Avocado Pesto (NO OIL ADDED)

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So I have to apologize.  Life has been crazy busy and the blog has taken a back seat to everything else.  I am still creating new recipes and I hopefully can get one up a week this summer.

Now on to Avocado Pesto.  I LOVE pesto.  I can put it on pretty much everything, pasta, eggs, sandwiches, salads, meats.  I’ve even been known to use it as a dip sometimes.  Unfortunately, my waist line disagrees with that.  The calories in pesto add up fast! I have made my own Pesto for awhile now.  I grow my own basil and it’s super easy to make.  You just throw everything in a food processor, drizzle in some oil and you are good to go!  And of course, it’s much cheaper this way because like I said, I can and will, put it on anything.

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I have been doing some research on avocado oil vs olive oil when cooking and I liked the fact the avocado oil has a higher smoke point.  That means it can with stand higher temperature cooking better.  It also had a few other health benefits that I enjoyed so I made a switch this last time to cold pressed avocado oil.  I love it but I also love avocados and their rich, buttery taste.  It may not be for some people.

About this time, I used my last jar of pesto and thought, “hey, I can try the pesto made with avocado oil this time.”  Well, I took that thought one step further.  I had a bunch of avocados that were ripe so I decided to play around and use one of the avocados completely in place of the oil in the pesto.  Guess what?  It worked!  Healthier Pesto Sauce and just as easy to make!  It tastes just like my original pesto but it has a creamier texture (is creamier even a word?).

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For the pesto, I used my original recipe and just replaced the 1/2 cup of Olive Oil with one avocado and added some water.  That’s it!

An avocado lover? A Pesto lover?  You have to try this!

***Disclaimer:  I used cashew nuts instead of pine nuts. My best friend hates pine nuts and I wanted her to try it.  Unfortunately, I ate it all before she could.  Whoops!  You can use pine nuts instead of cashews!***

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Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Avocado Pesto (NO OIL ADDED)

A Healthier pesto without all the added oil!

10 minPrep Time:

PCook Time:

10 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 2 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 large ripe avocado
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts or cashew nuts
  • 2 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup water, plus more if necessary
  • Himalayan Pink salt, to taste

Instructions

  1. Add basil, avocado, garlic, pine nuts, lemon juice and parmesan cheese to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds or until pesto is chopped.
  2. Add in water and process again until completely smooth.
  3. Add more water to get to desired consistency.
  4. Store in an airtight container or mason jar and refrigerate.
  5. Because of the avocado, the pesto is best if used within a few days
  6. You can freeze it for several months as well.

Notes

21 Day Fix: 1 Blue

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2016/06/avocado-pesto-no-oil-added/

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

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Does anyone else type things into Google as a spellchecker?  Hopefully I’m not the only one who does this.

As I was typing “Cacciatore” into Google to make sure it was spelled correctly, it’s meaning popped up.  “Cacciatore means “hunter” in Italian. In cuisine, alla cacciatora refers to a meal prepared “hunter-style” with onions, herbs, usually tomatoes, often bell peppers, and sometimes wine. Cacciatore is popularly made with braised chicken or rabbit.”  I don’t eat rabbit but it’s yummy with chicken!

Awesome, makes complete sense.  Typically, when I make cacciatore, I bread and fry or bake the chicken.  With busy sports schedules and lessons after school, time to do all that is limited.  I figured there had to be a way to make it in the slow cooker and still have it be the comforting dish I am used to.  My biggest concern being that when you cook peppers and onions in the slow cooker, all their liquid releases and its makes whatever you are cooking more liquidly.  We like our cacciatore thick so liquidly won’t fly.

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To get around this, I sauteed the peppers and onions before I added them to the slow cooker.  I also browned the chicken for a few minutes.

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It turned out perfectly except for one mistake that I made.  I meant to chunk the chicken instead of shredding it. Whoops!  It was still really good!

Typically it is served over pasta but I served mine over brown rice with a nice big spinach salad.  Sorry there is no picture.  I was hungry and my stomach took over before my brain processed I hadn’t taken a picture.

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Serving Size: approx 2/3 cup

Slow Cooker Chicken Cacciatore

A thick, hearty Italian classic, done right in the slow cooker!

15 minPrep Time:

8 hrCook Time:

8 hr, 15 Total Time:

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Ingredients

  • 1 lb skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 red (or whatever color you like) bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
  • 1/2 large onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bay leaf
  • salt and fresh pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Heat a large skillet over medium-high.
  2. Lightly spray with oil and brown chicken on both sides a few minutes.
  3. Season with salt and pepper and add to the slow cooker.
  4. Spray the skillet with a little more oil and add onions and peppers and minced garlic.
  5. Sauté until juices release and the vegetables become slightly tender.
  6. Add to the slow cooker.
  7. Pour tomatoes over the chicken and vegetables,
  8. Add oregano, bay leaf, salt and pepper, give it a stir and cover.
  9. Set to LOW for 8 hours or HIGH 4 hours.
  10. Remove bay leaf, adjust salt and pepper and chunk chicken.
  11. Serve over pasta or rice!
Cuisine: Italian |

Notes

21 Day Fix: 1/2 G, 1/2 P, 1 R, 1 tsp (adjust your yellows according to what you serve it over)

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2016/03/slow-cooker-chicken-cacciatore/

Blueberry & Merlot Cranberry Sauce

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Since Thanksgiving is fast approaching, I thought I would share my recipe for homemade cranberry sauce.  If you have never made your own cranberry sauce, it really is quite easy.  Plus, there is no comparing homemade to the canned stuff.  I stopped buying the sauce in a can a long time ago and have experimented with a many different recipes but this one is my favorite thus far.  The taste is unbelievable! Plus it has wine in it and we all know how much I enjoy my wine.  Win Win!!

I have been making this recipe for the past couple of years.  The first year I made it, I followed the recipe exactly and it didn’t go over so well with the husband for one reason; CLOVES.  Ask him any day of the week, “do you smell that?” or “what is that smell?”  You get the response of, “I don’t smell anything.”  He never smells anything. However, slightly loosen the lid to a jar of cloves, he becomes a blood hound:

“You bought cloves didn’t you?”

Yeesh.

I thought maybe I could get away with it because he was at work when I made it but that didn’t happen.  It’s all he smelled for days and candles didn’t help cover it up.  And of course, he wouldn’t touch the sauce, I knew there was a chance he wouldn’t but I thought, I could trick him.  His hatred (yes, it’s a hatred) of cloves makes baking this time of year difficult.  His sister is the same way.  In all fairness to them, it was the way they were punished if they talked back, swore or got sassy as kids.  They had to sit with whole cloves on their tongue. Better than sitting with a bar of soap in your mouth but still.

I, on the other hand, LOVED the sauce.  What’s not to love? It’s wine, blueberries, cranberries and a couple spices!

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Last year I adapted the recipe and every single drop was consumed in two days.  We probably could have eaten it with a spoon but we do have some etiquette.  I made biscuits and we ate the leftovers that way.

You are going to use fresh cranberries and frozen blueberries. No, there is no need to thaw the blueberries out first.  You could also use another fruit besides blueberries or a mixed berry blend but I have to be careful of seeds for some family members so I have only tried with blueberries.

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I used a Merlot because it is my favorite and what I always have on hand but any type of red wine will work here.  It also doesn’t have to be expensive. I have never tried using a white wine so I’m not sure how well that would turn out.  Now, for those of you questioning my sanity of serving this to kids, I don’t have a problem with it. The wine is cooked for 30 minutes so any alcohol would be cooked out.  No one will be getting drunk from eating the cranberry sauce.  Sorry!  However,  it’s your choice as to whether this is appropriate for you and your family.

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Here is the original recipe but like I said, I adapted mine to fit my family and our tastes.

Cheers!

Yield: 2 Cups (16 oz)

Blueberry & Merlot Cranberry Sauce

5 minPrep Time:

25 minCook Time:

30 minTotal Time:

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Ingredients

  • 8-ounces (about 2 1/4 cups) fresh cranberries
  • 6-ounces frozen blueberries (about 1 1/2 cups), unthawed
  • 1 cup Merlot or a favorite red wine)
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large kettle (it seems like an overkill but the sauce will triple in volume as the mixture boils).
  2. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring intermittently for 2 minutes.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 20 to 25 minutes or until mixture has reduced and thickened slightly and most of the cranberries have burst.
  4. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool for a few minutes before transferring to heat safe jars.
  5. Allow the sauce to cool completely before refrigerating.
  6. Sauce will thicken while cooling.

Notes

Sauce will keep airtight in the refrigerator for at least 2 weeks.

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http://thepotterspantry.com/2015/11/blueberry-merlot-cranberry-sauce/