Presto Pesto!

Homemade Pesto With Basil, Spinach and Walnuts

This homemade pesto incorporates the goodness of spinach (which offers folate, vitamin K and vitamin C) along with omega-3 fatty acids from walnuts, which may help to reduce inflammation. While pesto is naturally caloric and a good source of fat, this version is lightened up by using minimal amounts of olive oil and cheese and is lower in sodium than many store-bought brands. I like to make it on a quiet Sunday so that I can have an easy grab-and-go topping for zucchini noodles, pasta or fish after a hectic Monday – it can stay in the fridge for a few days to save some time on days when you are busy.

IMG_4230

Ingredients (yields approximately 1 cup or about 8 two-tablespoon servings):

2 C basil leaves, loosely packed

1 C spinach, tightly packed

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 oz shredded Parmesan or Pecorino Romano cheese (about 1/4 C)

1/4 C walnuts, chopped (use unsalted or reduced sodium to lower salt content of dish)

1/4 C extra virgin olive oil

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

All set to blend together!

All set to blend together!

Directions:

  1. Wash spinach and basil and pat dry with paper towel, making sure to remove all excess water. Place in food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped (you may need to sweep the sides with a spoon a few times to get all spinach and basil leaves incorporated).
  2. Add minced garlic, cheese, chopped walnuts, salt, pepper and about half of the oil to basil spinach mixture in food processor. Secure the lid and turn the food processor to high for about 1 minute.
  3. Add remaining oil, give the mixture a stir, replace the lid of the food processor and continue on high until pesto is smooth. Use as a sauce to accompany your meal or store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 1-3 days.

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving

Calories 102 calories, Total Fat 11 g, Saturated Fat 2 g, Cholesterol 4 mg, Carbohydrates 2 g, Fiber 1 g, Protein 2 g, Sodium 267 mg, Calcium 46 mg

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

I served my pesto with zucchini noodles and baked salmon

Advertisements

Pasta with Sun-dried Tomatoes and Basil

Whole Wheat Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Chèvre and Basil

Can you tell I had some leftover sun-dried tomatoes and basil from my last dish? I decided to make use of the large quantities in which these foods are often sold and make my favorite pasta dish. This dish contains calcium, lycopene, vitamin C and fiber, and only takes about 20 minutes to whip up! Lycopene is a powerful antioxidant and is known to be abundant in tomatoes, giving them their deep, red color. Also, the fiber in this dish keeps you full and prevents severe blood sugar spikes normally seen with refined carbohydrates.

IMG_2102

Ingredients (serves 2):

1 C whole wheat pasta, dry

1.5 oz chèvre

1/4 C sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

2 Tbsp basil, chopped

1/2 small onion, chopped

2 cloves garlic, chopped

3 Tbsp olive oil

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1/2 tsp onion powder

1/4 tsp garlic powder

dash salt

IMG_2099Directions:

1. Bring medium-sized pot of water to a boil. Add pasta and cook according to directions on box.

2. Add 1 Tbsp olive oil to medium-sized pan and warm over medium heat. Add onions and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Add sun-dried tomatoes, spices and garlic to pan and cook another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally.

4. Strain the pasta and set aside, reserving about 1/3 C of pasta water. Add pasta water to pan and cook until all liquid has been absorbed (about another 5 minutes). This will make the pasta taste like it is in a thicker sauce!

5. Add remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil to pot used to cook pasta and replace on stove over low-medium heat. Add pasta and vegetables. Add chèvre and basil to pasta and combine all ingredients well. Serve and enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Calories 453 calories, Total Fat 27 g, Saturated Fat 6 g, Cholesterol 15 mg, Carbohydrates 47 g, Fiber 5 g, Protein 13 g, Calcium 77 mg, Sodium 259 mg

 

A Chicken Dish That Doesn’t Taste ‘Just Like Chicken’

Chicken with Sun-dried Tomatoes, Mushrooms, Zucchini and Basil

Vegetables are actually the shining star of this flavorful chicken dish! This dish boast almost 40 grams of protein per serving with only 12 grams of carbs, along with a plate full of lycopene and vitamin C. I like to prepare this dish on a Sunday night and have leftovers for the busy week – although it is also a beautiful presentation for company.

I served mine over brown rice

I served mine over brown rice!

Ingredients (serves 4):

4 4-ounce chicken breasts

1 C sun-dried tomatoes (not packed in oil)

1 1/2 C mushrooms, chopped

1 large zucchini

2 cloves garlic

4 Tbsp chopped basil

1/4 C olive oil

dash salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

1/2 tsp garlic powder

1/2 tsp onion powder

Nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray

IMG_2092Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Chop zucchini. Cut sundered tomatoes so that the pieces are still fairly large. Chop garlic. Set aside.

3. Spray 9 x 13 inch casserole dish with nonstick vegetable oil cooking spray. Place chicken in casserole dish and drizzle 2 Tbsp olive oil over chicken. Top chicken with salt,  garlic powder, onion powder and 1/2 tsp ground black pepper. Bake in oven for about 30 minutes, until chicken is cooked through (the chicken should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

4. Pour remaining 2 Tbsp olive oil in large saucepan and warm over medium heat. Add mushrooms and zucchini and cook for 8-10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add chopped garlic, sun-dried tomatoes and remaining 1/2 tsp ground black pepper and cook for another 5. minutes. Add chopped basil and stir. Remove saucepan from heat.

5. Remove chicken from oven and pour saucepan contents over chicken. Enjoy!

The Goods: What’s Inside?

Nutritional Analysis Per Serving:

Calories 366 calories, Total Fat 19 g, Saturated fat 3 g, Cholesterol 96 mg, Carbohydrates 12 g, Fiber 3 g, Protein 39 g, Sodium 414 mg, Calcium 54 mg