Friday, September 21, 2012

Easy Peasy Pesto

Now why is this so easy peasy?  Because it is made of peas!   I have so much trouble growing basil that I have completely given up.  The bunnies and the bugs always make a tasty snack out of my succulent basil leaves before I get a chance to snip them.  So now I buy basil only when I need it at the grocery store.  And it is pricey!  Three bucks for one and a half cups!  This recipe takes one and a half cups of basil into stretches it into three cups of pesto with the addition of frozen sweet peas. 


16 oz frozen peas                     .98
1 1/2 cup fresh basil leaves    2.98
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese         .48
1 large clove of garlic              .05
1 lemon                                    .25
1/4 cup olive oil                       .40
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper


In a small sauce pan add the whole bag of frozen peas and cover with water.  Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cool water to stop the cooking process.
Meanwhile roughly chop 1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves.
Gorgeous color huh?  This would be great for a non traditional St. Patrick's Day dinner.  In a food processor or a blender add the peas, basil, salt, pepper, 1/4 C Parmesan cheese and lemon juice.  If you can't find a juicy lemon you could substitute 1 tsp of apple cider vinegar as the acid component.
Start up the blender on low and stream in 1/4 C of olive oil.  I'm not sure how well this comes together with a food processor, but in the blender you will need to stop and stir occasionally until all the basil and peas are smooth.
Don't give up!  Keep stopping, stirring and restarting until you have a silky green pesto.  Then using a scraper scoop all the green goodness into thee one cup containers.  You could also use a sandwich bag if you choose. 
Label and freeze.  Thaw for two days in the fridge before using. 
This is delicious on pasta!  My toddler just eats this up.  It has a great zing of basil flavor, yet a sweet creaminess from the peas. 
You could also spread this on crackers or toasted bread for great canapes. 
This is a great side dish and vegetarian option.  If you add a few grilled vegetables or sliced chicken you could have a whole meal. 

I was able to make three cups of Easy Peasy Pesto for $1.71 each. 

Christie aka Keeza

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Southwest Chicken with Black Bean and Corn Relish

This is an original dish that I derived from my famous salsa recipe.  I have a black bean and corn salsa recipe that makes my family just crazy happy.  I adapted the salsa to make a relish topping for chicken that is freezer friendly.  I removed the tomatoes because those do not survive the freezing and thawing without turning to mush.  Instead I created an easy marinade out of cumin and tomato sauce.  These chicken breasts can be baked or grilled depending on the weather and your family's preference. 


5.25 lbs of boneless skinless chicken breasts    10.45
2 Tbsp cumin                                                         .50
15 oz tomato sauce (smaller than pictured)           .74
15 oz can black beans                                            .68
15 oz can sweet corn                                              .68
1 green pepper                                                        .74
1 medium yellow onion                                          .21
3 limes                                                                    .90
1/2 cup cilantro                                                       .74
1 1/2 tsp oregano
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar


My family pack of chicken breasts contained 6 large breasts.  I placed three breasts into two gallon freezer bags. 

Sprinkle 1 Tbsp of cumin into each bag and pour in 1 cup of tomato sauce.  Seal bags and mush around to evenly distribute the cumin.  Set aside.
Now drain and rinse the black beans.  Pour into a medium mixing bowl.  Drain the canned corn and add to your mixing bowl.  Chop the onion and green pepper.  The green pepper will get a little soft during the freezing and thawing process so cut your pieces a little big so they have a good crunch.
Add your onions and green pepper to the mixing bowl with the corn and black beans.  Add 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro, 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1tsp salt and 1 tsp white sugar.  Squeeze in the juice of all three limes and stir well.
This will be the topping to your chicken.  This relish will not be cooked.  Separate the relish into two sandwich bags and seal.
Take one bag of chicken and one bag of relish and place together in a separate gallon freezer bag and label.
Place one in the fridge to make for dinner.  Placed the other in the freezer for a later meal.  When you are ready to prepare please thaw the frozen one in the fridge for two days. 

Take the chicken out of the bag of cumin and tomato sauce and shake off excess marinade.  Place the breasts in a pan to bake at 350 for 30 minutes or grill over medium heat for 8 minutes a side.

Once the breasts are fully cooked top each one with a generous scoop of the relish.  The relish should not be cooked or warmed.  I like to serve mine with a side of wild rice.  If you would like to mix it up a little more you can slice the chicken breasts after baking/grilling and place in a flour tortilla and top with the black bean and corn relish for a new twist on a chicken taco. 

I was able to make two meals for $7.84.  My husband loves this dish!  I hope you like it too.  The lime juice makes it tangy, and the corn makes it sweet.  It's like a summer salad on top of a tasty grilled chicken breast.

Christie aka Keeza

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Pizza Lasagna

I love making lasagna for dinner.  It takes me about an hour to prep and assemble, which is time consuming.  But the reward is that we get three delicious meals that easily serve four people.   This lasagna features any of your favorite pizza toppings.  Mine are green peppers, onion and sausage.  My husband loves ham and mushrooms.   Let's call this Pizzagna! 


2 cans/jars pasta sauce         2.00
1 lb lasagna noodles             1.68
24 oz Ricotta cheese             2.98
1 egg                                       .14
1lb Italian sausage                1.81  (I got a great deal!)
1 green pepper                        .74
1 medium onion                     .21
turkey pepperoni                   2.00
16 oz shredded Mozzarella     4.23


Set a pot of water to boil over high heat.  The noodles take by far the longest thing to prep so start them as soon as possible.  In another pan over medium heat, brown the Italian sausage.

In a medium sized mixing bowl stir the Ricotta cheese with beaten egg.  Add 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Mix well.  Set aside.

Chop your vegetables and set aside in a medium bowl.  Once the sausage is browned, drain it and add to the bowl of vegetables. 

Boil the lasagna noodles for 10 minutes, drain and set aside.  Now you are ready to assemble.  I like to make my lasagna in 3 bread pans.  If you have a large family you can make one 9x13" pan with this recipe.  Make sure to use a deep pan so this one doesn't boil over in your oven.

This is my counter with all my bowls and containers ready to assemble my three bread pan lasagnas. On the left is my bowl of pizza toppings.  Then Ricotta, egg, salt and pepper in the bowl just to the right.  Next are my cans of sauce with a big spoon.  The open bag of shredded cheese.  And lastly my colander in the sink with 12 lasagna noodles. 
First put 1/2 cup of pasta sauce in the bottom of each pan.  Next cut two noodles to fit in each pan.
Spread 1/2 cup sauce in each pan.  Spread half of your bowl of pizza toppings between the three pans.  This is approximately 1/6 of your bowl in each pan.
Spoon 1/6 of your Ricotta mixture in each pan.  Top with a good handful of shredded Mozzarella.
Place two noodles cut to fit in each pan.  Top with 1/2 cup of pasta sauce, the rest of the pizza toppings, the last of the Ricotta and a good handful of cheese.  I use the trimmed ends from the 12 lasagna noodles to make one last layer of pasta.
Top with remaining sauce and Mozzarella.
Now cover with foil and label.

You will need to bake at 375 degrees for 60 minutes.  One can go in the oven tonight for dinner and the other two can go in the freezer.  Please thaw two days in the fridge before baking. 


I challenge you to make this lasagna with all your favorite pizza toppings.  From spinach to tomatoes, and from Canadian bacon to pineapple. 

I was able to make three pans of lasagna for $5.26 each.

Christie aka Keeza