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!

FRESH TOMATO PASTA SAUCE
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!

 

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.

ROASTED EGGLANT PARMESAN
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.

Parmesan Pasta with Mushrooms & Spinach

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Hey there– We’ve been eating our share of salads and light summer suppers– but once in a while you get into a mood and only a plate of pasta will do.  This one is delectable– creamy and cheesy and garlicky– with all those mushrooms and spinach.  So satisfying.  ( I won’t admit that I had a little bowl for breakfast the next morning!).  I think you might really like it too– when that pasta craving hits.

PARMESAN PASTA WITH MUSHROOMS & SPINACH

8 oz. pasta*
3 to 4  tab. olive oil
8 oz. crimini mushrooms, cut in half
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
4 cloves garlic
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch
3 cups spinach, cut in shreds

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Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box, using lightly salted water.

Heat the olive oil in a heavy skillet.  Drop in the cut mushrooms and cook, stirring a bit for 3 or 4 minutes until they are tender.  Salt & pepper them while they cook.  Add in the garlic and cook one 1 minute more.

Then pour in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring to a low simmer and cook 2 minutes.  Stir in the parmesan cheese.  Mix the cornstarch with 1/4 cup water in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake it up until the cornstarch is completely dissolved and stir it into the simmer sauce until it thickens.

Drop in the shreds of spinach and cook 1 minute more until it is wilted and tender.  Then drain the pasta and spread it onto a platter.  Top it with the mushroom-spinach sauce.  Serve it up hot, maybe with another sprinkle of parmesan on top!

*Used my very favorite angel hair pasta, pick your own fave.

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Creamy Lemon Parmesan Chicken

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Hey there– Sunday lunch.  More often than not, it’s cobbled together quickly after church or grabbing something out with friends.  But last week it was a real sit down meal– this creamy lemon parmesan chicken.  My Grandma Rose, of Sunday chicken dinner fame, would have been proud.

The sauce is bright from the lemon and salty from the parmesan– just right over the mound of pasta on the side.  The chicken, hot and tender.  We’ll be having this again for Sunday lunch…

CREAMY LEMON PAREMSAN CHICKEN

Chicken:
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 tab. flour
3 tab. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. freshly ground pepper

Sauce:
2 tab. olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup whole milk (or half & half)
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1 tsp. cornstarch (optional)
4 tab. lemon juice

Garnish: thyme leaves*  & lemon slices

Cut the chicken breasts horizontally to have 2 thin fillets.  The mix together the flour, 3 tab. parmesan, salt and pepper in a flat dish.  Heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet.  Dredge the chicken on both sides in the flour mixture and set it into the hot oil.  Cook on both sides about 3 or 4 minutes until it’s nicely browned and the chicken is cooked through.  Set onto a warm plate.

In the same pan add the garlic to the chicken drippings.  (Add another tablespoon of oil, if the pan is dry).  Cook for a minute and then add in the chicken stock and milk.  Bring that to a low simmer for 2 minutes.  Then stir in the parmesan.

In a small container with a tight fitting led shake together the cornstarch and 1/4 cup water.  Shake it until the cornstarch and water are thoroughly blended and then stir it into the simmering sauce until it thickens.  Finally, stir in the lemon juice.

Set the chick onto a platter with rice or pasta or a whole grain.  Pour the sauce over the chicken and garnish with thyme leaves and lemon slices.  Hope you enjoy it!!

*The recipe I worked from called for Italian parsley as a garnish, but I have thyme in the side yard and like it with lemon.  You could use any favorite herb…

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Oven Baked Parmesan Tilapia

 

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Hey all– Happy weekend!  As much as I love my job (with those 3rd & 4th graders in room #2 everyday)– I do savor the weekends.  They should be havens of refreshment and restoring lounging on the couch with a book.  But more often, I fill them to overflowing and running from here to there, like a wacky person.

So I’m glad to say, last Sunday after church we had a quiet lunch on the coffee table, followed by a lovely soft sofa nap.  And for lunch, this super easy baked fish.  Set it on the table with just a salad and some hearty bread.  Done– and ready for a blessedly quiet Sunday afternoon.

OVEN BAKED PARMESAN TILAPIA
2 large tilapia filets
salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tab. butter, melted
1/4 cup parmesan romano
1/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 tab. mayonnaise*
2 tab. cilantro (or your favorite herb)**
Lemon (optional)

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Pat the tilapia dry with a paper towel and set it into a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking spray.
Liberally salt and pepper the fish and set is aside.

Mix together the melted butter, parmesan, Panko and cilantro.

Then spread the mayonnaise onto the fish filets.  Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top and put it into a 425 degree oven for 12 to 15 minutes, until the crumbs have browned and the fish is flakey.

Serve it up hot with a little wedge of lemon to top it off.***
*Used Best Food light mayo.
**I just used cilantro because that is what I had in the fridge. The recipe called for dill.  And I though rosemary would be good with the parmesan.  Use what you have/like…
***I cannot abide lemon on my fish.  But I put a wedge on for Larry who likes to squeeze it on top.

Here’s the table rubble about nap time…
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Ravioli with Sausage & Brussel Sprouts

IMG_3196Hey all– We are finally having a real winter here!  After all the hot days of autumn when we were all longing just to slip on a sweater… It’s cold!  and even rainy!  My drought stricken yard has been gulping down all this water.  There’s fires in the fireplace and big pots of soup and sweaters, layers of sweaters!  I’m loving it.

And when it turns cold, pasta seems to be so warm and filling.  Loved this recipe for how quick it all goes together.  With a kale salad and a little tumbler of wine, it was just fine.

RAVIOLI WITH SAUSAGE & BRUSSELS SPROUTS
1 pound fresh cheese ravioli
3 tab olive oil, divided
1/2 pound mild Italian sausage*
12 oz. Brussel sprouts, end cut off and sliced thinly
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup chicken broth
Grated parmesan romano

Cook the ravioli according to the instructions on the package.  Drain and rinse.

While that’s cooking, heat a skillet with 1 tab. of the olive oil.  The drop in the sausage, chopping it to small bits as it browns– should cook about 5 minutes.

Then add in the chopped Brussel sprouts, garlic and and salt & pepper.  Cook one minutes more.  Pour in the chicken broth and simmer on low for 2 or 3 minutes.

Layer the ravioli on a pretty plate, topped with the sausage and Brussel sprouts.  Sprinkle on a dusting of parmesan and it’s ready to eat!

*I used mild turkey sausage, but you can go for the hot sausage if you’re braver than I am.

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Brussel Sprout & Kale Salad with Maple Dressing

IMG_2878Hi all– We’re slowly sliding into fall here– not exactly sweater weather just yet.  But the days of fruity summer salads are giving way to crunchy fall versions.  This one  has sturdy kale, crispy Brussel sprouts and a bit of sweetness from the currants and the maple syrup in the dressing.  And almonds– always up for the crunch of almonds in any salad.  I hope you might like simple, tasty bowl full salad this too…

BRUSSEL SPROUT & KALE SALAD
1 pound Brussel sprouts
4 cups kale, chopped
1/2 cup currants
2/3 cup shaved parmesan
1/2 cup toasted sliced almonds

dressing:
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons seedy dijon mustard*
2 tab. apple cider (or orange champagne vinegar) vinegar**
2 tab. maple syrup
salt & freshly ground pepper

Cut off the tough stems of the Brussel sprouts and cut the them to slivers.  Cut the stems and center vein out of the kale and finely cut it to bits.  Mix together the shaved Brussel sprouts, kale and currants.  Set aside

Whisk together the olive oil, garlic, mustard, sugar and vinegar until it’s all emulsified.  Season to taste with salt & the freshly ground pepper.

Mix the Brussel sprout mixture with the dressing and put it into the fridge if you’re not quite ready to serve it. (It’s a hearty salad– so dressing ahead won’t wilt it!)

Just before setting it on the table, mix in the almonds and parmesan.

*I know I’ve said it before, but I love, love the whole grain dijon from Trader Joe’s, but any mustard you love will be just grand.
**Orange Champagne vinegar also sold at Trader Joe’s and simply delish.