Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Just Grab What I Have Lemon-Basil Pesto

It's one of those evenings when my husband is going to be working late. That means, in my house, that dinner needs to be small. I have three kids whose tastes are very different. So making dinner on nights like these can really be a challenge (unless I just give in and order pizza). So when I ran across this recipe for Baked Pesto Chicken, I thought, "Eh. Why not? If it fails, at least I will have good leftover chicken for sandwiches for me later on." What really got my attention about this recipe (except for how incredibly easy it was to make) was how she went on and on about her homemade lemon basil pesto. Since I've got some herbs all growing in my yard, and I like to use pesto (see here), I figured I would give this a shot.

One problem, though.

I didn't have all the ingredients. And it was POURING outside. So a trip to the store to pick up pine nuts and fresh parmesean was not in the plans. I improvised, though, and it turned out GREAT!!! Check it out!

(My Version) Lemon-Basil Pesto (adapted from this recipe)


  • 1 PACKED cup of fresh basil 
  • 1 cup of fresh lemon-thyme, oregano, and rosemary mix (I didn't have enough basil to make 2 cups) 
  • 3 LARGE (or 4 regular) garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup almonds
  • 1/3 cup walnuts (again, I didn't have 1/2 cup pine nuts, but these two friends worked just fine)
  • 3/4 cup parmesean (whatever kind you get your hands on...I used the grated kind you put on pizzas and spaghetti) 
  • 1 lemon, juiced 
  • Kosher salt and black pepper to taste 
  1. Wash and dry all your herbs. I don't have a salad spinner (yet), so I used paper towels...and my hands. (Lots of shaking and squeezing...I really need a salad spinner). 
  2. Pack all your ingredients into a blender and blend. Blend those ingredients until they are creamy smooth (took me about 3 minutes). 
  3. Use immediately, refrigerate for SOON-to-be-used purposes, or freeze (in ice cubes trays) for future use.
This made me about 1 3/4 - 2 cups. I needed 1/2 cup for the Pesto Chicken mentioned above. 

How did my picky children like it? Oh man! They loved it. I mean, the kind of love where they asked for seconds and then licked the plate. For Reals, they really did. I don't know if it was the chicken recipe (which, btw, I used feta instead of mozzarella...delish!!), or if they were just starving, but they liked it! 

I served it with some steamed mixed veggies and this Whole Wheat Couscous I got from Big Lots (LOVE this stuff and am now using it instead of rice) 

And I liked it too. I'm a bit of a picky pesto person. Sometimes it's just too "green" tasting to me or too salty or just "eh". But I liked this. I'm looking forward to comparing it to the original recipe soon! 

Happy Cooking, everyone! 

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