The amazing cooks I know…

It’s been too long since I featured some of the amazing food that I eat after other peoples hard work. A few weeks ago my dear friend Amanda, who I met at work came over to visit Elena and I. Not only did she bring wine she also brought everything to cook us dinner. I was already grateful for her company and delicious food but we also had a good cribbage match (I won) and she did the dishes…talk about an amazing friend. For those of you who have moved to a city that you didn’t grow up in or go to college in you will agree it’s always fun to make new friends. I was blessed to be introduced to Ryan’s friends from growing up when we moved here and I nowcall them my best friends as well but it’s always fun when you start to make your first friends on your own. Amanda is one of those women for me. After working at Regions Hospital for about six months I had seen her a few times in medical rounds and then noticed her wearing something Badger (I can’t remember if it was her badge holder or what). As most of you know I’m a huge UW-Madison fan as I am an alum (Go Bucky!) so I struck up a conversation that likely went something like this:

Me: “Hey are you a Badger fan”

Amanda: “Yeah I went there for college”

Me: “Me too. Want to come over this weekend to watch the football game”

Amanda: “Definitely”

…the rest is history. We’ve attended Badger/Gopher basketball games together, attended an alumni event and watched football games together. She’s just as into sports as me and always up to talk about the recent game and news at work. So, over the years we have become great buds. We have much more in common than Madison such as our love for cooking, laughing, playing cribbage, gardening, etc…

Have I talked her up enough!?! Okay, well now let me show you what she made for dinner.

Amandas Ravioli with Chicken, Asparagus, Roasted Tomatoes topped with Fresh Basil Pesto


  • Roasted tomatoes (see recipe below)
  • Fresh basil pesto (see recipe below or you could use store bought but you would lose a lot of the fresh taste)
  • Two package of pre-made ravioli, any type (we used one mushroom, one beef)
  • 3 chicken breasts, pounded so they have a thin consistent thickness
  • Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • One bunch of Asparagus, washed with the ends trimmed off

Things that can be made ahead:

Roasted Tomatoes: 

Toss cherry tomatoes with a little olive oil, salt and pepper, place on a pan. Cook in the oven at 350 until the juices start to run and the tomatos are kinda of shrivelled up (~30-40 minutes)

Fresh Basil Pesto:
2 cups packed fresh basil
1/3 cup pine nuts
1/2 cup shredded parmesean
3 cloves of garlic (FYI: Amanda uses a couple more than this because she love garlic)
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in a  a food processor, blend then slowly add 1/2 cup olive oil

Day of Directions:

  1. Fill a pot with water and bring to boil
  2. Heat grill to 400 degrees
  3. Pound out chicken until it is equal thickness throughout between 2 pieces of wax or parchment paper (You can just used a flat pan for this if you dont have a meat pounder)
  4. Season chicken with Grill Mates Monterey Steak seasoning
  5. Spray grill pan and place asparagus and chicken on the grill pan. Grill until cooked (~6-7 minutes per side)
  6. While the chicken and asparagus are cooking place ravioli in the boiling water and cook according to the directions.
  7. Once the chicken and asparagus are done, let the chicken rest, then cut into pieces
  8. Place a few ravioli onto a bowl or plate, layer with chicken, asparagus, cold roasted tomatoes top with pesto and serve.