My girlfriends were coming for the weekend so I wanted to make them something super delicious … it was chillier than we expected it to be this weekend, so I decided a nice pot of hot soup would be just the thing.
It did happen just perfectly … two of my friends were staying in a camper and when they showed up at my house on Saturday, it was just about lunchtime plus they were quite chilled and hungry so the soup warmed them right up and filled our bellies before we went out to see the sights. I was so happy because they all raved about the soup and the two who don’t like things too hot & spicy said it was just right. Whew!
Shrimp & Tomato Bisque
- 1/2 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 – 3 cloves of garlic, peeled and chopped
- 3 stalks of celery, chopped (about 1 cup)
- 1 cup of chopped onion
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup Chardonnay or other white wine
- 2 garden fresh tomatoes + 2 roma tomatoes (about 0.7 lb), peeled and chopped
- 1 cup beef or vegetable broth
- 1 cup mixed vegetable juice such as V8 (or tomato juice)
- About 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
- About 1 Tablespoon fresh tarragon leaves
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon Old Bay Seasoning
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Sriracha (or other hot sauce … use more or less depending on how spicy you like your soup)
- 2 cups fat free half & half
- 1 lb shrimp, fresh or frozen
- To garnish: freshly shredded Asiago or Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs
- Peel and chop the garlic and mix it with the olive oil in a small bowl. Set aside to let the garlic infuse into the oil while you chop the rest of the vegetables.
- Once you’ve chopped all the vegies, heat a saucepan or soup pot over medium heat and pour in the garlic and olive oil, then add the celery, onion and carrots and sautee until the onion is soft and translucent. If the vegetables get dry before the onions are soft, add the wine and cook until it has evaporated. Add the flour and stir to coat all the vegetables.
- Add the wine (if you haven’t yet added it!), tomatoes, broth, juice, herbs, seasonings and Sriracha and stir well to mix. Bring the mixture to a slow boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the tomatoes break up and you have a nice thick soupy mixture, about 20 – 30 minutes or so. Using an immersion or regular blender, puree the soup. (If you have a blender with a glass carafe, let the soup cool a bit before pureeing it to avoid cracking the glass.)
- Pour the soup back into the saucepan and add the half and half and stir to mix, then add the shrimp. Cook over medium low heat just until the shrimp is hot and cooked through. Serve hot, garnished with shredded cheese and fresh herbs if you like, with some flatbread or Naan on the side.
My friend gave me a bit of this lovely roasted pepper tomato tapenade she made. Ooh it was delicious! I tried spreading it on toast with melted cheese over top. Yum. I put it on a sandwich. Oh yes! I imagined all the things I could do with this scrumptious spread: it would be lovely in lasagna and all sorts of appetizers (little toasts! yes!) and pizzas and things. I only had a tiny bit that she gave me … but … she had told me what she put in it … tomatillos, sundried & fresh tomatoes, roasted peppers, garlic, olive oil … hmmm …
I still had four of the tomatillos she gave me and a couple fresh garden tomatoes, and oh yes, peppers from mom’s garden … and I even had some of the “sundried” tomatoes (that I dried in the oven), so I thought I would see if I could make a tapenade.
I threw in some fresh herbs and capers for good measure. It’s not exactly like her tapenade, but even if I had had her recipe on hand, I am sure I wouldn’t have followed it precisely. I just can’t properly follow a recipe!
I want to thank my dear friend Denise for giving me her marvelous tapenade … which spurred me to try making it. What a wonderful spread!
Roasted Pepper Tomato Tapenade
The best way to roast the peppers, tomatillos and tomato for this tapenade is on the grill, but you could also roast them in the oven.
- 1 medium fresh garden tomato
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 4 tomatillos
- 1 large bell pepper
- 1 hot pepper (I used this big hot red pepper my mom gave me similar to a New Mexico Green Chile, only it’s red … but I think you could use any hot — or not so hot — red pepper)
- 2 – 4 cloves of garlic, peeled
- 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- Several sprigs of rosemary
- A couple sprigs of tarragon
- A few fresh basil leaves
- 1 – 2 tablespoons capers
- Heat up the grill and set the tomatoes, tomatillos, and peppers directly over the heat. Roast until the skins of the peppers are charred and black (make sure you turn them to roast all sides of the vegies!) and the tomatoes are soft. This should only take a few minutes if your grill is good and hot.
- Let the roasted vegies cool for a bit till they are cool enough to handle, then cut out the stem & core of the peppers and tomatoes, leaving the charred skin ON.
- Pop all the ingredients except the capers in a handi chopper or food processor and blend until it forms a smooth paste. Pour the tapenade into a bowl and stir in the capers. Add salt if you like … I didn’t think it needed any.
- Serve on toast or crackers, use as a sauce for pizza, stir it into the ricotta mixture for your lasagna, use it as a tasty sandwich spread … or just let your imagination run wild.
This recipe was shared at Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Tasty Tuesday, Show & Share Wednesday, Cast Party Wednesday, Newlyweds Recipe Linky, Gala Dinner Party, Fit & Fabulous Fridays and All my Bloggy Friends.
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
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)
- Put the sugar, vanilla, salt and milk in your blender and blend until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ricotta and puree until smooth.
- Pour the ricotta mixture into a bowl and stir in the chopped pistachios & dark chocolate.
- 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.
- 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!
This recipe was shared at Kitchen Fun Friday, Weekend Potluck, Friday Favorites, All my Bloggy Friends, Melt in your Mouth Monday, Totally Tasty Tuesday, Tuesday Talent Show, Wonderful Food Wednesday and Scrumptious Sunday.
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.
- 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 …)
- 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.
- 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.)
- Add the cheese and pulse just a couple times to mix it in fully.
I am guest posting over at Stacy Makes Cents! Stacy contacted me back in June to ask if I would do a guest post for her in August … something made in the crockpot. The only things she asked were:
- Not a recipe already on the site
- Submitted a week in advance of your date
- Only use whole food ingredients
I thought that’s no sweat! I can totally handle that … Well, time went by and the date she had given me as a deadline came and went and I hadn’t sent her anything. You know how life gets so busy … this guest post completely slipped my mind! So I totally failed on the “submitted a week in advance” part, but I did make a new recipe with whole foods!
So head on over to Stacy’s blog for the recipe.
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.
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
- 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.
- Prepare all your vegies and heat up the water boiling for the pasta.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
This post is for the Eating the Alphabet challenge
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Click here to see all the other cool recipes in the Alphabet Challenge this month …
This recipe was also shared at Tastetastic Thursday.
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
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)
- 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.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.