Simple Homemade Fresh Pesto

This Simple Homemade Fresh Pesto recipe is so easy to make and takes only 5 minutes to prepare. Toss together fresh basil, garlic, pine nuts, Parmesan, olive oil, salt and a touch of a fresh lemon juice in a blender or food processor. It is that simple.

I am thrilled about our fresh herbs growing right now. We planted them in hanging baskets a few weeks ago, so they’re plentiful at the perfect time. They have been a lifesaver (one less thing to purchase at the store). Honestly, I have been making this Homemade Pesto recipe lately on a weekly basis. Friends often ask me. What do you use basil for besides on pasta or on a tomato, basil, mozzarella salad? Here are a few suggestions:

•Add to pasta with grilled chicken or shrimp

•Serve on top of grilled or roasted flounder, snapper or salmon

•Add on top of avocado toast

•Blend or puree in soups

•Use as a base for homemade pizza

•Spice up a fresh salad

Basil is packed with nutrients. It is a good source of vitamin C, vitamin A, vitamin K, manganese, iron, calcium and antioxidants. Basil is also an anti-inflammatory food so it can also help individuals with inflammatory health problems such as  arthritis. Some studies also say that eating basil can help with acne and help protect the skin from some effects of aging.

Chicken Couscous Salad

If you’re looking for a light, healthy and delicious salad, this Chicken Couscous Salad is the answer. Start with a rotisserie or leftover grilled chicken and combine with cooked couscous, cherry tomatoes, basil and either sherry or balsamic vinegar. Top it off with goat cheese or even feta, and you have a super wholesome main dish salad. I loved serving this over arugula leaves, but my kids just ate it straight out of this bowl. This makes a great lunch recipe or easy dinnertime entree.

Incredible Pasta Salad: Vegetarian Pasta Salad

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My kids love pasta salad, and always request it. This week my daughter, Leigh, and I threw this together. It was so delicious, fresh, healthy and gone in about 10 minutes. The photo got rave reviews on twitter and facebook when I posted it. Everyone was begging for the recipe. Here it is just in time for summer. It’s a cool and light idea when it’s so warm outside. Feel free to add cooked or grilled chicken if you like.

For the Sun-Dried tomatoes, I love “California Sun Dry Tomatoes” that come already julienne- cut.

Healthy, Easy Side Dish: Sauteed Eggplant and Tomatoes

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I love making eggplant side dish recipes, and this recipe for Sauteed Eggplant and Tomatoes couldn’t be easier. I sauteed my eggplant in a good bit of chicken broth to reduce the amount of olive oil. I used garlic, red pepper flakes, organic canned tomatoes and fresh basil, and it came out wonderful. Enjoy as a perfect year-round side dish.

Once again, this great pottery bowl came from Earthborn Pottery

Italian Night Favorite: Chicken Cutlets with Fresh Herbs and Tomatoes

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Italian night is always a favorite at my house, and I love to use chicken cutlets for their simplicity and ease. This recipe can be made in under 30 minutes, and it’s so easy to do. It’s fresh, flavorful and is perfect for busy weeknights. I serve with whole wheat pasta for the kids, and everyone is happy.