Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The winter blues! Artichoke Pesto Pasta and Grilled Chicken with a Tangy Glaze

Things have been pretty boring around here. It has been really warm though, yesterday was 80 degrees. I really should get out to soak up some vitamin D! It would probably help out with the solemn mood I have been in. I think that even though it is warm, people in LA still get the winter blues. For me it has to do with the sun going down so quickly. I HATE when it gets dark early. Also, now that the holidays are over there isn't much to look forward to for a while. I need some activities in my life!
I am going to try to stir up some endorphins today my doing my Ballroom Cardio workout by Julianne Hough. I got for the DVD for Christmas and tried it out the other day. I am sure it is hilarious to watch me do it, Jeffrey was nowhere around or else he would have been rolling, but it really did work me out and make my muscles ache.
Cooking also makes me happy, until after I eat and realize that all this blogging and giving me a tummy...here is what I cooked the other night.

Artichoke Pesto Pasta
I have made this several times. For a ladies lunch it tastes great paired with the sundried tomato and goat cheese pasta that I made on December 10th and green salad or fruit salad. When I made it the other night it didn't turn out as well as it has before. I do not own a food processor and the blender just didn't work as well for blending the pesto. I used to use a Magic Bullet, you know from the infomercials. I received it from Jeffrey's cousins who had gotten it as a wedding gift and didn't have a use for it. It actually worked and I loved it, but after years of use it finally broke... So I tried to use the blender and it failed to make as creamy of a sauce.

1/2 pound pasta (usually I use wagon wheel pasta, but they didn't have it so I used the spiral pasta)
1 14 oz Can Artichoke hearts drained (you don't need the whole can, but this is the smallest can I can find)
1/2 cup Parsley (cut off the stems)
1/4 cup walnuts toasted
zest and juice of one lemon
1 garlic clove
1/2 cup olive oil
2/3 cup freshly grated parmesan

Boil Pasta until al dente. Reserve 1/4 cup of pasta water before draining.

Toast walnuts in oven on 375 for about 10 minutes.

In your food processor combine artichokes (use only about 2/3 of the can), parsley, walnuts, lemon zest and juice, garlic clove, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper.

Start your processor and blend for a few seconds then stop to scrap the edges with a spatula. Do this until ingredients are fine.
Turn the processor on low and slowly add the olive oil. Blend until creamy.

Mix in a bowl the pasta, pesto, and parmesan cheese. If you would like a creamier sauce, add the pasta water.

Grilled Chicken with Tangy Glaze
With Protein Boy as my husband, I get very bored with grilled chicken. The other day I was researching different grilled chicken recipes on the Food Network website and found this easy glaze to use on the chicken. It definitely made the chicken taste better! Also, I cut the recipe in half and it was still WAY too much sauce, therefore the recipe below will be enough for about 6 chicken breasts.

Chicken Tenders (I have found that these work better on my grill pan than breasts, because it takes a lot longer for breast to cook so the outside is burned and the house is smelly by the time they are done in the middle)
1/4 cup Vinegar
1/4 cup Lemon Juice
1/4 cup Oil
1/2 Tb salt
1 T dry mustard
1/4 tsp black pepper
a dash of Cayenne pepper

In a measuring cup measure out your liquid ingredients.
Add dry ingredients to cup and mix
Put mix in a small sauce pan and boil while stirring for about 2 minutes.
Remove from heat.
Salt and pepper chicken and put on heated grill pan. Use a basting brush to baste the glaze over the chicken. Cook for about 4 minutes and turn.
Baste this other side of the chicken and cook for another 4 minutes or until done.
Remove from heat and let rest for a few minutes before serving.

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