because what is life without good food?

Posts tagged “Cheese

New Recipes at SumptuousSpoonfuls.com

I know I promised I would post the recipes here every time I post a new recipe on my blog’s new home … but it’s getting away from me … so much to do with the transfer of domains and all the other things going on in my life … I did export and import all of the email subscribers from here over to there … are you getting emails from my new blog? If not, please go add your email address on my new blog: www.SumptuousSpoonfuls.com  … seriously, please, go now! I don’t want to lose you.

Okay, now let’s talk new recipes … here’s what’s new on my blog: click on the pic or the title to see the recipe … I hope you’ll visit me at my new site!

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Tropical Kiwi Monster Protein Kale Smoothie

Apple Pie Wontons

Apple Pie Wontons

Curried Chicken Salad in Crispy Wonton Cups

Curried Chicken Salad with Grapes in Crispy Wonton Cups

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon

Havarti Cheddar Kale Omelet with Bacon


Chipotle Black Bean Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

I have some exciting news for you! Well, it’s exciting to me, anyway, and I hope you find it exciting too … Sumptuous Spoonfuls is teaming up with Swiss Diamond International. I will be crafting some recipes for Swiss Diamond International using their cookware. They are not paying me to do this, but they are giving me samples of their cookware to use in developing their recipes.

I was really excited when Swiss Diamond International contacted me, and even more excited after I read about their cookware.  I was intrigued by the use of diamonds in cookware. This is from Swiss Diamond’s web site:

  • Diamonds are durable - As the hardest material known to man, diamonds give the coating additional strength and resilience.
  • Diamonds are a better heat conductor than metal - Four times more conductive than copper, diamonds create even heat distribution across the pan’s surface. Diamonds also allow the pan to brown food like stainless steel, creating a “fond” that can be used for gravy – or easily washed away with warm soapy water.
  • Diamonds are naturally nonstick - One of the most valuable properties of diamonds in a nonstick coating is that very little sticks to them. Coupled with their durability, this creates a lifetime of superior performance.

So I was curious to see if it really works … and I have to say I absolutely love these pans! They cook like a dream … the heat distributes across the pan so well. The food cooks faster and so evenly. And nothing sticks to the pan … with no cooking spray or butter. I tried some of the stickiest, most difficult things (like fried rice) and nothing stuck. And they’re so easy to clean too. (By the way, while Swiss Diamond did give me the pans, they did not pay me to say that … this is my honest experience.) I’m curious to see how well they retain that magic nonstick surface … I guess time will tell.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

For this recipe, I used the crepe/omelet pan. This little pan is by far my favorite so far. It has a low lip so that it’s easy to flip crepes, omelets, and pancakes. (Even the IHOP-style pancakes that have always been a struggle for me to flip … I found I can even make giant  pancakes – bigger than IHOP’s! – in this pan and they cook and flip SO nicely.) Anyway, I was craving a quesadilla the other day and thought this pan would be perfect for that. I wanted to try making it without any oil or cooking spray and see if the tortilla got properly crisped and browned on both sides. And you know what? It did.

You don’t have to have a crepe / omelet pan to make these quesadillas … any frying pan will do. But it sure makes cooking a pleasure.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadilla with Avocado Cream in Swiss Diamond International Crepe/Omelet Pan

 Chipotle Black Bean Quesadilla with Avocado Cream

For each quesadilla:

  • 1/2 of a ripe avocado
  • 1 oz. light cream cheese
  • 1 Tablespoon finely chopped onion
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • juice from 1/4 – 1/2 of a fresh lime
  • 1 – 2 teaspoons plain nonfat yogurt (optional)
  • 2 tortillas that fit the size of your pan. I used some whole wheat “wraps” that were a little smaller than my crepe pan.
  • Refried black beans (homemade or canned)
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped onion
  • About a Tablespoon of finely chopped chipotle pepper (a jalapeno roasted on the grill would also work)
  • About 1/2 oz. of finely shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese
  • For serving: your favorite salsa. A fire-roasted salsa is especially nice with this quesadilla!

Directions:

  1. First, make the Avocado cream by mashing the avocado in a bowl, then mash in the cream cheese, onion, garlic and lime juice and stir until everything is mixed well and the mixture is fairly smooth. Add a teaspoon or two of plain nonfat yogurt if you like to get it to a nice spreadable consistency.
  2. Take one tortilla and spread it with a layer of refried black beans, then spread on a layer of avocado cream. Sprinkle the onion and chipotle pepper over, then sprinkle evenly with the shredded cheddar and top it all off with the 2nd tortilla.
  3. Heat your pan over medium heat. If your pan needs it, spray the pan with cooking spray, then slide the quesadilla into the pan. Cook for about 3 minutes, then check to see if the bottom is nicely browned and crisp. Once it’s brown, flip the quesadilla over with a spatula and cook until it’s brown on the other side and the cheese is melted. (The bottom half is crisp by now so the quesadilla is fairly easy to flip, but if you are making a large quesadilla, you may need to slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board and then flip it over back into the pan.)
  4. Slide the quesadilla onto a cutting board, cut into wedges, and serve with the salsa.

Black Bean Chipotle Quesadillas with Avocado Cream

If you would like to purchase Swiss Diamond cookware, visit http://www.swissdiamond.us/.

This recipe was shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayThursday’s TreasuresGala Dinner PartyFit & Fabulous FridaysFriday Food Fight, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Smoked Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This is the sandwich I made with the Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade.

It is simply delicious and it’s something you can totally make in a rush. If you’ve got the tapenade in your fridge, the sandwich comes together in a few minutes. All you need is a whole wheat bun, some turkey, sweet onion, fresh garden tomato and some extra sharp white cheddar cheese. If you have a couple large basil leaves that is an excellent finishing touch.

I had about 30 minutes between errands and my daughter’s dance class last weekend to make myself and her something to eat. This is what I made for ME because while I had fed the kids breakfast, I ran out of time to feed myself, so by lunchtime I was starving. In a rush, I started grabbing things from the fridge and this was what became of it.

I managed to snap a few photos somehow before I chowed it down and ran out the door to get my girl to her dance class.

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

For each sandwich (two halves):

  • 1 whole wheat bun, sliced in half, lightly toasted
  • Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade (recipe here)
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • A couple very thin slices natural smoked turkey
  • A slice or two of fresh garden tomato for each side
  • Slices of extra sharp white cheddar cheese
  • A couple large fresh basil leaves (or several smaller ones)

Directions:

  1. Slice each half of the bun with a good layer of roasted pepper tomato tepenade.
  2. Set it on a baking sheet, then arrange several thin slices of sweet onion on top of the tepenade.
  3. Cover with the thin slices of smoked turkey and then a slice or two of tomato (whatever fits!). Top the tomato with a couple slices of white cheddar cheese.
  4. Bake at 400 until the cheese is good and hot and bubbly and melty.
  5. Top with a couple fresh basil leaves. Enjoy!

Turkey Tomato White Cheddar Melt

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty TuesdayTuesday Talent ShowTasty TuesdayShow & Share WednesdayCast Party WednesdayNewlyweds Recipe LinkyThursday’s Treasures, Friday Food Fight and All my Bloggy Friends.


Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

“Soup is a lot like a family. Each ingredient enhances the others; each batch has its own characteristics; and it needs time to simmer to reach full flavor.”
~ Marge Kennedy

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

The other day I was digging through my freezer trying to identify all the things that were too freezer burned to eat and I came across this “mystery” container with ugly brown stuff in it. I had NO idea what that was. I sniffed it. Poked it. Nope, couldn’t tell what it was. I set it in my pile of “things to discard” … and it wasn’t until morning that I realized it was MOREL mushrooms! Oh NO! my precious most favorite mushrooms in the whole world that my dad gave me … I just couldn’t let those go to waste! I quickly set my mind to thinking what to do with them …

Soup! Yes, mushroom soup. Something wonderfully creamy and cheesy … I originally thought I would puree this soup and make a rich cream of mushroom soup, but once I got it all done, I just didn’t want to do that to my soup. I wanted to savor the soft texture of the mushrooms and caramelized onions contrasted against the smooth creamy, cheesy broth. You can puree it if you prefer. I’m leaving mine with bits of mushroom and caramelized onion floating about in it.

I am SO glad I saved the mushrooms. I feel a bit super-hero-ish now. I have accomplished something most very worthwhile today.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This recipe makes about a quart of soup.

  • 1/2 Tablespoon butter
  • 1 1/2 cups thinly sliced onion
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1 cup sauteed mushrooms (Measured after sauteeing … I used morels, but I think you could substitute any mushroom and it would still be a great soup! Whatever mushrooms you choose, try the Chardonnay mushroom cooking method to avoid putting loads of extra fat in your soup … )
  • 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup shredded Gouda  cheese
  • Salt & Freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: freshly grated cheese & snipped green onions

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan to medium and set the butter in to melt. Once it’s mostly melted, add the onions and sautee the onions in the butter. Cover and let cook for just a minute, then remove the lid and stir well. If the pan seems dry, add a little wine and stir well. Cover again and let cook, then remove the cover and stir. Keep repeating this process until the wine is gone and the onions are a lovely dark brown color.
  2. Stir the flour into the onions and stir to coat all the onions in a lovely jacket of flour, then add the milk, mushrooms, and broth and stir to mix well.
  3. Reduce heat to medium low and let cook, stirring frequently, until the soup starts to thicken a bit. Add the cheese and stir to mix. Cook until the cheese is melted and the soup is heated through. Try a small spoonful of the soup and add salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately. Store any leftovers in a covered container in the fridge. I like to put my soup in a glass jar so I can gaze at it every time I open the fridge.

Caramelized Onion Mushroom Gouda Soup

This is an #OnionLove Post … Powered by Linky Tools

Click here to see all the other great #onionlove posts …

This recipe was also shared at Show & Share WednesdayCast Party Wednesday, Everyday Mom’s MealsFull Plate Thursday, Share it Saturday, and Scrumptious Sunday.


Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie Noodles

Shhhh … they aren’t really “noodles” … they just look sort of like noodles. They don’t really taste like noodles either, but I love the noodley look of this colorful vegetable medley. The Pesto Rosso (a.k.a, sundried tomato pesto) really complements the sauteed veggies too, especially when you add some crumbles of cheese on top.

It was getting very close to bedtime last night when I realized I was hungry. I didn’t want to have a big, heavy meal right before bed, but I didn’t want my stomach waking me up in the middle of night either. So I decided at the last moment to cook up something light and healthy but filling enough to tide me over till morning. I’ve been toying with the idea of using zucchini and summer squash as noodles with sauce over top, but when I went to make it, I thought “why just zucchini? why not toss some other vegetables too?” … and so I did.

For me, this was a late night snack, but I could envision these lovelies as a beautiful bed for meat, fish or chicken. Can you imagine how appetizing that would look? Or you could eat them as is for a wonderfully healthy vegetarian dinner. If you want a heartier meal, toss them with some whole grain fettucine or linguine. The wonderful thing about eating vegetables for dinner is you can pretty much eat as many as you want without guilt or worry.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie Noodles

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie “Noodles”

This makes about enough for 1 hearty plateful or two side servings. Multiply if you have more mouths to feed!

  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 – 1/2 of a small sweet onion
  • 1/3 of a large bell pepper (I used a yellow one)
  • 1/2 of a medium-sized zucchini (yielding a heaping cup or so of zucchini “noodles”)
  • 1 roma tomato
  • About 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped (I used Basil and Terragon)
  • A splash of wine (or water)
  • About 1 Tablespoon Pesto Rosso (Sundried Tomato Pesto … recipe here)
  • About 1/2 Tablespoon white wine (or water)
  • To top: crumbled feta or queso fresco — or thin “shards” of freshly cut Parmesan & a cherry tomato or sprig of fresh basil or parsley, for garnish

Directions:

  1. Peel and chop the garlic finely and, in a small bowl, mix it with the olive oil. Set aside to allow the garlic to infuse into the oil while you chop up the vegies.
  2. Slice the vegies into thin noodle shapes. For the onion, slice it vertically and very thin. The zucchini: slice it in half, then slice each half into very thin slices. Cut the slices into noodle-sized strips. The tomato: cut it vertically, then slice like you did the zucchini. The bell pepper: just cut it into very thin strips.
  3. Now heat a frying pan over medium heat. Add the garlic with olive oil, onion and bell pepper and sautee until the onion is soft. Then add the zucchini and tomato and sautee until the zucchini “noodles” are tender. If the pan gets dry while you are cooking, add a splash of white wine (or water) to keep the vegies moist and tender and make sure they don’t stick to the pan.
  4. Mix the pesto rosso with a bit of white wine (or water) to thin it out, then toss it with the vegies.
  5. Top with crumbled cheese or shards of parmesan, garnish with a cherry tomato and/or fresh herbs and serve immediately.

Sundried Tomato Pesto Harvest Vegie "Noodles"

This recipe was shared at Tasty TuesdayWonderful Food WednesdayCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Fit & Fabulous Friday, Weekend Potluck and Newlyweds Recipe Linky.


Black Grape, Walnut, & Blue Cheese Salad

with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

I found some gorgeous big, juicy, crunchy black grapes at the grocery store the other day. I am not really much of a grape lover (unless it’s WINE!), but my kids like them, so I decided to bring some black grapes home for the teenagers. But my kids didn’t eat them. I even put some in a little container for my daughter for a before-dance snack, but she didn’t touch them. I kept reminding my son that they were there … no luck.

So it seems like I’m stuck eating the grapes. I tried to think of a way to eat them that I would actually enjoy and the first thing that came to mind is a salad. I thought if I added some crunchy walnuts and blue cheese, that would probably make them palateable. And you know what? It worked! I think I may actually start LIKING grapes …

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Red or green grapes would work nicely in this salad too. Red ones would add more color, too!

  • Mixed greens
  • Black grapes, sliced or halved
  • Walnuts, toasted
  • Blue cheese crumbles
  • Vanilla Ginger Yogurt dressing (recipe below)

Prepare the dressing and set aside. Fill your salad bowl most of the way with mixed greens. Add a generous amount of grapes and toss to mix. Top with some toasted walnuts and blue cheese crumbles and drizzle with the Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing.

Black Grape, Walnut & Blue Cheese Salad with Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

Vanilla Ginger Yogurt Dressing

  • 1/3 cup vanilla lowfat yogurt
  • 1 – 1 1/2 teaspoons freshly grated ginger root
  • milk or rosewater, to thin

In a small bowl, mix the vanilla yogurt with the grated ginger root. Add milk or rosewater as needed (I used a little of each) to thin out the yogurt to the right consistency to drizzle properly.

This recipe was shared at Fit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious SundayAll my Bloggy FriendsTuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Show & Share Wednesday and Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck.


Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Is it okay to have cake for breakfast? Because I really can’t sit here and look at all this drizzly chocolate and finish this post without eating some … it’s just TOO tempting.

This all started when Justine at Full Belly Sisters shared her recipe for Cannoli Ice Cream. It looked SO good! A few of my foodie friends also made it and they ALL raved about it. I was totally intrigued by the idea of using ricotta in ice cream … and so I decided to jump on the bandwagon and try it too.

I tasted the mixture before it went in the ice cream maker …oooooh yummmm! It tasted SO wonderful! … and when it came out, it was perfectly frozen and I couldn’t wait to dig in.

I discovered something about myself that day. I have a texture issue with ricotta cheese. At least in ice cream. I want my ice cream super smooth and creamy. Crunch from nuts or chewy brownie bits and things like that are ok. But any grainy texture at all … nope. I just can’t to it. Don’t get me wrong: the cannoli ice cream is fabulous, and maybe I screwed up and just didn’t puree it long enough in my blender. I do highly recommend trying the ice cream. Every single one of my friends that tried it totally RAVED about it. But I just couldn’t eat it. And since my kids will not touch anything with nuts in it, they would not eat it either. I put it in my freezer and forgot about it … until I was cleaning out my freezer the other day. I almost threw it out, then I had second thoughts. I stuck it in the fridge instead and started thinking: what could I do with this wonderful mixture? I toyed with the idea of a dessert lasagna, but that sounded like a lot of work.

I don’t know what made me think of it, but somehow I thought of doing an icebox cake. I’ve never ever made one before, but I’ve often marveled at the simplicity and beauty of them. And so began my first icebox cake. I was so incredibly excited to see the beautifully layered result and I cannot believe that chocolate graham crackers and ricotta cheese could transform into such a beautiful, decadent dessert! The crackers become delightfully cakey and they create such a GORGEOUS layered effect … I can’t wait to make my next icebox cake! I already have visions of other flavors dancing around in my head …

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

Inspired by Full Belly Sisters Cannoli Ice Cream. I didn’t have the full amount of ricotta mixture shown here because I had eaten SOME of the ice cream, but really it doesn’t matter. Just keep layering till it’s gone! This makes enough for 2-4 desserts, depending on how big your servings are. If you’re making it for a crowd, you’ll probably want to at least double the recipe.

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • small pinch of salt
  • 1 3/4 cups good-quality ricotta (I used lowfat)
  • 1/4 cup pistachios, chopped roughly
  • about 2 ounces dark chocolate, at least 70% cocoa, chopped
  • Chocolate graham crackers (or cookies) — I used 4 full-size crackers, but you may need more.
  • additional chopped pistachios and chocolate syrup, for garnish (optional)

Directions:

  1. Put the sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in your blender and blend until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta and puree until smooth.
  2. Pour the ricotta mixture into a bowl and stir in the chopped pistachios & dark chocolate.
  3. Spray a small bowl or tray that fits your cracker size/shape, and set a cracker on the bottom. (I used two small square bowls that each fit half a cracker nicely.) Spread a layer of the ricotta mixture on top, then add another cracker, then another layer of ricotta. Repeat until the ricotta mixture is gone, ending with the ricotta mixture on top. Cover your bowl (or tray or whatever you’re using) with a plate that fits tightly (or if you must, use plastic wrap) and refrigerate overnight.
  4. To serve, cut wedges of the “cake” and use a spatula to place them on your plate, drizzle with chocolate syrup and serve. I would highly recommend garnishing this beautiful cake with some roasted, salted chopped pistachios, but alas, I was all out … at least I had chocolate syrup!

Chocolate Pistachio Cannoli Icebox Cake

This recipe was shared at Kitchen Fun FridayWeekend PotluckFriday Favorites, All my Bloggy Friends, Melt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Wonderful Food Wednesday and Scrumptious Sunday.


Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich

on Toasted Ciabatta with Melted Gouda Cheese

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Ciabatta with Gouda

Today I was HUNGRY and needed something substantial. Something with protein. I briefly considered making up a BLT, but I decided I didn’t want to mess with making bacon. I needed something quick so I could get back to work.

So an egg sandwich sounded about right … But I wanted something really tasty that would satisfy my hunger AND my taste buds. Pesto rosso to the rescue! If you haven’t heard of Pesto Rosso, it’s a magical tomato pesto made with sundried tomatoes and almonds. The Foodie Physician introduced me to it. I have had this lovely red pesto several times spread on toast for a snack and reveled in the taste of it each time, but today I thought I would put it to the test in a sandwich.

A few minutes later I was munching on one of the BEST breakfast sandwiches I have ever had. The lovely ciabatta and fresh garden tomato are wonderful, of course, and the sweet pepper and onion certainly pitch in along with the melted gouda cheese, but the Pesto Rosso is what really turns this sandwich from a ho-hum regular run-of-the-mill sandwich … into a sandwich to remember.

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Ciabatta with Gouda Cheese

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich

Makes 2 normal-sized breakfast sandwiches or 1 extra large one. I used Gouda cheese from Dofino, since they were so kind as to send me samples.

  • 1 egg
  • About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet bell pepper (I used yellow … red or green would work too)
  • About 1 tablespoon of chopped sweet onion
  • Several slices of Gouda cheese
  • Ciabatta bread, sliced horizontally (I used my homemade ciabatta)
  • Pesto Rosso (recipe here)
  • Sliced fresh garden tomato

Directions:

  1. In a small bowl, whisk the egg with a small spoonful of cold water till smooth (the water will help keep your egg moist and perfect). Season with Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt) and fresh ground black pepper, then stir in the chopped sweet onion and bell pepper.
  2. Heat your frying pan to medium heat, pour in the egg mixture, reduce heat immediately to medium low. Cover the egg with gouda cheese slices, then set the cover on the pan and let cook, checking frequently, until the egg is cooked through and the cheese is melted. I pushed in some of the edges of the egg to make it into a more manageable size for the sandwich.
  3. While the egg is cooking, cut 2 pieces of ciabatta about the size for half of your egg (or a large piece of ciabatta if you are making a ginormous sandwich), slice them horizontally and toast the bread, then spread the bottom half of the ciabatta with a generous amount of Pesto Rosso. Slide the egg on top of the Pesto Rosso and then add fresh tomato slices and the top half of the ciabatta bread.

Enjoy!

Sweet Pepper Pesto Rosso Breakfast Sandwich on Toasted Ciabatta with Gouda Cheese

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s TreasuresFull Plate Thursday, Friday FavoritesFit & Fabulous FridaysWeekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday and Kitchen Fun Friday.


Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Tortilla soup is one of the most marvelous things in life. It’s got everything going for it: the lovely crunch of the tortilla chips, the oozy melted cheese, tasty Mexican flavors, the soothing comfort of a hot bowl of soup. Plus it’s great for your sinuses and your health and it’s so easy to make. It’s such a versatile soup too: it can be a nice vegetarian meal or starter, or you can add meat or seafood to it for a heartier soup. The other thing I like about tortilla soup is it helps use up those chips on the bottom of the bag that aren’t big enough for other uses (like dipping).

I made this simple soup without any meat, allowing the flavors of the tomato and the peppers to really shine through, but you can add meat if you like. I listed a whole bunch of things you could add to this soup if you want to change things up a bit.

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 1/2 of a large onion, peeled and chopped (about 1 cup)
  • 3 fresh garden tomatoes, peeled and cored (about 1 lb or 2 cups after they are pureed) … canned tomatoes work too
  • 3 jalapenos, chopped (use more or less depending on how spicy you want your soup … you can substitute other peppers for the jalapenos too … use bell pepper for a milder soup, or a different hot chile pepper to vary the flavor)
  • 2 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 3/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning (or your favorite seasoned salt)
  • Baked or fried tortilla chips (or strips)
  • Shredded Mexican and/or queso fresco crumbles
  • Cilantro leaves
  • Optional add-ins:
    • sautee with the onion/garlic: celery, carrots, zucchini or other veggies
    • add with the tomatoes/peppers: chicken, pork, shrimp, crab, avocado, lime juice, cooked corn, cooked beans, hominy

Directions:

  1. Heat a medium saucepan over medium heat. Once the pan is hot, add the olive oil and swirl it around, then the chopped onion and garlic. Sautee until the onion is very soft and translucent.
  2. Pour the tomatoes (with juices) into a blender and blend till smooth. Add them to the pot along with the jalapenos, broth, tomato sauce, and seasonings. Reduce heat slightly and allow the soup to simmer for about 15 – 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, to allow the peppers to cook and the flavors to meld.
  3. To serve: pour the hot soup into bowls, sprinkle with tortilla chips and cheese, then cilantro and avocado (if you like).

Simply Spicy Tortilla Soup

This recipe was shared at Totally Tasty TuesdaysNewlyweds Recipe LinkyCast Party WednesdayFull Plate Thursday, Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Lifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.


Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

When Sonali at The Foodie Physician posted this Pesto Rosso, I was immediately taken with it. Suddenly I wanted nothing but to make her lovely red pesto. With all the fresh garden tomatoes in my kitchen at the time, I couldn’t bring myself to go buy sundried tomatoes to make this, so I decided to try oven-drying some of them. It worked! I got some really lovely oven-dried tomatoes out of it. I didn’t pack them in oil, though. I just stuck them in a bag and put them in the fridge. They softened up a bit in the fridge, but much to my joy, they had the same lovely sundried tomato taste. So I used them in the pesto rosso and it turned out just as wonderful as I had imagined.

If you want to try oven-drying your tomatoes, here is the post from Love the secret ingredient on how to “sun” dry your tomatoes in the oven. She says it takes 5-6 hours, but it took my tomatoes about 9 hours to dry. I think it really depends on your oven.

Here are some suggestions from Sonali at The Foodie Physician on how to use this marvelous tomato-based pesto:

  • Mix with a little pasta water and toss with hot pasta. Top with shredded Parmesan. Instant dinner!
  • Spread it on hot or cold sandwiches- anything from turkey sandwiches to grilled cheese
  • Top grilled chicken breasts, fish or other meats with it
  • Mix it with a little ricotta or goat cheese and use it as a stuffing for chicken breasts or pork chops (or lasagna!)
  • Add flavor to vegetarian or egg dishes- try stirring a spoonful into sautéed vegetables or a frittata
  • Mix it with Greek yogurt to make a healthy dip for vegetables or chips
  • Spread it on garlic bread for an extra hit of flavor
  • Use it onto homemade pizza dough as an alternative to tomato sauce
  • Spread it on toasted country bread and top it off with some arugula and shavings of Parmigiano Reggiano for a healthy snack (actually, it’s great on bread all by itself!)

I think it would also be marvelous to stir a spoonful or two into an Italian soup, or use a spoonful as a beautiful & tasty garnish on top of a thick, creamy soup.

Pesto Rosso

Pesto Rosso

Adapted only very slightly from The Foodie Physician. Makes about 1 1/3 cups pesto or 8 servings.
  • 1/3 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
  • 1 – 2 cloves of garlic, peeled
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Several fresh basil leaves
  • A sprig of fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
  • 5 ounces small tomatoes (cherry or grape would work well … I had some tiny romas from mom’s garden that seemed perfect)
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup grated Asiago cheese (Sonali recommends Parmigiano Reggiano, but I had Asiago on hand …)

Directions:

  1. Place the almonds, sundried tomatoes, garlic, red pepper flakes, and herbs in a handi chopper or food processor. Pulse several times until everything is finely chopped.
  2. Add the balsamic vinegar, tomatoes, and olive oil and process until the tomatoes are finely chopped. (Sonali says to add the olive oil in a steady stream while the processor is on … my handi chopper doesn’t allow for that.)
  3. Add the cheese and pulse just a couple times to mix it in fully.

Pesto Rosso

This recipe was shared at Cast Party WednesdayLifeologia’s Birthday Party Potluck and All my Bloggy Friends.


Sweet Onion Melted Gouda (SOMG!) BLT

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (SOMG BLT!)

This is such an amazing sandwich. It’s really so simple. But it takes the whole concept of Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato to a new level.  All you have to do is add a little bit of sweet onion and some gouda cheese, get that cheese really good and melty and OMG you will be drowning in heaven when you eat your sandwich. So that’s why it’s a Sooo OMG BLT.  SOMG = Sweet Onion Melted Gouda. How sweet is THAT?

The most necessary thing for this sandwich is a fresh-from-the-garden tomato.  If you don’t have a garden (or a friend or relative who has a garden who will share a tomato), one from the farmer’s market will do in a pinch. If you’re going to use a grocery store tomato, just skip this whole idea. Go make something else. Because to get the true essence of a really great BLT, you need a really good fresh garden tomato.

The sweet onion and the melty gouda cheese elevate the bacon and the heavenly homegrown tomato taste and then the mixed greens come along and top it all off with their beauty and crunch. You really must have at least one of these beautiful sandwiches during tomato season … I have had two so far and I’m SO tempted to make another one … SOMG they are SO good!

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce and Tomato Sandwich (SoooOMG BLT!)

For each sandwich:

  • 1 nice thick slice of bread (homemade bread works the best … I used my dad’s whole wheat yogurt bread)
  • 3 slices of lower-fat, naturally smoked, thin-sliced bacon
  • Thinly sliced sweet onion
  • Fresh garden tomato slices
  • A few slices of Gouda cheese (I used Dofino Gouda that they sent me … )
  • Mixed greens

Directions:

  1. Cook the bacon strips to your liking. I like mine a little floppy, but my sisters hate the way I make bacon. My kids love it though. (HA! For once I am validated by my kids.) Use a clean kitchen towel or paper towels to soak up the excess fat from the bacon.
  2. Set the bread on a baking sheet covered with cooking spray. Cover the bread with a layer of bacon, then several slices of the sweet onion, then make sure you cover the whole thing with fresh tomato slices. Cover the tomato with slices of gouda cheese.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 8 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is really good and melted and bubbly.
  4. Remove the sandwiches from the oven and carefully transfer each sandwich to a plate and add a good tumble of mixed greens. Then revel in the joy of a purely wonderful sandwich.

Sweet Onion Melted Gouda Bacon Lettuce & Tomato Sandwich (Soo OMG BLT)

I want to thank Dofino cheese for sending me some of their wonderful Gouda cheese and my amazing friends from the BOHO tribe for helping me name this sandwich! It was Uncle Gary from Uncle Gary’s Gourmet Peppers and Pepper Jelly that thought of this name.

This is an #onionlove post.

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This recipe was also shared at Share it SaturdayScrumptious Sunday, and Totally Tasty Tuesdays.


Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

It is September … the weather is starting to cool down. I was really loving the cooler weather … until my allergies kicked in …

Ah but I am lucky! I “inherited” some wild rice from my sister. She said it was too salty and brought it along up to my parents’ place last weekend for us to “fix” for her. Well we didn’t get around to making anything with it, she left and my other sister left and there was still the wild rice in the fridge, so my mom asked if I would take it. Sure, I said. Then I can make soup!

So yes, I made soup. And what’s better than soup in the fall when there’s a little chill in the air and your allergies are in overdrive? Soup is just the thing to make you feel better … it’s so warm and comforting and wonderful.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This is a very thick and chunky soup. Feel free to adjust the amounts of vegies, rice and meats to your liking … if you want more of the delicious cheesy broth, put in fewer vegies and rice. Like many soups, it is really better the next day. If you want a vegetarian soup, leave out the meat and use vegetable broth in place of the chicken broth

  • 1/2 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery (reserve the leaves!)
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped zucchini
  • 2 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup shredded Edam cheese (I used some Dofino Edam cheese that Dofino sent to me as a “sample”)
  • 1/4 cup Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as parmesan or romano)
  • 1/2 – 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup corn
  • 2 cups cooked wild rice (use the wild Minnesota wild rice if you can find it … it’s SO much better!)
  • 3/4 cup cooked leftover chicken (or more if you want a meatier soup)
  • 1/2 cup corn (frozen, thawed or pre-cooked fresh)
  • 1 teaspoon Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt
  • The leaves from a few sprigs of fresh oregano and parsley
  • Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • For garnish: shredded cheese and oregano or parsley leaves

Directions:

  1. Heat a saucepan or your soup pot over medium heat and add the olive oil and swirl it around.
  2. Pour the celery, onions, carrots, zucchini and garlic into the pot. Over medium-high heat, sautee the vegies until the onions are soft and translucent and the zucchini is tender.
  3. Add the flour to the pan and stir, coating all your little vegetables and garlic bits in flour. Do this quickly before the flour starts to brown.
  4. Add the milk and bay leaf and cook over medium heat, stirring often, for about 5 – 10 minutes or so or until the mixture thickens.
  5. Add the shredded cheeses and cook for a few minutes longer until the cheese melts, then stir in the broth, rice, chicken, corn, and lower the heat to a simmer (on medium low to low) and cook for 15 – 20 minutes to let the flavors meld. Stir in the reserved celery leaves, oregano, parsley and Red Robin Seasoning. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Serve hot, garnished with a bit more shredded edam cheese and a few fresh oregano or parsley leaves. Store leftovers in a covered container in the fridge.

Creamy Cheesy Chicken Wild Rice Soup

This recipe was shared at Share it Saturday, Manic Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday and Talent Show Tuesday.


Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

I had a big beautiful purple eggplant that was starting to fade, so I had to find a good use for it fast. I decided to make it into a dip … at first I was going to make some more baba ghanoush, but then I thought perhaps I could make something different with it … perhaps something with the flavors of Eggplant Parmesan … except creamier. Something you could spread on little toasts and munch on with a good glass of wine.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

We finished the A-Z Health Challenge on facebook on Saturday … I still need to make my way through all the Zucchini recipes everyone shared, but I was busy with my Mom and Dad’s Anniversary party this weekend. The party turned out well, but I’m exhausted. I need a day off. How nice that we have a holiday today so I have a day just to rest. Although I won’t really be resting. We’ll be harvesting tomatoes and other garden bounty, packing and driving and unpacking, assembling my new chairs that my aunt and uncle brought up for me.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

Eggplant Parmesan Layer Dip

  • 2 1/2 cups roasted eggplant (I used 1 large globe + 1 small Japanese eggplant)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
  • 6 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup fat free greek yogurt
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • Your favorite marinara or pasta sauce (I used my crock pot garden marinara sauce)
  • Shredded asiago (or parmesan) and mozzarella cheese (maybe a cup of the two cheeses, mixed? I didn’t measure the cheese … use enough to cover the sauce)
  • Fresh garden tomato, chopped fine
  • Fresh herbs for garnish
  • Thin slices of toasted ciabatta or french bread

Directions:

  1. To roast the eggplant on the grill, poke the pretty purple fruit all around with a fork, then grill on a hot grill until the outside is black and charred and the eggplant is sagging a LOT … that means it’s fully cooked.
  2. Pull off the peel and discard, then chop the pulp roughly and measure it. You will need about 2 1/2 cups for this dip (or you can scale down the other ingredients to match the amount of eggplant you have). Put the eggplant, garlic, herbs, and cream cheese in a food processor or handi chopper and blend till smooth. I had to do this in batches because my handi chopper wasn’t big enough to hold it all! Pour the creamy mixture into a bowl and stir in the greek yogurt, then add salt to taste.
  3. You can serve the dip in individual ramekins or in a larger pie or tart pan. Smear a good thick layer of the creamy eggplant mixture on the bottom of the dish, cover with a layer of marinara or pasta sauce, then top with shredded cheese and some chopped tomato on top. Bake at 400 for about 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve with thinly sliced toasted ciabatta or french bread.

Eggplant Parmesan Dip

This recipe was shared at Weekend PotluckMelt in your Mouth Monday, Manic MondayTalent Show TuesdayTrick or Treat Tuesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Cast Party WednesdayThursday’s Treasures and Fit & Fabulous Friday.


Baba Crostini

Baba Crostini

This is a super simple, but super fun and delicious recipe. You can make this up as a big sandwich if you like too, using a bun or a ciabatta roll instead of the toasts. I did that for lunch one day with ciabatta and totally loved it. I was originally going to post this recipe as a sandwich … but I do so love little toasts.

Baba Crostini

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift to me from Dofino Cheese. I have always loved their Havarti, but I really really love  their smoked Havarti. The tomatoes and the eggplant for the baba ghanoush were from my mom’s garden.

Baba Crostini

I’m not giving amounts here because you can make a few up for a snack (like I did!), or a bunch for a crowd … whatever suits you!

  • Ciabatta bread, sliced thin and lightly toasted
  • Baba Ghanoush (It’s easy to make! … here’s my recipe for Baba Ghanoush)
  • Smoked Havarti cheese, sliced
  • Slices of fresh garden tomato, cut to match the size of the bread slices
  • Fresh parsley, for garnish

Spread the ciabatta toast slices with a thick layer of baba ghanoush, top each with a slice of havarti, and set on a baking sheet. Bake at 400 F. for 5 – 10 minutes or until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Top each crostini with a slice of fresh tomato and garnish with parsley. Serve immediately.

Baba Crostini

This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth MondayManic MondayTrick or Treat Tuesday and Thursday’s Treasures.


Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

I dreamed of this tart for days but I was too busy to make it … I could picture it in my mind: a lovely summer tart filled with garlic and herb-infused Ricotta and Asiago cheeses, topped with rows of beautifully overlapping garden fresh tomato and tender little purple eggplant slices. Finally I could not stand it any longer. I had to make it. It was nearing twilight, so I rushed to finish it in time to have enough light to photograph it. I was using these lovely little purple eggplant from mom’s garden and some of those little tomatoes that pretty perfectly matched the diameter of the eggplant.

Purple eggplant for the Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

It turned out beautiful …  but the cornmeal crust I had thought would be so good was just awful (re-confirming my irrational fear of pie crust). It looked perfectly lovely … I tried eating it, but ended up eating the topping and leaving the crust … I stuck the tart in the fridge overnight while I considered what to do … the next night I went and bought some puff pastry at the store, scraped the topping off the old crust, roasted some more eggplant and re-made the tart, again rushing to beat the impending darkness. This time, it turned out MUCH better, taste-wise, but not quite as pretty. I had used up all the tomatoes that matched the size of the eggplant so I couldn’t get that perfect layered effect. I used one of the darker Japanese eggplant in hopes that it would match the size of the larger tomatoes, but it didn’t at all. And this tart was square, not round. I don’t think I allowed the puff pastry enough time to thaw because the crust really wasn’t as puffy as it should have been. But despite all that, it tasted oh so wonderful. Almost as good as my dream tart.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

Crust:

  • 1 sheet of puff pastry (or a pie crust would work if you are not afraid of such things like me)

Topping:

  • About 2 small, tender eggplant
  • Several small tomatoes (with a diameter that roughly matches the eggplant)

Filling:

  • 1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded asiago cheese + a few extra tablespoons for the top
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • Several sprigs of fresh tarragon and basil, chopped

Directions:

  1. Thaw your puff pastry or prepare the pie crust.
  2. Slice the eggplant thinly (about 1/8 inch thick) and place on a baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and dust with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt. Bake eggplant at 350 for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant slices are tender. (These little tender eggplant don’t require any peeling or salting.)
  3. While the eggplant is cooking, slice the tomatoes thinly and set them aside.
  4. Mix the ricotta, asiago, garlic and about half of the chopped herbs.
  5. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and lay out the puff pastry (or place the pie crust in your tart pan). Spread the ricotta filling almost to the edge of the crust, then arrange alternating layers of the eggplant and tomato slices on top. If you are using puff pastry, roll up the edge of the pastry just a bit and pinch the corners. Sprinkle with a little asiago cheese and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or so or until the pastry has browned on the edges and the cheese is all melted.
  6. Sprinkle with the rest of the fresh herbs. Slice and serve immediately.

Tomato Eggplant Ricotta Tart

This recipe was shared with Weekend PotluckScrumptious Sunday, Manic MondayTotally Tasty Tuesday, and Cast Party Wednesday.


Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

My dad decided to try a different variety of tomatoes … some that would mature earlier so he would have tomatoes earlier on in the season … great idea, but this summer has been so hot that his “early” tomatoes only ripened about a week before the rest of the tomatoes.

These little tomatoes are prolific and delicious, if a little small. They are a little bigger than grape tomatoes, yet smaller than regular ones. Mom has boxes and boxes of them … so I took a little box of these little ones because I thought they would make lovely appetizer tomatoes, stuffed with cheese. I took a picture so you could see how big they are …

Mini Tomatoes

And what do you know? I was right! It took me a couple tries, but you can stuff them up, bake them briefly (only briefly or they get over-soft and fall apart and the cheese falls out!) and then munch. They taste simply delightful!

For this recipe, you could certainly use cherry or grape, roma or even full-size tomatoes. Just make sure they are tomatoes from the garden (or farmer’s market) because those grocery store tomatoes are just pale shadows of REAL garden tomatoes.

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

Smoked Havarti Cheese Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

I was making these just for me, so this makes a small amount! Please double or triple the recipe if you have a crowd to feed! The smoky cheese tomato stuffing is also lovely all by itself, simply spread on toast …

  • Several small tomatoes (I stuffed 6 lil tomatoes for lunch, but had about half the filling left …)
  • 1/4 cup of tomato pulp (from the center of the tomatoes you’re stuffing)
  • About 3 oz. light cream cheese
  • About 1/4 cup bread crumbs (whole wheat is good!)
  • 1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh tarragon, chopped fine
  • A sprig or two of fresh basil leaves, chopped
  • About 1/2 oz. shredded smoked Havarti cheese (roughly 1/4 cup)
  • A couple tablespoons of roasted, shelled pistachios, chopped roughly
  • For garnish: basil flowers and/or leaves
  • For serving: thinly sliced baguette, toasted, or other small toasts

Directions:

  1. Take the tomatoes you want to stuff and set them out on a flat surface. Notice how they “sit” the best. It might be on their side. Mine all wanted to sit sideways. Cut off the top “side” (the opposite side from the side each tomato wants to sit on), then carefully scoop out the center part of the tomato, being careful not to cut the outside shell. Once you have all your tomatoes hollowed out, set them on a baking tray and chop up the tomato pulp you pulled out of the tomatoes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together 1/4 cup of the tomato pulp with the cream cheese, bread crumbs, tarragon, basil and Havarti cheese, reserving some fresh basil leaves for garnish. Carefully scoop some of the filling into each of the hollowed out tomatoes, filling it to the top. Press a couple pieces of pistachio on top.
  3. Bake at 400 for about 5 minutes or until the cheese is hot and bubbly on top and the tomatoes just begin to sag a little bit. Don’t bake them too long or the tomatoes will get too soft and won’t hold their shape.
  4. Set the tomatoes carefully on a serving plate, garnish with basil leaves and/or basil flowers and serve immediately, hot out of the oven. You can pop them into your mouth just like this … or I found they go rather nicely on toasted baguette. I would caution against wearing a white shirt while eating these … they do sometimes squirt juice when you bite into them. You can avoid this by popping the whole thing in your mouth at once, but those of us with little mouths have a little trouble with that!

Smoked Havarti Stuffed Mini Tomatoes

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Foodie Friends Friday and Scrumptious Sunday.


Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

I woke up early this morning. There is a chill in the air. It is cool enough to open the windows and to sit on the patio and have a cup of tea. The fresh air smells so wonderful after the stale air conditioned air I’ve been breathing all summer.

There are tomatoes on my little potted tomato plants! Not a lot of them, but enough to give me a little of that wonderful juicy fresh garden tomato taste that you just can’t get from a store. I feel grateful for these beautiful little plants and the pollinators who visited my porch to help create this plump red fruit. I love the soft fuzziness of the vines and the lively fresh tomato scent on my fingers after I touch them.

Tomatoes on the vine

It’s Friday. We will be seeing my parents tomorrow. I feel happy and content.

I made this pizza for lunch the other day. It is such a good pizza to make this time of year when the harvest starts coming in. If I have just a few cherry tomatoes, then I like to use them on pizza to really highlight their pretty color and juicy flavor.

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift from Dofino cheese. It is a creamy, soft, smoky cheese that goes so wonderfully on so many things. I’m not giving amounts here because I was making a little individual-sized pizza, but you can easily scale it up to make a full-size pizza for your family.

  • Pizza crust (I used my Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread)
  • Hummus
  • Smoked Havarti cheese, shredded
  • Fresh cherry tomatoes, halved
  • Chopped cucumber
  • Avocado, pitted, peeled, chopped
  • Fresh dill, snipped (or a sprinkle of dried dill would do in a pinch)

Heat the flatbread briefly in the oven at 425, then spread with a thick layer of hummus. Top with the shredded Havarti cheese and the halved cherry tomatoes and then pop it the oven to bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly. Add a tumble of fresh cucumber and  avocado, then sprinkle with dill and enjoy!

Hummus Havarti Harvest Pizza

This recipe was shared at Katherine Martinelli’s Tomato BloghopFoodie Friends FridayFit & Fabulous FridaysScrumptious Sunday and Weekend Potluck.


Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Yikes! I’m caught up a double alphabet challenge! One on facebook that is a daily A-Z health challenge … and then there’s this monthly “Eating the Alphabet” challenge that I just started last month and I really don’t want to miss out on this month since I JUST started.

The monthly “Eat your Alphabet” challenge is focused on the letters M, N, and O this month. Given that I’ve been racking my brain DAILY for “what food starts with this letter”, you think this would be easy, but I’m only on the letter K on the DAILY challenge … and this is a few days ahead of that. I don’t plan that far in advance (most of the time)! I suppose it’s good to think about it now, right? Head start on the daily thing?

So first I thought melon … hey, a watermelon margarita sounds yummy! … but then I spent a couple days gazing at gazillions of amazing photos of garlic and pasta and such, so I had NOODLES on my mind … so I decided to go with something with ONION (for the O) and NOODLES (for the N) … hey that’s a DOUBLE “eat the alphabet” win … and then I threw in another double plus: double garlic! Yeah! This is getting waaay too synergistic now … and then I threw some fresh garden tomatoes and basil on top … just for good measure.

Don’t worry too much over the amount of garlic in here: roasting the garlic makes a very mild, creamy flavor that is just wonderful in the sauce.

Oh, I almost forgot to mention! There’s a bit of zucchini in there too. Cuz, well, I’m all about zucchini lately. I still have two more from my sister to use up and I’m going to my parents’ house soon and they will give me more! We are not through with zucchini mania just quite yet … if you happen to be making this dish outside of zucchini season, I would suggest replacing the zucchini some other mashed cooked winter squash such as pumpkin or butternut.

Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

with Roasted Tomatoes, Two Cheeses & Fresh Basil. I think this would serve about 4 people. I have had it for two meals so far and there is still plenty left. It reheats pretty nicely, by the way.

The smoked Havarti cheese was a gift given to me from Dofino cheese. It’s such a good cheese for making the sauce extra creamy because it melts really well and adds a little extra smoky flavor to the dish.

  • 1 head of garlic, roasted
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 of an onion, sliced fine (about 1 cup)
  • 3 cloves of garlic, peeled & finely chopped
  • 3 paper-thin slices of prosciutto
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • about 1/4 cup white wine
  • 4 teaspoons of flour
  • 2 cups lowfat milk
  • 1/4 cup shredded Smoked Havarti cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded asiago cheese
  • 1 – 2 cups fresh garden tomatoes, chopped
  • a handful of fresh herbs, chopped (I used tarragon, rosemary, thyme and basil)
  • 1/2 lb. angel hair, spaghetti, or linguini pasta (whole grain or gluten free noodles are cool!)
  • Garnish: Fresh, sliced basil leaves + a little freshly shredded asiago

Directions:

  1. Cut the top off the head of garlic, drizzle with a little olive oil, put in a small oven-safe bowl, cover tightly with foil and bake at 350 F. for about an hour or until the garlic is completely soft. Set aside to cool while you start the sauce, but don’t turn the oven off. We’ll be roasting the tomatoes shortly too.
  2. Prepare all your vegies and heat up the water boiling for the pasta.
  3. Spray a skillet pan with cooking spray, then drizzle with a little olive oil and add the onions. Sautee over medium heat till the onions are soft and translucent, add a little wine, cover and cook for a minute, uncover and stir till the wine has evaporated. Repeat this process till the onions are lightly brown and the wine is gone. Remove the pan from the heat just for a moment while you tend to the tomato and pasta.
  4. Set the chopped tomato in a small baking dish coated with cooking spray and set it in the oven to roast while you finish up the sauce. Hopefully the water is boiling by now? Start the pasta cooking. Squeeze the roasted garlic out of its skin and mash it with a fork.
  5. Back to the skillet pan: Add the raw garlic, prosciutto and zucchini, set it back on the medium heat and sautee for about 5 minutes longer. Add the mashed garlic and stir it into the brown mess of vegies. It will all look sort of ugly at this point. Don’t despair! It will get prettier.
  6. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegies in the pan. Lower the heat to medium low and add the milk. Stir until the sauce starts to thicken, then add the cheeses and cook just a few minutes longer till the cheese is melted. Stir in the herbs, reserving some basil for garnish.
  7. Remove the sauce from the heat. Now, the noodles should be about done by now, so drain them, then stir the noodles into the sauce. Put in a serving bowl, top with the roasted tomatoes and garnish with fresh basil and a little shredded asiago. Serve hot.

Onion Double Garlic Prosciutto Cream Noodles

This post is for the Eating the Alphabet challenge

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This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic Thursday.


Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

It’s finally cooled off enough here to BAKE (yay! happy dance!) and I decided I needed to make some flatbread. My son loves flatbread … he came upstairs just after I took these flatbreads out of the oven and decided he was going to have flatbread and a fruit smoothie for dinner. I panicked a little because that boy has a BIG appetite and he could easily polish off just about all the flatbread in one sitting, but he only ate 3 of them! Whew! There were still plenty left for the photo shoot.

I’m participating in an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page and today is the letter I. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. G was Garlic. I was scratching my head for the letter I … how many healthy things can you think of that start with the letter I? All I could think of was Ice Cream, and even though I have several healthy ice cream recipes, it didn’t seem like a very good choice, so I asked my kids who are both wonderful at brainstorming. My daughter suggested Italian Seasoning and that led me to think: Italian food! There are lots of health benefits to eating Italian food. You should see all the wonderful Italian recipes on my facebook page today! (If you happen to miss it or want to see some of the other recipes that were shared, I’m pinning all of the recipes to my A-Z Health Challenge Pinterest Board.)

This flatbread might not be “traditional” Italian cuisine, but it does have lots of the wonderful healthy things that Italians use in their cooking: whole grains, olive oil, lots of herbs (via the Italian Seasoning!) and the wonderful flavor of Asiago cheese. And hey, what’s a good Italian meal without bread? This flatbread is a wonderful base for a pizza, or serve it as the bread with your meal with some olive oil for dipping. Oh they go wonderfully with hummus too! … or you can just eat them plain, hot out of the oven, like my son. If you have any leftover flatbreads, put them in a bag and freeze them for quick meals (add sauce, cheese, and toppings and you have instant pizza!)

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

Inspired by this recipe from Red Star Yeast. I just saw that recipe and thought it was such a cool idea to put zucchini in a yeast bread!

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1/2 cup finely shredded zucchini
  • 2 – 3 Tablespoons shredded asiago cheese
  • 2/3 cup plain nonfat yogurt
  • 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons yeast
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/3 – 2/3 cup water (or other liquid)

Directions:

  1. Put all the ingredients in the bread machine (or the bread attachment to a KitchenAid … that works too!), using 1/3 cup of water to start. Set the machine on the dough setting and watch it as it starts mixing: add water as needed until it forms a nice ball of dough. I had to use the full 2/3 cup on mine.
  2. When the dough is done, take it out and cut the dough into equal-sized pieces for the desired number of flatbreads. I made 12 mini-flatbreads, but you can make 2 large rounds for pizza or 6 for individual pizzas if you prefer.
  3. Dusting the dough with cornmeal to keep it from sticking, shape the dough into discs with your hands, cover and let rest for 5 minutes or so, then stretch the dough further with your hands or use a rolling pin to roll the flatbreads to about 1/4 inch thick (adding more cornmeal as needed to keep it from sticking).
  4. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place till your breads are the desired thickness, then bake at 425 for about 10 – 15 minutes or until golden brown. I like to cook my flatbreads on a pizza stone to get them nice and crisp on the bottom, but you can bake them on a cookie sheet if you don’t have a pizza stone.

Italian Zucchini Asiago Whole Wheat Flatbread

This recipe was shared at Tastetastic Thursday, Thursday’s Treasures, Fit & Fabulous Fridays, and Weekend Potluck.


Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad

With Goat Cheese Crumbles and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese

It’s one of the last lazy summer Sundays we have left and I’m thinking about peaches. It’s that peachy time of year when you are assaulted with their beauty every time you walk into the store and you can’t help but put some in the shopping cart. And then I get home and wonder what to DO with them all!

So of course the first thing I must make is a good salad. Fresh seasonal fruit is so lovely in salad. Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

and a Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • Mixed greens
  • Chicken (1 patty or breast per person)
  • Peaches (1 peach per person)
  • Goat Cheese, crumbled
  • Roasted, salted pistachios, coarsely chopped
  • Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette (recipe below)

First, make the dressing and set aside. Cook (or reheat) the chicken and chop into pieces.  (This is a good use for leftover chicken!) Make a good bed for your salad on a big salad plate or bowl.  Pit the peaches and cut into chunks. Tuck the chicken pieces and peach bits in and around the greens, sprinkle with goat cheese and pistachios, and drizzle with the dressing.

Peach, Pistachio & Chicken Salad with Goat Cheese Crumbles

Honey Lemon Ginger White Wine Vinaigrette

  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • Juice of 1/4 of a lemon
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons spicy brown mustard
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Mix everything except the olive oil together in a bowl till well mixed. While whisking, slowly pour the olive oil into the dressing in a small stream. Keep whisking until the olive oil is well mixed into the dressing. Refrigerate any leftover dressing in an airtight container. Before use, take it out of the fridge for a few minutes to let the olive oil “melt” again (it will solidify in the fridge) and shake well.

This is a #peachlove post.

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Click here to see all the other lovely #peachlove recipes …

This recipe was also shared at Everyday Mom’s MealsRecipe of the Week, Fit & Fabulous FridaysSummer Salad Sundays and Scrumptious Sundays.


Happiness & a Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Last night my facebook page zoomed past 10,000 “likes” when I wasn’t looking. I was out having a glass of wine with my friend, talking out all the things we needed to talk about, sharing things we probably wouldn’t ever tell anyone else.

How did it zoom by without me so quickly? I think it’s because I’ve been doing an A-Z health challenge on my facebook page. Every day there is a letter, you choose one thing that starts with that letter and share the health benefits of your chosen thing. A was Avocado, B was Basil, C was Cilantro, D was Dill. E was Eggs. F was Flax. Yesterday was G and I chose Garlic. Somewhere along the way I invited my foodie friends to join in and share facts or recipes on my page. That’s when things really got fun. Suddenly I wasn’t talking to myself anymore … everyone was joining in and we had such a spread of beautiful recipes and wonderful conversations going on everywhere.

10,063 likes on facebook

Today is the letter H and because I’m so HAPPY, I’ve asked everyone to share what makes them happy. And I thought I better take a minute to share what makes me happy. Each and every one of you that comment, visit, or like me on facebook or Pinterest or twitter: you make me happy. You are what makes all of the time and effort I put into this blog worthwhile.

What makes me happy?

Snuggling, hugs, curling up with my cat, the many shades of green leaves on the trees, joking with my son, hearing my daughter sing, seeing her dance, visiting my parents, talking with my sisters, playing with my nieces and nephews, going for long walks and hikes in beautiful, natural spaces, a text or visit from a friend, yoga, a genuine smile. Art. Live music. Singing. Beautiful architecture. History and Books. Sunrise on the lake.

Beautiful morning at Big Stone Lake

Thunderstorms and rain, rainbows, blue sky, clouds, flowers, sunshine, seeing a deer or beautiful bird or a bat flying in the sky. Dragonflies and butterflies. Mountains. Plants. ANYTHING purple. Looking at the stars somewhere away from the city where you can see so many more of them. Riding on a boat, canoeing, sailing. Swimming. Camping. Dancing. The sound of waves and the feel of water and sand on my toes. Opening the windows and feeling a slight breeze through my house. Travelling. Meeting new people and seeing new things, trying new foods and seeing the world from a different perspective. Coming home. Breathing freely. Being healthy and so grateful to be alive.

A hot cup of chai on a chilly morning, dinner on the patio, a really good smooth dark chocolate. Having a drawer full of different wonderful cheeses, a bottle of wine and several lovely dark beers in my refrigerator. Picking berries, vegetables, herbs or flowers and eating them fresh. Hot soup and the smell of fresh bread baking on a cool or rainy day. Thai food. Or Mexican or Greek or anything funky and ethnic. Baking cinnamon rolls with my daughter, making up new recipes with my son. A beautiful salad. Little toasts! Pizza. Cold sweet ice cream on a hot day. Cooking. Having a handsome man cook for me and rub my back or my feet. Growing herbs. Foraging. Writing and reading and sharing with all of the wonderful foodies that have graced my life with their presence.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

Smoky Mushroom Tomato Skillet Frittata

Cheese is one of those things that send me into a happy oblivion. Dofino cheese noticed this and sent me a bunch of cheeses. One of the cheeses they sent me was this smoked havarti which is very creamy and has an intense smoky taste, which blends so well with mushroom, tomato and eggs and a bit of smoky bacon.

  • 1 teaspoon of butter
  • 2 cups mushrooms
  • 1/4  - 1/3 cup chopped onion
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh spinach or swiss chard
  • A small handful of fresh herbs (basil, oregano, thyme)
  • 2 – 4 eggs (depending on how fluffy you want your frittata … I used 2, but it was a little flat)
  • 1 slice lean bacon, fried crisp, cooled and crumbled or chopped
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (sharp cheddar, smoked havarti, & asiago, mixed)

Directions:

  1. In a skillet pan, melt the butter, then add the mushrooms. Sautee for a few minutes, add the tomato & onion. Cover and cook for a few minutes, then uncover and sautee until the onions are soft. Add the spinach and sautee briefly until wilted.
  2. Put the vegies in a bowl, mix with the herbs, and set aside. Clean out the pan. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs with a spoonful of water for each egg. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning (or just salt) and freshly ground pepper.
  3. Heat the skillet to medium heat and spray with cooking spray. Pour in the eggs and let them cook for just a moment to start setting up. Quickly spread the vegie mixture over the eggs, sprinkle with bacon and top with the shredded cheese. Reduce the heat to medium low, cover and let cook till the cheese is melted. Remove from heat and serve immediately in wedges.

Smoky Mushroom & Tomato Skillet Frittata

What makes you happy? I would love to know!

This recipe was shared at Share It SaturdaysScrumptious SundaysRecipe of the WeekKatherine Martinelli’s Tomato Bloghop and Everyday Mom’s Meals.


Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

Do you want to know a secret? Those Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables that I shared the other day? There’s a way to make them even better … I didn’t think it was possible, but my gosh they make an incredible sandwich. Put them on a good bun and then melt smoked cheese over the top and oh my gosh it’s heaven. I’m telling you, you really need to try this.

It was Ann at the Fountain Avenue Kitchen that gave me the idea when she posted her Grilled Pesto Veggiewich, which looks totally yummy, and I LOVE that word: vegiewich! I didn’t have any of that gorgeous multi-grain bread, and I don’t have a panini maker, but I have some really good hot dog buns left over from our camping trip and I have a fridge drawer full of gourmet cheeses from Dofino cheeses that are just dying to be made into something delicious.

And thus a new sandwich is born. I have made this sandwich twice already and I’m going to have another one for lunch today. If you really must, you could add some chicken or something, but trust me, you won’t miss the meat. The vegies and cheese are just divine. It tastes like there’s some magical sauce in there, but I didn’t add any sauce.

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

 Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie-wich

  • Good quality homemade or bakery buns (white or whole wheat … whole wheat of course is healthier)
  • A bunch of Tarragon & Sunflower Roasted Vegetables
  • Smoked gouda cheese, shredded
  • Sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

Directions:

  1. Take your bun and pile a bunch of the roasted vegetables on it. Shred and mix the cheeses, then cover the vegies with the lovely cheese.
  2. Set the bun on a baking sheet, set it in the oven (or toaster oven) and bake at 350 for 10 minutes or so or until the cheese is nicely melted, the bun is toasted, and the vegies are hot.
  3. Take the vegiewich and put it on your plate and gobble it up while it’s still hot. A little bowl of melon is a lovely accompaniment. Have napkins handy because it might get a little messy …

Cheddar & Smoked Gouda Roasted Vegie Sandwich

This recipe was shared at Thursday’s Treasures, Everyday Mom’s Meals and Share It Saturdays.


Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats

Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats

If you haven’t noticed, I have an affection (obsession) for cheese. I have a drawer in my fridge dedicated to cheese. I buy little chunks of flavorful cheeses and use them frequently in my cooking. Some sweet soul at Arla (the maker of Dofino cheeses) noticed my affinity for cheese … and sent me several “samples” of Dofino cheeses. Ironically, these “samples” are the same size as the little chunks I normally buy at the store … and there are six different kinds … some of them I can’t even find at my local stores. I’m in cheese heaven! They did ask that I share my recipes that I make with their cheeses. Are you kidding? There’s no way you could shut me up!

CHEESE!

On to the recipe: if you’ve never had a really good chorizo with eggs and potatoes, it’s a sublime experience. Those three ingredients together are simply magical. Add a little cheese and it’s heaven on a plate. My dad makes this wonderful chorizo (one of these days I’ll get the recipe for it!) and I found some in the freezer, so I cooked some chorizo with eggs, potatoes and cheese while my sis was here. I had about 3/4 cup of the cooked chorizo left after they left, so I decided to make it into a breakfast boat, using one of those gorgeous Italian zucchini that my sister brought me. It made such a beautiful boat I was tempted to add a mast with a little sail just for fun, but I didn’t want to mess up the perfection of the melty cheese …

Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats

Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats

This filling will stuff two medium (14-inch) zucchini if you cut the tops off lengthwise, or two halves if cut in half lengthwise and both halves are stuffed … or even more if your zucchini are small!

  • 3/4 cup good quality lean chorizo, cooked
  • 1 cup potato, cut in small cubes, cooked
  • 1 cup diced zucchini
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1 jalapeno, finely chopped
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese (I used about 2/3 cup shredded Dofino Gouda cheese, plus about 1/3 cup Mexican fiesta blend I had in my fridge that I needed to use up … I mixed the two to make my own amazing cheesy blend)

Directions:

  1. Cut the zucchini lengthwise to make two boats and with a grapefruit spoon (or other scooping device), scoop out the insides to make boats. (Save the seedy inside part to make Zummus.)
  2. Cook up the chorizo in a frying pan over medium heat, chopping it up into little crumbles as it cooks. When the chorizo is done, remove it from the pan and drain off the excess fat from the pan. Fry up the potato till it’s cooked, then add the zucchini, sweet onion and jalapeno and sautee for a few minutes until the onion is translucent and the zucchini is tender.
  3. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, whisk the eggs with 3 tablespoons of water till smooth. Sprinkle with Red Robin Seasoning or your favorite seasoned salt.
  4. Add the chorizo back into the frying pan and stir to mix, then pour in the eggs, scrambling them just for a few minutes. Fold in about 1/2 of the cheese mixture as well. You want to leave the eggs very moist, not quite done, because they will finish cooking in the boats.
  5. Spoon this lovely mixture into your zucchini boats, sprinkle with the remaining cheese, and place them on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for about 10 minutes (or broil briefly) until the cheese on top is melted and bubbly.
  6. Serve hot. Plates are optional. ;)

Cheesy Zucchini Chorizo Breakfast Boats

This recipe was shared at Recipe of the Week, Thursday’s Treasures, Recipe of the Week and Scrumptious Sundays.


Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

with breadcrumbs & aged Dubliner (or Asiago) cheese

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

The first time I made these scrumptious vegetables was an attempt to spruce up some of the excess vegies left over from the Blogiversary party. That time I used celery, carrots, cauliflower, onion and grape tomatoes and topped them with whole wheat breadcrumbs and Dubliner cheese. It was so good I gobbled them all up and still wanted more.

I decided I had to try this again with different vegetables. This time I used zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, cauliflower, tomato, and onion with Asiago cheese in place of the Dubliner. I think you could use any combination of vegetables that you have on hand, although I would recommend including both onion and tomato in the mix.

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

  • 1 Tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped fine
  • About 4 cups of mixed, chopped vegetables (make sure you include some onion and tomato!)
  • About 3 Tablespoons of mixed fresh herbs (mostly tarragon! … I used tarragon with a bit of sage, dill, basil, thyme and oregano)
  • Red robin seasoning and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (whole wheat is good!)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Dubliner or Asiago cheese (or other sharp cheese such as Romano or Parmesan)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 3 tablespoons of sunflower seeds

Directions:

  1. Mix the olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and set aside while you are chopping up your vegies and herbs. Let the garlic hang out in the oil for at least 15 minutes so the oil gets a good infusion going on.
  2. Chop up your vegies into chunks, and your herbs into fine bits. In a mixing bowl, toss the vegies with the garlic-infused olive oil and the herbs.
  3. In a separate smaller bowl, toss the breadcrumbs with the shredded cheese and Italian seasoning.
  4. Spray a 9×9 inch square pan with cooking spray and spread the oiled vegies out evenly in the pan. Top with the seasoned cheesy breadcrumb mixture and then sprinkle with sunflower seeds.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 15 – 20 minutes or until the vegies are tender. Serve immediately as a side dish … your side dish may just steal the show! These vegies also make an awesome sandwich piled on a bun with a good cheese melted all over.

Tarragon Sunflower Roasted Vegetables

This recipe was shared at Scrumptious Sunday and Fit & Fabulous Fridays.


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