Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday Lauren's Leftovers!!

That's right folks!  It's my birthday!  Well, the blog's...mine is about 6 months away and I would like a cast iron skillet and the pasta attachment set for my Kitchenaid mixer...but I digress. (I do that a lot, don't I?)  Anyway, to celebrate the birth of this blog one year ago today, I thought it would be fitting to share this Freebie Friday treat with you so you can get pampered on and around YOUR birthday!  Special thanks to my sis for sharing! (I swear she gets more shout outs on this blog...sheesh)

The Frugal Girls have an entire list of birthday/birthday week freebies available across the country!  You could spend an entire afternoon signing up for these things, seriously, and I plan to.  Might even be worth a trip to Memphis to use the $30 Benihana gift certificate...roadtrip anyone??

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Pesto: The Trilogy

Pesto is more than just great on pasta...have you tried it as a spread on sandwiches or wraps?  Case in point: this guy right here!
Pesto Chicken Rolls

Check out number 2 on the list (Should be #1 in my opinion, even though I fully realize that this is in no way a ranking system, it just feels right.)  These were super easy to make and were SO delicious!  My hubby and I took them to an outdoor concert and then, lucky us, had plenty for lunch the next day too!  They would be great for a trip to the wineries...mmm...wineries.  Note to self :: when it cools down, we must go to the wineries.

Try them.  Today. (or tomorrow...or never, whatever floats your boat)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010


So last week I promised more ways to use your pesto...sorry I'm just getting around to sharing some now!  Enjoy this super easy homemade pesto mac 'n cheese! (Just for you Megan!)

Lauren's Pesto Mac (& Cheese!)

You will need:
1 recipe Velveeta Down Home Mac & Cheese (minus Ritz crackers, plus breadcrumbs...heehee)
1 cup (or more) of the delicious pesto you already made

The trick is, before you pour the mac & cheese into the 8x8 or 9x9 casserole dish, put a little pesto at the bottom.  Then pour only half of the mac & cheese on top, followed by more pesto, followed by the rest of the mac & cheese, then the rest of the pesto!  Don't forget to top with cheddar cheese and the breadcrumb mixture and don't stir it!  The pesto will work its way around as it bakes, trust me. 

A few days after I made this, I went to lunch with some girlfriends at Cheese-ology in the Loop (an all mac & cheese restaurant...oh buddy!)  Turns out they have a pesto mac too!  I decided to try The Hill (provel, salsiccia, marinara...mmmm) but it was tempting to see how similar our pesto macs are!  The Mediterranean and the Bacon, Bacon were also calling my name...I guess that means I'm just gonna have to go back!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Pesto Platform

Sorry to be away so long folks!  It's been a busy summer but I'm back and have so much to catch you up on!  I wanna start with my simple pesto recipe that I will build off of for the rest of this week.  If you like pesto, you'll love these recipes!  Let's get started!

So I had a TON of basil ready to go in my garden a couple weeks ago so I decided it was time to harvest and put it to good use...just enough for a great big batch of pesto!  My pesto calls for walnuts and pine nuts but if you would prefer a walnut free version, there are plenty of others out there to choose from!

Perfect Pesto

1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 Tbls. minced garlic (more if you like)
5 cups fresh basil leaves
pinch of salt
generous amount of fresh ground black pepper (I said generous, not crazy)
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 cups EVOO (I went for the full 1 1/2 for this batch)
1 cup parmesan cheese

Process nuts and garlic in your food processor before adding basil, salt, and pepper and continuing to process.  Slowly add in oil through the processor's spout while the processor is on for perfect blending.  Once all oil is incorporated, add cheese and process one last time!  (If you have a mini-prep processor, you'll be happy to know this whole batch will fit if you add your basil in two additions.  You'll also want to add your oil in about three separate additions since you have to stop the processor to add.)

Serve immediately over pasta or store in the fridge for a week or two with a thin film of oil on top (it will create one for itself in time but it never hurts to add a little drizzle once you have it in its storage container.) 

Next up...more ways to use your pesto!  Stay tuned! :)