Focus, Focus, Focus…
If anyone is actually reading this blog I would first like to say thanks and, second, explain a little bit of the madness behind what I’m doing with this project. Because I am a highly impulsive person I started this blog without a lot of entries written in advance, which means that most days I am writing it in “real time”. So when I write things like “the other day” and “this past weekend” I mean it literally. My goal is to have enough back-up so that I have a week’s worth or more of entries on hand. Currently, I am sitting on two posts that, if I had to, could be posted at a moment’s notice. Luckily, due to low demand, I am not anticipating any blogging emergencies that will require a large back-load of entries.
I also don’t have a focus (if you haven’t noticed). Apparently, I am breaking a blogging rule #1 which states, “First, and foremost, you must have a focus”. According to my blogging handbook, lack of focus will alienate your audience leaving them confused and searching for more cohesive reading material. I guess the recipes are a focus in and of themselves, but there are millions of sites that just have recipes and nothing else. I want this to be unique to me and not just a laundry list of recipes. I thought I had found my writing “voice”, but it started sounding like Giada De Laurentiis from the Food Network, which is not me at all. So now I am focusing on being more like myself, which I hope results in a blog that plays by the rules and doesn’t alienate my already non-existent audience (my mother and husband, as much as I love them, don’t count as an “audience”).
With that said I’ll move on to the recipe. Always the pesto fan, I thought it would be interesting to use all the same ingredients used in pesto, but put them together in a different way. Think of it as an unfocused pesto– unfocused being a concept of which I have a high level of understanding. Oh, and by the way, if you are reading this do a girl a favor and leave a comment. It’s lonely out here in the blog-o-sphere!
Grilled Chicken with Pesto-Inspired Pasta
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup olive oil, divided
Juice of 2 lemons
8 ounces whole wheat penne pasta
1 lb asparagus, ends trimmed and steamed*
1 red pepper, cut into thin strips and steamed
1 handful of basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup pine nuts, toasted
3/4 cup shredded parmesean cheese
Preheat a skillet to medium and dry roast the pine nuts until they turn a light golden brown. Remove from the heat and set aside. In a small bowl wisk together 1/2 cup olive oil, juice from one lemon, the garlic, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Using a large zip top bag marinate the chicken in the lemon and olive oil mixture for 30 minutes in the refridgerator.
Bring a large pot of water, seasoned with salt, to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. Drain and set aside
Preheat the grill to medium. Grill the chicken for approximately 15 minutes or until the eternal temperature reads 180 degrees. While the chicken is grilling prepare the pasta dressing by wisking together the juice from one lemon, 1/2 cup olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Once combined stir in the chopped basil. In a large bowl toss the dressing with the pasta to coat. Add in the asparagus, cheese and pine nuts. Slice the chicken add to the pasta. Toss to combine and serve.
*Note: I like to steam the veggies, but only a short time so they maintain their freshness. I don’t have a steamer so I use microwave steamer bags.