Suzy’s skillet supper

This is what I made for dinner tonight.

Yes, I need to come up with a less-Denny’s-sounding name for it, but it’s almost bedtime. I’ll worry about that tomorrow. In fact, the only reason I’m posting this tonight is that I’ll forget the ingredients if I don’t record them now.

My favorite thing about this skillet pasta dish is that I was able to use a couple of items from my own back yard: fresh basil and cherry tomatoes. Also, most of the ingredients were what I just happened to have on hand (I bought the broccoli, the spinach and the bell pepper over the weekend, and I opened my fridge and cupboards for the rest).

So here is the jumbly, hurried version of the recipe – for now. I’m going to let you figure out your own amounts, partly because I didn’t measure anything and partly because I’m about to go to bed. Also, I’ll clean it up and post it on my new Recipes page when I get a chance. (I haven’t formally announced it, but I created a page just for recipes; see RECIPES tab above.)

Suzy’s Skillet Supper

  • Whole-grain penne rigate pasta (or whatever kind you prefer)
  • Olive oil
  • A dash of chicken broth
  • Boneless, skinless chicken, cut into bite-size pieces
  • Fresh garlic (lots)
  • Red bell pepper
  • White onion
  • Fresh broccoli
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • Fresh baby spinach
  • Basil
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Cook everything but the cheese in a big ol’ skillet, saving the spinach and the basil until nearly the end, dish it up, grate the cheese on top, and devour.

Serves a family of four, or Bruce and one small child.

Bon appetit, and good night!

 

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Surprised by lilies

Someone planted lilies in my flower bed while I wasn’t looking.

A few minutes ago, I went out to water the flowers on the front porch, and when I was finished I looked down at the flower bed below and could not believe my eyes.

Two beautiful, pale pink lilies were standing tall next to the nandinas. We left town Thursday morning and didn’t return until Sunday night, so I’m not sure when these beauties sprouted. (Mom watered for me a couple of times while we were gone, but she obviously didn’t see them.)

This was the best photo I could take of my delicate new friends. The rest of the shots are quite foggy; a huge humidity pod has taken over the South, and my camera lens is one of its more sensitive victims. When the temp reaches more than 100 degrees and the humidity is, like, a zillion percent, what chance does a cold little piece of glass have when it meets up with the big bad, moist hot air outside? I just could not keep that foggy lens clear while I took pictures, so I decided to take some through the fog. Those will be known as the “art” shots, although you probably will never see them here because they are SO foggy.

I try not to complain too much about the weather, but I have done my share of whining this year. The humidity makes me cranky. I LOVE our new home in Batesville, but I’ve spent a lot more time in the yard here than I had at the North Little Rock house the past couple of summers. This means more hair washing (sweaty, yucky hair), more showers, more mosquito bites – but in the end, more joy, too.

Have I mentioned I love digging in the dirt? Why, I believe I have mentioned it a couple of times (click here and  here to see my older posts about flowers and gardening).

It’s still true.

Gardening is one of life’s profound and simple pleasures, and if a little humidity (and by that you know I mean a LOT of humidity) is the price I have to pay, it’s worth it.

It’s worth the mosquito bites, the ant hills, the chipped fingernails – even the sweat trickling down places you shouldn’t mention in public.

And every once in a while you get a sweet surprise.

Pale pink lilies.

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I grew these!

I may not be very good with the growing of the food, but I seem to have found one that will grow despite my neglectful ways. These are my first strawberries, and the most successful attempt at growing actual food (several attempts at tomatoes have left me with nothing but anger at the local population of furry critters), so I’m obviously excited.

I bought this strawberry plant two years ago from Josh Hardin of Hardin Farms at the Certified Arkansas Farmers Market in North Little Rock. Josh gave me a few tips, I followed his advice, then promptly got busy with life and forgot about the berry plant. At the end of the first season, I assumed I had neglected it to death, but last summer it was still alive, and a couple of weeks ago I was bringing in the mail and saw a bunch of little itty bitty berries, so I watered it. A few days later, the berries were bigger and bright red, so I picked them. Today, I saw this beautiful sight. More berries to come!

Strawberry shortcake, anyone?

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