Herbs

How to Freeze Pesto

A common breakfast in the Anderson household is a fried egg on Ezekiel toast. My husband made this for himself in his bachelor days but now that I make breakfast for him, I’ve made it a little more “gourmet” by adding a spread of basil pesto on the toast. This change was accepted without comment and I never knew that the pesto made any difference until one morning when the basil pesto was gone and I served the fried egg on toast (without pesto). My breakfast patron lifted the steaming egg to peer suspiciously at the buttered toast underneath. “What happened to the basil pesto?” he asked in a jilted tone. I laughed in bewilderment. “How could someone feel so entitled to his special treatment after only a few months of marriage when a fried egg on plain toast served him just fine BEFORE?!”

Well, I learned a lesson. If you want a happy husband, make sure you don’t skip the pesto on his fried egg on toast.

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Did you know that you could freeze pesto to enjoy the flavor of fresh herbs all winter long?

One common method is to freeze the pesto in ice cube trays, but that can take too long to thaw if you want to use it in like… 5 minutes.

I’ve got a way to freeze pesto that’s better than freezing it in ice cube trays.

How to Freeze Pesto

1- Line a baking sheet with waxed paper or parchment paper. Spread the pesto in a thin layer. Freeze.

2- Remove from freezer and break pesto into pieces.

3- Place in a zip lock bag and freeze!

To use, simply remove a chunk from the freezer for a few minutes to thaw.

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Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing

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One of my self-imposed resolves as a housewife is to avoid buying anything from the store that I can make homemade. Hence my recent attempt at replicating Costco fudgsicles that looked AND tasted like mud (Thankfully my husband is still eating them and as soon as they’re gone I can try another batch!)

This homemade ranch dip is something I frequently pack in Joshua’s lunch to go with whatever veggies I have on hand. He must like it because at one point he asked for a 30% increase in the amount of dip when I pack it (my dip to veggie ratio wasn’t quite high enough).

During the winter, I make it with dried herbs, but this week I was able to make it with the fresh herbs that are now available!

I personally like to use yogurt and mayonnaise in a 1:1 ratio for the base, but I think any combination of yogurt, mayonnaise, or sour cream would work.

This recipe is really quite versatile!

Homemade Ranch Dip or Dressing
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup mayonnaise (we like avocado oil mayonnaise)
1/2 tsp dried dill or approximately 1 T. minced fresh dill
1/2 tsp dried parsley or approximately 1 T. minced fresh parsley
1/4 tsp garlic powder (I have not tried it with fresh garlic yet)
1/4 tsp onion powder or 1 T. minced green onions
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper

Mix everything and refrigerate. Best to let the flavors meld for a couple hours before serving.

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Not-Greek Tomato Cucumber Quinoa Salad

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I’m not Greek. I don’t like olives. And I’ve never even seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

So- I make no claims that this is an authentic Greek salad. All I’m saying is, “It’s GOOD.” And you should make it.

Not-Greek Tomato Cucumber Quinoa Salad

Dressing:
1/4 cup olive or avocado oil
1 T red wine vinegar (balsamic or apple cider vinegar would probably work too)
1 T lemon juice
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 tsp garlic powder
1/8 tsp black pepper
2 T. minced oregano

1/2 cup quinoa (measured dry), cooked and cooled
1/2 of a cucumber, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 green onion, minced (white and green part)
1/4 cup feta cheese

In a small container, mix the dressing vigorously (I shook mine in a jar).

In a large bowl, mix the veggies, quinoa, and feta. Drizzle the dressing over top and mix evenly to coat. Serve and enjoy!

I prefered mine served at room temp rather than chilling it, but it can certainly be made ahead of time and kept in the frig.

Makes 3-4 servings.

Cool Lemon Dill Cucumber and Quinoa Salad

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Cool Lemon Dill Cucumber and Quinoa Salad

1/2 cup quinoa

Cook the quinoa and cool for several hours before making the salad.  If you need instructions, go here.

Dressing:
2 T. plain yogurt
1/2 T. lemon juice
1/2 T. honey
1/4 tsp salt

Mix the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

Salad:
1 cucumber, cut however you like
1/4 cup minced green onions (during the spring) or purple onions (summer/fall)
2 T. minced dill

Cut up your vegetables and mix with the quinoa.  Incorporate the dressing.
Enjoy!
Serves 2-3.

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I used our spiralizer to cut the cucumbers into spiral ribbons, but you could chop them with a knife, too.

I used our spiralizer to cut the cucumbers into spiral ribbons, but you could chop them with a knife, too.

Herbed Chicken Salad

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Inspired by the idea of making pita pockets with my new sourdough starter, I decided to make chicken salad to go along with it. After three days of anticipating a chicken salad sandwich, I was really craving it, and this recipe did not disappoint when I made it Tuesday evening after a full day of packing orders and making deliveries! It only made 2 servings though, so in the future I will double it to have enough for leftovers.

Herbed Chicken Salad
Serves 2

1/3 cup mayonnaise (I use avocado oil mayonnaise)
1/3 cup plain yogurt (you could probably substitute sour cream if you prefer)
1/2 T lemon juice
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp raw local honey
1/2 tsp salt
1 T. minced fresh dill or 1/2 tsp dried dill
1 minced green onion (white and green part)
2 1/2 cups chicken, diced

Mix everything and serve! I especially liked mine served with cucumbers inside the pita pocket- a crisp, juicy addition to a flavorful filling inside a homemade sourdough pita pocket.

Leave a comment if you make it!

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Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Basil Dressing

Do you eat your potatoes with the skins on?  Did you know that 50% of the antioxidant activity of the entire potato is in the skins?  Also, the high fiber content of the skins slows the digestion of starch and sugar, giving the potato a lower glycemic value*.  Roasting potatoes is a great way to use them with the skin on

This is a great recipe to make with the fun colored potatoes we have.

This is a great recipe to make with the fun colored potatoes we have.

Roasted Potatoes with Mustard and Basil Dressing

Potatoes- enough to feed your family
1 T. oil
Salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 425.  
Cut the potatoes into bite sized pieces (no need to peel).  Toss with the oil and season with salt and pepper.  
Spread in a single layer on a baking pan (I really like using our cast iron skillet for this).  
Bake for about 45 minutes until they are crispy brown on the outside and tender on the inside, flipping halfway through cooking.

While they are roasting, make the dressing by mixing together the following ingredients (halve this dressing recipe if you are only feeding 1 or 2 people):
2 T olive oil or melted butter
2 tsp mustard
2 tsp honey
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
2-3 T minced basil
Taste and adjust the dressing if needed.
When the potatoes come out of the oven, toss them with the dressing and serve!

*Reference: Eating on the Wild Side by Jo Robinson

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"Tastes Like Summer" Salad

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I came up with this recipe because I wanted a salad that would showcase the best of summer flavors. 

I first taste-tested it on a group of moms and kids at one of our farm play dates.  After the salad had made its rounds and gotten thumbs-ups from the moms, a group of toddlers and preschoolers congregated around the bowl and gobbled it down!  They may have been more fascinated with the novelty of stabbing the food with toothpicks than being interested in the food itself, but regardless; they polished off the rest of the bowl!!!

The salad next made its appearance at our chiropractor's office (Inspired Chiropractic) when I handed out samples there.  One woman's eyes lit up when she tried it and she said, "Mmmm... it tastes like summer."  Thus the name of the recipe came about.

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Most recently, I passed out samples of this salad at a business meeting.  One man asked what the yellow vegetables were and when I answered "yellow tomatoes" he said, "Huh.  I don't normally like tomatoes, but I like THOSE!"

"Tastes Like Summer" Salad

Dressing:
2 T. balsamic vinegar
2 T. olive oil
1/2 T. raw local honey
2 roasted garlic cloves, mashed  (See how to roast garlic here.)
1/4 tsp salt

Vegetables needed:
Cherry tomatoes, halved
Cucumbers, peeled and cut into 1/2" pieces
Basil, minced

Cut up an adequate amount of vegetables to feed your family and drizzle with dressing right before serving.  The salad will become very juicy if allowed to sit, so only make what you will eat right away.

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Thai Chicken Pizza

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This pizza is my newest obsession.  Everyone I've made it for gave their hearty approval that this was worthy of a blog recipe.

For our pizzas, I used whole wheat tortillas for the crust, but feel free to use any crust you like.  I like how the tortillas allow the crust to take a back seat and let the other flavors and toppings take the stage.  This recipe will make enough sauce and toppings for 3 tortilla-sized pizzas.    

Tortilla + Thai pizza sauce

Tortilla + Thai pizza sauce

Tortilla + Thai pizza sauce + toppings

Tortilla + Thai pizza sauce + toppings

Finished!

Finished!

Begin by cooking the eggplant:

  • 1 T. coconut oil
  • 1 eggplant, cut into 1/4" cubes (peeled or unpeeled, whichever you prefer)
  • 1/8 tsp salt

Heat oil in a large skillet and add eggplant.  Sprinkle with salt and cover with a lid.  Saute until tender, flipping occasionally to cook evenly.  When done, the eggplant should be tender all the way through and no longer spongy.  It may be dark brown on the edges, but that is just fine.

Thai Pizza Sauce

  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes OR 1 T. fresh red jalapeno, minced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 T fresh grated ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 T smooth peanut butter
  • 2 T sesame oil
  • 2 T coconut aminos

Combine all the vinegar, honey, water, pepper, garlic, ginger, and salt in a small pot and simmer for about 10-20 minutes until the sauce has reduced to about 1/2 cup.
Remove from heat and add the peanut butter, oil, and coconut aminos.

Assemble the pizzas:

  • 3 tortillas or your favorite pizza crust
  • Thai Pizza Sauce
  • Chicken, pre-cooked and cut up into small pieces
  • Tomatoes
  • Green peppers
  • Roasted eggplant
  • Mozzarella cheese
  • Thai basil, minced

Divide the pizza sauce between the three tortillas and spread evenly.
Top with chicken, tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, and cheese.
Bake at 425 for about 15 minutes until done to your liking.
Garnish with Thai basil before serving.
Devour!
 

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Party in My Mouth Pasta Sauce

I posted this recipe on the blog last year and it got rave reviews.  David told me that when his wife made it, "It tasted like a party in my mouth".  I'll never forget that!

If you've never tried eggplant before, this would be a great recipe to try for the first time.  Seasoned eggplant lovers are going to love this as well.

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All the vegetables ready for the oven

All the vegetables ready for the oven

Party in My Mouth Pasta Sauce

  • 1.5 lb tomatoes (3-4 fist-sized tomatoes)
  • 1 eggplant (1/2 lb-1 lb depending on size of eggplant)
  • 1 onion
  • 1 bell pepper or 2 smaller peppers, any kind you like
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 T. oil
  • a few leaves of basil, minced*
  • a few leaves of parsley, minced*
  • a few leaves of oregano, minced*
  • a sprig of thyme with the leaves removed*
  • 1/4+1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4-1/2 cup beef or chicken broth

Preheat oven to 425.  
Cut the tomatoes, peppers, and onions into 1" pieces.  Peel and cut the eggplant into 1/2" cubes. 
Lay all the vegetables- including the whole garlic cloves- in a single layer on a baking sheet (you many need two pans).  Drizzle with oil and mix to evenly coat the vegetables.  
Roast for 30 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir.  Roast for 15 more minutes or until the vegetables are tender and brown around the edges.
Place all the vegetables in a food processor or blender with the herbs, salt, pepper, and 1/4 cup broth and pulse briefly until it become a thick chunky sauce.  You can continue to process it depending on how thick or chunky you would like it.  Add an additional 1/4 cup broth if you would like to thin it out more.

Serve over pasta, spiralized summer squash, or quinoa, or use as a cracker dip!

Leave a comment if you make this!

These herbs can be purchased together in the Italian Herb Combo Pack here.

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Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

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I've made many cilantro dressings with different ratios of yogurt, lime, honey, and cilantro, but this time I think I NAILED IT.  Try it and let me know if you agree.

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Cilantro Lime Salad Dressing

  • 1/2 cup plain yogurt
  • 1 T. lime juice
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 T. honey
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves

Place all ingredients except cilantro in a blender and blend until well mixed.
Add the cilantro and blend until the cilantro is as finely chopped as you would like it.
Serve!

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