Herbed Veggies with Chicken Over Pasta: Take 2

Several years ago I posted about this recipe: herbed veggies with chicken over pasta. If you missed (or don’t remember that post) you can quickly access it by clicking here. Today’s post is essentially an updated re-post of the original from five years ago. The reason why is because 1) I made it again last night and was reminded how ridiculously delicious, quick and simple this dish is and 2) I changed up the recipe just a touch from the first go-round.

Last evening I was wore out. My brain was tired. All I wanted was a glass of wine and to sit quietly out on the deck. I also knew that I needed to get something on the table for dinner. I admit that I sort of dragged myself into the kitchen with herbed veggies and chicken over pasta on the menu, cursing myself for selecting such a labor intensive recipe in my meal planning.

It didn’t take long before I was reminded that this dish is NOT labor intensive AND it comes together quickly. Plus, if I had done my food prep last weekend in anticipation of this week, it would have been on the plate in a flash. Unfortunately, I ran out of time last weekend so no prep for this meal was done before-hand but it was still start to finish in under 30 min (counting the time spent running out to the garden to pick the veggies). Just imagine if I’d had the chicken and all the veggies prepped before even getting started!! I’m guessing I would have been pan to plate in 15 minutes or less!

Herbed Veggies With Chicken Over Pasta: Ingredients:

-Whole wheat pasta (I used fettuccine)
-Olive oil
-1/2 cup Onion, largely chopped
-1-1.5 lb Chicken Breast, cubed
-1/2 large Green Bell Pepper, largely chopped
-1 Garlic Cloves, minced
-1 large yellow squash, cut into bite sized pieces
-4 Tomatoes, peeled, seeded & largely chopped
-2 tsp Dried Basil
-pinch Dried Parsley
-1/2 tsp Dried Oregano
-Salt & Pepper (to taste)
-Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Herbed Veggies With Chicken Over Pasta: Instructions

1. Start by boiling water and cooking the pasta.
Note: While this is happening, if you haven’t already, prep your veggies.
2. Warm some olive oil in a pan, add onion. Cook 2-3 minutes.
3. Add chicken, green bell pepper, garlic and salt/pepper. Cook another 2 minutes.
4. Add squash, tomatoes, basil, oregano, and parsley. Cook 5-6 minutes.
Note: Taste and adjust seasoning by adding salt and pepper
5. Plate pasta
6. Top with herbed veggie and chicken mixture.
7. Shred cheese on top

It’s the perfect time of year when garden fresh veggies are in abundance. In an effort to make the most of everything we have coming on, I’ve been planning lots of recipes just like this.

This recipe is so versatile. I’d recommend playing with it to suite your tastes, needs and/or the ingredients you might have on hand. The chicken could be omitted for a vegetarian dish. You could forego the pasta for a carb-free dinner. Red bell instead of green? I don’t see why not!

If you don’t have a garden of your own, consider hitting up a farmer’s market and loading up on the most flavorful and delicious produce around. It simply doesn’t compare to produce bought at the grocery store – most likely because the produce at the store is picked before it’s ripe to account for shipping times. Fruits and veggies that ripen on the vine burst with flavor and make dishes like herbed veggies with chicken incredible!

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Homemade Pickles: A Garden Fresh Recipe

This recipe for homemade pickles has been a long time coming. It was over a month ago that I shared with you the recipe for the best pickle brine. That recipe only instructed on how to make the brine. I’m certain you’ve been anxiously waiting for the rest of the story. Right?

It was my intention to get this post up much sooner. Time got away from me. I’m sure you’re feeling the same way now that it is dangerously close to mid-September!

As I mentioned before, this recipe is my grandmother’s. It’s tried and true. Many people in my family don’t even eat pickles, except for grandma’s recipe. My grandmother stopped gardening, and canning, years ago. Consequently, pickles have been in high demand but short supply. In fact, I took a few jars back home to Nebraska with me a month or so ago and there was talk of wrestling matches to determine who got to take them home.

I feel inclined to give a disclaimer about this recipe also. So, here goes. Every pickle recipe I’ve read over the course of the last ten years states very specifically that pickles need to be processed in a hot bath. My experience with making them this way is that the pickles aren’t as crisp. In fact, they’re quite mushy. They also lack everything that is perfect about my grandmother’s pickles.

The reasoning for processing in a hot bath is that the acidity level alone may not be enough to remedy bacterial issues that could cause food spoilage and possible illness. My grandmother NEVER processed her pickles in a hot bath. In fact, she thought I had lost my mind when I told her I had done so. In all the decades of canning thousands of jars of homemade pickles, sans hot bath, no one has ever gotten sick.

So, this homemade pickles recipe does not call for hot bath processing. It also doesn’t call for immediate refrigeration or storage long-term in a refrigerator. Because my grandmother never killed anyone with her pickles, I roll the dice with this one and follow her recipe. If this makes you nervous and you want to process in the hot bath, no judgment from me. Follow the recipe below and add the hot bath processing (or storing them in the refrigerator) step at the end.

Canning Supplies:

-large stock pot (to sterilize the jars)
-medium stock pot (to bring to boil – or make – Homemade Pickles Brine)
-glass canning jars (quart size – wide mouth works best)
-canning lids and rings
-measuring spoons
-hot jar grabber

Homemade Pickles Ingredients:

-Homemade Pickles Brine (recipe here)
-Fresh Dill
-Fresh Garlic Cloves
-Whole Pepper Corns

Homemade Pickles Instructions:

-Bring water to boil in the large stock pot and add freshly washed jars to sterilize
-Bring Homemade Pickles Brine to a boil in medium stock pot
-Prepare cucumbers: This includes giving them a very good scrub and any slicing you might prefer
Note: my grandmother never used anything other than whole cucumbers. This is where I’ve deviated from the recipe because in addition to whole, I’ve also made slices and wedges. The choice is yours!
-Wash dill and peel garlic cloves
-Remove hot jars from boiling water
-Drop 1 whole head of dill, 1 garlic clove and 3 peppercorns in the bottom of the jar
-Tightly pack cucumbers in the jar
-Fill jar, leaving 1″ headspace, with boiling pickle brine
-Add 1/2 tsp of alum
-Wipe rims and screw a warmed up lid down tightly on the jar
-If there is leftover homemade pickles brine, allow to cool and then return to a clean glass jar and put back in the fridge until the next round of pickle making

This is where the recipe ends, per grandma’s instructions. As the jars cool, the lids will seal. We store ours in a cool, dry location and enjoy all through the fall, winter, spring and part of the following summer (if they last that long!).

This is also the point in the recipe where you could process in a hot bath (if you so choose). OR you could chose to move the cooled jars to the refrigerator for storage until they are eaten.

It seems like a laborious process with lots of equipment and instructions. Truth is, this is the quickest of all my canning recipes. It’s particularly quick when the brine is made ahead of time. Don’t let the length of the equipment, ingredients or instructions lists deter you. These homemade pickles are wonderful and well worth your time to give a try!


Giveaway Winner & Pinterest Board Covers

Today I have two things on my blogging agenda. First, announcing the winner of the recipe card giveaway. Second, to share with you the Pinterest board covers project I’ve been hard at work on.

Recipe Card Giveaway Winner!!

Thank you to everyone who signed up to follow the blog. It’s a thrill to have you along for this ride. And an extra special thank you to those of you who took the extra two steps required to get your name in the drawing for the recipe card giveaway!

The winner is: cbowers161

Woo Hoo! Congrats!!  I will PM you on Facebook to get your mailing address and iron out the details of getting these shipped out to you!

Pinterest Board Covers

Did you have any idea that there are people out there who make money pinning on Pinterest? Well, there are. And apparently some of them make quite a lot doing so. I don’t quite understand all the science behind it, but some folks are making it work. Big time!

This writing journey that I am on has brought with it lots of opportunity to learn. It’s through this learning that I stumbled upon the “make money pinning” realization. I’m not setting out to make money pinning, though I think it’s such a creative and awesome idea. BUT one thing I took notice of while doing some research is how beautifully organized some of these Pinterest accounts are. The trick seems to be having uniform Pinterest board covers.

Always a sucker for organization and combining another skill I’m working to learn (simple graphic design) I set out to bring some organization to parts of my Pinterest account as well.

The process was super time consuming; probably because I’m such an amateur. Starting first with sourcing photos. Then working to format them in a way that brought some uniformity. This is what I ended up with:

So…what do you think??

If you don’t already, I’d like to extend an invitation for you to follow me on Pinterest (quick access by clicking here). I pin the majority of my blog articles (because it’s so easy to organize and reference from there) as well as other stuff that piques my interest. Also, if you are one of these rare gems that makes a fortune pinning, I think everyone would be interested in knowing who you are and how you got started — rock our worlds by leaving details in the comments below!