Tag Archives: Tomato

Caprese Salad

Caprese Salad

A few weeks ago I made a caprese salad that was incredibly delicious and super simple.  In fact, it’s so simple, I almost feel bad calling this a recipe.  All you need are 4 ingredients, tomatoes, mozzarella, fresh basil, and balsamic vinegar.  I reduced the vinegar to bring out a sweeter, more complex, tangy flavor that paired excellently with the juicy tomatoes, rich mozzarella, and fresh basil.  This salad works great as a side for BBQs.

Caprese Salad

I used grape tomatoes so I cut them in half, basically chop up whatever tomatoes your using into bite sized chunks.  Do these same for your cheese.  For the basil I roll the leaves into a cylinder and then cut into strips that end up looking like basil confetti.  Then toss those three ingredients together in a bowl.

Caprese salad

To reduce the balsamic vinegar put it in pain and boil until it’s reduced by about half and has  a thicker, more syrup-like consistency.

Caprese Salad Balsamic Reduction

Stir everything together until well combined!

Caprese salad

Feel free to serve right away or make it ahead of time, refrigerate, and serve cold, it’s delicious either way (I may have made it the night before a picnic and had it for dinner, then ate it cold the next day…).Caprese Salad





Caprese Salad

Serves 8


2 pints cherry tomatoes (any tomatoes will work)

8 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese

8-12 large basil leaves

1 cup balsamic vinegar

– In a small saucepan, bring the vinegar to a boil and let cook until reduced by half and has  a more syrup-like consistency (about 10 minutes), stirring occasionally

– While the vinegar is reducing cut your cherry tomatoes in half (if using larger tomatoes, cut into bite sized chunks)

– Cut or  tear the mozzarella into bite sized chunks

– Stack the basil leaves on top of one another and roll into a cylinder, cut down the length of the cylinder, making ~1/4″ pieces of basil confetti

– Mix the tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil in a bowl

– Allow the balsamic reduction to cool for a few minutes, then pour over the salad and stir to combine


Salmon Avocado BLTs

Salmon Avocado BLTs

One of my all time favorite summer meals is a BLT, you can’t really beat fresh tomatoes and bacon so when I saw a recipe for a Grilled Salmon BLT Club Sandwich with Avocado in the July/August issue of Food Network Magazine I knew I had to try it.  My roommate Alyssa actually made these when I was late getting home from work, they were delicious!  We didn’t make ours club sandwiches, they were plenty big enough without the extra layer of bread.


These sandwiches also have a delicious garlic lime mayo, to make it you combine mayo, garlic, lime zest and juice, and parsley.


Add some lettuce and tomato.

lettuce and tomato

And a hearty layer of bacon.


And salmon.


And avocado.


Cut the sandwich in half and enjoy!

salmon avocado blt

The salmon and the avocado really add something special to the sandwich, the creamy avocado off sets the salty crunch from the bacon and salmon makes the whole sandwich more substantial.

sablt in hand




Salmon Avocado BLTs  (adapted from Food Network Magazine)

Serves 6


1/2 cup mayonnaise

1 clove garlic – grated

2 limes – juice and zest

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 pound salmon filet

extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

12 slices bread – toasted

6 leaves lettuce

2 tomatoes -sliced

12 slices bacon

1 avocado – thinly sliced

– Mix together the mayo, garlic, 1 lime, and herbs, set aside

– Cook the bacon

– Season the salmon with the extra virgin olive oil, salt & pepper, and remaining lime, cook on a grill pan or George Foreman grill until cooked through

– Spread mayo on 6 slices of toast

– Top with lettuce, tomato, avocado, salmon, and bacon

– Top with remaining slice of toast

Cut sandwiches in half and serve



Yellow Squash Pasta

Yellow Squash Pasta

As I’ve established before, I love pasta (see chicken fettucine alfredo, penne with vodka sauce, parmesan pasta and veggies, and pesto pasta with butternut squash) but there are some times when you want something lighter.  I’ve had spaghetti squash before, which is pretty delicious, so a few weeks ago when I stumbled upon this recipe for zucchini pasta from Miss Chris Creations I was intrigued.  I had some squash in the fridge and I decided to make a tomato sauce to go along with it, the dish turned out great!

squash pasta

First use a vegetable peeler to cut thin strips of the squash or zucchini and lay them out on a paper towels, and sprinkle them with salt (to bring out the water).

squash strips

Meanwhile mince some garlic.


Put it in a pan with some olive oil and dried Italian seasoning (basil, parsley, oregano).

garlic, evoo, seasoning in pan

Let the squash sit and then squeeze the excess water out of the squash.  I dabbed them with paper towels and then put the squash in a ball and squeezed until no more water came out.


Add the squash to the pan, and some fresh ground black pepper, and cook until the squash is tender.

squash in tan

Then add some tomato sauce and cook for a little longer.

added tomato sauce

Serve on a plate and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

squash pasta


squash pasta on fork


Yellow Squash Pasta

Serves: 1


1 yellow squash or zucchini


1 tablespoon olive oil

2 cloves garlic – minced

1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning (basil, oregano, parsley)

fresh ground black pepper

1/2 cup tomato sauce

Parmesan cheese (for serving)

– Use a vegetable peeler to cut thing strips of squash or zucchini, stopping when you get to the seeds

– Lay the strips out on paper towels and sprinkle with salt, allow to sit for 10-15 minutes

– Meanwhile cook the garlic in a pan with the olive oil and Italian seasoning

– After 10-15 minutes, dab the squash with paper towels, then ball up and squeeze out the excess water

– Add the squash to the pan with some black pepper  to taste and cook until the squash is tender (about 5 minutes)

– Stir in the tomato sauce and cook for a few more minutes

– Serve, topping with Parmesan cheese as desired

Chili and Cornbread

Chili and Cornbread

Need an easy, delicious, hearty meal?  May I suggest chili and cornbread!  I absolutely love chili (mainly as an excuse to eat copious amounts of cheese and sour cream) and it’s super simple to make, especially if you make it in a crock-pot (such a strange word).

chili and cornbread

First brown up come ground beef in a skillet with a small chopped onion and a few cloves of garlic.  When the beef is done drain off the grease and transfer the beef to a crock-pot.  Add in beans, crushed tomatoes with chili, tomato sauce, a jar of salsa, brown sugar, chili powder, paprika, cumin, ancho chili powder, chipotle chili powder and salt and pepper.  Stir it all around and let it cook.  It’s that simple.

Chili in Crock-Pot

Now, for a delicious accompaniment to the chili, what’s better than some cornbread.  You just mix up some corn meal, flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, oil, milk, and an egg.  Place it in a greased pan and bake it.


After the chili is and cornbread are done serve them up in a bowl with some sour cream, shredded cheese, and jalapeno.  Yum!

chili and cornbread



Crock Pot Chili

Serves 6-8


4 lbs. ground beef

1 medium onion – chopped

3 cloves garlic – minced

15 oz can black beans

15 oz can kidney beans

15 oz can pinto beans

16 oz jar salsa (I use medium, adjust heat based on your preference)

60 oz jar tomato sauce

10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chilies

1/2 cup brown sugar

1 tablespoon chili powder

1 tablespoon paprika

1 tablespoon cumin

1/2 tablespoon ancho chili powder

1/2 tablespoon chipotle chili powder

10 oz can diced tomatoes with green chiles

salt & pepper to taste

sour cream (optional for serving)

shredded cheese (optional for serving)

jalapenos (optional for serving)

Brown beef in a large skillet with the onion and garlic

Drain the grease and place the beef in a crock-pot

– Add the remaining ingredients to the crock-pot and stir

– Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 7 hours

Serve garnishing with jalapenos, sour cream, and shredded cheese as desired




Yields: 1 – 9×9″ baking dish


1 1/2 cups yellow corn meal

1/2 cup flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 cup sugar

1 teaspoon salt

1/3 cup canola oil

1 cup milk

1 egg

– Preheat oven to 425 °F

– Combine dry ingredients in a bowl

– Combine wet ingredients in a second bowl

– Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients, stirring just until combined

– Pour into a greased 9×9″ baking dish

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 425 °F



Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

After a few very busy weeks of visiting grad schools I’m back with a simple recipe for a delicious homemade tomato soup.  While I’m very disappointed with the groundhog for lying to me in his prediction of an early Spring (my front yard is currently covered in snow) I’ll take the cold weather as an excuse to make some nice creamy soup.

Tomato Soup

I had never made tomato soup from scratch before but we had a ton of tomatoes and I decided to give a try, it was super easy and VERY delicious,  I recommend you try it yourself sometime.

tomato package

First put the tomatoes on a baking sheet, sprinkle with some olive oil, salt, and pepper, and toss to coat, then put them in the oven to roast.

tomato evoo sp

Take them out after they’ve popped and look like this:

roasted tomatoes

Cook some onion and garlic in a pan, then add the roasted tomatoes.

onions, garlic, and tomatoes

Add in some basil, oregano, parsley, tarragon, and a bay leaf and let it simmer for a bit.

tomato soup pre blender

Remove the bay leaf, turn off the heat, stir in the milk.

tomato soup with milk

Use an immersion blender (I got one for Christmas and this was the first time I used it, it made things super easy, but you can always transfer the soup to a regular blender if you don’t have one) to puree the soup to the consistency you want, I like mine to still have chunks of tomato.

tomato soup with immersion blender

Finally, enjoy!  The soup is delicious alone but also goes great with sour cream and the traditional grilled cheese or quesadillas.

soup sour cream and quesadilla

I had mine with a quesadilla and some sour cream, which was very yummy!

soup and quesadilla


Creamy Roasted Tomato Soup

Serves 2


1 pound cherry tomatoes

extra virgin olive oil

salt & pepper

1 small onion – chopped

2 cloves garlic – grated

1 bay leaf

2 tablespoons dried basil

1 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon dried tarragon

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1 cup milk or cream

sour cream for serving (optional)

– Preheat oven to 400 °F

– Place tomatoes on a baking sheet, drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt & pepper, and toss to coat.  Roast at 400 °F for 30 min. or until tomatoes burst

Cook onion and garlic in olive oil over medium-high heat until translucent and tender (about 5 minutes)

– Add the tomatoes (and juices from the baking sheet), bay leaf, and dried spices to the pan, stir

– Simmer for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally

– Turn off the heat, remove the bay leaf and add milk

– Puree with an immersion blender or transfer to a regular blender until desired consistency is reached

Serve, garnishing with sour cream if desired