Tag Archives: basil

Tomato Mushroom Pesto Pizza on From Scratch Dough

We have made pizza before in the oven and on the grill and enjoyed it, but used a store bought dough when doing so.  It was a good dough that was made in the store and frozen, so at least it wasn’t a Pillsbury canister but not quite as good as fresh so we took that final part on.  Being our first time, we wanted to just go with a Basic Pizza Dough Recipe courtesy of the food network.  It was fun and easy to do it all ourselves despite living within close proximity to Aiello’s, the best pizza in the world.

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Fra Diavolo Sauce

I love Italian food and I love spicy and this is a great combination of the two.  I looked up Fra Diavolo and the not always wise internet says that it translates to “brother devil”.  I knew of the devil part in reference to its spiciness, but am not sure about the brother part, but sure we will go with it.  I served this over pasta with shrimp, but like many Italian sauces, once made it is very versatile and could be used in many different ways.

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Alfredo Lasagna

I was going to call this a white lasagna but as you will see there are plenty of ingredients that are not white.  Alfredo sauce was involved and I called on a previous recipe (which we featured twice) of ours for that.  I won’t say that this was that difficult, but it did take a while which was well worth it because it was “one of the best things I made in a while.”  That was an actual quote from Eileen about this great dish and I think she was right!

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Green Goddess Salad Dressing

Don’t you just feel healthier looking at this photo? We had some herbs leftover from various recipes and I thought I’d make a yummy, fresh green goddess dressing. I searched the internet for a recipe and it turns out there are seemingly hundreds of variations out there. I basically combined several recipes to cater to the ingredients I had and the style of dressing I was looking for.

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Grilled Meatballs

Yes that heading is correct, I made grilled meatballs.  Had some ground beef and a hankering for meatballs during some pretty hot days and decided to give grilling meatballs a try.  It worked amazingly well and produced a great taste of the grill with the Italian meatball flavors which were great dressed up with some sauce and cheese.

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Tomato Vodka Sauce

When I was younger and my family would go out for Italian dinners I would often get the penne or rigatoni ala vodka (aka a tomato vodka cream sauce). For some reason I forgot all about my love for this sauce until I came across a recipe for it one day as I was reading blogs. Luckily, this sauce was super easy to make and just as decadent as I remember. We served it with sausage for some added protein and spaghetti squash instead of pasta. It was divine! I encourage you to try this, you won’t be disappointed.  Continue reading

Italian Wedding Soup

Amazing!  I have always loved Italian Wedding Soup but have never tried to make it.  We were turned on to this recipe by a visit to Eileen’s dad recently.  We like Lidia, and it is a recipe of hers which featured a step that I had not seen before and of course it worked out perfectly and was genius.

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Chicken Crocks with Garlic White Romano Sauce

A friend was coming over and I wanted to make a little afternoon snack.  It wasn’t too hot out so I didn’t mind baking something.  I started by pan sauteing some cubed chicken breast with some salt and pepper and putting it in the crocks.

I started on the sauce by sauteing the aromatics in oil.

Browned garlic is the key for this one

I sauteed the aromatics a little longer than usual to really brown the garlic and get a deep almost smoky garlic taste.

Once the garlic was browned enough, I added some fresh basil for the last few minutes of sauteeing.

Then add the rest of the sauce ingredients which is basically an alfredo.  The cheese was grated imported Romano which we got in the Strip District for $6.99 a pound.  What the Strip provides is amazing and limitless!

Then pour the sauce over the chicken until covered.

Add a bit of mozzarella and throw into the oven at 350 for about 15-20 minutes or until browned.

Top with some fresh basil and chopped tomatoes.

Recipe for Garlic White Romano Sauce

Greg


Crispy Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella Finger Sandwiches

I am sorry to say that most of these pictures are slightly out of focus. Our camera has a mind of it’s own sometimes and I just couldn’t get it to agree with me when I was cooking today. I was also running around the kitchen, cooking and trying to take pictures all at the same time. I apologize in advance, but hopefully that won’t deter you from enjoying this recipe!

Believe it or not, I found this recipe in a Suzanne Somer’s book several years ago. It has been a while since I made it, but I had a bunch of little eggplants and some fresh mozzarella in the fridge so I gave it a go.

These guys were little.  I got them from a farmer’s market (this is about half of what I got for $2.50).

The first step was to slice up the eggplant and roast the slices in the oven for about 20 minutes with a little olive oil and salt and pepper.

While the eggplant was cooking, I made the herb spread (aka pesto), which was comprised of garlic, basil, oregano (which I substituted for parsley), red pepper flakes, and olive oil. I used the bullet for this.

I also prepped my work station for the next steps of the recipe. I used fresh mozzarella for the sandwiches, but if you don’t have any on hand you can use shredded or sliced. There is something about the way fresh mozzarella melts though that makes it extra special, so I definitely recommend it for this dish.

After assembling the sandwiches, the next step is to dip them in egg and coat them with grated cheese. So I prepped my egg dip and cheese for that as well.

Now for the sandwich assembly…

Basically all you do is take a slice of eggplant and spoon the herb spread over it. Add the mozzarella and then put a second slice of eggplant on top. Easy peasy.

Next, dip the sandwich into the egg and then roll it around in the grated cheese to coat.

Once you have all of your sandwiches coated it’s time to fry ’em up. They just need a couple minutes per side. Enough time for the cheese in the center to melt and for the eggplant to turn a nice golden brown.

When they are done place them onto a paper towel covered plate to drain any excess oil. Serve ’em up nice and hot and feel free to add any fillings you like. I’ve added roasted red peppers before, for example. They are also good served with marinara sauce on the side for dipping if you’d like.

Yum! These are so good!

Recipe for Crispy Fried Eggplant and Mozzarella Finger Sandwiches

-Eileen

Tomato Panzanella Salad

Greg and I were invited to a family BBQ and knew we wanted to bring something good for a side dish. We remembered a great dish that Ash brought over one time, tomato panzanella salad, and decided it would be the perfect thing to make. You can find the recipe here on Ash’s site (I didn’t alter it much as you will see).

We bought the tomatoes at a local farmer’s market. Obviously for this dish the quality of the tomatoes can make or break it. I was so happy to get these tomatoes. As imperfect as they look, they tasted great!

I cut the tomatoes and added some thinly sliced red onion. I actually completed this step the night before the BBQ, as I knew I would be facing some time restrictions the following day.

Similar to the importance of using good tomatoes for this dish, the quality of the bread is also something to be mindful of. We picked up a french baguette from our favorite place on Earth, Pittsburgh’s strip district (wahoo!), the day before the BBQ. On the day of the BBQ I cut the bread into bite-sized cubes (slightly larger than croutons) and baked them for 20 minutes. 20 minutes was about 2-3 minutes too long and some of the pieces were a little too baked for my liking. I recommend keeping an eye on them after the 15 minute mark.

Sorry for the blurry pic! You can get a sense of the size though.

While the bread was baking I assembled the rest of the dish by adding fresh basil, olive oil, red wine vinegar, and salt and pepper to the tomatoes and red onion.

I just love all the colors in this dish!

Once the bread is done baking it gets added to the salad. You want it to absorb moisture from the dressing and tomatoes while still maintaining some of it’s crunch.

The final step in making this salad is to top it with ricotta cheese and a little olive oil. Since we were transporting this dish to another house I felt it would be best to keep the ricotta and olive oil in a separate container prior to serving. Before dinner was served the ricotta was placed on top of the salad.

Overall, this was a true crowd pleaser! I received several compliments on the dish and answered some questions about it too. People seemed to really enjoy it and want to recreate it themselves.

Take advantage of the Summer tomatoes while they last! Hope you like this one.

-Eileen 8)