With summer in full swing I try to use as much out of my garden as I can. Even if you don't have a large spot, herbs are easily grown in a pot. This year I am growing a plethora- peppers, basil, rosemary, cilantro, egg plant, squash, yellow beans, pumpkins, strawberries carrots, blueberries and tomatoes. My gardens are not big enough to negate me shopping for most produce, but they are fun to maintain and Charlie and I enjoy caring for the plants and pickings things as the ripen. It's our thing and I want to teach her that food doesn't come for a box- not to mention, fresh foods are always SO much tastier.
Herbs are one of the things in my garden that I tend to have too much of.... those and tomatoes!... so I am trying to come up with new ways to use them and taking advantage of having fresh herbs. I know I can freeze my basil, but it just isn't the same.
Pesto is delicious and aside from using it in its typical ways I was trying to be creative... enter Pesto Meatballs! I make the pesto a little differently here, because of the fat content of the beef, I don't add olive oil to the pesto itself. These can be served alone, with pasta or zucchini noodles and a bit more pesto and cheese, and freeze wonderfully so you can make a big batch and save more for the future.
Pesto MeatballsMakes 24-30 meatballs
- 2lbs Lean Ground Beef
- 2-3 Cups Loosely Packed Basil
- 2 Garlic Cloves
- Juice from 1/2 Lemon
- Salt and Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Grated Parmesan (optional)
- 1/2 Cup Bread Crumbs
- 2 Eggs
1. In a food processor, pulse the basil, garlic, lemon and a sprinkle of salt and pepper (and cheese if using) until well a combined "pesto" is formed.
2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, including your pesto. Using your hands, mix well, but don't over mix!
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees-
3. I use a tablespoon, but feel free to eye-ball, and start rolling your meatballs into a size a little smaller than a golf ball. Place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake for 23-25 minutes, or until they are firm to the touch and starting to brown on the top. Serve immediately, or let them cool completely and freeze....enjoy!
Sun dried Tomato-Pesto-Chicken Pizza
Pizza Dough- homemade or store bought...It really is easy to make your own dough... try it! This recipe makes 3 pizzas based on the size of my pizza stone (about 12" in diameter)
- 2 Cups Warm Water
- 4 1/2 tsp (two packets) Fast Active Dry Yeast
- 2 tsp Honey
- 2 Cups All-purpose Flour
- 2 Cups Whole Wheat Flour (or more all-purpose)
- 2 tsp Salt
- Olive Oil
1. In a small bowl (or your measuring cup) add the yeast and honey to the warm water. Let it sit while you get your dry ingredients together.
2. In a large bowl, whisk your flours and salt. Pour in the yeast water and mix with a spatula and then eventually your hands. The dough will be slightly sticky, but if it is too sticky add a bit more flour 1/4 cup at a time.
3. You can either leave it as it is and separate it later, or separate the dough into three "balls" in three separate bowls now. Drizzle a tablespoon of oil over each ball (or just 2-3 tbsp in the big bowl if you kept it as one) and roll the dough in it so the outside is covered. Cover the bowls with a tea towel and let sit for 1 hour, or less, until the dough has doubled in size. Dump it onto a floured surface and roll it out to your desired thickness and size.
- 3 cups Loosely Packed Basil
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- ¼ cups Pine Nuts
- 3 cloves Garlic, Chopped
- ½ teaspoons Salt
- ¼ teaspoons Black Pepper
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
Toppings-- 1-2 Cups Cooked shredded chicken
- 1 Cup Sun dried Tomatoes, chopped
- Mozzarella Cheese
- Pinch of Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
Putting it all together-
Keep the oven at 425 degrees...
1. Top the pre-baked crust with the pesto...
.......bake until the crust is crispy and golden and the cheese is bubbly- about another 10ish+ minutes