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Hey Basil, you don’t own pesto! This arugula hazelnut pesto variation is out of this world, and may be your go-to summer sensation.
I’m not starting an argument here, but really, Basil, take a break. You are fantastic in my Classic Pesto, you’re tasty with tomatoes, and you do pizza a great service – but I know I can mix things up with arugula hazelnut pesto and be just as happy!
You know I like playing around with different flavors and combinations. I wanted to make a pesto with a little kick. Arugula has that green, peppery taste I love and hazelnuts are sweet and strong. Strong enough to stand up to arugula and shine through.
I used skinned hazelnuts to avoid too much of the bitter skin. Blend them up with the arugula, cheese and olive oil just as you would in classic pesto. I swapped Parmesan for Pecorino and added some lemon juice to brighten all of the flavors.
The biggest change, addition, variation, whatever you want to call it, that I made was adding dried figs. Yes! Sweet black mission figs, roughly chopped, get blended into the pesto. I actually replaced the garlic with the sweet fruit to balance the strong flavors of the greens and nuts. Hazelnuts and figs are a match made in heaven to begin with, but mixed into an herby sauce, they are quite heavenly.
Use this fun sauce as you would regular pesto, on pasta, or serve it as a dip for veggies. It’s also great with pork. The sweet fig flavor comes through just enough and it works so well as a spread to melt on grilled pork chops or tenderloin.
Storing Tip: I love to make things ahead and have them at the ready. To store arugula hazelnut pesto, or any of your herb sauces up to 4 days in the fridge, press plastic wrap onto the surface, smoothing out the air bubbles. The wrap will keep it from oxidizing and turning brown.
Perfect with pork chops and roast beef or as a vegetable dip.
- 4 cups packed arugula leaves
- 6 to 7 dried black mission figs, roughly chopped
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz) skinned hazelnuts, lightly toasted
- 1/2 cup grated Pecorino cheese
- 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Combine all ingredients, except the oil, in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the mixture is finely chopped. With the motor running, slowly pour the oil into the feed tube. Use immediately or freeze for up to a month.
Recipe by Tara Bench
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Aug 2010
Photography Antonis Achilleos
Food Styling Cyd Raftus McDowell
Prop Styling Paige Hicks
A healthy main dish and tasty side make Pork Chops with Lemon-Parsley and Grape Walnut Quinoa a complete meal in 35 minutes!
I sometimes forget about pork chops. I know! How? They are as lean as chicken, easy to cook and shake up the dinner routine perfectly. I feel like I’m at Pork Chops Group Therapy; I’ve let down this fine meat and want to change. They haven’t totally lost their place at my table, I just need to consider their amazingness more often. Adjust my expectations of dinner even. It’s all about compromise.
I like to get pork chops on the thicker side, at least one inch. You can certainly use thin cut chops that you might find in your grocery fridge, but adjust the cooking time; and they may not be quite as juicy.
Feel free to substitute chicken broth for the white wine when deglazing the pan. It’s just enough flavorful liquid to soak up all the tasty browned bits from cooking the chops.
Parsley and lemon zest combine with garlic and course kosher salt to make a quick and flavorful condiment for the chops. It’s a genius (if I do say so myself) burst of green and freshness for a winter dish.
The quinoa alone is delightful. I make it as a side for other dinners and even as a potluck dish. I love the combination of sweet, juicy grapes, crunchy toasted nuts and salty, tangy cheese. Delicious!
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
- Grated zest from 1 lemon
- 1 small garlic clove, minced
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- 4 (1-inch-thick) center-cut, bone-in pork chops (2¼ lbs total)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- ½ cup dry white wine
- 1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions
- 1 cup (6 oz) green grapes, halved
- ⅔ cup (3 oz) crumbled feta
- ⅓ cup (1 oz) walnuts, toasted and broken up
- In a small bowl, combine parsley, zest, garlic and salt; set aside. Pat pork chop dry; season with salt.
- In a large skillet, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chops and brown, cooking about 4 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and cook, turning once midway, until an instant-read thermometer inserted in center (without touching bone) registers 150°F, about 10 minutes total. Remove from heat and transfer chops to a plate.
- For sauce, drain fat from skillet (discard) and add wine. Using a wooden spoon, stir to release browned bits from skillet. Simmer over medium heat until reduced by half, about 2 minutes.
- In a large bowl, toss together quinoa, grapes, feta and walnuts; salt to taste. pour sauce over chops and sprinkle with parsley-zest mixture; serve with quinoa on the side.
Easy dinners are a relief for weeknights. Even better when these recipes can be used to entertain friends on the weekend too! Try my Corn Chorizo Tacos as fast crowd-pleasers, or Chicken and Rice Lettuce Wraps for a fun family dinner.
I’m not one to diet. I typically just get really mad at myself when my pants don’t fit and try to eat less, until they do, and then go back to eating like a food editor.
Eating like a food editor isn’t so bad. The health factor evens out. Khalil and I worked together as editors at Ladies’ Home Journal, and one day we’d be baking and eat nothing but sugar, and another day we would be cooking up healthy food. His recipe for Low-fat Carnitas Tacos was a favorite. Even better than this dinner being delicious and healthy, it’s made in the slow cooker. What a way to make EVERYONE happy!
As my 3-year old nephew Sawyer would point out: that is healthy food. I’ll deserve a treat for eating it!
Pork loin is a lean, healthy cut; I pair it with high-fiber beans and veggies for a delicious Mexican meal.
- 2 lbs boneless pork loin
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 3 carrots, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 chipotle chile in adobo, chopped, plus 2 tbsp adobo sauce
- 2 15.5-oz cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 tsp each cinnamon and cayenne pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
- Trim excess fat from pork and cut roast in half crosswise. Combine remaining ingredients, except cilantro, in a 6-qt slow cooker and add pork; cover and cook 5 hr on high or 8 hr on low.
- Shred pork with two forks and stir in the cilantro. Serve in corn tortillas with crumbled queso fresco, red onion and lime wedges on the side.
Recipe by Khalil Hymore
Originally published in Ladies’ Home Journal Feb 2011
Photography Peter Ardito
Food Stylist Susan Ottaviano
Prop Stylist Michelle Wong
Turn the classic wedge salad into a main course by adding diced pancetta, roasted beets and protein-rich hazelnuts. Ingredients Instructions
Turn the classic wedge salad into a main course by adding diced pancetta, roasted beets and protein-rich hazelnuts.
You know what the Classic Wedge is. Your mind probably goes straight to rich blue cheese dressing and, if you’re lucky, crispy bacon bits. The iceberg lettuce is just the vehicle we wisely use to get the other ingredients into our mouths!
Change perfection? I think you will like where I’m going with this.
I made the iconic side salad worthy of a meal by swapping bacon for meaty pancetta and adding crunchy hazelnuts and roasted beets. Dress it with a tangy, lemon parsley vinaigrette, but don’t forget the blue cheese! Keep it classic with big, creamy pieces of Roquefort.
All the salty, rich, crunchy tastes we want…just new!
Corn Chorizo Tacos
If I believed in “30-minute meals” this would fall right smack dab into that category.
However, unless you have elves*, washing, prepping, chopping and organizing ingredients in your kitchen, there are very few meals that actually take only 30 minutes from start to finish. (Ok, so there’s also packaged foods that help…think “semi-homemade.”)
*If you have elves helping you, please let me know where I can get my own. Thanks.
What I’m trying to get at is, these darn fantastic tacos are made with your own two hands, are really easy, and fast!
The kind of tip everyone needs in their day…the kind about onions (sarcasm).
This is cool though: When slicing onions for sautéing (as in this recipe) or even for caramelizing, cut them root to tip. If you cut them crosswise into half-circle slices, you end up with long, worm-like onion pieces once they cook and soften. No one likes having the other half of a long onion slice hit their chin when they bit into something.
Cutting slices root to tip keeps the onions in a more appetizing shape, when tossing in, say, a taco.
Frozen corn makes this dinner come together fast, but in the summer and fall try fresh corn off the cob for a really fantastic, sweet contrast to the spicy sausage.
- 1 cup (3 oz) thinly sliced dried chorizo
- 1 small red onion, thinly sliced
- 2½ cups corn kernels (fresh or frozen, thawed)
- 12 corn tortillas
- Lime wedges
- Sour cream
- Chopped cilantro
- In a large skillet cook the chorizo until crispy; drain on a paper towel-lined plate. Pour off all but 1 tbsp fat from the skillet and add the onion. Cook, stirring over medium-high heat until onion is just soft, about 5 min. Add the corn and chorizo and cook briefly to heat through.
- Heat corn tortillas, fill with corn mixture and serve with lime wedges, sour cream and cilantro.
A slightly spicy and sweet pepper jelly is the secret to this ultimate chicken sandwich. Well…and the bacon!
Pounding the chicken thin before grilling makes it the perfect thickness for stacking…with bacon. No slicing and mess required.
Make sure you assemble these quickly, as cooked bacon laying around doesn’t last long. (wink)
These easy sandwiches mix a little salty bacon with sweet and spicy pepper jelly for the perfect combination.
- 4 boneless chicken breast halves, cut in half horizontally
- Garlic salt and ground black pepper
- 4 slices Havarti cheese
- 8 slices country white bread, toasted
- 4 tbsp mayonnaise
- 4 tbsp pepper jelly
- 8 slices cooked bacon
- 2 cups baby arugula
- Heat grill, or grill pan to medium high. Pound chicken to create thin cutlets about ¼ inch thick. Season with garlic salt and pepper and grill until cooked through, 4 to 6 min. Place one cheese slice on top of each cutlet to melt.
- To make each sandwich, spread one piece of toast with mayonnaise and one piece with a generous layer of pepper jelly. Fill with chicken, bacon and arugula.