Ok peeps….here’s what’s going on in the kitchen this week.  It’s a busy one, so the goal is: fresh and simple.

Monday: Whole Wheat Penne Pasta w/ Organic Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Grilled Salmon
Tues/Wed: Slow Cooked Tortilla Soup and Southwest Salad
Thursday: Grilled “Caprese” Sandwiches and Tomato Bisque

Something about spring makes me crave pesto.  I’m not sure what that’s about, but I go through obscene amounts of basil every May.  In addition to growing my own (still waiting for it to get warm out there), I like to hit up Trader Joe’s for their basil plants and ginormous organic packages.  Following the ratios from 101 Cookbooks, I make extra to keep in the fridge for later in the week.   Confession:  I do not chop it by hand (like an Italian grandmother should), I use the food processor–which takes approximately 8 seconds.  I also toast the pine nuts and garlic before throwing them in.

Whole Wheat Penne Pasta with Organic Pesto, Cherry Tomatoes, and Grilled Salmon

Source:  Basil Recipe
List:  6 oz basil, 3/4 cup parmesan cheese, 1/2 cup pine nuts, cherry tomatoes, salmon fillets, olive oil, 1 package whole wheat penne

Heat up the grill and start the pasta water.  Process the pesto ingredients.  Cook penne according to directions and toss with pesto (use reserved pasta water to loosen up the sauce).  Meanwhile, pat the salmon fillets dry with a paper towel, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.  Grill over med-high heat for 2-3 minutes per side.  Chunk up the salmon and toss it in the pasta.
TIP:  don’t buy pre-shredded parmesan–get a slab o’ cheese and grate as you need it!  So good.

Tortilla Soup and Southwest Salad
Source:  soup: ATK Slow Cooker Revolution, pg 11, salad: NOSH
List:  3 tomatoes, 1 onion, 2 jalapeno peppers, garlic, chipotle in adobo sauce, tomato paste, 8 cups chicken broth, cilantro, 1.5 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs, tortilla chips, avocado, cheese, sour cream

This is something that I make after working a 14 hour day, when I don’t want to think about cooking.  I am using the term “Caprese” lightly, as I’ll be subbing Extra Sharp White Cheddar for fresh Mozzarella in the sandwiches (I’m too tired to go to the store).  I keep TJ’s Organic Tomato Bisque on hand for these types of emergencies, it is d-to the-licious.
Grilled “Caprese” Sandwiches and Tomato Bisque
Smear the left-over pesto on your bread slices, layer with cheese and tomato, then grill.  Serve with a bowl of Tomato Bisque.  Next, pour yourself a big old glass of wine, it’s almost Friday!



Filed under what's for dinner


  1. >Love your site Jen…I'm going to try the Tortilla soup. Maybe is will burn up the nasty in my throat & voice ! You are so creative, & committed to your 'hobby'. Am going to be checking this out more often. Thanks for sharing…..Love you and so proud !

  2. >Your Menu sounds delish! Lately I've been liking anything with pesto…Your Monday meal has inspired me to attempt a sun-dried tomato and pesto pizza tonight on an whole wheat crust. Hopefully it turns out as delicious as I think it sounds! By the way, thanks for stopping by my blog!

  3. Kerry Lee

    Yum Jen!!!
    I love the new blogsite. I also really appriciate the recommendation on a god TJs tomato bisque. How do you have time to garden, mt bike, work, play with bear, and cook all this wonderful food?

    • Oh YOU! I’m so excited that you stopped by the blog, Kerry Lee! The answer is: I’m a woman of leisure. 🙂 (and I have wonderful friends who are willing to be my guinea pigs at all times….)

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