Tomato Basil Pie

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I have a friend who shared a similar re open with me, but it didn’t have the cheese. This one sounds wonderful and I love goat cheese. I will be making this one in the near future…after I pick up some tomatoes from the local farmers market… and I have plenty of fresh basil from my herb garden too!

Vegetarian Spaghetti

So, I’m not a vegetarian, but today I forgot to take either fish, beef, or chicken out of the freezer, and I wasn’t in the mood to spent a lot of time cooking tonight. 

I also have an abundance of zucchini in the fridge from my visit to the farmers market a couple of weeks ago.  Because it was so fresh, it has kept in the fridge, but I really need to start using it up!    I also have a couple of bell peppers from the farmers market and some marinara sauce that I made from garden tomatoes.

So tonight’s dinner was a simple and fast veggies and spaghetti with marinara sauce.

Once the spaghetti was cooked, I went to work making the veggies, chopping bell peppers and zucchini in big chunks.  I sauteed them in my wok and the added the marinara sauce, tossed with the spaghetti and wala!!! Dinner is 
erved.

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Oh, and I grated some fresh parmesan as well, because it isn’t Italian without parmesan cheese!

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Quick and Easy pasta Carbonara

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Yes, quick and easy.  I know, I always thought carbonara was difficult and complicated.  But it isn’t!  And the great thing about it, you can adjust the ingredients for the # of servings you want to make.  Tonight I made a single serving because I only had pasta for one. 

Cut bacon into small pieces.  Dice some onion, put in a pan over medium heat to cook. Meanwhile cook pasta according to pkg directions.  Take eggs (1 for each serving you are making) and beat well.

When pasta is finished, drain pasta, saving some of the pasta water.  Add pasta water to egg a little bit at a time.  For 3 eggs you use 1/2 cup, so adjust amount of water based on # of eggs and servings you are making.

Add egg mixture to pasta, and heat so that it thickens a bit, add bacon and onion, toss.  Place on serving plate or bowl. Top with parmesan cheese and serve with garlic bread if you like.

Cheesy Chicken Broccoli Soup

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Tonight I decided to use some broccoli that I froze a couple of months ago.  I had been trying to decide what to do with it, then remembered I had some velvetta cheese in the pantry.

One chopped onion, sauteed in olive oil, couple tablespoons flour To help thickened the soup, couple cups chicken broth, one chicken breast-poached, chopped broccoli, velvetta cheese, a little garlic powder, and salt/pepper and wala!!  Dinner is served…with a slice of homemade bread that I made using the extra pizza dough I made the other day.

A special thanks to my friend Michelle Petschauer Spillman for sharing the recipe with me MANY years ago when we lived at Irish Hills and worked at Holy Cross together!

Awesome Homemade Pizza – Great Crust!!

I found another pizza crust recipe in one of my cookbooks that is even better than the last one I posted here.  The best part about this one – youcan use it the same day!  The other recipe called for letting the dough “rest” for 24 hours before using it.

Another great thing about this dough…. It makes a great bread!

My pizza last night was pretty simple – cheese.  Mozzerella and parmesan cheese over Cantina Pizza sauce spread on the dough.  As you can see from the picture, I baked it a tad too long, but that I fine with me, cause I love a crunchy crust.  Speaking of which, in order not to have a soggy crust in the middle, I put the pizza crust in the oven at 450 for 10 minutes, then took it out, added the sauce and cheese and returned it to the oven for another 15 minutes.  At 450*, next time I will put the crust in the oven for just 5 minutes and then top it and return it to the oven.

YUM!

Baked Eggplant Parm and Zucchini “sticks”

So,  a couple of weeks ago I went to the farmers market.  I love going there – the veggies are always so fresh, and you get a lot for your money.  They also keep for a long time in the fridge because they are so fresh; which is why I still have zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant (among other veggies) still in my fridge.  I know I need to use them, or make something that can be canned, or frozen for future use before they go bad.

I got an idea from a “pin” on Pinterest from my niece Jessie, about making baked breaded zucchini sticks, and that was also my inspiration for the baked eggplant parmasan that I made tonight.

ZUCCHINI STICKS

1 – cut up the zucchini in 3 – 4 inch sticks, and pat them dry with a paper towel.
2 – toss them in a bit of flour
3 – dredge them in egg whites
4 – dredge them in a mixture of panko bread crumbs and italian seasoning

5 – place on foil lined and pam sprayed cookie sheet

6 – Baked in 450* oven for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.  turn sticks 1/2 through for even browning.

BAKED EGGPLANT PARMASAN

I used the same process to bread the eggplant that I used for the zucchini sticks above. Prepped eggplant – skin cut off egg plant and cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

At this point you can take some of the eggplant and put it in the freezer.  Once it has frozen on the cookie sheet, transfer pieces to plastic bag and return to freezer for later use.   Bake eggplant for 20 minutes at 450*, turning 1/2 through.

Once eggplant is done, top with sauce of your choice, shredded cheese of your choice (I used mozzerella), and return to oven for about 5 minutes to melt cheese and let it lightly brown.

You can serve the eggplant parmesan with a side of pasta of your choice as well, or just have it by itself.

Sweet, Spicy, and Cheesy

This evening I pulled out some of those butternut ravioli that I made this weekend.  I wanted to make a cream sauce to go with them so I took to the internet to find something to give me some idea of what I might make.  I came across a creamy pesto recipe, and from there, I started to modify…

I started with a couple of jalapeno peppers, diced them, took a couple of yellow banana peppers and a couple red banana peppers and diced them up as well.  Saute’d them in olive oil/butter, then added some homemade pesto sauce I had in the fridge.  To this I added some milk (maybe a couple of cups or so), I also mixed some (about a tablespoon) of corn starch with a couple tablespoons of milk and added this to the sauce.  I continued to heat the sauce, stirring constantly, until it thickened to my liking.   The butternut squash was made in slow boiling salt water for 3 -4 minutes, then added to a few tablespoons of the creamy pesto sauce.  Last – I topped the ravioli with parmesan cheese.

This was really yummy!  Just enough spicy to go along with the sweetness of the butternut squash.  MMMM MMM MMM!!

 

Oh, and for dessert – a piece of pear pie!

 

Remembering my Mom…and Her Homemade Chili

As the weather is turning chilly (can’t say cold, since here in texas it is still getting into the 70/80s and even 90s sometimes – during the day), my thoughts turned to chili.  My mom used to make homemade Chili Mac during weather like this.  I have been craving some of her chili, and missing her too (mom passed away in 2008), so I went in search and found my mom’s recipe in an old cookbook I have from her.  Made a nice big pot of chili, and packaged single servings to freeze for enjoying in the coming weeks.

I also made a homemade pear pie a few days ago.  That won’t be frozen.  I’m sure it will be gone by week’s end…

New twist with Artichoke Spinach Ravioli!

Remember the homemade artichoke spinach ravioli I made a few weeks back?  Well for dinner tonight I came up with a new twist!  Fried Artichoke Spinach Ravioli with homemade marinara sauce!  It was really yummy!!

What did I do?  Well, I took the frozen ravioli, dredged it through an eggwash and then crushed garlic/onion croutons (bread crumbs), and then fried them in a pan of grapeseed oil.  I like using grapeseed oil for a couple of reasons: 1) It has a high flashpoint, so you can heat it up without it smoking a lot or it starting to burn; 2) it is a polyunsaturated fat, and is one of the “good for you” oils; 3) it has a very light and mild flavor, so you don’t really taste the oil, just the food that you cooked in it!

For the marinara sauce I merely took a 15 oz can of diced tomatoes, and using my immersion blender, pureed the tomatoes a bit, leaving them a little chunky.  To the pureed tomatoes I added 1 teaspoon of itialian seasoning, a little salt and pepper to taste.  NOTE:  My tomatoes did not have any added sodium – so be careful of over salting if you try this – make sure your canned tomatoes do not have any added sodium, otherwise your marinara sauce is going to be too salty.

I topped everything with freshly grated parmesan/ramano cheese.  Bon Apetite!