Garden fresh tomatoes will grow on you

When my sister and brother-in-law decided to spend a few days out of state camping in the rain last week (the rain wasn?t really a part of their original plans), I had the duty of watering and harvesting their humongous garden.

I have no idea how those two manage to eat everything they grow because after only a week, my countertop was completely full of vegetables. They must be on an all-salad summer diet.

So, after surveying the mound of tomatoes sitting in my kitchen, I decided it was time to harvest some of the basil out of my own garden and make something delicious.

The recipe I found to accomplish this feat is for tomato basil chicken, and it came from a blog called ?Menu Musings of a Modern American Mom.? You can find the original at http://menumusings.blogspot.com/2013/04/tomato-basil-chicken.html.

Tomato Basil Chicken

Ingredients

7 ounces of pasta (I used whole-grain penne)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 chicken breasts

salt and black pepper

2 cups chopped, fresh tomatoes

1 tablespoon minced garlic

2 tablespoons cold butter (I used margarine)

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped (stack the leaves and just cut them into ribbons with kitchen shears or a sharp knife)

Parmesan cheese

Directions

Start salted water to boil.

Begin olive oil heating in a large skillet at medium heat.

Season both sides of the chicken breasts with salt and freshly cracked pepper.

When oil is hot enough to sizzle, place the chicken breasts in the pan.

Cook the chicken for about five minutes on each side or until the juices coming out of it run clear when you poke a knife into it.

Add the tomatoes, garlic, butter and basil to the pan. Stir to incorporate all of the ingredients and allow the butter to melt.

Turn the pan down to low and remove the chicken breasts and let them rest on a cutting board for a couple minutes.

When the pasta is done, drain it and divide it into individual bowls.

Divide the sauce between the bowls and then slice the chicken and divide it amongst the bowls, too.

Serve topped with Parmesan cheese (and more chopped basil, if you like).

*?*?*

This had a great, fresh flavor to it, and it was a nice way to use up some of those tomatoes (although I don?t think I really made much of a dent in the pile). It also reheated well, so if you?re looking for something with leftovers, you might make some extra.

If you don?t have access to fresh basil, you may consider using spinach leaves in its place. The flavor would be different, but I think it would still be delicious.

If you?re looking for a way to enjoy these last few moments of summer and the garden bounty that comes with it, I?d recommend giving this one a try.

When not helping husband Joey with newspaper work, Lindsey teaches speech, debate and forensics at Haven High School. She can be reached at lindseyclarion@gmail.com.