It's a Keeper: Turbo Classics Menu

When I have friends over for dinner for the first time, I just take all the thinking out of it and make Rachael Ray's Pesto Torta and her Turbo Classics menu: Garlic Roast Chicken with Rosemary and Lemon, Pesto Mashed Potatoes and Sweet and Bitter Greens Salad with Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Dressing. You can find all these recipes in Cooking 'Round the Clock.

We started with the Pesto Torta. This really couldn't be any easier and I've never met a guest that didn't like it. Next time I make it, I think I will cut the recipe in half, since I think it would look prettier that way with the dish I use to make it. I just serve it with Triscuits and sometimes a sliced baguette. Rachael's recipe is here, but you can see my tweaks over at the Sacramento Food Group, since this is what I brought to the Sacramento Food Bloggers Potluck.

Next on the menu is the Roasted Garlic Chicken with Lemon and Rosemary. I like serving this when I have friends over because you just throw the darn thing in the oven. This cuts down on the necessity of multi-tasking while cooking, chatting and drinking a glass of wine all at the same time. Plus, everyone seems to like the flavors here: garlic, rosemary, lemon and white wine. The only scary part is making sure that the chicken is fully cooked. That's my husband's job. He says he can just feel how firm it is in order to tell it's cooked through. Sounds like magic to me.

Also on the menu was Sweet and Bitter Greens Salad with Gorgonzola Blue Cheese Dressing. I tweak the salad a bit, since (a) I don't like romaine and (b) they never have watercress in my grocery store. I still use the endive, but with organic mixed greens instead. If you make sure that your guests like blue cheese, then you can be pretty sure they'll like gorgonzola. The combination of walnuts, pears and gorgonzola is just divine. Plus, it really makes you look like a fancy chef when you bring it to the table.

If I could have taken a good picture of the Pesto Smashed Potatoes, I would have. They ended up more brown than green, which simply didn't look appetizing when photographed. But the flavor was familiar enough to be comfortable, but with a bit of flair to make it interesting. If I make this menu just for us, I omit the mashed potatoes, due to our strict adherence to Phase 4 of the South Beach Diet. Tee hee.

Give this menu a try next time you have a dinner party!


  1. I love the combination of walnuts, pears and gorgonzola. I made this bread once with those ingredients, some proscuitto and a few other things and it was heavenly.

    I like the sound of the pesto torta.

  2. I don't know if you saw this, but MSN had a video up debating whether Rachael Ray or Martha Stewart is the reigning domestic diva....thought u might be interested.

  3. Home Cook - I wish I could have gotten a good picture of the taters. They were good, too.

    Journalist - thank you! I have been working on a post about that, since there are a ton of articles about the topic recently. I will go check it out.

  4. Mmmm - everything is better with pesto in/on it!

  5. I definitely love recipes you can throw in the oven. I actually prefer them. I want to try that Rosemary/Lemon Chicken recipe!

  6. Shawnda - so true. It was a pesto-rific night.

    Jennifer - it's tough to do it in 30 minutes, but I think cutting up the chicken breasts into chunks is the key. You really should try it, it's a standby in our house.

  7. This is a very good recipe! I have made it before.

    If you ever want to do a twist or modify it, it is also just as easy to put it on skewers(like kabobs) with any veggies(bell peppers, mushrooms, cherry tomatoes etc.) you want and served simply with steamed rice. Takes no time or effort at all.

  8. Thank you, Carla. Those are great ideas.


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