Friday, August 17, 2012

Dishing It Up Recipe Hop: Freezer Meals--Pesto

Its August, and back to school time is in full swing.   My husband begins his inservice today (he teaches high school), and the kids start next Monday the 27th.   I've got 10 more days to get prepared for the start of school, and I plan to be putting some serious meals into the freezer during that time!

In fact, the Dishing It Up theme for the month of August is freezer cooking, and my friends over at Thrifty Texas Penny, Pary Moppins, Deals From MS Do, and Dearly Domestic will all be bringing you some of their freezer recipes as well!

PLUS, we will be giving away two $5 Amazon codes this month!   One blogger that links up a recipe will be selected at random to win the first one, and one commenter will be selected at random from one of the recipe links (also selected at random), so after you check out my recipe, leave a comment, and click through the linky to visit the other recipes, and leave them comments, also!  If you have a freezer recipe, link up!

My recipe this week is homemade pesto sauce.   I've never actually made, or even eaten pesto sauce, if you can believe that.  However, pretty much the only thing that actually grew well in my garden in this Texas heat was my basil plant.   In fact, I was trying to keep it confined to a smaller pot to keep its growth in check, but one day my husband decided to move it to a bigger one after we decided that said larger pot's previous inhabitant was done for.   That thing took off, I tell you.  Why it's nearly as tall as I am!  Not that that's sayin' much. ;)

So I began looking for recipes that used basil, and I kept hearing people rave about pesto.  It sounded like a terrific end of summer recipe, and very freezable!  I like that. =)

I had all of the ingredients on hand except for the nuts.  I had seen several recipes online, and no two were alike.   The majority of the recipes called for pine nuts, but said that those were not the most frugal of choices, and gave several ideas for substitutions.

Being the frugal person that I am, I figured that the most inexpensive way to buy what I needed would be in bulk bins, and the only store I know of in my area with bulk bins is Whole Foods.  I had a dentist appointment on Monday, and had to drive right past that place, so I decided to stop in and pick up what I would need on my way home.

When I got there, I had to blink a few times just to make sure I was reading the label correctly.   Pine nuts cost $34.99....per pound?!?!?   Um...NO!   I opted for the sunflower seeds at $2.79/lb, and actually walked out of Whole Foods spending less than $2.  That's gotta be some sort of record, right?

So anyways, back to the pesto....After wasting a whole lot of time on pinterest extensive research, I have come to the conclusion, that everyone makes their pesto differently.  I finally settled on using this recipe as a jumping off point.   I attempted doubling it, but as I'm not really a measurer of things in the kitchen.  I just kind of eye-balled it until things looked right.

My ingredients waiting.

I used about 4 cups of basil, 1/2 cup sunflower seeds, roughly 1 cup parmesan/romano blend  (its what I had in the fridge), a big heaping tablespoon of minced garlic, as I was all out of fresh.   I also added a bit of salt and pepper, and a little bit of lime juice (not only for flavor, but it has the added benefit of keeping it from browning).   I filled up my blender and pulsed it a few times..mostly to make room.  Then I added some olive oil, then some more olive oil....then some more olive oil.    They say to just keep adding until you get it the right consistency that you like.   It still looked pretty thick to me, but hubby said it was supposed to be, and it tasted pretty good, so I stopped with the olive oil, and poured it into some containers.

I froze two of these, and I kept one out in the fridge.  I haven't used it as part of a meal yet, but we had spaghetti last night, and had some of it on toast as opposed to the usual garlic bread, and it was pretty tasty!

Now, if only I could get my girls to eat it!  I made the mistake of putting a small bit on the fingertip of my 3 year old, and then turning my back.   I ended up with a fingerpainted dishwasher.  =/

Here are the other freezer recipes that have been shared so far this month.  Don't forget to add your own if you have one, and hop around leaving comments on the other recipes to increase your chances of winning!


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