Grilled Chicken with Pine Nut Pesto

One of my favorite types of cuisines to prepare is Italian.  I just love the flavors and aromas that come from creating Italian food.  Of course Italian cuisine is typically loaded with gluten.  Italians love their bread, pasta and pizza so cooking without the gluten can be a challenge.  This recipe is already gluten-free and is a tasty way to prepare chicken during the summertime. 

I have visions of visiting Tuscany, Venice and Rome someday, but today I’ll share this deliziosa chicken pesto recipe with all of you.

Ingredients:

  • 4 boneless chicken breasts
  • 2 cups lightly packed baby spinach leaves (about 2 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon peel
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan

Heat a grill pan or outdoor grill to medium high heat. Spray the grill pan or outdoor grill with non-stick cooking spray. Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill the chicken until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes per side.

Combine the spinach, pine nuts, lemon juice, and lemon peel in a processor. Lightly pulse. With the machine running, gradually add 1/3 cup of the oil, blending until the mixture is creamy. Add a good amount of salt and pulse. Stir in the Parmesan. Season the pesto with additional salt and pepper, to taste.

Spread the pesto over each piece of chicken and serve

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Butternut Squash Risotto

I have always wanted to make this version of a risotto, but was afraid that both my children and my husband would not like it.  I forged ahead anyway and was very pleased when all three of them pronounced that they enjoyed it.  Score one for vegetables!  I don’t think my son even realized there were veggies in this dish.  He thought it was just a cheesy rice dish and I’ll never tell 🙂

Ingredients

Bring 1 quart stock plus 1 cup water to a simmer in a sauce pot then reduce heat to low.

Heat a medium skillet over medium to medium-high heat with olive oil. When oil ripples, add the onions and garlic and soften 2 to 3 minutes. Add rice and toast 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and cook it out completely, stirring occasionally, 2 to 3 minutes. Ladle in stock in intervals, a couple of ladles at a time. Allow liquids to evaporate each time. Risotto will cook 18 minutes, total, from the first addition of liquid. Defrost the squash in your microwave in a dish to collect any liquids and stir in squash the last 3 minutes of cook time, season with nutmeg, salt and pepper to taste. In the last minute of cooking time, stir in butter in small pieces, sage leaves and cheese.

Rosemary Paprika Roasted Potatoes

Here is an easy and hearty side dish to serve along a grilled steak or a grilled burger.  These potatoes are slightly smoky and I love the sprinkling of rosemary mingled in.  Make sure you salt them liberally before going into the oven.  The result will be a crispy potato wedge packed with flavor and yummy potato softness on the inside.

6 medium to large red potatoes (cut each potato into six wedges)

2 T extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp granulated garlic

1 T smoked paprika

2 sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 425F and place a baking sheet in oven.  Toss potato wedges with oil and mix to moisten each potato.  Toss in garlic granules, paprika, salt, pepper and rosemary and mix thoroughly.

Roast for 20 minutes turning over halfway through cooking.

 

Lime Cilantro Marinated Skirt Steak

 

One of my favorite food pastimes to do during the summer is grill dinner and eat it outside on our deck.  My daughter thinks this is such a treat so we try to do this as much as possible (weather permitting). This weekend I tried my hand at marinating a skirt steak and then grilling it really quickly on a smoking hot outdoor gas grill.  The marinade was a little spicy for the kids, but the adults really did enjoy the powerful flavors.

Ingredients:

  • 6 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 red onion, chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 1 medium jalapeno chile pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
  • 3/4 cup corn or canola oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2-3 pounds skirt steak
  • kosher salt to taste

Puree the garlic, onion, lime juice, jalapeno, thyme, cilantro, corn oil, and honey into the bowl of a blender or food processor until the ingredients are well incorporated. Marinate the flank steak with 1/2 cup of the puree in a resealable bag overnight in the refrigerator. Reserve the rest of the puree to use later as a sauce.

Preheat a grill for medium-high heat.

While grill is warming, remove the meat from the refrigerator and let sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes. Discard any marinade left in the bag. Liberally season the steak with the kosher salt, and cook to desired doneness, approximately 2-3 minutes per side for medium-rare.

To serve, slice the steak against the grain into 1/8 to 1/4 inch slices, and drizzle the remaining marinade over the meat.