fresh herbs,veggies and Chardonnay

Fresh sliced garlic, fresh tomatoes, fresh basil and Chardonnay combined together with pasta creates an aroma and taste at home as if you were sitting in an upscale Italian restaurant.

A delicious recipe with the ingredients above shared with me follows. Bon Appetite!

Grilled Chicken Penne al Fresco

4 garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups grape or cherry tomatoes
3 cups uncooked mezze penne pasta
3 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup dry white wine such as Chardonnay
1/2 tsp each salt and coarsely ground black pepper
1 1/4 cups lightly packed fresh basil leaves, divided
1 oz Parmesan cheese, grated (about 1/4 cup packed)
2 cups diced grilled chicken breasts
Additional grated fresh Parmesan cheese and coarsely ground black pepper (optional)

Spray a covered baker with olive oil. Slice garlic into baker. Add tomatoes. Cover; microwave on HIGH 4-5 minutes or until tomatoes begin to burst, stirring after 2 minutes. Cut up tomatoes. Add the pasta, broth, wine, salt and black pepper.

Return the baker to the microwave covered and microwave on HIGH 16-18 minutes or until pasta is tender, stirring after 10 minutes. Meanwhile, coarsely cut basil with a knife.
Grate cheese.r.

Carefully remove the baker from the microwave and remove lid, lifting the lid away from you. Add the basil, parmesan cheese and grilled chicken cubes to the baker; mix thoroughly. Add additional Parmesan cheese and black pepper, if desired.

Yields: 8 servings


It’s Strawberry Season! In Eastern North Carolina, along many of the roads, you see vegetable and fruit stands with signs reading, “Strawberries Sold Here”. Or along some rural roads you may see signs such as “You Pick, We Pick”. Regardless, the strawberries are now in season and should be found fresh in Eastern North Carolina through May.

Strawberries are delicious! I normally use a core and more to cap the berries and then slice them using an egg slicer plus.

A recipe shared with me by Tony Blackmon, an engineer with NBC 17, sounds delicious! I haven’t tried it but it looked great in the broadcast. His recipe is below as well as another recipe using fresh strawberries, a favorite of mine–an apple berry salsa. I enjoy serving the apple berry salsa over a slice of frozen Sara Lee’s pound cake. Although tasty served over cake, it’s a great fruit medley to eat as a fruit dish so I normally double the recipe. Enjoy them both!
Bon appetite!

Tony’s Strawberry Pie
Mix together: 1 cup of water, 1 cup of sugar, 3 Tbsp of Cornstarch, and 2 Tbsp of White Corn Syrup.

Bring to a boil and stir the mixture until it becomes clear and thick–sorta looks milky.

(While waiting for the mixture to boil, wash, cap and slice fresh strawberries.

Once the mixture becomes thick, remove from heat and stir in 1 small box of Strawberry Jello= the strawberry jello mixture.

Fill the very bottom of the graham cracker pie crust with a small layer of the strawberry jello mixture.

Then fill the graham cracker crust with the sliced strawberries. Pour the remaining strawberry jello mixture over the strawberries until it is even with the top of the pan.

Refrigerate overnight and add whip cream just before serving.

Apple Berry Salsa
2 medium apples, 1 pints of strawberries, 2 kiwi (peeled and diced), 1 small orange, 2 tablespoons packed brown sugar, and 2 tablespoons apple jelly
(If doubling the recipe, normally one orange is enough)

1. Using the apple corer, core the apple and divide into slices.
2. Peel the apple wedges using the forged cutlery.
3. Coarsely chop the apple slices using the cutting board and the food chopper.
4. Slice strawberries using the egg slicer plus and dice Kiwi using forged cutlery.
Place the fruit in Small Batter Bowl.
5. Zest orange using a microplane. Measure 1 teaspoons of zest.
6. Juice orange using the citrus press. You need to measure out 2 tablespoons of juice.
Add the orange zest, orange juice, brown sugar, and jelly to the fruit mixture.
Mix gently.
Refrigerate until ready to serve. Can be served as is or over a sliced of frozen Sara Lee Pound Cake with a dollop of cool whip on the side.