Thursday, September 27, 2012

GIVEAWAY: Autographed Copy of Tasia's Table!

It's been an exciting week for my little food blog.  It officially reached 1,000 Facebook fans, and I'm excited to celebrate with a great giveaway for a lucky blog reader!

I love you guys so much, that I'm giving away an autographed copy of "Tasia's Table: Cooking With the Artisan Cheesemaker at Belle Chevre."

If you've never heard of this wonderful little fromagerie in Elkmont, Alabama, you'll definitely want to keep reading .  Their artisan chevre cheeses are award-winning and absolutely delicious.  Belle Chevre has been featured on NBC's The Today Show, and the following magazines:  Southern Living, O! Oprah, Southern Lady, Health, Traditional Home, Real Simple, Better Homes & Gardens, Cooking with Paula Deen, and Cooking Light to name a few.

Belle Chevre is owned by Tasia Malakasis, an uber-talented, former marketing executive whose passion for food carried her all the way from NYC to Belle Chevre.  Her brand-new cookbook is one that you'll certainly want in your arsenal....especially if you love chevre.  With recipes like Bacon and Goat Cheese-Stuffed Pork Tenderloin with Apple Chutney, Creamy Belle Chevre Grits with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Chocolate-Smothered Raspberry and Goat Cheese Buttercream Cakes, you'll be in love!  The book is filled with personal stories from Tasia, and the recipes are influenced by her Greek-Southern roots.

So, how can you win this fabulous cookbook?  It's easy!...

How to  Enter:
Simply leave a comment on this post, which answers the following question:

What's your favorite thing about autumn?

Also, for extra chances to win, simply do the following and leave SEPARATE additional comments letting me know that you did:

The Rules:
  • Entries must be submitted by midnight (CST time) on Tuesday, October 9th
  • A winner will be picked at random (using and will be announced on Wednesday, October 10th.
  • Please make sure you include your name and email address so that I will have a way to contact you if you win...especially if you leave a comment using the "Anonymous" option.
  • At this time, the contest is open to US residents only.
Good Luck, and THANK YOU for following me along on this little foodie adventure of mine!  :)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Orecchiette with Spinach Pesto, Chicken & Tomatoes

Let's face it...While leftovers make for a fast and easy dinner, they can be very boring.  So, I love dishes that allow you to take the leftovers and create a delicious yet different dinner on the 2nd night.  This recipe is a fantastic example.

I took the remaining orecchiette pasta and spinach pesto from this Chicken with Spinach Pesto and whipped up this easy weeknight dinner for two.  It makes for an easy-peasy dinner that's filled with flavor (not to mention - Popeye would be so proud of all that spinach!).

You simply cook some orecchiette pasta and stir in spinach pesto, baked chicken, and diced tomatoes.  It pairs perfectly with a loaf of crusty French bread and a glass of pinot noir.

Easy meals like this are the theme around our house lately.  We are in the process of doing some minor renovations to our home, which has turned out to be a lot of fun, yet a time-consuming process.  So far, we've installed a beautiful cream-colored subway tile backsplash in the kitchen (which I'm in love with).  We've also given the laundry room a MAJOR makeover with a fresh can of pretty light blue paint,  a lovely new shelf and fun paintings that my sisters did a while back.  That room makes me happy now. :)  It's a far cry from the while walls and plain wire shelving that graced the room before.  Our next project?  Painting the living room grey.  Woo hoo! 

Bon Appetit, my friends!

Orecchiette Pasta with Spinach Pesto, Chicken & Tomatoes
(spinach pesto recipe adapted from Food Network magazine)

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. of your favorite Italian 0r Greek seasoning
1 lb. orecchiette pasta
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley

2 tablespoons almonds, toasted

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tomatoes, diced


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place the chicken breasts in an ovenproof casserole dish and drizzle with 2 tbsp of the olive oil.  Season with your favorite Greek or Italian seasonings.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through. 

While the chicken is baking, make the pesto:
Puree the spinach, parsley, almonds, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons water, the grated parmesan cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to taste in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl and set to the side.

Next, cook the pasta according to package directions.

Pour the cooked pasta into a large bowl.  Cut the baked chicken into bite-sized pieces.  Add the pesto, chicken and tomatoes to the pasta and mix together well.

Top with a little additional parmesan cheese, if desired.


Monday, September 10, 2012

Chicken with Spinach Pesto

Why haven't I ever thought of making pesto with something other than basil before?  Sure, basil pesto is nothing short of vibrantly green deliciousness, but lots of fresh basil can be somewhat elusive if not in season (at least around here).

I found this recipe for Chicken with Arugula Pesto in the September 2012 issue of Food Network Magazine in the weeknight cooking section.  It caught my eye with its fresh ingredients, so I added it to my next shopping list.  

Once at my local grocery store, arugula was nowhere to be found, and I didn't really feel like searching all over town for it.  So, I got to thinking...Why not use baby spinach instead?  Baby spinach is readily available all year long, easy to find and cheaper than basil.  It sounded like a winner to me.

And a winner it was, indeed.  The pesto tasted great, especially with the addition of the toasted almonds.  They added a great depth of flavor...Don't skip the toasting part.  It's worth the extra effort.

The orecchiette pasta and green bean salad makes for a flavorful side dish, thanks to grated lemon zest and a sprinkling of parmesan cheese, and the broiled tomato halves topped with pesto and bread crumbs rounds out this meal.

The next night, I cooked more of the orecchiette and then added the leftover pesto to the pasta, along with diced tomatoes and baked chicken.  It was the perfect way to use up the leftovers, yet make an entirely different meal (I'll post that recipe on the blog next).

You'll love this healthy, easy dish...Make it soon!

Bon Appetit, my friends!  :)

Chicken with Spinach Pesto
Adapted from Food Network Magazine, September 2012

Kosher salt
6 ounces orecchiette (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed and cut into pieces
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
3 cups baby spinach
1/2 cup firmly packed fresh parsley
2 tablespoons almonds, toasted
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
4 small skinless, boneless chicken breasts (about 1 1/4 pounds)
2 medium tomatoes, halved
2 teaspoons whole-wheat breadcrumbs

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs; about 3 minutes before the pasta is done, add the green beans. Drain the pasta and beans and rinse under cold water. Toss with half of the cheese, 1 tablespoon olive oil, the lemon zest and salt.

Preheat the broiler. Puree the spinach, parsley, almonds, lemon juice, 3 tablespoons water, the remaining cheese and 1 tablespoon olive oil, and salt to taste in a food processor. Transfer to a bowl.

Place the chicken breasts between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to about 1/2 inch thick. Transfer to a foil-lined baking sheet and season with salt. Rub all over with 1/4 cup of the arugula pesto and broil, turning once, until cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes per side.

Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up on another baking sheet and broil 2 minutes. Spread each with some pesto and sprinkle with the breadcrumbs. Broil until golden, 1 more minute. Serve the chicken, tomatoes and pasta salad with the remaining pesto.
Per serving: Calories 491; Fat 16 g (Saturated 4 g); Cholesterol 96 mg; Sodium 737 mg; Carbohydrate 42 g; Fiber 5 g; Protein 44 g

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