Blog Archives

Stacked Tomato and Goat Cheese Salad

20200704_184142

Stacked Tomato Salad with Black Olive Tapenade and Sweet Basil Dressing

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds ripe tomatoes, (beefsteak, yellow, and heirloom), sliced into 1/2-inch thick rounds
  • Tapenade, recipe follows*
  • 1-pound goat cheese, thinly sliced (or use Mozzarella, but goat is better)
  • Fresh basil leaves and sprigs, for layering and for garnish

Sweet Basil Dressing, recipe follows below

Directions

Place a tomato slice on a plate and spread with some of the tapenade. Then place a slice of the goat cheese on top, add a few basil leaves, and finish with another tomato slice. You can add another layer to make Napoleon as high as you desire. Top with another small spoonful of the tapenade and then drizzle the Sweet Basil Dressing over the tomato and around the plate. Garnish with a sprig of fresh basil and repeat to make 4 to 6 plates. For a smaller version, use Roma tomatoes.

Tapenade (Honestly, I buy a small jar at the store…a whole lot easier)

  • 2 cups kalamata or niçoise olives, pitted
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled, coarsely chopped
  • 5 anchovy fillets
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Combine olives, garlic, anchovies and pine nuts in a food processor and process until smooth. With the motor running, slowly add the oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Sweet Basil Dressing

  • 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3/4 cup pure olive oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 12 basil leaves, cut into chiffonade (roll the leaves in a little tube shape and slice across the leaves)

Whisk together vinegar, Dijon mustard, and honey in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the olive oil until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, and then stir in the basil.

20200704_184300

Zucchini Lasagna

Quite a while back I had posted a KETO lasagna recipe using zucchini zoodles. Now that we are Keto Conscious I have given myself a little more leeway with what we eat. But…this recipe is really still Keto but assembled in a little different manner, for those who do not own a spiralizer! It was great with a few different ingredients.

20200515_130814

 

 

Oven Ready in 9 x 13 pan

Zucchini Lasagna

Ingredients

  • 3 large zucchinis
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1-pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced
  • 24-ounce jar marinara or Bolognese sauce
  • 16 ounces ricotta cheese
  • 1 cup chopped spinach
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • cooking spray
  • fresh basil garnish
  1. Trim both ends off the zucchini.
  2. Use a mandolin to cut the zucchini into 1/8-inch slices. Sprinkle salt over the zucchini slices, then lay them out on a layer of paper towels to drain. Let sit for at least 10 minutes.
  3. Pat the tops of the zucchini slices with paper towels until dry.
  4. While the zucchini is resting, prepare the sauce. Heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
  5. Add the ground beef and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Cook for 5-6 minutes, breaking the meat up with a spatula, until beef is browned and cooked through.
  7. Add the onion and cook for another 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds.
  8. Add the marinara sauce and bring to a simmer; cook for 5 minutes.
  9. Place the ricotta cheese, chopped spinach, Italian seasoning, egg, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper in a bowl. Mix until well combined.
  10. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 2- or 3-quart baking dish with cooking spray.
  11. Place 1/4 of the sauce in the bottom of the dish. Add 1/3 of the zucchini slices on top. Spread 1/3 of the ricotta mixture over the zucchini then top with 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat the layers, ending with the mozzarella cheese.
  12. Cover and bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake for an additional 20 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley, then let stand for 5-7 minutes. Cut into slices, then serve.

20200515_190806

 

Penne alla Vodka

No doubt you have had this dish at any one of thousands of Italian restaurants around the world. It really is quite simple once you have prepared the sauce. You can use canned tomatoes, but in this case I used 2 larger fresh tomatoes, NOT plum. I simply chopped them up. One thing of note – do NOT use more than 3 – 4 tablespoons of vodka, as it will leave the dish bitter…

Penne Vodka

Penne alla Vodka

Ingredients

  • 28 oz. whole plum tomatoes, undrained OR 2 large fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 3-4 Tablespoons vodka
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¾ cup heavy cream
  • 2 Tablespoons cold butter
  • Salt/Pepper, to taste
  • 1 lb. Penne
  • Fresh parsley, roughly chopped
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese, finely grated

Instructions

Puree the tomatoes in a blender, food mill, or an immersion blender and set aside. You can decide how chunky or uniform you’d like the tomatoes to be. I simply chopped them up!

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the thinly sliced garlic and the basil. Cook for 1-2 minutes, until fragrant and softened.

Turn off the heat.

Add the vodka to the pan and let it sizzle. Turn the heat back to medium and reduce the vodka until there is about a Tablespoon left.

Add the pureed tomatoes and let it simmer for 45 minutes or so, allowing it to reduce and become quite thick.

During the last 12 minutes or so, cook the penne according to package instructions. For saucier pasta, use ¾ lb. instead of the full pound. Reserve 1/4 cup pasta water.

Add the heavy cream and the red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Add 2 Tablespoons cold butter to the sauce, along with 1/4 cup pasta water. Stir to combine.

Season with salt/pepper if desired.

Add in the drained pasta.

Garnish with roughly chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese and serve!

 

 

Larry’s Meatloaf (My spouse)

Some unknown person is always tinkering with my recipes? This time I made that someone (?) write down what he did. It was incredible and very moist! What can I say??? This was supposed our takeout and movie night vicariously with friends, during COVID-19, but we stayed in and he cooked. With these garlicky green beans the meal was awesome.

20200326_181114

LARRY’S MEATLOAF

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 pounds of ground beef and pork
  • 3 strips of bacon for topping the meatloaf
  • ¼ cup of tomato pesto for topping the meat loaf
  • 3/4 cup of crushed pork rinds

 

  • ½ medium white onion, finely diced
  • 3 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 2 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 tsp rosemary, chopped
  • 1 tsp thyme

 Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • 1 – 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • 2 teaspoons white vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon BBQ sauce (I use Weber hickory)
  • 1 tablespoon liquid smoke

 

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Lightly spray a 5 x 9-inch loaf pan with oil and line with parchment.
  2. Add 1 Tbsp butter and 1 Tbsp of water to a small fry pan, add in the onion and garlic and caramelize over low heat. When caramelized, add in the herbs. Set aside.
  3. Place the meat in large bowl. Set aside.
  4. Mix the sauce ingredients well and then stir in the caramelized onion mix and the crushed pork rinds.
  5. Pour mixture over the meat and blend well using your fingers.
  6. Put into loaf pan and pat down.
  7. Cut bacon into short pieces and place on top, then add the tomato pesto over the loaf.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees F, covering lightly with foil after 45 minutes. Meat thermometer should register 165 degrees F. (about 1 hr. to 1 hr. 15 min).
  9. When meat is done, juices will be clear. Drain any fat and let sit about 10 minutes before slicing.

 

One Dish Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomato and Brie

Pasta with Roasted Red Peppers, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, & Brie

Searching for a pasta dish to use up the rest of my roasted peppers…I came across this one which turned out to be a one pot dinner! Eureka. I hate dishes…LOL. The original concept for the one pot pasta came from Martha Stewart. The recipe I adapted was from www.thekitchn.com With supervision this would be a good recipe for young cooks!

As always, my changes or substitutions are in red.

Serves 2 as large entree, or 4 as first course

12 ounces linguine, broken in half

1 cup packed basil leaves I used arugula…
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers buy a jar if you are in a hurry
1/2 cup sliced oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes mine turned out to be a jar of sun-dried tomato pesto
3-4 large garlic cloves, pressed
4 1/2 cups water or less

1 small can of green peas
2 tablespoons oil from the jar of sun-dried tomatoes (or regular olive oil)
1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste
Pinch red pepper flakes
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
8 ounces brie cheese, rind removed and torn into pieces I substituted cubes of feta
Grated Parmesan, for serving
Good quality olive oil, for serving

  • Combine linguine, basil, roasted peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, and garlic in a 3-quart straight-sided skillet. Add the water, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and a generous amount of black pepper and bring to a full rolling boil over high heat. Using tongs, stir and turn the pasta frequently to prevent sticking. Cook until al dente, approximately 9 to 10 minutes. Remove the skillet from the heat. (If there is still a little bit of cooking water pour some, but not all, into a separate bowl.)
    Add the brie and toss with tongs until creamy and melted. Season with additional salt and pepper, to taste. The sauce will naturally thicken up after a couple of minutes. Serve with grated Parmesan and a swirl of good olive oil. (If the pasta does seem to need liquid, add back a few splashes of reserved cooking liquid.)

NOTE: You can use almost any vegetables you like…

Tomato Ravioli

Costco Dilemma again…what to do with those double sized packages of stuffed ravioli? KISS to the forefront!!!

Tomato Ravioli       http://www.myrecipes.com

Ingredients:

1 package of stuffed ravioli from Costco (mine was spinach and chicken)

1 pound of cherry tomatoes

2 shallots cut into wedges (or use green onions)

cooking spray

3 Tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided

2 Tablespoons of Balsamic vinegar

Parmesan cheese

Chopped fresh basil.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

Cut tomatoes in half and spread on a cookie sheet sprayed with a little cooking spray, sprinkling with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil. Toss. Bake at 425 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes. Watch em!!

Add 2 Tablespoons more oil, vinegar, salt and pepper to the tomatoes and stir. Continue baking 5 to 10 minutes.

Cook ravioli according to the package directions. Drain well. Toss with the roasted tomatoes, Parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil. Serve.

NB…you can dress this dish up a notch by cooking  8 to 10 raw shrimp, slicing them in half horizontally and rimming the platter of raviolis…