Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Summer dreams and spring harvest {How my garden grows}

They say good things come in small packages.

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Well, I'm hoping for great things from these small plants.

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This weekend, thanks to the extra day off and getting in my long run on Saturday, I was able to get my garden ready for summer. We added another raised bed (3x8 feet) and cleaned out the others with the hopes of a bounty of vegetables. I planted 13 tomato plants, mostly heirloom varieties that we buy at a friend's plant sale; two pepper plants; and a variety of squash, as well as cucumbers.

But with all the planting, there was a bit of harvesting as well. I had planted some greens in early April - spinach, kale, arugula and leaf lettuce. They were doing well - better than I had hoped - but taking up some prime garden real estate. I pulled it all up, washed it several times and put it in plastic bags with a paper towel (to absorb moisture).

I am not quite sure what to do with all of it to be honest because, in case you were wondering, there might be such a thing as too much kale.

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However, I'm doing my best. Kale and spinach have been blanched and frozen. I've made some delicious salads, including a popular Blue Cheese-Pecan Salad for a Memorial Day barbecue.

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And then there was this. Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella and Arugula Pesto. Served with roasted broccoli, red sauce and penne (for the wheat consumers in the family), it was one of the best weeknight dinners that I've made in months. MONTHS, I tell you.

Chicken Breast Stuffed with Mozzarella and Arugula Pesto

For the pesto:
1/3 cup chopped pecans
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
2 cups packed arugula leaves
1 tablespoon garlic paste
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese

For the chicken:
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
2 slices mozzarella cheese

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

For the pesto: In a skillet over medium heat, toast the nuts just until you can smell them; about 2 minutes. Put the nuts, arugula, garlic and sea salt into the bowl of a food processor. With the processor going, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture reaches a pasty consistency. Stir in the parmesan cheese.

For the chicken: Using a kitchen mallet, slightly pound out the chicken breasts. Butterfly the chicken and open up. On one side of the chicken, place slice of cheese and drop 2 tablespoons of pesto on the cheese being mindful not to let the spoon touch the raw meat. Spread out pesto and fold plain of chicken over the toppings. Repeat for second breast.

In a skillet over medium heat, cook the chicken on each side until golden but not too brown; about 4-5 minutes. Place the skillet in the oven and cook for another 10 to 15 minutes, or until cooked through.


  1. I am not a meat eater, but that chicken looks great!! I love pesto, and what a great idea with the argula. I can't wait to have a space for a garden one day!! Loved gardening when i was younger.

  2. You seriously impress me. that is all. xoxo

  3. That chicken looks fab! I'm in our community garden for a third year and it's grown exponentially in popularity. I'd be lying if I said I wasn't intimidated by peer pressure. Ha!

  4. I want a garden so bad!! My friends have some strawberries blooming!! So fun!!

  5. That pesto sounds AMAZING! I have a ton of arugula in the garden that I need to use up and a bunch of hemp seeds that I could substitute for the nuts. I cannot wait to make this!