Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Fresh is best. I hate to use canned or jarred soups and sauces unless I have to. The good news is tomatoes are coming into season here in Florida, which means better quality and cheaper prices. This sauce is so easy and so much better than jarred, try it once and you may never go back. Pour it on your favorite pasta or over chicken or pork.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce (serves 2, can be doubled)

1 T olive oil

2 ripe tomatoes chopped

salt and pepper

1/4 c chopped onion

2 t garlic chopped

3 T heavy cream

1 T fresh chopped basil

Sprinkle chopped tomatoes with salt and pepper. Heat oil over med/high in a large skillet, add tomato, onion and garlic and saute for about 3 minutes. Turn heat to low and add cream, cook 2 minutes more. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil. Serve.

Easy Fresh Tomato and Basil Cream Sauce

Advertisements

Lasagna Supreme : Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

All the flavors of a supreme pizza in a lasagna.

Supreme Lasagna

1 package no cook lasagna noodles

1 lb ricotta cheese

1 T  chopped fresh oregano

1 T chopped fresh basil

2 eggs

1 t salt

1/4 t pepper

4 hot italian sausage links (I used Turkey sausage)

1 green pepper sliced

1 c sliced onion

1 c sliced mushrooms

1 large jar marinara sauce

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 400. in a large bowl mix ricotta, oregano, basil, eggs, salt and pepper and 1 c shredded mozzarella cheese.  Cut open casing of sausage and squeeze meat into a large saute pan, cook over med high heat until no longer pink. Add onion and green pepper and cook until onion is translucent, add mushroom and cook until slightly soft. Drain any liquid from pan.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Using a large spoon, put approx 1/4 c of marinara sauce on the bottom of a 9×13 baking dish. Add one layer of noodles, then 1/3 ricotta mixture, a layer of sauce about 1 c and then 1/2 of the sausage mixture. Add another layer of noodles, 1/3 ricotta mixture, 1 c sauce, then noodles. The 1/3 ricotta mixture,  1 c sauce , 1/2 sausage mixture, and then noodles. Cover noodles with sauce and remaining mozzarella cheese and cover with foil. (The middle layer will be just cheese)

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Bake for 30 minutes with foil on, then remove and cook 15 minutes more or until cheese is melted and golden. Let sit at room temperature at least 15 minutes before cutting.

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

 

Lasagna Supreme: Just Like the Pizza but Better

Creamy Cajun Pasta

Creamy Cajun Pasta

 

Creamy Cajun Pasta

1 lb chicken cut into bite sized pieces

4 links smoked or andouille sausage

1 t olive oil

1 1/2 green peppers cut into thin slices

1 c chopped tomatoes (canned or fresh)

1 small onion chopped

1 t chopped garlic

2 t Cajun seasoning

1/4 t cayenne pepper

1 T lemon juice

3/4 c heavy cream

2 t corn starch

1 box fettuccine pasta cooked and drained

Sprinkle raw chicken with 1 t of Cajun seasoning. Heat oil in a large pan/pot. Add chicken and sausage, saute for about 2 minutes, add onion and saute until translucent. add green pepper, garlic and tomatoes,1 t Cajun seasoning and cayenne pepper. Saute until peppers are soft. mix cream with corn starch and add to pot, heat and stir until sauce thickens, add lemon juice and stir.

Creamy Cajun Pasta

 

Add drained pasta to the pot and stir to combine, cook over low for about 5 minutes so that pasta can absorb the sauce. This is on the mild side so add more cayenne if you like you pasta spicy or serve with hot sauce.

Creamy Cajun Pasta

 

 

Rapini and Sausage

Rapini and Sausage

If you know me or follow my blog you know that I am a sucker for produce. I love all the colors and textures and the way all the fruits and vegetables look stacked in neat piles. I wish I could decorate my kitchen to look like a farmer’s market. I also will buy anything I haven’t seen or eaten before, or anything out of the ordinary, my youngest son and I are suckers for any exotic fruit or vegetable. So I have tried Rapini, otherwise known as Broccoli Rabe or Broccoletti before but I am sure many people haven’t. It looks like greens with little pieces of broccoli attached and is actually a member of the turnip family.

Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

It can be prepared like most any leafy green, sautéed, blanched etc… It is somewhere between cabbage and collards as far as bitterness. To prepare just wash and chop off the very bottom of the stems, the rest of the plant is edible. Great as a side dish or part of a main meal like this Rapini and Sausage dish.

Rapini and Sausage

1 bunch Rapini or Broccoli Rabe

1 t salt

2T oil

1 lb smoked turkey sausage ( you could use any sausage in this dish)

1 small onion chopped

1 t garlic chopped

1 t red pepper flakes

1 T lemon juice

1 c mushrooms sliced ( I used baby bellas)

Bring a pot of water and 1 t salt to a boil, toss in rapini and cook for 4 minutes. drain.

Blanched Rapini

In a large pan heat oil over med high heat, add sausage and onions saute until sausage in cooked through. add garlic, red pepper flakes, rapini and mushrooms (add another T of oil if needed). Continue cooking until mushrooms are soft, squeeze lemon juice over dish and salt and pepper to taste.

Rapini and Sausage

Childhood Comfort Food: Chili Mac

Chili Mac

Chili Mac was one of my dinners almost every week growing up, I am the oldest of 6 kids and there were always a few extras at the table so this dish was filling, and went a long way. No matter how many people were at the table there was always enough for seconds. I crave it still to this day but I had to make a couple of adjustments. The original chili mac did not have any beans or cheese, but my kids said then it isn’t “chili” mac, (they love chili and beans) so I added a few ingredients but it still goes a long way and there are always left overs and best of all it reminds me of my childhood.

Chili Mac

1 lb ground beef

1/2 t chopped garlic

1/4 cup chopped onion

1 can tomato soup (condensed)

1/2 can of water

1 can red kidney beans (drained)

2 T brown sugar

2 T Worcestershire sauce

2 T chili powder

1 t cumin

1/2 t cayenne pepper

1/2 t salt

1/4 t black pepper

1 box elbow macaroni cooked and drained

Brown meat and onions in a large skillet or pot for about 5 minutes, add garlic and saute until golden. Add tomato soup, water, beans, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and seasonings. Bring to a simmer and continue cooking for 10 minutes.

Chili Mac

Add the macaroni noodles and stir, cook over low for about 5 minutes or until macaroni absorbs some of the sauce. Top with cheese and chopped onion if desired.

Chili Mac

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

Blueberry and Basil Salsa

I love the combination of blueberries and basil, so when I was asked to make salsa for a wine and cheese party, I decided to add a little twist. This salsa is great with goat cheese, brie, blue cheese or even cream cheese, serve over top the cheese on a cracker or bread. This would also be great on chicken or fish.

 Blueberry and Basil Salsa

1 cup fresh blueberries

1/4 c red onion

5 large fresh basil leaves

1 tsp honey

1 tsp lime juice

1/2 tsp salt

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and puree until salsa consistency.

IMG_6722

Shrimp Salad

Shrimp Salad

I guess I forgot to post this recipe, I made this for November’s Book Club for the excellent book, This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper. It is the tragic but funny tale of a disjointed family that comes together to sit Shiva after their father dies. It was one of the best books I have read in a really long time. It’s already slated to become a movie with Jason Bateman and Goldie Hawn, two of my favorites. Of course in the story friends and family drop by to bring deli platters and lots of bagels so I made a delicious shrimp salad and served it on bagel chips.

this is where I leave you

Shrimp Salad

1lb shrimp peeled and deveined

1 1/2 lemons sliced

1 T plus 1-2 tsp

2 T chopped arugula

1T worcestershire sauce

1/4 c chopped onion

1/4 c celery

1/2 c mayo

1 T lemon juice

I steamed my own shrimp but you can buy them pre steamed from the store. I used the steamer part of my rice cooker, I laid the sliced lemon on the bottom of the steamer and than tossed the shrimp with 1 T of Old Bay seasoning, then turned on the cooker and steamed until the shrimp were opaque and cooked through.

Shrimp Salad

Steamed Shrimp

Then chop the cooked shrimp and add them to a bowl with the rest of the ingredients, including another 1-2 tsp of Old Bay. You could serve as sandwiches or as an appetizer on toasts, crackers or bagel chips.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

This is a yummy side dish or a meatless main meal, would also be a lovely side for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Roasted Vegetable Orzo with Parmesan Cheese

1 package orzo pasta cooked and drained

I cup chopped eggplant

I cup chopped and peeled acorn or butternut squash

1/2 cup carrots chopped

1/2 cup chopped bell peppers, I used yellow and red

1/2 cup cherry tomatoes

1/2 c chopped onion

2T olive oil

1 cup grated parmesan cheese

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees

Toss all chopped vegetables with 1 T olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Spread on a sheet pan and put into the oven for about 15-20 minutes or until vegetables are fork tender.

Add vegetables to a large bowl and add in cooked and drained pasta, 1 T olive oil, lemon juice, parmesan cheese and salt and pepper. Serve.

*Use what you have on hand this is a great way to use up leftover vegetables, be creative.

Chorizo and Kale Soup

 

Chorizo and Kale Soup

1 slice bacon

1 package of chorizo sausage cut into bite sized rounds

1 cup chopped carrots

2 cups diced potatoes

1 cup chopped onion

3 cloves chopped garlic

1 T smoked paprika

6 c chicken stock

4 cups washed and chopped kale

Add chorizo and bacon to a large pot, sauté until bacon is crisp, add Potatoes, onions, carrots and potatoes, cook over med high heat until onions are soft.

 

Add paprika and chicken stock,  bring to a simmer cook for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender, add kale and cook for 5 minutes more. Serve.

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

 

 

Pasta with cream, spice, and everything nice, including one of my favorite condiments sriracha sauce, that tangy hot sauce found in Thai restaurants.

 

Rigatoni with Sausage and Sriracha Tomato Cream Sauce

5 links Chicken Italian Sausage sliced into rounds

1/2 c chopped onion

2 cloves of garlic chopped

2 T sriracha sauce

3 c tomato sauce

1/4 c cream

1 T butter

1 package rigatoni pasta cooked and drained

1/2 t black pepper

1/4 c grated parmesan

1/2 c chopped fresh arugula

In a large pan, saute sausage and onions over medium high heat until sausage is cooked and no longer pink. Add garlic cook for 1 more minute. add Sriracha sauce and cook another minute . Add tomato sauce and bring to a simmer and cover for 5 minutes, add butter, pepper and cream and heat through.

Add Sauce to drained pasta and cook over low heat for 3-4 minutes. Toss with Parmesan and arugula and serve.