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

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Skinny Chicken Parmesan

Skinny Chicken Parm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ingredients

1 lb. thin-sliced boneless chicken breast (or chicken tenders)
1 egg, beaten
shredded parmesan cheese (enough to coat the chicken)
1-2 tomatoes, medium diced
½ brown onion, sliced
Italian seasoning (2-3 shakes)
2 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
fresh basil, chopped
2 Tablespoons olive oil

Instructions Continue reading

Chicken Cacciatore with a Southern Twist

Chicken Cacciatore with a Southern Twist

Makes: 3 Servings
Calories: About 450 Per Serving
Cooking Time: 35 to 45 minutes

Chicken Cacciatorie-in a serving bowl

Ingredients

  • 3 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
  • ¾ Cup Yellow Grits
  • 1 Red Bell Pepper
  • 1 Tomato
  • 1 Yellow Onion
  • 1 Bunch Basil
  • 2 Tablespoons All-Purpose Flour
  • 2 Tablespoons Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers
  • 2 Tablespoons Tomato Paste
  • 1 Tablespoon Molasses
  • 1 Tablespoon Southern Cacciatore Spice Blend (Smoked Sweet Paprika, Dried Parsley, Dried Oregano, Ancho Chile Powder, Garlic Powder & Cayenne Pepper)

Instructions

cheicken Cacciatore-chopped ingredients

1. Prepare the ingredients:

Wash and dry the fresh produce. Core and  dice tomato.  Cut out and discard the stem, ribs and seeds of the bell pepper; medium dice. Peel and dice the onion. Pick the basil leaves off the stems; discard the stems.

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Sundried Tomato Pesto Zoodles

Sundried Tomato Pesto and Zoodles 
I love this dish as it replaces traditional pasta with low-carb zucchini ribbons and the sundried tomato pesto is to die for. We can’t get enough at my house!

Sundried Tomato Pesto Zoodles

Time: 30 minutes (prep + cooking) | Serves: 2

Ingredients:

  • 4 zucchini squash, rinsed + cut in very small strips or spiralized
  • 2 cups of grape or cherry tomatoes, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of sun-dried tomatoes
  • 1 cup of fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup of walnuts
  • 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese, grated
  • 1 tsp. of crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. of chopped, fresh rosemary leaves, (1/4 tsp. if you use dried rosemary)
  • 1/2 tsp. of italian seasoning
  • S+P, to taste
  • 1/3 – 1/2 cup of olive oil for pesto
  • 2 Tbsp. of olive oil for zoodles

Directions:

  • Cut the zucchini. (I use the Microplane Spiral Cutter because it makes pretty ribbons of healthy and delicious vegetables)spiralized zucchini
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F
  • Lay tomatoes on a lined baking sheet
  • Sprinkle with S+P and 1 Tbsp. of olive oil
  • Roast for 6-8 minutesroasted tomatoes
  • Meanwhile, add sun-dried tomatoes, basil, walnuts, cheese, red pepper, rosemary,  italian seasoning, and S+P to a food processor
  • Sundried Tomato PestoWhile processing on low, slowly add in the olive oil
  • IMG_6971In a  large saute pan, heat 1 Tbsp. of olive oil on medium heat
  • Add zoodles and S+P to pan + saute for 3-4 minutes
  • Add roasted tomatoes  and S+P to pan and cook another 3-4 minuteszoodles and tomatoes
  • Stir in pesto and toss gently, cooking another 2-3 minutes
  • Serve with extra parmesansundried tomatoes and zoodles

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Simple Salad

simple saladThis is my go to salad. It compliments any meal and is so light and simple.

Favorite Vinaigrette Dressing

½ cup cider vinegar (or your favorite vinegar, I like lemon or grapefruit-infused vinegars)
1T. Dijon mustard
1 tsp. minced shallot
½ tsp. honey
6 T EVOO
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients but salt and pepper in a small jar with a tight fitting lid. Shake well. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Salad

Mixed greens (any mix of red and green romaine, red and green oak leaf, kale, frisee, and spinach)
Thinly sliced red onion (just a few)
Shredded carrots (handful)
Sliced tomatoes (homegrown are the most flavorful)
Fresh ground pepper to taste

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Peppino’s Italian Dressing

Peppino's Italian DressingHomemade Italian Dressing

2 T. red wine vinegar
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. fresh ground pepper
1/4 cup good olive oil
2 small cloves of garlic
3 T. 0% (fat free) Greek yogurt
freshly grated parmesan cheese

Put all ingredients in a small jar with a screw top and shake vigorously.
It’s that easy!

Note: I like to toss the dressing into a light salad of romaine lettuce, thinly sliced red onion rings, tomato wedges and grated mozzarella cheese. It reminds me of a delicious salad that we used to enjoy when the girls were young at a family restaurant called Peppino’s. The restaurant relocated years ago but I still remember the wonderful salad dressing.

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Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Pops

Tomato Basil and Mozzarella PopsTomato Basil Appetizer

1 dry pint (basket) of cherry tomatoes
1 carton of fresh mozzarella cheese (small balls or you can cut up larger ones)
10-20 fresh basil leaves (depending on size)
good quality extra virgin olive oil
good quality balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
toothpicks

 Directions Continue reading

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