“It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown tomato.” Lewis Grizzard

Thanks to one of my husband’s wonderful patients – we have had a surplus of fabulous home grown tomatoes!

I can eat BLT’s all day long, all week – I love them that much – but it still doesn’t use all those home grown beauties before they go bad. So ,I had to come up with another way to use them.

Hello delicious pizza sauce!

I make this up in several batches and freeze.

Pull out of the freezer and use with a pre-made crust for a quick weeknight dinner.

It’s also great to make when tomatoes are not in season, just use canned crushed tomatoes.

Perfect Pizza Sauce

  • 15 oz of fresh tomatoes (peeled) or canned crushed tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 5-6 leaves of fresh basil
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1.5 tablespoons olive oil
  • salt to taste

Blend tomatoes and basil in blender to a chunky puree.

Brown garlic over medium/high heat in olive oil until fragrant (2-3 minutes). Be careful not to burn.

Add blended tomatoes and basil to garlic/oil mixture. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook uncovered for 45 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid is reduced.

Let cool and use to create your favorite pizza or freeze in a zip lock bag until ready to use.

-abp

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“How quick come the reasons for approving what we like!” ~ Jane Austen

Some days I just need to make something quick for dinner.

I don’t mean a frozen pizza but something I actually make.

Something I can feel good about, knowing, I cooked dinner for my family.

But dang it,  sometimes I don’t feel like spending 30-45 minutes in the kitchen making dinner.

As you can tell, I’m not feeling very domestic today. I want/need to feed my family, I want/need to eat and I don’t want/need to get  take out.

The following recipe is a perfect fix for that dilemma.

Make a quick sauce. Boil noodles. Done.

20 minutes top.

I’ll even one up it and throw frozen garlic bread in the oven.

You know, I could try and be hip and say this is a “Meatless Monday” meal.

Even though it is just Sunday……but I’m just not that hip. 🙂

Oh well, it was very tasty, the hubs is happy and I can get back to working on my needlepoint.

Nice lazy day.

Pasta with Tuscan Cream Sauce

(adapted from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe)

  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed or the kind in a jar
  • 1/2 tablespoon dried basil
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, softened and cut into 8 pieces
  • 8-ounce jar sun-dried tomatoes, rinsed, drained and chopped
  • 2 cups milk
  • 6 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about 2 cups)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste, if needed

Melt butter in a skillet over medium heat. Cook garlic, stirring constantly for about 2 minutes.

Add basil, then cream cheese. Whisk constantly for 2-3 minutes until smooth and creamy

Stir in sun-dried tomatoes.

Gradually add the milk, ¼ cup at a time. Each time, whisking until completely blended in sauce.

Once all milk is incorporated, stir in cheese, pepper and salt.

Continue to cook over medium heat, stirring until the cheese is melted (5-10 minutes).

Serve over warm, cooked bow-tie pasta.

Garnish with Parmesan cheese and chopped tomatoes.

**This would be great with a grilled chicken breast**

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-abp

“As long as there’s a few farmers out there, we’ll keep fighting for them.” ~ Willie Nelson

One of the things I love about the spring and summer is the River Market Farmer’s Market every Saturday morning!

It’s a fabulous way to start your Saturday morning! There is just something about it that makes me happy. 🙂

Growing up on a farm with a huge garden will pretty much spoil you to any other kind of vegetables. Unfortunately, for years I had to do without such fresh homegrown vegetables but with the new interest in fresh homegrown food – I am now able to get a little bit of my childhood back.

I love to just look around a grab a few things for the rest of the week but today I had several things on my list that I had to have for tonight’s dinner and they did not disappoint.

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Baked Ziti with Summer Vegetables

  • 4 ounces uncooked ziti
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped yellow squash
  • 1 cup chopped zucchini
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped tomato
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
  • 1 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 1/4 cup (2 ounces) part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Cook pasta according to directions and preheat oven to 400º.

Sauté squash, zucchini and onion in olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Add tomato and garlic for 3-5 more minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients (minus the cooking spray).

Then add cheese mixture to vegetable mixture and pour into an 8 inch square glass or ceramic baking dish coated with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese.

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until bubbly and brown.

 

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“You know what the secret to weight loss is? Don’t eat much.” ~ Simon Cowell

Okay, I’ve been on this healthier, lower carb, gotta loose some baby weight diet for the past few days.

I’ve never liked it, never been good at it and pretty much know I will never stick to it for long but sometimes it just has to be done.

This time around though, I’ve tried to be creative with my “chicken”. Think outside the box a little. So last night, instead of a typical grilled chicken salad – I decided to step it up with Taziki’s Friday Pasta Salad. (with whole grain pasta, of course)

It was fabulous – it did not feel like diet food at all, which is good because I would just as soon eat nothing than eat blah food.

The recipe below is for the full recipe of the dressing which can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks and is great to throw on any salad. The remaining ingredients can be adjusted to how many you are serving. Of course you could always half the dressing too.

Taziki’s Friday Pasta

Dressing

  • 3 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon green onion or shallot, minced
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • Juice from one lemon
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 ½ cups olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Salad

  • 3 chicken breasts, seasoned with Greek seasoning and pan fried, chopped
  • 1 lb of whole wheat penne pasta
  • 2 small tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 bag mixed greens
  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • Handful of chopped basil

For the dressing, put first 6 ingredients through mustard in bowl, mix. Then slowly whisk in olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate, covered for at least 30 minutes.

Combine chopped chicken and cooked pasta and coat with dressing (amount determined by how much you made)

Mix greens and place a serving size on each plate. Top with pasta/chicken mixture. Then sprinkle tomatoes, feta and basil.

You may want to add a little dressing to your greens as well. Just a personal preference and how healthy you want to be. 😉

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-abp

“A kiss makes the heart young again and wipes out the years.” ~ Rupert Brooke

I love Valentine’s Day – the love, the candy, the colors.  It’s just a fun but low key holiday. A time that you can be cheesy in love with your significant other or other family members.

My husband’s favorite type of food is Italian, so in honor of my sweetheart this Valentine’s Day week, I am making three Italian dinners. The first one being a very simple dish that on a plate doesn’t look so simple.

Would be a great 1st dinner you cook for a new love! 🙂

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken

(adapted from Menu Musings of an American Modern Mom)

  • 1 lb fettuccine
  • 4 chicken cutlets
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • Dry Italian seasoning
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 pints of cherry tomatoes (halved and quartered)
  • 2 Tablespoons minced garlic (I used the jarred kind to save time)
  • 4 Tablespoons cold butter
  • ¾ cup basil – divided (cut into ribbons)
  • Parmesan Cheese

Start water for fettuccine and heat up olive oil in large pan on medium/high heat.

Season both sides of chicken with salt, pepper and Italian seasonings.

Brown chicken for 4-5 minutes on both sides.

Add in tomatoes, garlic, ½ cup basil and butter. Cook down for about 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cover and keep warm until fettuccine is ready.

Serve chicken over pasta with sauce and top with remaining basil and Parmesan cheese.

Love on a plate!

Sweetheart Tomato and Basil Chicken | Poore Amy-abp

“Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold.” ~ Andre Maurois

Last week was cold.

I mean stupid cold.

This is why I live in the south people!!! To avoid this kind of weather!!!

How do people up north deal with this on a yearly basis. I totally hibernated. And what goes well with hibernation?

Warm, comfort food!

(and red wine)

So that’s what we had for dinner.

Goulash

(adapted from the Deen Brothers)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Brown meat and onion in a large dutch oven, drain. Then add all remaining ingredients except for macaroni. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add macaroni and simmer for another 20 minutes. Then let goulash stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Goes great with hot cornbread!

goulash

Stay warm!

-abp

“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated.” ~ Confucius

In preparation for how much my life is going to change in a couple months, I’ve been scouring over Pinterest for more simple but still flavorful meals.  I have a feeling that the crock pot and I are going to be taking our relationship to the next level….

This one has now been added to the must do again list.

It smelled so good cooking and this pregnant girl was so hungry – she forgot to take a picture before she dove in. So the pic below was taken with my phone and is of my mom’s plate who luckily is very neat eater.

Oh well. 🙂

Crazy Slow Cooker Pork Chops

(adapted from Recipelion.com)

  • 4 pork chops (I used boneless)
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 1 tsp butter
  • 1 Tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp sage
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • parsley, for garnish

In a small saucepan, melt butter and whisk in broth and seasoning.

Place onion, garlic and pork in crock pot and pour over the sauce on the top.

Cook on low for 6-8 hours.

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Enjoy!

-abp

4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99
4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99
4 loin chops, lean 1 medium onion, sliced 1 teaspoon butter salt and pepper, to taste 1 tablespoon garlic powder 1 teaspoon sage 1 teaspoon oregano 1 teaspoon basil 1 cup chicken broth 2 cloves of garlic, minced 1 tablespoon paprika 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper parsley, garnish
Read more at http://www.recipelion.com/Crock-Pot-Recipes/Crazy-Crockpot-Pork-Chops#yPJvWd2zJYYeE4AY.99