Tag Archives: basil

scalloped tomatoes

this should have been posted a while ago but somehow i let this one slip through my fingers.  at any rate, for the family christmas dinner, everyone brings something.  i took a different route this year and made ina garten’s scalloped tomatoes from her new book “How Easy Is That?”   something fresh to stand out of the cheese and carb loaded dishes.  yes, it would be better in the summer but a little summer in winter never hurt anyone.

you’ll need:

  • Good olive oil (in the spirit of Ina)

  • 2 cups (1/2-inch diced) bread
  • 16 plum tomatoes, cut 1/2-inch dice (about 2 1/2 pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup julienned basil leaves, lightly packed
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.   add the bread cubes and stir to coat with the oil.  cook over medium to medium-high heat for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the cubes are evenly browned.

meanwhile, combine the tomatoes, garlic, sugar, salt, and pepper in a large bowl.  when the bread cubes are done, add the tomato mixture and continue to cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes.  off the heat, stir in the basil.

pour the tomato mixture into a shallow (6 to 8 cup) baking dish.  sprinkle evenly with the parmesan cheese and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil.  bake for 35 to 40 minutes until the top is browned and the tomatoes are bubbly.  serve hot or warm.

the dish was simple and a lot of reviews said that is super easy to make ahead.  it was a hit at christmas dinner.  i will be making this in the summer with a few tweaks.  overall, yum!



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bruchetta chicken

this is one long over due post.  but better late than never, right?  any who – this was one from the archives that i haven’t posted.  it slipped through the cracks and i’m slightly embarrassed… at any rate, here it is.  i’m back in action with more posts and boy does it feel good 🙂

this is another recipe that is simple and so yummy (and perfect for a weeknight dinner).  i don’t remember where exactly i found this recipe but man it’s GOOD.

you’ll need:

  • 1/4 cup sun dried tomato vinaigrette dressing
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
  • 1 can of diced tomato (i like to used the basil, oregano and garlic kind but any will do)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella cheese, or more if you’re a cheese head like myself

preheat oven to 350.  in a zip lock bag, toss in the chicken breasts and dressing.  let the chicken marinade for at least 10 minutes in the fridge.  place chicken in a baking dish and bake for 15 minutes.  discard the extra dressing and bag.  combine the diced tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella in a bowl.  after the 15 minutes, flip the chicken and top the chicken with the tomato/basil/cheese mixture.  bake for another 15 minutes.

yes.  it really is that simple.  i served it up with a side of cous cous, which we all know is so simple to make as well.  the dish just looks amazing (and tastes amazing) and requires little effort.  i like that 🙂  yum!

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my herb garden courtesy of Leicher’s Farm

i’ve been using basil and parsley more than normal and i’m pretty sure i will keep using it through out the summer.  it can get expensive buying it at the grocery store so having my own plants would prove to be cost worthy and a good way to exercise my green thumb.

brad and i took a drive up to Leicher’s Farms in Chicora, PA a few Sundays ago.  it’s about an hour from the city but it was an enjoyable hour.  being able to get out of the city and into the country has a calming effect and is a de-stresser.  at least for me.  and getting some fresh country air is good for anyone.

the farm is tucked away on a bendy road but don’t let that fool you.  it has a great shop and a good amount of things to pick from if you’re looking for vegetables, fruits, herbs, flowers and smoked meats amongst other things.  Barry Leicher was a delight to meet and was a big help when i was selecting my herbs.  i ended up getting basil, chives and flat leaf parsley for starters.  i think this might be our go-to farm when we need a short getaway from the craziness of life in the city.

i’m excited to watch my little guys grow like crazy and incorporate them into my summer dishes.

remember – buy local and support your farmers!

click here for more about Leicher’s Farm




lemon mint –

this was not from Leicher’s Farm, i got it from a co-worker (hi, Lindie!) –

but what an interesting herb it is!

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skillet lasagna

i don’t think my recipes are over loaded with butter and things but i find it OK to use them and enjoy something sinfully delicious every once in a while.  tonight isn’t one of those nights but why should i skimp on flavor?   i found this on sparkpeople.com and saw that it had great reviews.  people loved this recipe so i thought to give it a whirl.  i trust others opinions!

you’ll need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • minced garlic
  • 1 can diced tomatoes
  • 1-1/4 cup water
  • 8 oz tomato sauce
  • dried parsley flakes
  • salt
  • whole wheat rotini (or use whole wheat lasagna noodles broken up – my store doesn’t carry them!)
  • 1 cup part skim (or fat free) cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 egg
  • shredded low fat mozzarella cheese for garnish

in a large skillet, brown beef with onions and garlic and drain.  add tomatoes, water, tomato sauce, parsley, basil, oregano, and salt and tir in uncooked pasta.  bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.  combine ricotta and parmesan cheeses and mix in the egg.  drop cheese mixture by rounded tablespoons onto pasta mixture.  cover and cook for 5 minutes more.  sprinkle with shredded mozzarella and serve.

i was very impressed with this dish.  it was so simple!  perfect for a week night meal.  i had some olives and mushrooms left over from a previous night so i tossed them in when i added the tomatoes.  i highly recommend making this recipe if you want something filling, tasty and not time consuming.  yum and YUM!

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homemade meat sauce with pasta

i said in an earlier post i would give you my homemade pasta sauce, and i’m delivering today.

i’m more of a meat sauce fan than meatball fan.  i will make meatballs from time to time to shake things up but for the most part, i’m a meat sauce kind of girl.  i had some left over meat from making hamburgers the other day and  being on the recent pasta kick, i decided to whip out my meat sauce – it’s been a while.

  • ground meat ( i had 1/2 pound)
  • 2 tablespoons garlic, minced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 6 oz. can tomato paste
  • splash of red wine
  • a couple glugs of worchestershire sauce
  • squirt of mustard
  • 1/4 cup oregano leaves
  • basil
  • pasta, of your choice

in a pan over medium-high heat, spray with non-stick cooking oil and cook the garlic and onion until the onion is translucent.  add the meat and brown.  when the meat has browned, add the splash of red wine to deglaze the pan for about a minute or so.  next, add the crushed tomatoes and tomato paste.  stir well to mix the paste in.  add a couple of glugs of worchestershire sauce, the squirt of mustard and the oregano leaves.  stir well, cover and turn the heat to low.

while the sauce is simmering, boil the pasta of your choice.  when the pasta is done, serve the pasta on a plate, spoon the sauce the pasta and top with basil.

bada-bing. bada-boom.  munja.  this dish hits the spot every time.  yum!


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lemon basil pasta with shrimp

i love pasta but sometimes i want something other than a red sauce.  with the weather getting warmer i like to keep my dinners light tasting yet still delicious.  and i also like to cook for the least amount of time possible.  a hot kitchen on a hot day is not ideal.  this quick meal is a one-pot stop that will get you from the stove to the table in no time.

  • spaghetti
  • 1 pound shrimp
  • chopped fresh basil
  • 3 tablespoons drained capers
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1/ teaspoon salt
  • fresh baby leaf spinach

bring water to a boil and add the pasta.  after 8 minutes toss in the shrimp and cook for 3 minutes or until the shrimp is done and pasta is al dente.  drain.  place pasta mixture in a big bowl and stir in basil, capers, olive oil, lemon juice and salt.  serve pasta mixture over the spinach and enjoy.

i really liked this dish.  simple, fresh, nothing too complex but still enjoyable.  i think next time i will try chicken or salmon.  they would mesh well with the other ingredients in my opinion.

while i’m on the subject of the ingredients of this dish, i’ve always been weary about capers.  i don’t know why because i’ve never tried them.  i decided to go ahead and try them at least once and i was pleasantly surprised at how yummy they were.  they definitely added the extra zing to this dish that makes it great to enjoy in the spring time.  consider me now on the caper bandwagon.


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