Adventure in Killing Plants: Dried Basil

Old post from 2013….just posting now. 

We have grown basil in our garden for the past two years. This year the basil plant is very happy and growing like crazy. It’s hard to keep up with the plant to try to catch it before it flowers. They say that the basil becomes too bitter if it flowers before picking. This means I pick some basil every 3 days.  We’ve made a few rounds of pesto (and froze it) and I have also dehydrated some basil. I like using the dried (or fresh) basil on pizza and spaghetti sauce.


I use a Nesco dehydrator and arrange the leaves on the trays after washing them.  Then I run the dehydrator for 24-30 hrs at 105 F. Some say basil can be dried in less than 24 hrs…but that’s not true in hot and humid Texas.


Fresh basil ready to be dehyrdated

Kulinary Kitchen: Pasta Dishes

With my new Pepper Plate app I’ve been excited to try some new and easy recipes out. The first two I tried were Spicy Pesto Chicken Pasta and Tomato Basil  Pasta. I used the basil and cilantro from my garden. It’s nice that this year keeping up with my garden has paid off. Also a special thanks to Nikki Pietragallo for making the pesto with my basil for this dish! Both dishes were a hit!

Teena’s Spicy Pesto Chicken and Pasta


    • 1 (16 ounce) package uncooked farfalle (bow tie) pasta
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon hot chile paste (such as sambal oelek)
    • 1 pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into 1 inch pieces
    • 6 tablespoons prepared basil pesto
    • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
    • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
    • Bacon
    • Whole Pine Nuts


    1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place farfalle pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
    2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Mix in the chile paste and chicken. Cook and stir chicken 10 minutes, or until evenly browned and juices run clear.
    3. Toss the cooked farfalle, pesto, Parmesan cheese, and cilantro into the skillet, and continue cooking just until heated through.

My attempt at spicy pesto pasta.

Blow Your MIND” Tomato Basil Pasta

Throw it all in the pot, INCLUDING the uncooked Pasta, and cook! – Bring it to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. The starch leaches out of the pasta and makes a rich, warm sauce for the noodles. The other ingredients cook right along with the pasta

    • 12 ounces pasta
    • 1 can (15 ounces) diced tomatoes with liquid
    • 1 large sweet onion, cut in julienne strips
    • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
    • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 2 teaspoons dried oregano leaves
    • 2 large sprigs basil, chopped
    • 4 1/2 cups vegetable broth (regular broth and NOT low sodium)
    • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
    • Parmesan cheese for garnish


    1. Place pasta, tomatoes, onion, garlic, basil, in a large stock pot. Pour in vegetable broth. Sprinkle on top the pepper flakes and oregano. Drizzle top with oil.
    2. Cover pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low simmer and keep covered and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring every 2 minutes or so. Cook until almost all liquid has evaporated – I left about an inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot – but you can reduce as desired .
    3. Season to taste with salt and pepper , stirring pasta several times to distribute the liquid in the bottom of the pot. Serve garnished with Parmesan cheese.


Add shrimp or meatballs.
Use rotel instead of diced tomatoes.
Makes a boat load.

Adventures in Killing Plants: Our own sweet corn!

We grew corn!!! This year I have stayed on top of watering the garden plants and many have survived. Even the corn has survived. I planted 4 corn stalks for kicks but really wasn’t sure what would possibly grow since usually corn is grown in large fields with many corn.


Our back yard garden


Cathy Wallace eating some of our home grown corn!


Beautiful Sweet Corn

Adventures in Killing Plants: Peach Salsa

Today peachy adventure is peach salsa. I made a small batch to test it out rather than a full batch for canning. I think it took more time to cut up the ingredients than it took to heat up the salsa!

Peach Salsa II


 7 cups


 35 mins


    • 4 cups fresh peaches – peeled, pitted and chopped
    • 1/2 cup chopped onion
    • 1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
    • 4 jalapeno peppers, minced
    • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
    • 3 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
    • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
    • 1 teaspoon grated lime zest
    • 1/4 cup white sugar
    • 1 (49 gram) package light fruit pectin crystals
    • 3 1/2 cups white sugar
    • canning jars


    1. Sterilize jars and lids.
    2. In a large saucepan, combine peaches, onion, pepper, cilantro, garlic, cumin, vinegar, and lime zest. Stir together pectin and 1/4 cup sugar. Bring to a boil, and stir in remaining 3 1/2 cups sugar. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, and stir for 5 minutes.
    3. Pour peach salsa into prepared jars, leaving 1/4 inch air space. Seal, and process in a boiling water bath for 15 minutes.
Precooked Ingredients.
Finished Salsa!

Adventures in killing plants: I don’t cook often but when I do itinvolves peaches.

We have a peach tree in our back yard and this year we want to take advantage of all the peaches! Last week I canned peaches. First up this week is peach cobbler. Last time I made cobbler it was a failure. Fingers crossed its better this time.

We have so many peaches!
Sliced and ready to go…it takes a long time to get the peaches to this point.
Paul Deen’s recipe calls for a nice layer of butter on the bottom of the pan. 
The cobbler batter is then prepared while being careful of the flour lumps. 
Next the batter is poured on top of the butter and the peaches spooned on top. The batter will rise from below the peaches.
Then a sprinkle of cinnamon and the dessert is ready for baking.