Monday, July 28, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 7

Grilled Bruschetta Chicken (Kraft Food & Family, Summer 2007)

1/4 cup KRAFT Sun-Dried Tomato Dressing, divided
4 small boneless skinless chicken breast halves (1 lb.)
1 medium tomato, finely chopped
1/2 cup KRAFT Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil or 1 tsp. dried basil leaves

PLACE large sheet of heavy-duty foil over half of grill grate; preheat grill to medium heat. Pour 2 Tbsp. of the dressing over chicken in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Turn bag over several times to evenly coat chicken with the dressing. Refrigerate 10 min. to marinate. Remove chicken from marinade; discard bag and marinade.

GRILL chicken on uncovered side of grill 6 min. Meanwhile, combine tomatoes, cheese, basil and remaining 2 Tbsp. dressing.

TURN chicken over; place, cooked-side up, on foil on grill. Top evenly with tomato mixture. Close lid. Grill an additional 8 min. or until chicken is cooked through (165ºF).

~Serves 4

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 6

Spaghetti with Summer Squash and Tomatoes - Tyler Florence

Kosher salt
1 zucchini, sliced into thin rounds (again...mandolin = best friend)
1 summer squash, sliced into thin rounds
1 pint cherry tomatoes
1/2 onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano leaves
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound spaghetti

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat for the spaghetti.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Combine the squashes, tomatoes, onion, garlic, and oregano in a large bowl. Add the olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and give it all a good toss. Dump that out onto a baking sheet and roast for 10 to 12 minutes, until the squash is tender and caramelized. Scrape the vegetables into a large pasta bowl and cover with a plate to keep everything warm.

The pasta water should be boiling by now. Add the spaghetti and stir to separate the strands. Cook for 8 to 9 minutes, until al dente.

To finish, scoop out about 1/4 cup of the pasta cooking water, drain the pasta, and toss gently with the roasted vegetables and Grilled Shrimp. Add the pasta water if needed.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 5

Herbed-Grilled Tomatoes

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
4 medium tomatoes, halved
1 tablespoon grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley, for garnish

In a wide, shallow bowl, combine the olive oil and next 5 ingredients (through pepper). Add tomatoes, and turn to coat them on all sides.

Prepare grill.

Place tomatoes, cut sides down, on the grill rack. Brush once with remaining marinade, and then discard marinade. Grill about 5-7 minutes on each side over medium-high heat or until tomatoes begin to blister, soften, and brown. (They can burn easily, so keep an eye on them.)

Remove the tomatoes from grill, and top with Parmesan cheese and parsley. Serve immediately.

~Serves 4

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 4

Tomato, Basil & Couscous Salad (Bon Appetit - August 1995)

2 1/4 cups canned chicken broth
1 10-ounce box couscous
1 cup chopped green onions

1 cup (generous) diced seeded plum tomatoes
1/3 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Cherry tomatoes, halved

Bring broth to boil in medium saucepan. Add couscous. Remove from heat. Cover; let stand 5 minutes. Transfer to large bowl. Fluff with fork. Cool.

Mix all ingredients except cherry tomatoes into couscous. Season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Chill.) Garnish with cherry tomatoes.

~Serves 6

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 3

Fresh Tomato Salad with Onions, Feta & Olives (Bon Appetit - August 1999)

5 ripe, large tomatoes; cut into 1/3 inch thick rounds
1 small red onion, thinly sliced (a mandolin works GREAT)
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1 T. balsamic vinegar
4 oz. feta cheese, crumbled
1/4 c. kalamata olives
1 T. fresh parsley

Arrange tomatoes on a platter. Top with onion slices. Drizzle oil and vinegar over top. Sprinkle with
salt & pepper. Allow to stand at room temperature for at least 1 hour.

Sprinkle cheese, olives & parsley over salad and serve.

~Serves 6

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Tomatoes - Day 2

Salsa Roja

2 c. diced fresh tomatoes
1 1/2 c. diced red pepper
1 1/3 c. chopped onion
2 large jalapeno peppers, seeded and diced (**the FDA is warning against these decide)
6 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 c. chopped fresh parsley
1/4 c. fresh lime juice
2 T. finely chiopped fresh oregano
2 T. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl; toss gently. Combine cilantro and remaining ingredients in a small bowl; stir well. Add cilantro mixture to tomato mixture. Serve chilled.

~makes 6 cups

Monday, July 21, 2008

To-may-to, To-mah-to...

The FDA has finally declared that tomatoes are “safe” to eat, because they can’t determine the source of the ”bad” tomatoes. Seriously? I don’t know about you, but I’ve been eating tomatoes all summer, regardless of the FDA warning, and now I’m REALLY glad I did. I feel so bad for all of those local farmers who have lost their season, and for no good reason.

So here is what I’m going to do about it…I’m posting my favorite tomato recipes all week in celebration of the glorious summer staple in hopes that folks will be inspired to spend the second half of their summer buying and eating tomatoes.

Rick's Favorite Salmon with Tomato-Basil Sauce

4 large tomatoes, peeled and seeded*
4 (4-6-ounce) salmon fillets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Place peeled and seeded* tomatoes in a blender or food processor. Process until a chunky purée is formed; set aside.

Season salmon with salt and pepper.
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Melt butter and when foam subsides, place salmon, skin-side up in pan. Brown on both sides, until fish is just cooked through, about 6 minutes, depending on thickness of fillets. Transfer to plate and hold warm.

In same skillet over medium heat, combine puréed tomatoes and heavy cream, scraping any browned bits off the bottom. Simmer until slightly reduced, and sauce is desired consistency. Stir in basil. Adjust seasoning if necessary.

Place salmon on individual serving plates and pour sauce over the top. Serve immediately. (We like ours with a side of angel hair pasta and a little parmesan)

Makes 4 servings.

*To peel and seed a tomato, lightly score an 'x' into the bottom end with a sharp paring knife. Drop into boiling water for 30 seconds, or until skin just begins to tear. Remove with a slotted spoon into ice water. When cool enough to handle, peel off skin, cut in half and gently squeeze to remove seeds. Proceed with recipe.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Look Mom!!

"I cleaned my room! And I did an awesome job all by myself!"



What piles?

Looks perfectly clean to me...

At least he tried. :)

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Too Many Banana's

Are we the only family that ends up with 2-3 banana's too many every time we buy a bunch? I know, I should rip apart the bunches at the store and just buy less...but for whatever reason I just can't bring myself to do that....leaving lingering, lonely banana's. I know, weird.

Anyway, here are a few of the things we like to do with all of those banana's that end up getting brown spots and shoved in the freezer.

**Super fast and HEALTHY banana smoothie**

In blender or food processor add one frozen banana and 1 cup of milk. Puree until smooth. For extra protein add 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter. YUM!

**Awesome Banana Bread**

3 large very ripe banana's (if frozen, thaw quickly buy running under warm water)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1-1/2 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325. In large bowl, mash banana's with fork. Blend in sugar, egg & butter. Add flour, baking soda, salt & a pinch or two of cinnamon. Mix well. Pour batter into greased and floured 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. Bake at 325 for approximately 1 hour. makes 1 loaf.

**Banana Bread Trifle** (pictured below - it was a total experiment and turned out GREAT!!)

1 loaf Banana Bread, cut into 1 inch cubes
3.4 oz. box Banana Cream instant Jello Pudding
2 cups milk
8 oz. Cool Whip whipped topping
2 large banana's, sliced

In a large bowl, whisk pudding mix and milk together for 2 minutes. Fold entire container of Cool Whip into pudding mixture, taking care not to over-stir. Set aside.

In trifle bowl, add half of the banana bread cubes and then half of the banana slices. Next, spoon half of the pudding/whip topping. Next, add the remaining banana bread cubes, banana slices and pudding/whip topping. Sprinkle lightly with cinnamon. Keep cold until ready to serve.

I hope someone else tries it and enjoys it as much as we did on July 4th!! :)

Friday, July 4, 2008

Happy Birthday America!...

I'm finished with the BTRS Swap's what I'll be mailing off to my partner..

I really enjoyed this project, I'm sure there will be plenty more placemat sets in my future. Actually, I'm loving the napkins too...I have sooooo many fabric scraps in my stash that I could make a boatload of napkins. I'm thinking we may be able to make the switch to all fabric napkins (reducing our waste just a little - baby steps!).

And here is the set I received from my BTRS Swap partner, Grace...

Very cute! Wonder what the next swap project will be?

Ok, I'm off to complete the banana bread trifle, then must (must, must, must) start cleaning so that I can enjoy Margarita's at the block party tonight and wake up to a clean house in the morning.

Happy 4th!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Preppy ribbon - hooray!

My venture to the craft store to find ribbon today was a success..yay!! I found the cutest black ribbon with a really nice, preppy little pattern on it and fell in love. I think it goes nicely with the placemats for the BTRS Swap...going to work on them a bit tonight and hope to finish them up tomorrow morning so I can get them in the mail.

Speaking of the swap, I received my placemats & napkins today and even got a little extra surprise in there along with scraps of the napkin fabric to make more goodies! I love them, they are super cute..thank you Grace!!!!! I will take a picture of them and post it as soon as my camera and husband get home from their fishing trip on the Chesapeake Bay.

Got to run, need to get the grubby 5 year old in the shower.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008


Finally working on the BTRS Swap placemats and napkins....and ran into a little snafu. Not enough fabric for the backs to all be the same - so they will be a little more mixy/matchy than planned..but hopefully that will work out. This afternoon I will venture out to find ribbon that will match..hope I can find something!!
So far the project has been super easy - all cutting is simple rectangles, so is moving very quickly! LOVE a quick project...looks like friends and family will be receiving placemats and napkins as gifts!