Using Up Garden Veggies and Herbs

By Michelle Plummer

Using up Garden Veggies and Herbs (mostly Herbs)! It is not too late, with the past rain and sun there is going to be a final bounty from our gardens before the first frost!

Looking out my kitchen window I have bunches of sage, rosemary and basil just crying for attention and a good ‘hair cut’! The tomatoes are in all shades from green to bright red and the peppers are doing well.

I hate to say I lost the fight on cucumbers and lettuces (I know they are a spring time product, but I was sure I would have time to pick each evening after I came home from the fair… never mind, best made plans you know!

Back to what I can work with and how I can make what is bountiful last over the winter. Pesto comes to mind right off, this vibrant green sauce is wonderful over pasta or just dipping parmesan cheese bread into with a glass of wine. The fresh taste of the pesto reminds you of your garden, the cheese has many benefits and the wine just makes you warm like the summer day picking the herbs. Pesto is easy and there is a recipe below, but I really like making Colt’s Pesto Chicken Casserole, it feeds a crowd which is great when the game is on and it is simple enough no one is in the kitchen all day!

Colts Pesto Chicken Casserole

8 ounces of cooked pasta (any shape)

8 ounces of homemade pesto (more if desired)

1 cup grated Parmesan

½ cup sautéed onions (in butter of course)

½ cup chopped sundried tomatoes

6 chicken breasts- sautéed in the onion butter from above, cut into pieces

Place cooked paste in baking dish, place chicken over pasta. Combine onion, tomatoes, and half of the Parmesan and place over the chicken and pasta Pour pesto over the dish and top with remaining pesto! Bake 40 minutes until warm and bubbly at 350 degrees. Serve hot with buttered bread and Enjoy! Serves 6-8 This is a delicious way to get your dairy, antioxidants and all those other great ‘healthy’ foods in one dish and no one will know if you don’t tell them! You will just know that you had one more great way of showing off your green thumb from the bounty of your garden that now is just a few twigs and weeds! Start planning for spring; it will be here very soon.

OH by the way here is my best Pesto recipe: 1 ½ cups tightly packed basil along with ½ cup assorted (what is left) herbs from your garden, 6 cloves garlic, ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup pinenuts, salt and pepper, a dash of cayenne pepper all packed into a food processor. With the blade running add about ¾ cup olive oil until you have a thick gravy consistency. Place into a freezer container and add olive oil over the top to keep the great green color. Freeze for 1 year, but I am sure you will use before then. Thaw and use with one of the suggestions above.

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