Monday, August 20, 2012

Italian Feast

Years ago, when Mr. McGhee and I got married, we went to Florence, Italy for our honeymoon.  That means that Mr. McGhee and I are very fancy people that know things like there are a lot of churches in Italy, men in Italy wear colored jeans, and in Italy, the house wine is cheaper than water.

We also learned that we really really really love bruschetta.  So yesterday, when my oldest mini brought me this, my mind drifted back to the days of my honeymoon and I started fantasizing.  About bruschetta, of course.

Bruschetta is perhaps one of the easiest dishes to make.  The key to making delish bruschetta is to make it ahead of time, so all the flavors can settle and blend together.  I made mine yesterday morning and resisted eating it all day.  I feel like I deserve a reward for that accomplishment.

  • tomatoes (I used all the tomatoes shown above, except about 10 of the grape tomatoes.  I popped those babies in my mouth as I was whipping this up.)
  • garlic (I only use 3 cloves.  Now, I have been known at times to double, or even triple, the amount of garlic in recipes.  But, in the case, resist that urge.  The tomatoes and basil are the star of this show.)
  • olive oil (several tablespoons)
  • basil (several sprigs of fresh, you can't add too much)
  • salt (to taste)
  • balsamic vinegar
  • parmesan cheese
  • french/italian bread, sliced
1.  In a food processor, add tomatoes, basil, garlic, olive oil and salt.  
2.  Pulse several times until mixture has a thick salsa-like texture.
3.  Place sliced cheese on bread slices and broil in oven until browned.
4.  Drizzle bread with balsamic vinegar and top with heaping amounts of bruschetta.

Pulse several times until you have this.  Let this sit in your fridge for several hours. 

 Top your bread slices with cheese.  You can use Parmesan.  I used a delish homemade cheese I got from the sweet cheese-maker at the farmers market.  

Top with bruschetta and serve.

I served my brushcetta with chicken kabobs with creamy pesto sauce.  This recipe was passed on to me by a friend of my sisters.  My sister always tells me this friend of hers is crazy like me, she loves exercise, gardening, and cooking.  Crazy?  I say she sounds wonderful!

Chicken kabobs with creamy pesto sauce

  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 4 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, divided
  • 2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil 
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • (1-inch) pieces yellow bell pepper 
  • cherry tomatoes
  • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch pieces 
  • small red onion, cut into 8 wedges
  • Cooking spray
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream
  • 1 tablespoon pesto

  1. 1. Preheat broiler.
  2. 2. Combine rind, 1 tablespoon juice, garlic, oil, salt, and pepper. Toss with bell pepper, tomatoes, chicken, and onion. 
  3. 3.  Thread vegetables and chicken onto 4 (12-inch) skewers. Place skewers on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil 12 minutes or until chicken is done, turning occasionally.
  4. 4. Combine 1 teaspoon juice, yogurt, sour cream, and pesto. Serve sauce with kebabs.

Here's my garden veggies and chicken, tossed with marinade.

We grilled ours on the BBQ, rather than broil them in the oven.

Totally irresistible.  Charred garden veggies.

I increased the amount of pesto in my creamy pesto sauce.  It was delish.  I caught one of my minis licking the bowl.

Delish dinner.  Everyone ate it.  My favorite was the grilled tomatoes dipped in the creamy pesto sauce.  My minis loved the brushcetta and the peppers dipped in pesto sauce.  Mr. McGhee at it all in silence.  That means he likes it.

The best part about this dinner is that it was super easy and fast to make.  Clean-up was simple too.  I pretended like I had laundry to do and snuck up stairs to read my book while Mr. McGhee took care of cleanu-p.