The History of Pesto Sauce

Pesto Sauce

Pesto is a sauce originating in Genoa in the Liguria region of northern Italy, and from the time the Italians invented pesto it has always been prepared with crushed garlic, basil, and European pine nuts blended with olive oil, Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, and including Fiore Sardo, a cheese made from sheep’s milk.

It is possible the mineral-rich seaside soil and temperate climate of Liguria is why pesto sauce has  become a beloved sauce in northeren Italy, as they have the perfect conditions for growing basil.

The Meaning of Pesto

Different Materials to make Mortars and Pestles

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The Italian word for pesto: pestare, means to pound, or to crush. Pesto was originally prepared with a marble mortar and wooden pestle.

The ingredients were pounded or crushed with a circular motion of the pestle in the mortar.

The book “Pesto Genovese: an Ageless Benchmark of Great Italian Cuisine,” writes that the ancient Romans ate a paste called moretum, prepared by crushing cheese, garlic and herbs together.

Because the term pesto is a generic word for anything that is made by pounding or crushing, that leaves the original pesto sauce recipe open to flexible and differing ways to prepare the sauce.

Flexible Ways to Prepare Pesto Sauce

In accent Provence, France the pesto was prepared without using pine nuts, as no pine trees grow there to provide the nuts. Sometimes almonds are used instead of pine nuts, and mint leaves are mixed in with the basil leaves. Some have even used spinach or cilantro in place of basil.

grated Asiago cheese

Grated Asiago Cheese

The interchangeable use of the nuts and greens just depends on your taste. In our kitchen at Splendid Recipes and More, we have used pecans in place of pine nuts, and almost always use Asiago cheese in place of the traditional Parmesan cheese.

Here’s the recipe for the traditional pesto sauce, though as we said, at Splendid Recipes and More, we use Asiago cheese. Here is what you will need.

Pesto Sauce - over head shot2 cups packed fresh basil leaves, no stems

¼ cup pine nuts

2 large garlic cloves

½ cup grated Romano/Parmesan or Asiago cheese

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Place all the ingredients in a food processor, except oil, and pulse. Start to add oil slowly, pulsing until ingredients form a smooth paste.

Note: If you do not use right away, or there are left overs, store in a jar with a layer of olive oil on top to prevent discoloration, and top jar with a tight lid and store in the refrigerator. Will store for 3 to 5 days.

Pesto is no doubt one of the worlds most loved sauces, next to the mayonnaise and the Mexican traditional salsa.

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High Protein Egg-Spinach Combo

 

High Protein Egg -Spinach Combo(2)Maybe your wondering why this would be a high protein breakfast combo? All you see is an egg, which everyone knows has protein. Of course the amount of protein depends on the size of the egg. A large egg has 6.29 grams of protein, a medium egg has 5.54 grams, and a small egg has 4.65 grams of protein. The protein is shared between the egg white and the yolk.

Single serve coffeeWhile we have the coffee going, let me explain more why this is a high protein breakfast. One cup of raw spinach has only 1 gram of protein, but when it’s cooked it has 7.6 grams. The protein in spinach though is not a complete protein, meaning it does not supply all 9 essential amino acids like as a complete source of protein would. Amino acids are the building blocks of proteins, and there are more than 20 different amino acids.

So now that’s were the egg comes in. An egg with its protein provides all of the amino acids you need in your diet. Our bodies need  amino acids, as they are building blocks, making all the cells and tissues found inside of us.

But please don’t through your egg yolk out and only be content with an egg white omelet. The yolk contains 90% of the calcium, iron, phosphorus, zinc, and vitamins B-6 and B-12.

Our featured breakfast –High Protein Egg-Spinach Combo- has 9 grams of protein, which will carry you right up to lunch, with no snaking on junk food before. The spinach provides fiber and with its protein as well as the eggs, your digestion time is slowed and your blood glucose doesn’t spike, giving you energy for a longer period of time.

Now for our featured breakfast and here is what you will need.

1 large egg

3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves, minced

8 baby spinach leaves

4 cherry tomatoes, sliced in half

1/4 cup jack cheese, shredded

preparing ingredients for High Protein egg-Spinach Combo

 

Heat a small frying pan with the olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute, 1 to 2 minutes. Next add the tomatoes and saute 1 minute more. Now add the spinach leaves, then crack open the egg over the other ingredients in the pan. Next top with the jack cheese, which adds a few grams more of protein.

cooking egg one minute with lid on

Now place a lid over the frying pan and cook for 1 minute.

High Protein Egg -Spinach Combo

Plate and enjoy with your fresh cup of brewed coffee (or your favorite morning beverage).

 

Those who skip breakfast eat more

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Please don’t skip breakfast. Read our article –How Important is Breakfast for You– (FREE e-book provided).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Orange Chicken Salad

Orange Chicken Salad

Salad usually comes before the main course. But you rather waste no time and prefer to eat the leafy greens at the same time with the main course dish. Here at Splendid Recipes and More, we feel the same way, and that’s way we have Salads as a Main Course. It is categorized rightly so, because it has leafy greens and includes a meat together on the same plate. Check out more of our Salads as a Main Course by linking here.

Making a meal in this way saves time, because you serve the salad and meat at the same time. Also Salads as a Main Course packs some protein, so you’ll leave the table feeling full.

Chicken breast in our opinion is one of the best top protein foods! 4 ounces (100 grams) of cooked chicken breast has about 23.5 grams of protein. It also contains minerals like magnesium, and potassium. Including vitamins-A, K, B-3, and B-6. It is simple to use cooked chicken breast cold for salads, and for hot meals. It is a meat that is easily digested.

Our featured recipe is Orange Chicken Salad, and here is what you will need.

1 pound large chicken breasts (about 3) skinless, boneless

1 cups orange marmalade jam

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tablespoons soy sauce

3/4 tsp. crushed red pepper, optional

16 ounces of mix greens: Spinach, Arugula, and Chard

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cut and sliced chcickne breast meat for Orange Chicken Salad

Cut chicken into 2 to 3 inch pieces, and slice each piece in half  vertically.

prepaing sauce for Orange Chicken Salad

Using a medium sauce pan over medium-high heat, add jam, vinegar, soy sauce, and crushed red pepper. Mix all ingredients together and bring to a small simmering boil.

preparing sauce and chicken breast to cook for Orange Chicken Salad

Next add sauce to a large mixing bowl, and toss in chicken pieces. Mix together until chicken is well coated. Then pour into a baking pan. Use a spatula to scrape sides of bowl, getting  every last drop of sauce. Put in heated oven for 30 minutes or until meat is done, turning meat once.

Remove, and allow to cool about 5 or 10 minutes. Spoon the sauce into a large salad bowl (the sauce is your salad dressing). Next add greens, and mix until greens are well coated.

Orange Chicken Salad close-up

Plate the leafy greens and top with cooked orange chicken. Spoon 1 or 2 teaspoons of marmalade in center. Serve and enjoy!!

 

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Almond Coconut Breaded Chicken with Peaches

Almond Coconut Breaded Chicken with Peaches

Those that read Splendid Recipes and More may have noticed our favorite way of using chicken is in salads, and therefore Salad as a Main Course. We bought some Herb Blend salad greens, which are a mix of red and green Romaine, red and green Oak leaf, Lollo Rosa, and Tango. Those are the different lettuce leafs. The herbs included all organic: red and green Chard, Mizum, baby Spinach, Arugula, Frisbee, Radicchio, Parsley, Dill, and Cilantro.

Wow that’s a lot of green and red leafy greens with lots of flavor. Did you know Swiss chard contains fiber and syringic acid, both of which help to regulate blood sugar levels. Its great to the health of your skeletal system, as it contains calcium, magnesium, and vitamin-K.

It has cancer preventative properties because of the fiber, chlorophyll, phytochemicals, and other plant pigments it contains. Studies have found that leafy green vegetables are particularly beneficial against colon cancer.

This leafy green is high in iron, essential for maintaining the health of the circulatory system and the prevention of anemia. The vitamin-K it contains helps with blood clotting and prevents excessive bruising and bleeding.

Research has reported that 30 mcg per day of biotin is great for the health of your hair and one cup of Swiss chard contains about 10.5 mcg. Swiss chard is also high vitamin-C and vitamin-A, both of which assist the hair follicles in the production of sebum.

One cup of Swiss chard contains 9,276 mcg of lutein, an antioxidant that is essential for eye health. It is suggested we consume 6,000 to 10,000 mcg of lutein for excellent eye health and preventing eye degenerating diseases.

The last herb green mentioned is Tango. It is full of vitamin-A, C, and folates. It also has vitamin-k which plays a role in Alzheimer’s disease patients by limiting neuronal damage in the brain. So if your worried about getting this age related disease, just do the tango with the Tango green leaf herb.

This is what you need for the – Almond Coconut Breaded Chicken with Peaches -.

almond and coconut flour

Mix the two flours in a medium to large mixing bowl and set aside. Depending on the number of person’s you are serving, you will need 2 to 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts.

Cut each breast in half, then slice vertically into three slices, and cut each slice diagonally into three pieces.

breading chicken fillets for Almond Coconut Breaded Chicken Salad with Peaches

Now throw some flour out onto a cutting surface, and bread the fillets on both sides liberally.

frying breaded chicken in coconut oil

Place the breaded chicken into a large heated pan with 3 to 4 tablespoons of coconut oil. Cook until done, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Pieces should cook to a golden brown. Plate and set aside.

Herb Salad Mix with avocado oil and lemon

To a salad bowl add 1/4 cup avocado oil, juice of 1/2 of a lemon, 1/4 teaspoon of Himalayan salt, and 1 teaspoon of dried basil. If you want you could add 2 to 3 tablespoons of wild honey. Next add the mixed greens, about 4 to 5 handfuls. Mix greens with avocado oil and seasoning until the greens are well coated. Adding the oil, lemon juice, and other seasonings to the bowl first, and then the greens last will assure an even coating.

Do this with any salad you make. If you add the greens first, then the nuts, dried cranberries, and grated or chucked cheese, and add the dressing last, it will not coat evenly and the nuts, cheese, and cranberries will always seem to not mix in evenly, with some mixed in and others at the bottom of the bowl.

Always add your dressing or vinaigrette, nuts, cheeses, cranberries and the like first, then the leafy greens last, so when mixed together everything is evenly mixed in the salad bowl.

Hiamalya Salt

You note we mentioned to use Himalayan salt, we posted an image so you can see the difference in regular table salt and rock salt in its original form when ground. In the image you can see darker specks, which are trace minerals apart from the salt. These trace minerals are vital to your diet and your health.

 

Almond Coconut Breaded Chicken with Peaches‏

Plate the herb greens, top with some breaded chicken and some peach slices. We used fresh frozen peaches, when thawed they have the same flavor as a fresh peach. Fresh peaches though, when in season are a better choice. Enjoy!!

 

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Creamy Chicken Florentine

Creamy Chicken Florentine

I found this recipe on the side of a tub of garlic Philly cooking cream. But I didn’t use the Philadelphia product, because of the added artificial flavors and chemicals. I make my own garlic cream as well as added the other ingredients the recipe called for.

The recipe calls for pine nuts, and pine nuts provide a good amount of both vitamins E and K. These vitamins have a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. Vitamin-K helps form blood clots to prevent bleeding after injury, and vitamin-E helps with producing red blood cells essential for moving oxygen throughout the body.

These small nuts also have the trace minerals manganese, zinc, iron, and magnesium. Wow, a lot of nutrition for such a small nut.

Here is what you will need for the featured recipe – Creamy Chicken Florentine -.

First prepare the garlic cream sauce.

Garlic Cream Sauce

2 tablespoons butter, no salt

8 garlic cloves, minced

1 (14 ounce) can organic chicken broth, no salt

2 cups whipping cream

Salt and pepper to taste

1 tablespoon arrow-root starch

1/4 cup cold water

In a large saucepan, melt butter, add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add whipping cream and salt and return to a boil, stirring frequently.

Mix water and cornstarch and add to sauce. Reduce heat and simmer until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon.

After the sauce is made, set aside.

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Next you will need:

1 lb. Chicken breast cut into bit size pieces

1 cup red bell pepper, diced

6 oz. package baby spinach

1 cup garlic cream sauce

2 cups Penne pasta

2 tbsp. pine nuts

Cook Penne pasta; according to package instructions.

In a heated skillet with 2 tbs. of olive oil add chicken and red pepper and cook until chicken is no longer pink but oblique in color. Add spinach stir and cook 2-3 minutes or until spinach is wilted.

Drain off all but 1 tablespoon of liquid. Stir in garlic cream sauce. Stir until mixed about 6 minutes. Add the two cups cooked penne pasta and mix in. Next add the pine nuts and mix till well incorporated.

Remove from heat, plate and serve.

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If you wanted you can lightly roast the pine nuts to increase their flavor. Roasting them would be done the same as you would roast other nuts, like almonds or pecans.

Spread the nuts over a cookie sheet and place in the oven on 350 for about 8 to 10 minutes, stir the nuts once. To add more intense garlic flavor to this recipe, mix 1 to 2 teaspoons of olive oil, and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon of garlic powder with the nuts before roasting them.

To learn more about cruciferous vegetables, such as spinach is, link here to the Health News Library and scroll the page to review the articles and add to your knowledge on nutrition.

 

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Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad

 

This is one of my recipes I call a “Salad as a Main Course” because of the use of chicken mixed in with the leafy greens.

This is also a meal that can be done in about 30 minutes.

If you have never had a mango before it can be mind boggling as how to go about removing the flesh from the big seed in the middle.

removing the flesh from the seed of a Mango
Here is a 2 1/2 minute video from “mango.org” to demonstrate how to go about cutting up a Mango.

If you can’t find any good fresh mangoes you can buy them chopped and packaged in your frozen section of the market. Did you know Mangoes can prevent cancer, lowers bad cholesterol, clears the skin of any problems, eye health, even alkalizes the body.

Mangos can be used in a verity of recipes. Here is one such recipe of how we use the mango. Here is what you will need:

ingredients-for-Mango-Chicken-Salad

3 tbsp. avocado oil

4 tbsp. curry powder

4 boneless chicken breasts cut in cubes

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

½ red onion cut into julienne strips

14 fl. oz. coconut milk

2 ripe mangos cut in cubes

1 lb. baby spinach

3 oz. chopped cashews

red bell pepper cut into julienne strips

8 cherry tomatoes cut in half

Here’s a little information of coconuts:  For 1000’s of years the Asians have used the oil, water, meat and milk of a coconut to heal coughs, flu, ear aches, tooth aches, skin infections, constipation and much more. Curry is also great for lower inflammation in the body.

Chicken Curry Preparation

In a skillet, heat oil slightly and stir olive oil with curry powder for 4 minutes. Add chicken cubes and cook during 10 minutes at medium heat. Add garlic and mix well.

mixing-heated-olive-oil-with-curry

Next, add coconut milk mix in. Place lid over skillet and cook for 8 minutes more.

adding-coconut-milk-to-Mango-Chicken

Salad Preparation

 

Mix together the prepared fruit and vegetables: mango cubes, spinach, onion, cashews, red bell pepper and halved cherry tomatoes in a bowl; season with lemon juice and olive oil.

fresh-produce-ingredients-for-Mango-Wow look at those wonderful colors. Did you know the yellow mango is great for joint health, the red pepper is for heart health, and the green spinach is a great help for detoxing the body.

 

When are done mixing the salad ingredients, plate and spoon on some curried chicken and enjoy.

Chicken Curry with Mango and Spinach Salad...close up

 

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Baked Spinach Stuffed Tilapia

Baked Spinach Stuffed Tilapia

Tilapia are mainly freshwater fish found in shallow streams, ponds, rivers and lakes. Tilapia were one of the three main types of fish caught in Biblical times from the Sea of Galilee.

Tilapia have very low levels of mercury,as they are fast-growing, lean and short-lived, with a primarily vegetarian diet, so do not accumulate mercury found in prey. Tilapia are low in saturated fat, calories, carbohydrates and sodium, and are a good protein source. They also contain vitamin B-12 and trace minerals such as phosphorus, niacin, selenium, and potassium.

Black pepper adds more than just flavor, it is also good for digestion. Spinach is a cruciferous vegetable, and 4 servings a week of this class of vegetable helps ward off cancer causing cells.

As a side note, this recipe is great nutritional support for those who suffer with Schizophrenia (Read More Here: Nutritional Hope for Schizophrenic Patients).

Here is what you will need for our featured recipe:

8 oz. spinach leaves, trimmed

4 oz. Feta cheese

1 ½ lbs.Tilapia fillets, cut 6 ways

½ tsp. salt

½ tsp. black pepper

6 tbsp. butter, melted

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Cook spinach in large saucepan on low heat until just wilted. Drain and cool. Squeeze excess liquid from spinach; chop finely. Combine spinach and feta in medium bowl.

Cut lengthwise pocket down 1 side of each cut Tilapia, being careful not to cut through. Pack 1/3 cup spinach mixture into each pocket. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Baked Spinach Stuffed TilapiaBake in heated oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until done. Plate and serve with your favorite side dish, such as we have here with a Bacon Cornbread or Baked Parmesan Potato.

Source of information about Tilapia: Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

 

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