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Caprise Salad

Caprise salad

This is such a yummy, fresh, and cool summer lunch or dinner side dish.
Alter the amounts to suite your needs and taste.

Tomatoes, roughly chopped
Salt
Olive oil
Fresh mozzarella, roughly chopped
Basil, chopped fine
Balsamic reduction (recipe below)

Put the tomatoes in a strainer and sprinkle generously with salt. Let sit for a few minute, giving them a stir every once in a while. This will help them not make everything too runny.

Then coat them lightly with olive oil.

Layer the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil on a plate, and drizzle with the balsamic.

Balsamic Reduction:
1 c Balsamic vinegar
2 shallots, diced (or use 1/2 small onion)
1-2 cloves garlic, minced

Put ingredients in a small pot and boil, stirring occasionally, until it is starting to thicken up, and had reduced in amount.

Caprise salad

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Pudding Bars

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

The other day I started craving the custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn. Actually, I’m still sort of craving it, because what I eventually made wasn’t the same. It was GREAT, but different.

So for those of you who are not craving custard and pudding pizza from Pizza Inn, this should satisfy cookie and chocolate cravings.

I did use some custard when I made this, but since the pudding is custard based, and there wasn’t much actual custard to begin with, you can’t taste it, and I think it’s totally unnessessary.

Pudding Bars

Double batch of short bread crust dough
1/2 batch of dark chocolate pudding (make a whole batch and eat some!)
1 batch of meringue pie topping

Preheat oven to 425.

Give a 9×13 baking dish a quick spritz with baking spray and spread the shortbread dough out. Place the dish in the freezer for 15 minutes.

Cook the crust for 13-15 minutes or until golden. Let cool.

Spread the cooled pudding out on top of the crust, and freeze for 15 more minutes.

Then spread the meringue topping out on the pudding.

Bake at 325 for 15 minutes, or until meringue is golden on top.

Be careful if you’re using glass. Pyrex should transfer from the freezer to the oven without cracking, but some cheaper brands or other glassware might crack with the temperature change.

chocolate pudding meringue shortcake bars

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Bolognese Sauce

Here is another Pastor Ryan recipe.

Pastor Ryan’s Bolognese sauce

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2009/05/ryans-bolognese-sauce/
I made mine with Morningstar Farms veggie crumbles instead of meat, but my sister made it with meat and said it was good. So I think this is a versatile recipe that will work with fake meat, turkey, and/or beef.

I used fresh herbs in mine, too, because I had them growing on my patio.

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Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes

Until now most of my recipes have been tweaked enough that I wanted to repost the whole recipe. But when it comes to recipes from Pioneer Woman, they’re usually difficult to improve. Plus she takes such wonderful pictures that I it’s just a way better idea to link you to her recipes and let you see for yourself.

This recipe is actually by her friend Pastor Ryan, and man does he make good food!

Pastor Ryan’s Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/07/roasted-ricotta-roma-tomatoes/

I made these last week while we were at the beach. My mom was having guests over and I pulled together a quick lunch for them. Mostly it was an excuse to try this recipe. Everyone loved it. They taste like little (low carb, i bet) pizzas.

These are my new favorite appetizer, and if you invite me to any gathering in the near future I’ll probably bring some!

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Chicken Parm

Chicken tenders mixed with pasta, sounds like a meal created just for me. I’ve made chicken tenders plenty of times, and of course I’ve made pasta, but I’d never thought to make Chicken Parm until the other night. It’s definitely a keeper.

Chicken Parm

3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
flour
milk

2 eggs
bread crumbs or ground pretzels (i used both)
olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
spaghetti or other noodle
pasta sauce
mozerella

Using a mallet or rolling pin, pound the chicken breasts thin, and then cut each one in half long ways, so that you have six large chicken tenders.

Put flour, milk, egg (beaten), and breadcrumbs in separate bowls. Dip the chicken in the flour, then in the milk, then back in the flour, then in the egg, and then in the bread crumbs. You could leave out the milk and second flour dredge if you wanted to, but this way has a thicker batter.

Heat butter and olive oil in a large skillet on medium-medium high heat. You want about 1/2 – 1 inch of oil. When you think the oil is hot, drop a small bit of the batter into the oil, it should start bubbling immediately.

Once you’ve determined that the oil is hot enough, drop 3 of the chicken tenders in. Heat until golden brown and flip. Heat the second side until golden brown. Place the chicken in a baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken.

Use a meat thermometer to see if the chicken is done… it should be about 165-170 right after it comes out of the oil. If it isn’t, then put in the oven on 350 while you cook the pasta. If the chicken is done, then put in the oven set to 175, just to keep them warm.

Make the pasta, and serve onto plates. Top with a chicken tender and generous amounts of sauce and cheese.

chicken parm 4.26.09chicken parm 4.26.09chicken parm 4.26.09chicken parm 4.26.09
chicken parm 4.26.09

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Super Veggie Lasagna

Lasagna. I love lasagna. I always make way too much and end up freezing half of it, and then it gets all freezer burned, and I turn my nose up at the thought of eating it when I find it in the back of the freezer months later.

But I still make it, and it’s worth it.

Super Veggie Lasagna

1 box no-boil lasagna noodles
1 medium tub of ricotta
1 egg
2 cups shredded mozerella, divided
1 cup parmesan
2-3 cloves of minced garlic
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 can pumpkin, or 1/2-1 butternut squash, cooked
2 small zucchini, roughly diced
2 small yellow squash, rougly diced
1 can artichoke hearts, drained and finely chopped
1 medium red onion, diced
1 cup diced or shredded carrot
1 cup cooked chopped spinach, drained (I use frozen)
2-3 med sized jars of your favorite pasta sauce (or make your own)

Pour 1 cup of sauce in the bottom of a long pyrex, and cover with no-bake noodles. Top with 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1/2 of the veggies, and a handful of cheese. Add more sauce and repeat. Add more sauce and top with remaining ricotta and cheese. Then a layer of sauce, a layer of noodles, and another layer of sauce. Top with a handful of mozerella, and bake covered for 50 minutes at 375. Remove cover and bake for a few more minute until cheese starts to brown. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving.

You can really do the layers in any order… just make sure every layer of noodles has sauce one at least one side. And you can always add more veggies.

Note: I guessed on most of these amounts, so if you prefer less of a certain veggie, it’ll work just fine. You can leave out any of these veggies, and add any that sound good to you.

You can also saute any of the veggies before adding them, and it’ll up the flavor.

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