Monthly Archives: June 2011

Parsley Pesto Mashers

It’s raining!  A welcome relief after the last few “blast furnace” days.  Here I am, computer on my lap, listening to thunder and enjoying the fresh rain smell.  I had the day off from the greenhouse and ran around doing things I haven’t been able to get to lately…on the list of things to do today:  blog the mashers I promised 2 weeks ago!  Wow–thanks for being patient! 

Parsley and garlic are naturals with potatoes, and the pesto made this side dish super easy.  Have a look at what you need for Parsley Pesto Mashers:

  • 3-4 potatoes, scrubbed, cubed, boiled until fork-tender
  • 1/2 cup parsley pesto (Find the recipe at the end of this post.)
  • 1 cup shredded sharp hard cheese, such as pecorino romano (Or more if you like!)
  • 1/2-3/4 cup half and half  (Feel free to use skim if you want to cut a few calories or heavy cream if you’re feeling decadent!)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Cube potatoes so they’ll cook quickly and evenly.  Peel if you want; I like the earthy flavor of the peel, so I leave them on. Place in a pot, add water to cover and cook until fork-tender.

Drain potatoes and add back to the hot pan to dry them–the hot pan will cook off excess water that can make your mashers soggy–bleh.

Add half and half and mash with a hand masher.  If potatoes seem too dry, add a bit more half and half….or butter! That would be extra yummy!

Add cheese and pesto, mash together until evenly mixed and desired smoothness or lumpiness is achieved.  Taste and adjust the seasonings as needed.

Serve ’em up along side the entree of your choice.  I was a bit worried they’d end up too, too green….but they were just fine!

Next time you’re invited somewhere and asked to bring a side, or if company’s coming and you want to impress, or if you just want a nice, flavor-y, comfort-y somethin’ with your dinner, these mashers are the way to go!

I had leftovers….so the next day, I snuck some out of the fridge, made little patties and fried them in a skillet with a bit of butter.  Yummy!  I got caught, though and had to share–the garlic smell lured Mr16 from his lair!  Next time, I’ll add an egg to help them hold together better.  Maybe I’ll make fritters from the mashers to begin with!

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, recipe, side dish, Vegetarian

Parsley Pesto Chicken Parmesan

We’re freshly back from a 4000 mile trip to see friends and relatives in Georgia, North Carolina and Maryland.  That’s 4000 miles driving.  Y’know, I just couldn’t bring myself to blog.  I had some blogging ideas, like something about the snack foods I selected to munch on while we travelled, but decided to spend my time with our friends instead.  Time well spent!  I may get around to blogging my ideas….or not! 

So.  We’re back and there’s not much in the house to cook.  I had some frozen chicken, frozen pesto, potatoes that needed to be dealt with and some nice, sharp pecorino romano….how ’bout a chicken parmesan-y thing with pesto instead of tomato sauce along with some pesto mashers?!  Yup, just the thing.  A way to feed three people with just two chicken breasts.

I gathered up a few things:

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 4-6 slices of a sharp, hard cheese–like pecorino romano or parmesano reggiano
  • 1/2 cup pesto  (This is a parsley-walnut pesto made using my basil pesto recipe, subbing parsley for basil, walnuts for pine nuts.  Find the recipe at the end of this post.)
  • 1/2-1 cup bread crumbs, I like Panko
  • 1 egg, beaten with a splash of water
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup milk

Preheat oven to 375 F.  Cut chicken breasts in half.  One at a time, place each half in a ziploc bag and pound until a uniform thickness of approximately 1/4 inch is achieved.  I have a wooden meat pounder thingie, but you could use a rolling pin or can of soup or a skillet.  (Or any not-terribly-heavy, hard object….get creative!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Set up a breading station of shallow bowls, large enough in diameter to accomodate the chicken.  Add milk to the one farthest from your fry pan, then flour, then egg, and finally bread crumbs in the bowl closest to the fry pan.

Place the fry pan over medium high heat and add 1 TBSP each olive oil and butter.  Wait until butter is melted.  Dip a pounded breast into the milk, then flour–shaking off excess, then egg and finally bread crumbs.  Gently lay in the fry pan, and repeat with another breast.  Be careful to not overcrowd the pan to achieve a nice golden crispiness.  Work in batches if needed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Remove cooked chicken to a plate lined with paper towels until all is cooked.  Place about half of the pesto in the bottom of a baking dish large enough to bake all the chicken pieces.  Add chicken breasts on top, then the rest of the pesto and cheese slices.  Bake for 15 minutes, or until the cheese gets melty and the chicken absorbs the yummy pesto flavors.  I added a bit of mozzerella at the end of the baking time (the romano wasn’t giving me the melty quality I was after) and baked for a wee bit longer–until it melted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Serve hot with some yummy pesto mashers (recipe soon!), garnish with some fresh-from-the-garden parsley to make it pretty, and wait for the compliments.  Oh yeah, there will be compliments.  Don’t even think about having leftovers.

Yummy!  Double the batch for leftovers–I’m thinking this chicken would make a killer sandwich…with a tomato…and a crunchy lettuce leaf….maybe a schmear of mayo…mmmmmm! 

I’m using my new phone to take pictures now.  Do you notice a difference?  The camera takes pics in portrait…I’m kinda liking being able to stack two side-by-side.  I’m looking forward to learning this new camera and seeing what sorts of things it will do. 

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Filed under comfort food, dinner, recipe