Easy Chicken Parmesan

Hello– This was dinner tonight and I’m definitely adding this recipe to my chicken dinner rotation.  So quick & easy and it turned out tender and so savory good. To keep it light, we just added a big bright salad and some chunks of sturdy bread.  Super summer supper.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup flour
1 egg
3/4 bread crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 tab. olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, broken to bits
1/2  cup tomato sauce
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: fresh basil or marjoram*

Slice the chicken breast horizontally to form two flatter chicken filets.

Take 3 flat bowls.  In the first put the flour.  I the second put the egg, well beaten.  And in the third the bread crumbs and parmesan, mixed together.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet.  Then dredge the chicken filets first in the flour, next in the egg and lastly in the crumb-parmesan mixture.  Lay the chicken in the hot skillet and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side until nicely browned and cooked through.

Place the chicken on a baking sheet or baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.  Top with with the mozzarella and set under the hot broiler for just a minute or two until the cheese is well melted.

Take if from the oven and top with a mixture of the tomato sauce and dried basil.  Garnish with fresh basil or marjoram and serve it up hot.

*I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in the side yard.


Fresh Tomato Pasta Sauce

Hey there–  We have the end of the tomato crop in the house and happily, had saved this beautiful pasta sauce recipe from my blog-buddy Mollie at The Frugal Hausfrau .  I think you’d love here recipes, bright, super practical and always something you’d love to have on your table.

And have to say I love that dinner was ready in about 15 minutes!!  Make a simple salad (greens, nectarine, feta) while the tomatoes cook and dinner’s on the table before you know it.

All to say, this was our dinner tonight, thanks to Larry, the tomato farmer, and Mollie, the recipe inventor.  And it was delicious!

8 oz. pasta
1/3 cup olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1  1/2 tab. tomato paste
1  1/2 pounds fresh tomatoes, chopped (about 4 cups)
(We mixed a few varieties, including orange cherry tomatoes)
1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
pinch sugar (optional)
2 tab. fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup parmesan
garnish: more parmesan and a sprig of basil

Start the water for pasta and cook it while you make the sauce. Drain and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet.  Then put in the onion and cook a couple minutes until it’s tender and translucent.  Add the garlic and cook a minute more.  Then add in the tomato paste and cook a minute more.

Finally drop in the tomatoes, pepper, sugar and salt if you think you need a bit of saltiness.  Cook 5 or 6 minutes until the tomatoes release their juices to form a sauce.  Add in the parmesan and cook a minute more.  Stir in the basil.

Spread he pasta on a platter and top with with the sauce.  Garnish with a sprig of basil and more parmesan if you like!  Delish!  Thanks Mollie!


Peaches, Tomato & Fresh Mozzarella Salad

Hi all– Isn’t August a great eating month??  The tomatoes are ripe and sweet– and peaches, my favorite fruit.  It seems like those peaches are only here for a few weeks ruddy and ripe.  So we’ve been eating both, in just about any form we can get them.

Made up this plate of tomatoes & Peaches with cheese when my siblings came in for Mom’s 86th birthday.  Along with a garlicky grilled tri-tip and a bright green salad and a hearty loaf of bread.  It was a real summer meal.


2 ripe peaches, pitted & sliced
2 cups ripe cherry tomatoes
2 or 3   4 oz. balls of fresh mozzarella
sprigs of fresh basil
serve with chunks of crusty bread on the side

1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. tarragon vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 tsp. honey

So simple.  Arrange the peaches, tomatoes, mozzarella and basil on a platter. Whisk together the dressing until well blended.

Pour dressing over it all when you’re ready to eat.  Lovely served with chunks of crusty bread to sop up the dressing.

Parmesan Mushroom Chicken


Hello to you — Here’s dinner a few nights ago.  Being of the mind that you can’t have too many chicken for dinner recipes handy, here’s a good one to add to your list.

We had it with roasted small golden potatoes chunked up, and the chicken and potatoes can can cook together in the oven, while you finish the sauce, set the table, change the laundry, make a salad, check on the kids, do that quick phone call…  As many multitasking things as you can fit into 20 minutes!!

It’s a yummy, practical, family friendly meal.  I think you’d like it!

2 tab. olive oil
4 chicken thighs, skin removed*
Garlic salt
freshly ground pepper
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 oz. sliced brown mushrooms
1 tsp. dried basil
1 cup chicken broth
2 tab. cornstarch
1/2 cup parmesan romano
2 tab. fresh basil or marjoram, chopped**
Basil or marjoram for garnish

Heat the olive oil in a deep skillet.  Liberally sprinkle the chicken thighs with garlic salt and freshly ground pepper.  Drop them in the hot oil to brown– about 3 minutes on each side.

Remove the chicken from the skillet and put them in a baking dish.  Put them in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes until they are cooked through.

While they are cooking, make the sauce.  In the same skillet, saute the sliced mushrooms and garlic in the pan juices in the skillet for just a couple minutes.  Remove them and set them aside.

Then in the skillet bring the chicken broth to a boil.  In a container with a tight fitting lid shake together the cornstarch and about 1/4 cup water until it is thoroughly blended.  Pour it into the boiling broth and stir until it thickens into a creamy sauce.  Lower the heat and stir in the parmesan and fresh chopped basil.

When the chicken is done in the oven nestle the pieces back in the skillet of sauce and leave it on a low simmer for 2 or 3 minutes to mix the flavors.

Then move the chicken to a platter, top with the mushrooms and a little sauce (serve the rest of the sauce on the side).  Garnish with basil leaves.

*You can leave the skin on if you prefer.
** I used marjoram because it grows like a weed in our side yard.


Simple Pasta Sauce

Hello pasta lovers– I’m with you on this– what’s more warming and homey tan a bowl of pasta with a fresh tangy sauce??

Saw this recipe in a Food & Wine magazine and realized I had all I needed on hand in the kitchen.  That’s what’s so nice about it– no fancy ingredients and ready in less than 30 minutes.  Perfect for a busy weekday dinner.

your favorite pasta
2 tab. olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and grated
3 cloves garlic, minced
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. butter
1 tsp. dried basil
garnish: parmesan & fresh basil or marjoram*

Heat the olive oil in a deep pot.  Add in the onion and cook for about 5 minutes until it is soft.  Add in the grated carrot and minced garlic and cook 1 minute more.

Stir in the crushed tomatoes and salt to taste.  Simmer on low for 20 minutes, covered with a lid.

While it’s simmering, cook your favorite pasta (we did fresh tortellini).

Then stir the butter and basil into the sauce.  Serve over hot cooked pasta. Garnish with basil & parmesan.

*I used marjoram because it grows year round with no help from me, in the side yard.

Roasted Eggplant Parmesan


Hello friends–  Got this recipe from a food blog that I just love– The RichmondAvenue   It’s written by smart and warm Jasmine, who combines really practical recipes with beautiful photography and a big dose of southern friendliness.  Her tortilla soup is awesome– as well as this big plateful of roasted eggplant parmesan.  I think you’d love her blog as much as I do.

2 large eggplants, sliced into 1/2″ slices
olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. dried basil
1 tsp. dried thyme
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
1 tab. red wine vinegar
salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves, chopped
1 1/2 cup parmesan romano
1/3 cup panko bread crumb
1/2 tsp. dried basil
garnish: basil leaves
8 oz. pasta, cooked

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.  Brush the slices of eggplant on both sides with olive oil and lay them in a single layer on the baking sheets.  Roast them in the hot oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the bottom sides are browned.  Then turn them over and roast for 10 minutes more.

While that’s roasting, heat the 3 tab. of oil in a large saucepan over medium heat.  Drop in the onion and saute until the onion starts to brown.  Then add in the garlic, dried basil and thyme.  Saute another 30 seconds.  Finally stir in the crushed tomatoes and leave on a low simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes.  Then add the red wine vinegar, fresh basil and salt & pepper to taste.

Spray a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (or a 7″ x 11″) with cooking spray.  Layer in a few spoons of sauce, a layer of eggplant and a sprinkling of the parmesan. Continue with 2 more layers until you’ve used all the eggplant, sauce & parmesan.  Mix the panko bread crumbs with the 1/2 tsp. dried basil and sprinkle the crumbs over the eggplant in the baking dish.

Pop it into a 375 degree oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until the eggplant mixture is bubbly and hot in the middle.  Serve over your favorite pasta.  Garnish with a sprig of basil.

Browned Eggplant with Tomatoes, Olives & Feta

IMG_2050Hi there– I found this recipe in a magazine while I was sitting waiting at the ophthalmologist’s office for an eye exam.  (I guess a good recipe is some small compensation for a trip to the doctor!!)  Tempted as I was to tear out the page with the instructions, I took my waiting to time to commit it to memory (more of less) and here it is!

We’ve still got summer tomatoes at the market and who can resist a happy purple eggplant?  Made it up for dinner with some grilled talpia and a seedy chunk of bread.  Just about right for a warm end of the summer evening…

1 plump purple eggplant
1/4 cup olive oil
1 green heirloom tomato
1 red heirloom tomato
1/2 cup feta with herbs & garlic, cut in chunks
1/2 cup mixed olives
a splash more olive oil
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves (cut if large)
salt & freshly ground pepper

IMG_2032Cut the eggplant into 1/4″ slices and set them on a wire rack over a rimmed baking sheet.  Put it under the broiler on medium heat for 5 minutes and then flip the pieces of eggplant and broil for 5 minutes more.  (I had the rack about 10″ below the broiling unit– keep your eye on it so it doesn’t burn!)

While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes into pretty thin slices.

When he eggplant is done, brush both sides with the 1/4 cup olive oil and arrange the slices on a plate with the tomatoes.  Scatter the olives, feta and basil over the top of it all and give it a good splash of olive oil and a little sprinkle of salt & pepper.

Makes plenty for 4 people (maybe 6).

Roasted Tomato Soup


Hey there– It’s true I have loved that tomato basil soup at the Corner Bakery ever since it popped up in our neighborhood years ago.  I tried in vain to locate the recipe and finally gave up.  But on a chilly Friday evening last week, Larry and I walked the mile for a soupy dinner there and it got me thinking about making that spicy soup again.  When I got home, I googled it up and there it was!!  Oh joy!  So this weekend, I made us a pot, hot and steamy.  If you love tomato soup, I think you’ll think this is the best!

3 pounds roma tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil (plus another splash)
salt & freshly ground pepper
2 cups chopped onion
a small pinch of red pepper*
6 cloves of garlic, minced
2 14 oz. cans of petit cut tomatoes
4 cups chicken broth
2 cups fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. thyme leaves

Slice the roma tomatoes in half lengthwise and set them out cut side up on a baking sheer.  Drizzle the 1/4 cup olive oil over them and liberally salt them with salt and fresh pepper.  Pop them in a 425 degree oven for 45 minutes.


When the tomatoes come out of the oven, brown the onion in a pot with the splash of olive oil.  When they are almost done, add in the garlic and the pinch of red pepper (be careful to not over pepper it all!).  When the onions are caramelized, pour in the tomatoes, juice and all, and the chicken broth.  Toss in the roasted tomatoes, basil and thyme and simmer it all on low for about 45 minutes.

With a stick blender or food processor, blend it all to an even consistency and serve it up piping hot with croutons or a swirl of sour cream.

*I used the 1/8 teaspoon that the recipe recommended and it was too spicy for my taste– start small and you can always add more!

Chicken Cutlets with Roasted Corn Hash

IMG_2605Hi friends–  We hit the good neighbor jackpot when we moved into our house next door to Mr. Wicks!  He’s an older gentleman (at least a little older than us), who spent years as a college photography professor.  Nowadays, he’s turned his talents to gardening.  His rose bushes seem to bloom non-stop.  His sunny yellow dahlias are the size of dinner plates!!  And he’s turned his backyard into a mini-farm.  So lucky for us, he occasionally turns up at our door with a sack of his luscious tomatoes.  They were the impetuous for this chicken dinner.  Thanks Bob!!

1 cup frozen corn (or fresh cut off the cob)
2 tab. olive oil
1 few shakes of garlic salt
2 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup breadcrumbs
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/3 cup parmesan reggiano cheese
1/2 cup flour
1 egg
a splash of olive oil for frying
3 ripe summer tomatoes
2 tab. red onion, chopped
1/4 cup basil leaves, cut in slivers (wait til the last minute to cut so they don’t brown)

Stir together the corn, 2 tab. olive oil and garlic salt.  Spread it on a baking sheet and roast it in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes, just until the corn starts to brown around the edges.

While that’s roasting, slice the chicken breasts horizontally to make 2 or 3 smaller cutlets each.  Mix the breadcrumbs, garlic and parmesan together in a bowl.  Put the flour in another bowl and beat the egg in a third bowl.  Heat olive oil in a non-stick pan and when it’s hot, one by one, dip the cutlets both sides in the flour, then the beaten egg and last coat both sides with the crumb mixture.  Drop the cutlets in the hot oil and cook them about 3 minutes on each side until they are nicely browned.  Then slide the pan into a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes to cook them through.

While they are cooking mix the roasted corn with the red onion and basil.  Then when the chicken is ready, slice the tomatoes and arrange the chicken and tomatoes on a platter and scoop the corn “hash” over the tomatoes.

We had this for dinner tonight, along with a green salad topped with almonds and blueberries with a tarragon dressing, brown rice an  a sturdy sour dough loaf of bread.
We liked it just fine.

Italian Lunch Salad

IMG_1836Hello all–  We have friends who have set out for 3 weeks in Italy with all their kids and a grand-baby in tow.  I’m trying, really, to not be too jealous as their photos along Venice’ canals slide down my facebook page.  I think they are having a grand time there together! I can imagine them sampling fried zucchini blossoms or saltimbocca or my favorite “Crema del Doge” gelato.  So for lunch, to summon up a little bit of Italy for us at home, I put together an Italian-ish salad—

4 slices turkey ham, cut to small bits
1/2 head leaf lettuce
1 14 oz. can cannellini beans
Mixed olives
1/4 cup chopped read bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped basil
peperoncini peppers
2 tab. grated parmesan
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tab. white balsamic vinegar
garlic salt & fresh pepper to taste

In a nonstick pan, grill up the bits of ham.  While that’s cooking layer the lettuce, cannellini beans, olives, pepper, basil, crispy ham, pepperonici and top with a sprinkle of parmesan.  Then in a container with a tight lid shake together the oil, vinegar and salt & pepper.  Drizzle it over the salad just before you set it on the table.

Serve it up with a substantial loaf of bread and some lovely gelato for dessert.
Buon Apetito!

Garlicky Linguine with Italian Sausage and Basil

IMG_1745Hello friends– Larry’s still washing up the dishes after dinner tonight.  But I’m sitting right down here with my old trusty rusty lap top to send this good & garlicky recipe off to you!  It was a simple, satisfying summer supper.  Just pasta, turkey sausage and lots of flavor.  I think you’d really like it…

8 oz. linguine
splash of olive oil
1/2 pound Italian sausage (we used turkey)
1/4 cup olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
a shake or two of red pepper flakes
3 green onions
1/2 cup basil leaves
1/3 cup romano cheese grated

Put a pot of water on to boil with the salt and a splash of olive oil.  Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box (mine was 9 minutes)  While that’s heating up, take the sausage out of it’s casings and cook it, chopping it to bits until it cooks through.  Then add in the olive oil, garlic, and read pepper flakes to the pan.

When the pasta is cooked, drain off the water and spread it on a platter.  Then quickly cut the basil to shreds* and chop the green onion and throw them in to the pan with the sausage.  Give it a stir and then spoon it all over the pasta.  Sprinkle on the grated cheese and set it on the table!

Makes 3 or 4 servings.  Only takes about 20 minutes to get it ready.

*Don’t cut the basil ahead of time. Wait until you’re ready to throw it into the pan, or the edges will turn dark.

Got this recipe from a beautiful cooking blog–  http://cottagegrovehouse.com
You might like to look it over!

Easy Eggplant Marinara

IMG_0917Hello all–  A couple of those bright shiny purple Chinese eggplants found their way into my shopping cart again this week–too pretty to pass by.  And then I found a homey, simple marina sauce recipe browsing in a magazine.  Put them together– dinner!  It’s lovely that you can make it in about 20 minutes, hot and savory.

1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 Chinese eggplants, cut in nice chunks
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 carrot, grated
1 tsp. dried basil
14 oz. can crushed tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil*

Heat the oil in a large pan.  Cook the onions about 2 minutes while you cut up the eggplant and grate the carrot.  Then add the eggplant, garlic and carrot to the pan.  Stir and cook about 5 minutes until the eggplant begins to brown around the edges.  Then stir in the crushed tomatoes and dried basil.  Salt & pepper just a bit til it tastes just right.  Cut the basil into bits and add it into the sauce just before you serve it up over pasta (I used 8 oz. of angel hair multigrain pasta– yummy and cooks in jut 6 minutes).

Makes enough for 3-4 servings– Dinner for us and leftovers for 2 lunches.
I think the grated carrot is the “secret ingredient” that gives it some sweetness!

*It’s cheaper to buy your own basil plant and keep it on your back porch or on a window sill and snip the leaves as you need them, than to buy cut basil at the market– and it lasts for weeks!

Simple Parmesan Chicken

Hi there– Has the Thanksgiving/Christmas rush already swept you up?  This has been a 5 star week, running, running– all with things I love,  but it makes it tricky to squeeze in a homemade dinner as you go along.  Here’s an old favorite that you can get into the oven in 5 minutes and the kitchen smells super delicious while it’s cooking–so tasty.

1 boneless chicken breast, filleted
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp. dried basil
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
garlic salt to taste
1/4 cup white wine
2 tab. olive oil

Cut the chicken breast the long way to make two flatter, chicken pieces.  Set them in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.  Sprinkle on the crumbs, then the parmesan, basil, oregano and a couple shakes of garlic salt.  Drizzle the olive oil, then the wine over the top and set it all in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. That’s it!

I served it with orzo cooked in half water, half chicken broth and mixed with steamed veggies.  Add a salad and good bread if you like.  Dinner!

Basil and Tomatoes

Hi all–  It’s warming up around here and the tomatoes in Larry’s garden patch are ripening– I have to admit I’m not a tomato lover,  But-I do like the way they are so bright and happy on the dinner table.  So we’ll be having plates of tomatoes the next few weeks, ALL for Larry!

3 or 4 tomatoes, sliced thin
2 tab. fresh basil, chopped
3 tab. olive oil
1 tab. tarragon vinegar
1 tab. onion, finely chopped
salt & pepper to taste

Just arrange those tomatoes on the plate, scatter the basil on top. Then shake everything else up in a jar til it’s emulsified and  pour it over the tomatoes.  Serve it up and you’ll know it’s summer!

Zucchini Pesto and Pasta

Hi friends– If you have a friend with a vegetable garden, chances are they’ve brought you a bag of zucchini by now.  So here’s a new way to cook it up for dinner in a garlicky pesto for a tasty veggie dinner.

3 medium zucchini, chopped into chunks
1/3 cup red bell pepper, finely chopped
olive oil
1 cup basil leaves
1/2 cup parmigiano cheese
2 tablespoons pine nuts (or walnuts)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
8 oz. of your favorite pasta (we used small shells)
1/4 cup cream of half & half
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Start the water for the pasta (with a splash of olive oil and a shake of salt).  Then sauté the chunks of zucchini in a large pan with a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Just cook a few minutes until they are tender, but firm.  Remove them from the pan and cook the onion until it’s soft and remove from the pan too.  Wipe out the cooked oil from the pan and return the zucchini, onion and the red pepper to the pan without heat for now. Start the pasta cooking.

To make the pesto, take 1/4 cup of the zucchini, basil leaves, garlic, parmesan and pine nuts–plus 1/2 cup water from the pasts pot. Grind this all up with a stick blender or food processor.  Scrape the pesto over the zucchini, onion and pepper to warm it.  Stir in the cream and pepper.   Then layer the drained pasta on a platter and spoon over the zucchini and sauce.  Garnish with shreds of parmesan and a sprig of basil.