshine and ample water. Basil can even grow year round if you have it in a pot that you can bring indoors during the colder months. Tomatoes typically grow from mid-May until September or October, depending on the summer. Picking a fresh tomato (regardless of variety) and cooking with it that day makes for some excellent flavor in your dinner, I promise!
In our household, we have a picky 2 year old who doesn’t eat much besides cheese, yogurt, cereal, mac n cheese and hot dogs, much to my dismay. I love to cook and it’s very difficult to find meals that he will eat. Shockingly, he actually ate a good portion of the noodles in this dish, although he did pick around the tomatoes a bit, and steered very clear of the basil. He does appreciate some garlic on occasion, and I always tend to go a bit overboard with it because I am just a huge garlic lover. This is a very light and delicious dinner, and served next to a loaf of homemade bread, it’s downright delicious. I would recommend this to anyone, and I sure do hope you’ll try it. It’s well worth it.
I have varied the types of tomatoes I’ve added to this dish, you can use varieties such as early girl, roma, and even cherry tomatoes like sun golds or sun sugars. Each tomato has it’s own unique flavor and I think if I had to choose, a mix of fresh roma and cherry sun sugars is my favorite. It just emanates summer. If you make this recipe in winter and buy the tomatoes from the store, I’d highly recommend just using roma tomatoes or a mix of roma and grape tomatoes. We make it in winter because it’s just too good to wait all the way until next summer to eat it again, and it brings nice fluffy feelings…and reminds us that summer isn’t too far off again.
Another fun twist, if you’re tired of chicken or just have a hankering for seafood, you can easily substitute shrimp into this recipe instead. If you decide to go that route, skip cooking the chicken at the beginning and just start by sauteing the tomatoes. As the last step, you’ll add the shrimp (peeled and deveined) and cook for 4-5 minutes or until pink and cooked through. Pre-season them with salt and pepper, and if you’d like, a seafood seasoning. Both ways are delicious!
Lastly, the type of noodles can easily be varied as well. Linguine, fettuccine, spaghtetti, etc. It’s even more fun if you make your own homemade noodles. 🙂
And without further ado, here is the recipe!
Tomato & Basil Chicken with Pasta
Ingredients: (4 servings)
- 2 chicken breasts, sliced into strips (or 1/2 pound shrimp, if substituting)
- salt and black pepper
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups roughly chopped fresh tomatoes
- 2 tsp minced fresh garlic
- 4 Tbsp cold butter
- 1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped
- freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnish
- 1/2 lb dry pasta of your choice
Season chicken breast slices with salt and black pepper. Add olive oil to your skillet, and heat oil on medium high. While waiting for the oil to heat, start your pasta according to package directions, or if using homemade pasta, follow recipe directions. You don’t want to have to wait for your pasta to finish at the end. Make sure your oil is hot before adding chicken, you can splash a small amount of water on the oil and if it sputters, it’s hot enough. Add the chicken when hot, and cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Next, add your tomatoes. Stir and cook for about a minute, and then add your fresh basil (reserve a small amount for garnish). Your kitchen will be smelling wonderful about now, so enjoy it! Then add the cold butter, and allow to melt, making a very delicious, thin sauce. Lastly, add in your garlic. At this point, you can sneak a quick taste and if you like, season your sauce with additional salt and pepper. Stir the sauce and chicken together well.
Your pasta should be ready by now. Top the pasta with the chicken and sauce, and garnish with Parmesan cheese and remaining basil, and serve!
I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as we have! Feel free to share and leave a comment below telling me what you think!
With summer being so hot here in Seattle, and our house being a heat withholding wooden box, I have tried desperately to find recipes that don’t require the oven or the stove. It is also nice to find recipes that are easy to throw together for a picnic or even for camping. Another bonus is when it’s healthy and refreshing too!
In this family, we love nothing more than a fresh avocado. Summer here is known for a few tasty things, berries and avocados from California. Nothing…I tell you, nothing, is better than a fresh, ripe avocado. Combine that into a tasty dinner recipe and life couldn’t be better. (Sorry, avocado haters. More for me!) We really like recipes that have good flavor and a variety of fresh ingredients, so this summer salad is a big favorite for us now. It’s quick and easy to prepare, which is fantastic for me, my toddler doesn’t really like to watch me cook for hours. Can’t blame him though, I wouldn’t want to watch someone cook, that just sounds boring. He helps with basic cooking tasks, and he actually helped make the dressing for this salad, he’s a pro at stirring things together. All in all, if I had to rate this on the 5 star scale, it would definitely get a 5, for both taste and ease of preparation. So, here we go! Give it a try and let me know what you think of it!
Chicken Avocado Salad
Recipe adapted from various recipes, instructions taken in part from Kalyn’s Kitchen blog.
- 2 cups chicken, cooked and shredded. I find using a rotisserie chicken is great, speeds up the process, all you have to do is shred it!
- 2 medium, ripe avocados, diced into chunks.
- 2 tablespoons lime juice, separated
- salt, to taste
- 1/4 cup finely diced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped cilantro, coarsely or finely chopped is fine, depends what your preference is.
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise, or light mayonnaise
Serve right away or chill for a while before serving.
So, I’ve never really had a knack for just throwing things into a pot and having it come out right. But, now that I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen, tinkering with ingredients and seasonings, things have been coming along a little better. The other day I was very pressed for time, and needed something to make in the crock pot for my husband and my mother, since I had to work that night. I kept looking for a recipe, but was missing at least one or two things ingredient wise on each recipe. Not so helpful. So, I decided that I was just going to try a “recipe” of my own, and see what happened. Well, needless to say, it actually turned out quite good!
You can use frozen or fresh chicken breasts for this, it doesn’t particularly matter, although it’s easier when they’re thawed in my opinion. I’m just overly picky. To each their own, as I always say. And the vegetables you add to it can vary, I was in a hurry so I used a frozen mixed vegetable blend of onion, green and red peppers, and mushrooms. It turned out great, but I’m sure it would be much better with fresh veggies. I always prefer to use fresh, more nutrients that way as well. As we come up on the new year, my husband and I have resolutions for weight loss, healthy meal plans, and exercising that we intend to stick with. 🙂 With that in mind, I will be focusing my recipes on low calorie, but high “good” fats/protein meals. So if you have a resolution to stay fit and eat better, this is definitely the blog to follow! I am also contemplating posting a few entries on Mom and Baby Yoga, so even if you’re a new mom, you could totally get in on this for 2014. Which, I can’t believe, is seriously already here. My son turns 3 months old January 2nd. Goodness how time flies.
Ok, now, back to the point. I’m sure you’re wanting the recipe for this fantastic chicken, huh? 😉 Well, here it is.
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed or frozen (thawed is easier, in my opinion)
2 cans cream of mushroom soup (the cans say to add one can of water with each, you will only add ONE can of water)
2 cups of your choice of cut vegetables (broccoli, onion, peppers and mushrooms work great, frozen veggie mixes work as well if you are in a time crunch)
1/2 packet of powdered chicken marinade of your choice (you can vary the flavor this way, I used an Italian chicken marinade)
Combine all ingredients in crock pot, and turn on high 4-6 hours, or low 6-10 hours, depending on how long you need it to cook for. 🙂 That’s it. Super easy, and super tasty. This is fantastic served over white or brown rice. Just pop a package of quick cooking rice into the microwave when you get home, and dinner is done! Serve with a drizzling of the sauce over the chicken, veggies and rice.