Cilantro and Basil Pesto with Gnocchi

I just wrapped up my garden not too long ago as we have been hit with cold weather in Wisconsin. It’s sad in a way because all of us that live here know what that means. Winter is on its way. We had a really successful harvest this year, which was awesome. In the last few years I found myself heading to the farmers market every Saturday morning, but not this year. We had an abundance of tomatoes, bell peppers, cucumbers, lettuce, broccoli, beans, watermelon, strawberries, and fresh herbs. It was excellent to say the least.  This year I had a huge plant of basil, and as I was looking at breaking it down, I immediately knew what I was going to make; pesto. With that said I also realized I had a bunch of cilantro, which I normally do, and decided to make a combination of cilantro and basil pesto, only to be used with gnocchi, one of my wife’s favorite dumplings.

Cilantro and Basil Gnocchi

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 bunch of cilantro, rinsed and cleaned
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves, cleaned
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup of roasted almonds
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • Homemade or frozen gnocchi, cooked

To a blender, or food processor add the cilantro, basil, olive oil, salt, pepper, almonds, and parmesan cheese. Blend until you have a smooth sauce. If you want a thinner sauce, drizzle in more olive as you are blending the ingredients.

To the warm gnocchi, take a tablespoon or so and begin mixing it into the gnocchi until you have a nice, well incorporated blend.

The end result is everything you love about a basil pesto with a great vibrance of the cilantro. The cilantro really adds a great pop to the pesto. Give this one a shot and let me know what you think.

 

Sweet Potato Fruit Juice

Fall in Wisconsin could probably be one of my favorite seasons. It’s a time where comfort food shines, you can get into warmer clothes on gloomy days, the colors on all of the trees is remarkable, and a variety of fruits and vegetables are finally in harvest. So recently I picked up an assortment of fruits and vegetables as I wanted to come up with some sort of juice with a reminder of that great fall weather. Pomegranates, carrots, apples, and a variety of citrus was in order for my juice plan, with a focus on the pomegranates, and then I looked over and saw this great sweet potato looking at me. That’s when I decided to make an attempt at juicing it, and am I ever glad I did! This juice could have possibly bee on of the best ones I have must thus far with my Dash juicer.

Sweet Potato Fruit Juice Recipe

I was a bit skeptical when running the hard sweet potatoes through my juicer as it can fumble on really hard items at times. It is also one of the reasons I have been looking at some of the great juicers from Williams-Sonoma. I would really love to have the Vitamix Professional Series blender as it is multipurpose, but the Kuvings Whole Slow Juicer also has my attention. Maybe one day when I come into a lot of extra money that dream will come true, but in the meantime, I will continue to chop my fruits and vegetables before putting them into my Dash juicer, oh well.

There are so many benefits of juicing, and I knew that the sweet potato would add an extra punch to the benefits of gulping this delicious juice down. Trust me, you are going to love this, and the pineapple really brings it together.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeds only
  • 1 whole apple, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, washed
  • 1 orange, skin removed
  • 1 grapefruit, skin removed
  • 1/2 lemon, skin removed
  • 1 whole sweet potato, skin removed, chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple, chopped

This juice yields about 3 cups so there is plenty to go around, or just take it all in yourself.

Start by slicing your pomegranate in half. Over a large bowl, seeds facing the bowl, use a large wooden spoon and begin whacking the skin side of the pomegranate. Do this and continue to spin the pomegranate until all seeds are removed. Do this with the other half as well. Reserve some of the seeds for garnishing your juice, which will add some nice texture as well.

I layer fruit, vegetables, fruit into my juicer. That combination assists the vegetables in breaking down a bit better. If you have a higher quality juicer like the ones from Williams-Sonoma, then you can probably do whatever you want.

How to make Sweet Potato Juice

Once you have juiced all of your ingredients, add some ice to your glass, and slowly pour into the glass. Garnish the top with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and you are now in business. Did I mention how awesome the color of this sweet potato juice was?

With every gulp of this juice, I knew I was injecting all of the great nutrients from all of the ingredients, and in the future, whatever the season, I will always start use a sweet potato. Hope you enjoy!

Sweet Potato Fruit Juice
Author: 
Recipe type: Drinks
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 cups
 
Ingredients
  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeds only
  • 1 whole apple, quartered
  • 1 large carrot, washed
  • 1 orange, skin removed
  • 1 grapefruit, skin removed
  • ½ lemon, skin removed
  • 1 whole sweet potato, skin removed, chopped
  • 1 cup of fresh pineapple, chopped
Instructions
  1. This juice yields about 3 cups so there is plenty to go around, or just take it all in yourself.
  2. Start by slicing your pomegranate in half. Over a large bowl, seeds facing the bowl, use a large wooden spoon and begin whacking the skin side of the pomegranate. Do this and continue to spin the pomegranate until all seeds are removed. Do this with the other half as well. Reserve some of the seeds for garnishing your juice, which will add some nice texture as well.
  3. Add everything to the juicer. Once you have juiced all of your ingredients, add some ice to your glass, and slowly pour into the glass. Garnish the top with a sprinkling of pomegranate seeds and you are now in business. Did I mention how awesome the color of this sweet potato juice was?
  4. With every gulp of this juice, I knew I was injecting all of the great nutrients from all of the ingredients, and in the future, whatever the season, I will always start use a sweet potato. Hope you enjoy!

 

Smoked Pulled Chicken Sliders

I must have been on a slider kick recently as I posted on my cheeseburger sliders. Maybe it was the awesome, sweet Hawaiian buns I had purchased, or maybe it was the killer whole smoked chicken that my kids devoured. It was probably both of those reasons, and hence why I decided to use the remaining smoked chicken and turn it into a slider. I think my oldest son has really got me in the mood for making sliders. His new thing is searing up thinly sliced ham and using small dinner rolls, or the sweet King’s Hawaiian rolls, searing those up as well, and devouring those for his brunch. He’s the one who doesn’t wake up and eat right away. It takes some persuading to get him moving in the morning. Go figure, he’s a teenager. These smoked pulled chicken sliders are something to be reckoned with. They have the perfect smoke, along with some sweetness from the barbecue sauce and rolls, and then a pickle to cut through it all. These are a real winner.

Smoked Pulled Chicken Sliders

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 2 whole King’s Hawaiian rolls, sliced
  • 1 cup of cooked, smoked chicken, shredded
  • 1/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce
  • 2 tbsp water
  • Pickle slices, optional

This serves one, so make as many as you would like with however much chicken you have.

These are extremely easy to make once you have the smoked chicken.

Shred your chicken and add it to a small pot. Add in the barbecue sauce, and the water, and give it a good stir. Cook on low heat until heated through.

Smoked Whole Chicken

Take the warmed chicken and add it to the two sweet Hawaiian rolls. Take a toothpick and skewer pickles through the top of the bun.

Dig in.

Cheeseburger Sliders

My family is a huge fan of burgers, and burgers of any type. Everyone has their ‘go to’ burger and as I typically go the most extreme in terms of condiments and toppings, everyone else takes it pretty easy. One will do just cheese, the other just bacon, and the other, well, let’s just say she refuses to eat them. I’m fine with that. I really am. One of my favorites however is the simple cheeseburger slider. Maybe it was when I fell in love with them when my parents would travel to Indiana and stop by White Castles and grab a bag of sliders. Who knows. The cheeseburger slider, along with some nice pickles just makes everything better.

Cheeseburger Sliders

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • Package of King’s Hawaiian rolls, sliced
  • 1/2 pound of ground chuck, shaped into 2 ounce patties
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 slices of Cheddar or American cheese
  • pickles

Simple. Love it.

Start by forming your patties into 2 ounce portions, a bit larger than a golf ball. Be gentle with these as you do not want to overwork the meat. Season both sides with salt. To one side, make a thumbprint in the middle. Continue with the remaining ground chuck. This should make about 6 sliders.

Heat a large, cast iron skillet, or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, about 1 minute or so, add as many burgers as you can, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet.

Sear the patties on one side and do not touch them for a few minutes, just let them get nice and caramelized.

Once caramelized, flip each burger, and season with a bit of cracked black pepper. Cook for another minute, then add about 1/2 of a slice of cheddar or American cheese to the top of each patty.

Add about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, and cover. This process gets some awesome steam going and quickly melts the cheese.

Add each patty to a sliced, King’s Hawaiian roll, and top with a pickle, or serve pickles on the side.

You can add condiments if you want, but to me, the simplicity says it all when it comes to beef and cheese.

Cheeseburger Sliders
Author: 
Recipe type: Burgers
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 6
 
Ingredients
  • Package of King's Hawaiian rolls, sliced
  • ½ pound of ground chuck, shaped into 2 ounce patties
  • salt, to taste
  • cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 3 slices of Cheddar or American cheese
  • pickles
Instructions
  1. Start by forming your patties into 2 ounce portions, a bit larger than a golf ball. Be gentle with these as you do not want to overwork the meat. Season both sides with salt. To one side, make a thumbprint in the middle. Continue with the remaining ground chuck. This should make about 6 sliders.
  2. Heat a large, cast iron skillet, or non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Once heated, about 1 minute or so, add as many burgers as you can, being careful not to overcrowd the skillet.
  3. Sear the patties on one side and do not touch them for a few minutes, just let them get nice and caramelized.
  4. Once caramelized, flip each burger, and season with a bit of cracked black pepper. Cook for another minute, then add about ½ of a slice of cheddar or American cheese to the top of each patty.
  5. Add about 2 tablespoons of water to the skillet, and cover. This process gets some awesome steam going and quickly melts the cheese.
  6. Add each patty to a sliced, King's Hawaiian roll, and top with a pickle, or serve pickles on the side.
  7. You can add condiments if you want, but to me, the simplicity says it all when it comes to beef and cheese.

 

Enjoy! Are you all fans of cheeseburger sliders or do you just go all in and load them up with toppings and condiments?

 

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