Trying to think of ways to use my cherry tomatoes and fresh basil from the garden, I thought I came up with an original recipe, Chicken Margherita, come to find out it’s been on the menu at Olive Garden for some time now. Well we haven’t been to Olive Garden in a while, we’ve been trying to eat at home more often. And when we do manage to go out to eat, rather than keep supporting huge restaurant chains, we’ve been enjoying more local mom and pop restaurants.
We went to a good one last week. We happened to be out of our area, about an hour away from St. Louis in Union, MO, and decided to visit a cute little place called Junie Moon Cafe. A real pleasure; good food, good service and good prices with a down home country feel. Seems to me you get so much more of a personal experience in these little places, like they actually care about serving you more than just food and they definitely aren’t going to let you go away hungry.
Now hopefully you’ve got somewhere for a basil plant. Because for the price you pay for a few little basil leaves, you can buy a whole plant. If you didn’t know they can get really big, the pic of the one at the bottom of the page is in my backyard garden, it’s only been there maybe 5 weeks and when I bought it, it was about 3-4 inches tall. Now, this is June 11th, and it’s well over 1 1/2 feet and it’s not done growing! As long as we try to keep it from setting seed, it will keep going until frost sets.
Same thing for cherry or grape tomatoes. One plant will give you a lot of tomatoes all season long. News flash: you don’t need a green thumb. Just a tiny bit of good dirt and water, they like good drainage, but they also like lots of water. You will be rewarded and you don’t even have to talk to them, unless you want to of course.
For today, we have a fresh from the garden Chicken Margherita. Kinda like the Margherita pizza, same fresh and simple ingredients, only on top of a chicken breast instead of a pizza. An easy lemon, garlic and basil pesto topped with ripe cherry tomatoes turns an average chicken breast into a delightful summer dinner. You can use store bought pesto if you want. We also have an awesome Pesto Caprese Pasta Salad, if your looking for more ways to use a healthy pesto. I just love it!
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