Pasta Americana a la Tomi

Pasta Americana

My sister Tomi is a great cook and has the gift of hospitality. One Christmas she and her family were visiting us from the east coast and we decided to throw a cocktail party to introduce them to several of our neighbors and friends. At about 8pm the cocktail party turned into a dinner party and we looked at each other saying “What can we make for a party of 12?” Tomi quickly offered to whip up a hearty pasta dish sure to satisfy the hungry bunch. Sure enough, the super easy and delicious pasta was a hit.

I now make it for Sunday night dinner and always think of my sister when I make it. D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S! The recipe below is modified for 6-8 people.

Ingredients Continue reading

Gruyere Cheese and Basil Sandwiches

grilled cheese

Gourmet Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

Makes: 2 Servings

Ingredients

  • 4 Slices Sourdough Bread
  • 3-4  Ounces of Gruyere Cheese
  • 4-6 large Basil Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter

Preparation:

Prepare ingredients:
Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems. Wash and dry the basil leaves. Thinly slice the cheese into large pieces.

Assemble the sandwiches:

Lay the bread slices on a clean, dry work surface. Divide the cheese slices and half of the basil between 2 of the bread slices;  Complete the sandwiches with the remaining bread slices.  Spread 1/4 of the butter on each of the top slices of bread.

IMG_1330

Cook the sandwiches:

Heat a griddle or fry pan on medium until hot. Add the sandwiches (butter side down) and cook 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, or until golden brown and crispy. Add the remaining butter on the unbuttered bread and carefully flip the sandwiches. Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Transfer to a clean, dry work surface.
Plate your Dish:
Cut the cooked sandwiches in half and divide between 2 plates. Serve with Easy Tomato Soup on the side. Enjoy!

Ina-Inspired Tomato Soup

IMG_1324Easy Tomato Soup inspired by Ina Garten

Yield: 4-6 servings

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons good olive oil
  • 2 cups yellow onions, chopped (2 onions)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
  • 4 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
  • Large pinch of saffron threads
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup orzo
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

Preparation

Continue reading

Best Macaroni and Cheese Ever

mac n cheese

My daughter says, “There is nothing like coming home to Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese on a chilly day.  Comfort food like this warms up the soul as well as the belly.   I like to add a little variety by using different cheeses.  We used french gruyere this time.  Enjoy!

Mom’s Macaroni and Cheese

Yield: 4 servings

 

 

½ cup butter (divided)
4 T. flour
1 tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
2 cups milk
1 ½ cups of your favorite hard cheese, sharp cheddar, gruyere, etc (shredded or cut into ½ inch cubes)
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 ¼ tsp. prepared mustard
1 T. onion (chopped)
8 saltine crackers, crushed (optional)
2 cups elbow macaroni (cooked and drained)

Directions Continue reading

Spicy Mexican White Chicken Chili

mexican chicken chiliGrowing up as a kid, the definition of chili was both a  small pepper with a very hot flavor and a spicy stew of ground beef usually with beans too. Both meant yummy goodness.  Now chili in our family seems to be synonymous with Monday Night Football.  Our version is a chicken variety with savory mexican spices.  It’s always a hit, even when our team doesn’t win.

Spicy Mexican White Chicken Chili

Ingredients:

2-3 cups shredded chicken (I use rotisserie chicken from the deli section at Sprouts)
2 (15 ounce) cans great northern beans or 2 (15 ounce) cans navy beans
2 cups roasted corn (I use frozen from Trader Joe’s)
1-2 ounces taco seasoning mix (I use part of the envelope from Trader Joe’s)
1 (7 1/2 ounce) can of chopped green chilies (use less if you like a milder chili)
1 (10 3/4 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (14 ounce) can low sodium chicken broth

TOPPINGS

1/2 cup sour cream
chopped green onion (optional)
Monterey jack cheese (optional)

Directions:

Pour beans, corn and chicken in large pot.

In a medium bowl, combine taco seasoning, chiles, condensed soup, and chicken broth.

Pour over top of ingredients and stir together over medium heat.

Simmer for 15-30 minutes.

Serve topped with green onions, sour cream, and jack cheese, if desired.