August Harvest – Tomato Sauce Fresh off the Vine

Here in the Northeast it’s time to start harvesting what we planted in the late Spring. The tomatoes and zucchini are ripe on the vines, the herbs are fragrant and time to start cooking some dishes with them. Last time I posted my zucchini bread recipe and the other week some nice salads for using those cherry tomatoes this Summer. Have you tried that Orzo salad recipe yet? It’s a wonderful side dish with grilled meats.

There is nothing better than the taste of ripe tomatoes from the garden. I love using ripened cherry tomatoes for salads, Roma tomatoes for creating yummy pasta dishes or sliced Beefsteak tomatoes for putting on juicy burgers that were cooked on the grill. The possibilities are endless.

Here is my delicious recipe using fresh Roma tomatoes on pasta. We are a bit partial to having this fresh sauce on angel hair but you can use what ever pasta you prefer. The juicy chunks of fresh tomato, along with a simple garlic and basil sauce flavors this pasta dish. An easy Summer dish for you to enjoy at home.

So whether or not you are growing your own tomatoes or buying them from the market or vegetable stand this is a recipe you should really try.

Fresh Roma tomato sauce over angel hair pasta

Fresh Garden Tomato Sauce over Pasta

A simple fresh tomato sauce recipe made with just barely cooked tomatoes, garlic, basil and seasonings comes together in no time!

2 1/4-1/2 pounds ripe tomatoes (I’ve often used Roma, or Cherry but any tomato you have on hand.)

3 tablespoons Olive Oil

1 tablespoon fresh Lemon Juice

1/2 teaspoon Sugar, optional

1/4 cup Fresh Basil Leaves – chopped

1 Tablespoon Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley – Chopped

½ teaspoon Salt (to taste)

Freshly ground Black Pepper (to taste)

1 or more Garlic cloves – minced (depends how much garlic you like)

1 pound of your favorite spaghetti or angel-hair pasta or rotini/fusilli or penne

Freshly grated Parmesan cheese (Optional)

INSTRUCTIONS

Core and coarsely chop two-thirds of the tomatoes. Halve the remaining tomatoes down the middle and discard the tough top part where the tomatoes met the stem.

Rub the cut sides of the tomatoes against the large holes of a box grater set in a large bowl. Leave the tomato pulp in the bowl and discard any skin.

Add the chopped tomatoes, olive oil, lemon juice, salt, sugar, parsley, basil, freshly ground black pepper and the minced garlic to the bowl.

Mix well. Let the mixture marinate while you cook the pasta.

Bring a large pot of salted water to boil and then cook the pasta just until al dente, according to package directions.

Reserve about a cup of the pasta cooking water before draining the pasta.

Drain the pasta, then immediately return it to the pot. Pour in all of the tomato sauce and the cup of the pasta cooking water.

Cook over medium-low heat for about 2 minutes, tossing gently and often, you want this step just long enough for the tomatoes to gently warm through and soften a bit.

Remove from heat and toss with Parmesan cheese.

Optional – You can add cooked shrimp or scallops to this dish if you would like to add a light seafood protein.

Fresh cherry tomato basil sauce over angel hair and cooked shrimp

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Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Recipes from a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and hear what you are making.

Stay strong, Stay Safe and Keep positive!

The Zucchini are growing and time for a bit of a change

Well, here it is the end of July 2020. We are still social distancing, wearing our masks and keeping pretty much to ourselves and our family, thank goodness as I had missed them all so much. While I am happy to see the virus levels declining in the state where I live it has risen in other states and this makes me sad. So all I can do is encourage people to wear masks, wash your hands often and continue to do social distancing so our county can heal and get through this.

Hopefully you will have noticed I made a change to the the title of this blog. Now that I am fully retired Sundays is no longer my only day to cook. I have had the joy of cooking meals I would prepare on a Sunday during the week now. Not every day but more often than I used to. I felt it was time to update the title a bit. I hopefully have worked out all the changes and I should be able to move forward, if I find anything that still needs changes I will make them along the way and eventually get there.

So the zucchini are in from the garden and first thing I made was my zucchini bread and then for a meatless dinner we had zucchini pancakes served with sour cream and apple sauce.

I hope to make a few more loaves of zucchini bread for the freezer so we can have some for later in the fall. Served either spread with butter or my favorite cream cheese and a cuppa it’s a winner.

Here are my recipes that I used I hope you enjoy them.

Sorry I didn’t get a “pretty” plated shot of the zucchini pancakes but we had a hard time trying to keep from eating them as they were done frying.

The Barefoot Contessa’s Zucchini Pancakes

PREP TIME
10 minutes
COOK TIME
5 minutes
TOTAL TIME
15 minutes

Ingredients
2 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons grated sweet onion
2 large eggs, slightly beaten
6 to 8 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Unsalted butter and vegetable oil

Instructions
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. (To keep the pancakes warm)
Grate the zucchini into a bowl using the large side of a box grater. Immediately stir in the onion and eggs.
Stir in 6 tablespoons of the flour, the baking powder, salt and pepper. (If the batter gets too thin from the liquid in the zucchini,
add the remaining 2 tablespoons of flour.)
Heat a large (10 – 12 inch) saute pan over medium heat and melt 1/2 tablespoon butter and 1/2 tablespoon oil together in the pan.
When the butter is hot but not smoking, lower heat to medium-low and drop heaping soup spoons of batter into the pan.
Swirl the back of the spoon around the batter to even out the pancake. Cook the pancakes about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.
If keeping the pancakes warm in the oven, place cooked pancakes on a baking sheet and keep warm in oven for up to 30 minutes.

My Favorite Zucchini Bread

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 1 Hour
Ready In: 1 Hour 40 Minutes
Servings: 24 – This recipe makes 2 loaves of zucchini bread

“A moist and delicious zucchini bread flavored with walnuts and cinnamon. Easy to bake and freeze, this recipe makes two loaves.”

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 1/4 cups white sugar
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups grated zucchini (no need to peel)
1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Grease and flour two 8 x 4 inch pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  2. Sift flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.
  3. Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl. Add sifted ingredients to the creamed mixture, and beat well. Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined. Pour batter into prepared pans.
  4. Bake for 40 to 60 minutes, or until tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack for 20 minutes. Remove bread from pan, and completely cool.

Easy Summertime Supper

How about an easy chefs salad on a warm evening, simple to make for two or a few by taking your favorite veggies, maybe some leftover shrimp or diced deli ham and make matchstick slices of cheese and a light salad dressing of your choice. I sometimes set it up buffet style so the family can just dig in with their plates right from the kitchen counter. It’s easy clean-up afterward as everything is in the kitchen.

White Zinfandel Salad Dressing

If you are entertaining a group of friends you might want to consider this salad dressing as a part your summertime meal. it’s light and has a refreshing flavor.

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar (I use Colavita)

3 Tbsp. Water

1 pouch Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup White Zinfandel Wine (I have also made this dressing using Moscato white wine and it was delicious too)

Pour Vinegar and Water into Salad Shaker

Add contents of salad pressing pouch, shake until well blended

Thank you for visiting!
Please share this site with your family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter what size your kitchen is.
Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and hear what you are making.

Chinese Eggplant and Chicken in Spicy Garlic Sauce made in the Instant Pot

I thought this week I would share one of my Instant Pot recipes. This is an easy dish to make, doesn’t take much time at all and tastes as good as if it were from your local Chinese take-out. I usually have my rice cooker set up and going as I prepare this dish so both are finished in about the same time but you can make the rice ahead of time.

Chinese eggplant and chicken

Instant Pot Spicy Eggplant & Chicken or Pork in Garlic Sauce

Servings: 4-6

A mildly spiced chicken or pork and eggplant in a savory garlic sauce

Ingredients

3-4 Chinese eggplant (depending on size) cut down the middle and quartered then into 2 inch long pieces

1 pound ground chicken or ground pork

1 tablespoon cooking oil

4 large cloves of garlic, minced

1 green onion, chopped

1/2 inch fresh ginger peeled and finely minced

1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (add more if you prefer a spicier dish)

1/4 cup chicken broth

Sauce

1 teaspoon sesame oil

3 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce

3 tablespoons Hoisin Sauce (you can also use oyster sauce if you prefer)

1 tablespoon sugar

2 teaspoons corn starch

Cooked white or brown rice for serving

 Instructions

Mix in a bowl the sesame oil, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, sugar, and corn starch well and keep aside.

Turn the Instant Pot to Sauté mode and heat oil. Add garlic. ginger, green onion, and red pepper flakes. Cook for 30 secs.

Add chicken or pork, cook for 4 minutes breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon.

Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth then stirring to making sure nothing is sticking to the bottom and add the cut-up eggplant. Close the Instant Pot lid with pressure valve to sealing.

Set on Pressure Cook High for 2 min then do a Quick Release.

Open the Instant Pot and set to Sauté mode. Add the sauce and stir everything together. Adjust salt and pepper to taste if necessary.

Bring to a gentle boil as you allow it to thicken and then turn off the Instant Pot.

Serve over white or brown rice.

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

Well, the temperatures have been a bit cooler here in the northeast so I’m looking forward to digging out some recipes and doing some cooking. As you know I’m not one to make many long involved complicated meals, I’ll leave those dishes to the experts. I like to think if you have a good recipe with a handful of ingredients, cooking can be a breeze. My version of unstuffed cabbage rolls made in a skillet is one of those types of dishes. You have all the flavor of the traditional recipe but takes considerably less time to prepare. I hope you will give it a try.

Skillet Unstuffed Cabbage1

Unstuffed Cabbage Rolls in a Skillet

4 to 6 servings

Ingredients

1 to 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef

1 large Onion (diced)

1 Green or Red Bell pepper (diced)

2 cloves of Garlic (minced)

2 Tablespoons Fresh Flat Leaf Parsley (or 1 Tablespoon Dried Parsley)

1 Small Head of Cabbage (shredded or chopped)

2 cans (14.5 ounces) Diced Tomatoes

1 can (8 oz.) Tomato sauce

Kosher Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Cooked White or Brown Rice

  1. Heat a large, deep skillet or sauté pan (or Dutch oven) over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add about 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil then add the ground beef. Break up the beef with a spoon and cook, stirring, for about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the diced onion, green pepper, parsley, and garlic and continue cooking, stirring, until the beef is no longer pink and the onion is translucent and the green pepper has just begun to soften.
  2. Add the chopped cabbage to the ground beef mixture along with the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Cook, stirring, for about 5 minutes or until the cabbage is slightly wilted. Season with Salt and Pepper to taste.
  3. Reduce the heat to low, simmer about 15-20 minutes or until the cabbage is tender. Adjust any salt and freshly ground black pepper if needed.
  4. Serve over cooked white or brown rice

 

skillet unstuffed cabbage 4

 

Thank you again for visiting.

Share this site with family and friends and ask them to join Sundays in a Small Kitchen to see what my next cooking adventure will be. I hope my recipes will inspire you to get take some time to cook in your kitchen no matter how small it may be.

Please Like and leave a comment, I would love to hear from you and what you are making.

A Dish from the Garden. Summer String Bean Salad with White Zinfandel Salad Dressing.

Since my husband retired last year he was looking forward to starting up a vegetable garden again. Really just the basics to pique his interest. Roma tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, snap peas, yellow wax beans, and string beans. The zucchini plants didn’t make it this year otherwise I’d be posting one of my many versions of zucchini bread. The herb garden did well with lots of fresh Basil, Parsley (flat and curly), Rosemary, Chives and some Oregano. I hope to expand it a bit more next year. This dish starts with great produce from the garden or your local vegetable stand. Here is my delicious Summer String Bean Salad with White Zinfandel Salad Dressing.

This recipe has no measurements. You can make as much as you need and season to taste. It’s a very flexible recipe.

IMG_2412

Summer Bean Salad

Fresh Blue Lake Green Beans, cook or steam but leave a bit firm.  (I used a combination of green beans and yellow wax bean this time)

Cherry Tomatoes sliced in half

Mozzarella cut into small bite-size cubes (You can also use Feta cheese or any semi-soft cheese to your liking cut into small bites)

Fresh garlic, grated fine on a Microplane. How much you use is up to your personal taste

Add your favorite herbs of choice. The dish in the photo has a chiffonade of some basil and parsley. Salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the bean salad with your favorite Oil & Vinegar dressing, or a squeeze of fresh lemon.

Here is one of my favorite ways to make salad dressing.

 

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White Zinfandel Salad Dressing

1/4 cup White Wine Vinegar (I used Colavita)

3 Tbsp. Water

1 pouch Good Seasons Italian Salad Dressing

1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1/4 cup White Zinfandel Wine

Pour Vinegar, Water, Olive oil and white zinfandel into a Salad Shaker. Then add contents of the Good Seasons Italian salad dressing mix. Shake until well blended. Let it sit in the refrigerator for a few hours before using it.

I hope you will enjoy this dish and thank you for visiting my blog. Please share this site with family and friends.

 

 

Mother’s Day Planning – Luncheon Ideas

 

vintage mothers day

Thought I would post a few days early as Sunday I’ll be busy with my family and I thought I would share some Mother’s Day food ideas for anyone looking. I was always one to do lots of things for my mother throughout the year but I made sure I would do something a little extra special for Mother’s Day. Twice we took mom out to dinner and it was really a big mistake, restaurants are super busy, long wait times and they are looking to turn over tables as quick as possible, leaving you feeling rushed through a meal. So instead I would plan a nice day with an extra special dinner or Spring luncheon. Lunch was often a perfect choice, we would have the entire afternoon to enjoy being together and share some Springtime dishes.

The dining table would be nicely set and a floral centerpiece to pretty things up. Here are an assortment of the recipes I used over the years.

Sunshine Salad

I found this recipe years ago. When prepared for an evening meal, it’s called “Sunset Salad”.

8-10 Servings
Prep: 10 min. + chilling
Ingredients
•1 can (20 ounces) pineapple tidbits
•1 can (11-15 ounces) mandarin oranges
•1 package (3.4 ounces) instant lemon pudding
•1 cup quartered strawberries
•1 cup sliced ripe bananas

Directions

Drain pineapple and oranges, reserving juices. In a large bowl,
combine pudding mix with reserved fruit juices. Fold in pineapple,
oranges and strawberries; chill for at least 2 hours. Add bananas
just before serving. Yield: 8-10 servings.

Chicken Salad for Sandwiches

You can serve this salad on rolls, sandwiches cut in triangles or fill shells made from biscuits.

2 whole boneless chicken breasts
1 stalk celery
1 onions, quartered
1 cup celery, chopped
1 1/2-2 cups mayonnaise (depending on how wet you like your chicken salad)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
salt and pepper
2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon dill (optional)
Directions
Place chicken, celery stalk and onion in saucepan with water to cover.
Bring to a boil and simmer 20 minutes or until chicken is done.
Drain and discard onion and celery.
Let chicken cool.
In a food processor chop chicken.
In a medium sized bowl combine chicken with mayonnaise, salt& pepper, parsley, dill seed, chopped celery and lemon juice.
Cover and refrigerate until chilled.

Orzo Salad

orzo salad 2

8 ounces orzo pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 cup grape tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Cook orzo according to package directions. Drain and transfer to a large bowl. Stir in olive oil, vinegar, red onion, tomatoes and basil and toss to combine. Season, to taste, with salt and black pepper.

Salad Nicoise

Romaine Hearts
4 Hard-boiled eggs
1 can artichokes
Steamed Green Beans
3 Roma tomatoes cut into wedges
Nicoise olives (Greek pitted Olives)
Potatoes cooked and cut into quarters
1 sweet red onion, sliced into thin rings
2 cans of white solid tuna
Anchovies
Dressing
1 garlic clove minced
Lemon Juice
olive oil
Dijon mustard
Salt and pepper
Optional – Fresh chopped basil

Separate romaine heart leaves and arrange on a platter. Arrange hard-boiled eggs cut into quarters, green beans, artichokes, tomatoes, potatoes, and olives decoratively over lettuce leaves. Add the anchovies and onion rings. Break up tuna and arrange over vegetables. Drizzle with dressing.

Cucumber and Onion Salad

1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 cups sliced cucumbers
1 small onion (sliced thinly)

In a bowl, combine mayonnaise, sugar, vinegar and salt. Add cucumbers and
onions; stir to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours. Yield: 6-8
servings.

20171225_110137

Deli Style Tuna Salad

You can easily make as much as needed by doubling or tripling.

One 6 oz can albacore tuna
1/4 cup coarsely chopped celery
1 Tbsp coarsely chopped onion
2 Tbsps drained sweet pickle relish
4 Tbsps mayonnaise
2 tsps fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Place all ingredients in food processor and process until consistency of pate.

Tomato & Onion Salad

3 large Tomatoes – sliced into wedges or slices if your prefer
1 small to medium sweet red onion – size depends how much onion you prefer
3 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons fresh minced parsley (or 1 tablespoon dried parsley)
2 teaspoons fresh basil leaf (or ½ teaspoon dried basil)
2 cloves garlic, finely minced

Directions:

Peel the onion and cut into thin rings. Add slice vegetables into a glass bowl.
In a small bowl, whisk together remaining ingredients.

Pour over tomatoes and onions.
Cover and allow to stand 30 minutes at room temperature or longer, refrigerated.

Serve with a nice loaf of bread.
20140702_073544

Heart Healthy Valentine’s Dinner – Skillet Chicken, Sweet Potato & Asparagus

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Show your loved ones how much your love them by serving a healthy meal this Valentine’s Day. For those who are budget conscious or would rather avoid the restaurant crowds this is an affordable, healthy and flavorful, meal that is easy to prepare.

20160808_195018

Skillet Chicken with Sweet Potato & Asparagus

A delicious, healthy, and easy to make dinner and it take less than 40 minutes from start to finish and perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.

Ingredients

2 boneless chicken breasts cut into cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground fresh black pepper

3 garlic cloves — minced or 3 teaspoons pre-chopped jar garlic

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (Optional)

1 medium to large sweet potato — peeled and diced

1/2-3/4 cup chicken broth (Better than Bullion works perfect for this dish) Amount of broth depends on the size of the sweet potato used.

1/2 lb Fresh Asparagus spears, cut on a diagonal in 1 and 2 inch pieces

1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  1. Cut the chicken into small cubes and season with a bit of salt and pepper.
  2. In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil, minced garlic, crushed red pepper and chicken. (Make sure the burned is not too hot as you don’t want to burn the garlic and red pepper)
  3. Sauté the chicken for about 8-10 minutes or until it is cooked through. When cooked set the chicken aside.
  4. In the same skillet, add the diced sweet potato and chicken broth.
  5. Cook for about 8-10 minutes or until the sweet potato is cooked through.
  6. Add asparagus pieces and cook for another 4-5 minutes.
  7. Season with remaining salt and pepper to taste more or less if desired.

 

After dinner dessert – Something Sweet

While this bakes in the oven you can prepare the Skillet Chicken dish on top of the stove.

For an easy after dinner dessert  why not give this easy recipe a try.  It is a long time favorite (since the about the 1960’s) that I learned to make years ago. Serve topped with ice cream or whipped cream. Any fruit pie filling works, apple, peach, blueberry or cherry. I have made them all.

crazycrustapplepie