TOMATO ASPARAGUS FRITTATA

Frittatas are not only quick and easy to prepare, but they’re a tasty and fairly inexpensive meal–well, providing you don’t go all fancy and toss in caviar and smoked salmon and the like. Although this recipe makes four nice-sized servings, our abbreviated family of three (You know exactly what you’re missing, Junior!) worked its way through the entire dish. But then, Senior and Junior Too were hungrier than usual. Oh, to have their metabolism…

1 tbsp olive oil

2/3 cup red onion, minced

8 thin asparagus spears, chopped

8 eggs

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 tbsp parsley, divided

2 large tomatoes, diced and divided

1/2 cup mozzarella cheese

1) Preheat broiler

2) Heat oil in large oven-safe skillet over medium heat; add onions and cook 5 minutes; add asparagus and cook 3 minutes

3) Meanwhile, beat eggs in medium-sized bowl and season with salt and pepper; add half the parsley

4) Pour egg mixture in pan over onions and asparagus; add half the tomatoes and stir gently; stand back and let frittata cook until eggs are almost set, about 5 minutes; remove from heat and sprinkle mozzarella cheese over top; place frittata under broiler and cook 3 minutes until cheese is melted and eggs are set and lightly browned; remove from oven

5) Top frittata with remaining tomatoes and parsley; serve with a lovely green salad

Servings: 4

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POLENTA MOZZARELLA STACK

Goodness gracious, this is gooood!  Granted, I had to add a bit of meat in honor of my guys–proscuitto–but it would be just as good (maybe better) minus the meat. Truly, I could eat this once a week. Though my guys would probably balk at enjoying it that often, they agree that it’s a “keeper.”

1 tbsp olive oil

18 oz pre-made polenta (I bought the tubular kind), sliced into 12 rounds

sea salt

ground black pepper

1-1/2 cups marinara sauce (store bought)

12 oz fresh mozzarella (again, the tubular kind), sliced into 8 rounds

1 large tomato, sliced into 4 rounds

8 slices prosciutto

4 cups baby spinach

1 tbsp parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add polenta slices and cook 3-4 minutes each side until a light crust forms; lightly sprinkle with sea salt and pepper, remove from heat, and set aside

3) Pour marinara sauce in 8 x 8 baking dish; place 4 polenta slices in center of baking dish (close together so that when they are fully stacked they will remain upright throughout the baking process)

4)  Stack each of the 4 servings on top of the first polenta slice as follows: 1st round of mozzarella cheese, tomato, 2nd polenta slice, prosciutto, 2nd round of mozzarella cheese, 3rd polenta slice; bake in oven 15-20 minutes until mozzarella melts

5) Meanwhile, place 1 cup baby spinach in center of each of four plates

6) Remove polenta stacks from oven and carefully transfer one stack to the center of each mound of spinach; spoon marinara sauce over each stack; sprinkle with parsley; serve and enjoy!

Makes: 4 servings

OLIVE CAPER CHICKEN

This Olive Caper Chicken is not my first recipe to combine chicken and olives and, again, my guys chowed down, leaving no leftovers for my lunch. Always a good sign 🙂Olive Caper Chicken2 tbsp olive oil

3 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts and thighs, cut into 1″ bite-sized pieces

sea salt

ground black pepper

1 large onion, chopped

2 tbsp tomato paste

1/4 tsp red pepper flakes

1 cup white cooking wine

1-14.5 oz can diced tomatoes

3/4 cup sliced green olives

1 tbsp capers

1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-high heat, add chicken, lightly season with salt and pepper, and cook 4 minutes, stirring occasionally (you may have to make in 2 batches); transfer chicken to plate

3) To same skillet over medium-high heat, add onion and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally; stir in tomato sauce, red pepper flakes, and cooking wine and cook 5 minutes; stir in tomatoes, green olives, capers, and chicken; immediately remove from stove top and bake in oven 30 minutes; remove from oven, sprinkle with parsley, and serve

Servings: 6-8

CAPRESE SPAGHETTI

Angel hair spaghetti, fresh tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, and fresh basil leaves all combine to make this Caprese Spaghetti amazing. Though I expected Senior to balk as he often does if anything resembling Olive Garden fare lands on the table, he couldn’t praise this meal more highly. Get those thumbs in the air!
Caprese Spaghetti8 Campari tomatoes (about 1 lb.), each cut into 8 wedges

8 coarsely chopped basil leaves

1/4 cup +2 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (plus extra for serving)

12 oz angel hair pasta

1/4 cup basil pesto sauce (optional)

8 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/2″ cubes

1) To large bowl, add tomatoes, basil leaves, 1/4 cup olive oil (reserving 2 tbsp), and balsamic vinegar; toss to mix; set aside

2) Prepare pasta al dente according to package directions; drain pasta, stir in reserved 2 tbsp olive oil and pesto sauce (optional)

3) Divide noodles between 4 plates; stir tomato-basil mixture and scatter over noodles, followed by cubed mozzarella; serve immediately with extra balsamic vinegar; enjoy!

Servings: 4

CHICKEN-TOMATO-MARSALA

Dinner was supposed to be traditional Chicken Marsala–meaning WITH mushrooms–but my mushrooms went a bit stinky (which Junior Too did not mind one bit since he would have picked them off). Thus, a tour through my produce drawer left me the option of cherub tomatoes. And what a happy accident! No picked off tomatoes 🙂

Chicken and Tomato Marsala

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp sea salt

1/4 tsp ground black pepper

2 tbsp olive oil

4 chicken breasts, butterflied

3/4 cup chicken broth

1/2 cup Marsala cooking wine

1 tbsp fresh lemon juice

2 tbsp chopped parsley, divided

1 tbsp all-purpose flour

1/2 cup half-and-half

1-1/2 cups halved cherub (or grape) tomatoes

1) Preheat oven to 200 degrees (for warming)

2) To large skillet, add 2 tbsp olive oil and heat over medium-high

3) In shallow bowl, mix flour, salt, and pepper; dredge both sides of butterflied chicken breasts in flour mixture and place in skillet; cook 4-5 minutes each side until no longer pink in center; transfer chicken to oven-safe plate and put in oven to keep warm

4) To same skillet, add chicken broth, marsala cooking wine, lemon juice, and 1 tbsp parsley (reserving 1 tbsp); sprinkle 1 tbsp flour over surface and stir; bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low; add half-and half and cook 3 minutes; add tomatoes, cook 1 minute, and remove from heat

5) Remove chicken from oven and place one on each of 4 plates; spoon sauce over chicken, sprinkle with reserved parsley and serve

Servings: 4

ASPARAGUS-CHICKPEA-WHITE CHEDDAR SALAD WITH SHRIMP

We are talking salad weather! Though this was to have been a meatless meal, my guys were hungry, so I piled on a bit of cooked shrimp and they were quite pleased with their dinner. Love those chickpeas!

Asparagus-Chickpea-White Cheddar Salad

1 tbsp olive oil

1 naan bread (or pita), cut into 1″ squares

sea salt

ground black pepper

20-25 thin asparagus spears, ends trimmed, cut into 1-1/2″ pieces

6 cups fresh spinach

1 cucumber, peeled and chopped

1 cup chopped tomatoes

1/2 cup sliced kalamata olives

6 oz white cheddar, cut into small cubes

1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

12 oz cooked shrimp (optional), tailless, peeled, and deveined

Dressing of your choice (vinaigrette is nice)

1) Heat olive oil in skillet over medium-high heat; add naan bread and cook, turning often, 5 minutes; sprinkle with salt and pepper, remove from skillet, and set aside to let cool

2) To skillet, add asparagus and cook, stirring often, 3-4 minutes; remove from skillet and set aside to cool

3) Divide spinach between 4 plates and scatter the following over the top: cucumber, tomatoes, asparagus, kalamata olives, cheese, naan bread, chickpeas, and shrimp; serve with dressing of your choice

Servings: 4

CHICKEN PAN PIE WITH LATTICE PHYLLO PASTRY

I started off making a traditional chicken pot pie for our get together with friends but then decided Phyllo Pastry would be tastier than the usual pastry. Next, I discovered I was missing an ingredient–or two. However, the substitution of tomatoes and cannellini beans seemed doable–if quite different–and so this dish was the result. Gone to the last spoonful, so…well received, I’d say 🙂

Chicken Pan Pie with Criss-Cross Phyllo Pastry

2 tbsp olive oil

1 red onion, diced

1 cup matchstick carrots

2 celery stalks, diced

4 cups deli-roasted chicken, diced

1-14 oz can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1-15 oz can petite diced tomatoes in their juices

1/2 tsp dried thyme

1-1/2 cups red cooking wine

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

8 oz frozen Phyllo Pastry sheets (1 set of a two-pack), thawed

olive oil spray

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees

2) To large, oven-safe skillet (I used cast iron) add olive oil; heat over medium-high and add onion, carrots, and celery; stirring often, cook 7-8 minutes until onions soften; lower heat to medium and stir in chicken, cannellini beans, tomatoes, thyme, cooking wine, and black pepper; cook, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes

3) Meanwhile, generously spray olive oil over each phyllo pastry sheet and layer one atop the other; cut into 3/4″ strips

4) Remove skillet from stove top and lay half the strips vertically across chicken mixture, leaving 3/4″ gaps; lay remaining strips horizontally, leaving gaps, to form lattice pattern (Note: you probably won’t use all the strips)

5) Place skillet in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until phyllo pastry is golden brown; serve it up!

Serves: 6