The filling in these stuffed tomatoes was so good I could have eaten it plain. It was the perfect proportion of ricotta to spinach (says a ricotta fiend – you could up the spinach if you wanted to) and the Italian style breadcrumbs added a nice salty crunch.
Spinach & Ricotta Stuffed Tomatoes:
- 3 tomatoes
- 6 Tbsp ricotta cheese
- 3 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 1/2 Tbsp Italian style breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup thawed frozen spinach
- 1 garlic cloved, finely diced
- pinch of salt, pepper, oregano, and basil
- Additional Italian breadcrumbs for sprinkling
- Cut top of tomatoes off. Cut into tomatoes, angling in to remove the top of the core. Scoop out the insides, it may help to rinse the inside out with cold water to remove the seeds.
- In a small bowl, mix ricotta, parmesan, spinach, garlic, and spices together with a fork. Spoon into tomatoes and sprinkle with Italian style breadcrumbs.
- Bake in a foil lined baking dish for 15 mins at 375.
Don’t get me wrong, I love living in Wisconsin – really, I do! – but sometimes, the cold weather is just a little too…cold. To take my mind off of the frigid temperature outside, I cranked up the heat and whipped up a nice summery pasta salad!
Cucumber Tomato Feta Pasta Salad
- 2-3 cups cooked pasta
- 1/2 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 tomato, diced
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
- 1/4-1/2 cup crumbled feta
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- pinch dried basil
- 1 Tbsp Basil Parmesan Vinaigrette Dressing (or any vinaigrette or none and up the olive oil/vinegar)
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 – 2 Tbsp vinegar (any kind, but I used white)
- Combine the vegetables and pasta and mix.
- Add the seasonings, vinaigrette, olive oil, and 1 Tbsp vinegar and mix to distribute evenly.
- Give it a try and add vinegar or additional seasonings to your taste.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour and a half.
Spinach and Artichoke is one of my favorite flavor combinations. I usually this prepare this recipe as a typical dip, but this time I doubled it and made half into crescent roll-ups. The recipe I have posted below is the doubled version, which makes enough for 16 crescent rolls and an additional 3 cups of dip. They were so delicious, especially right out of the oven (what isn’t?), but they maintained their deliciousness even after sitting on the counter for several hours!
Spinach Artichoke Dip/Roll-ups (for 16 roll-ups + ~3 cups of dip)
- 2 cans quartered artichokes
- 8-10 oz package frozen spinach, thawed
- 8 oz cream cheese, softened
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 clove of garlic, minced of finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp garlic powder
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Crescent Rolls
- optional: 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella for sprinkling
- Drain artichokes and cut up a little bit (I cut each quarter into thirds).
- Beat cream cheese until smooth. Add sour cream and mayonnaise and mix until combined thoroughly.
- Add cheeses, garlic, and spices.
- Fold in artichokes and spinach.
- Place a spoonful onto a crescent roll, then roll it up and bake at 350 for about 15 minutes, or until the dough has turned golden. Half of the dip filled 2 tubes of crescent rolls for a total of 16 crescent roll-ups.
- For the remaining dip, place in a 24 oz baking dish and sprinkle extra mozzarella on top. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes, until cheese is golden brown.
I love orzo. I love it even more when it’s smothered in cheese. This was an easy and delicious dish that I see reappearing on my table in my future, maybe with some more vegetables thrown in.
Cheesy Orzo with Broccoli (serves ~3)
- 1 cup uncooked orzo
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ~1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli cuts, thawed
- 1/4 cup shredded cheese (I used colby jack)
- 2 Tbsp parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- salt and pepper to taste
- Bring a pot of water and sea salt to boiling. Add orzo and cook for 5 minutes. Add broccoli cuts and cook for an additional 3-5 minutes until orzo is tender.
- Drain thoroughly.
- To the now empty pot, add butter and heavy cream. When butter is melted, add cheeses and orzo/broccoli mixture and mix well. Add salt and pepper to taste and additional cream (or milk) if necessary.
I whipped up a loaf of this French bread a couple nights ago; it was delicious! It had a light, crispy crust and tender inside. It was really big, so you could half it or divide it into two loaves (even three) if you wanted! On top of that, it was so easy to make – just three steps!. If you don’t have a breadmaker and want to prepare this traditionally, well then it becomes a bit less simple.
Easy French Loaf (from food.com):
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 4 cups flour
- 2 1/2 tbsp sugar
- 2 tsp salt
- 2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast (or 1 1/2 tsp fast rising yeast)
Place ingredients in bread machine in the order called for by breadmaker instruction booklet (water on bottom, then dry ingredients, yeast sprinkled on top). Set for dough.
Remove dough and form into loaf on floured surface without punching down. Placed on greased cookie sheet (or cookie sheet lined with parchment paper) and allow to rise 1 hour.
Bake 30-35 minutes at 350.
Wondering what that yummy pasta you see up there is? It’s homemade alfredo sauce tossed with sauteed garlic and tomatoes..delicious!
This stuffed bread was fantastic! I love the combined flavor of fresh basil, tomatoes, and mozzarella! Definitely something I will make again because it was super easy to whip up. I used a loaf of homemade crusty bread, but you could obviously use any type of bread if you don’t like a hard crust. The one thing I would change would be to use freshly shredded cheese as opposed to pre-shredded, it just doesn’t melt quite as nicely. Otherwise, perfect!
- Round loaf of bread (I used a loaf of mozzarella-basil crusty bread)
- 1 tomato, sliced
- 2 cloves of garlic, diced
- 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 2 Tbsp green onions, diced
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- Cut the loaf in half and hollow it out just a little bit.
- In a bowl, combine garlic, basil, green onions and mozzarella cheese.
- Spread the tomatoes over the bread in a layer.
- Cover it with the cheese mixture.
- Place the top of the loaf on top and cover with foil.
- Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.
This vegetable stir-fry has a nice mild flavor with a hint of ginger. What I love most about stir frying is that you can use whatever vegetables are in season and it can transform the same basic recipe into something completely different. You could use soy sauce instead of Worcestershire for a stronger flavor, I just didn’t have any. You can also add a meat, just fry the meat first and add the vegetables or fry it separately and add it to the mixture.
Vegetable Stir Fry
- 3-4 heads garlic, minced or finely chopped
- 3-4 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 1/2 cup portobello mushrooms, sliced or chopped
- 1/2 medium sized onion, chopped
- 1 1/2 cups frozen broccoli, thawed
- 1 1/2 cups frozen green beans, thawed
- 1 carrot, diced and cooked
- 1 celery stalk, diced
- 4 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce (could use soy sauce)
- a couple pinches of ginger
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a large sauce pan, cook garlic in oil until it begins to brown.
- Add mushrooms and onions. Cook over medium for several minutes, until vegetables are just tender.
- Add broccoli, green beans, carrots, and celery and continue to cook for several minutes.
- Add Worcestershire sauce and ginger. Adjust sauce and ginger to your taste, I used 1/8 tsp ginger at most. This doesn’t really make any sauce with the vegetables, if you wanted some, you could whisk 1 Tbsp corn starch with the liquid (Soy/Worcestershire sauce) separately before adding to help thicken it up.
I used this recipe from King Arthur Flour, but I used a DIY self-rising flour (you just add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder + 1 tsp salt for each cup of flour). They had a biscuit-like consistency and texture, but they had a great flavor. My brother was over for dinner that night and he said they were a little garlicky – I would like to add that there is no such thing as too much garlic. I think the garlic chunks on top were just a little much for him, but I thought that made it all the better. I served them with homemade alfredo sauce – yum! Would I make these again? I don’t know, my husband really liked them and they were very easy, so probably.
- 8 Tbsp butter (1 stick), cut into pieces
- 4 cloves of garlic,
- 2 cups flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 2/3 cup milk
- Line a 9×13 with tin foil and preheat oven to 450.
- As oven is heating, place the butter in the pan and put it in the oven to melt the butter. Be sure to watch it and remove as soon as the butter has melted. Add the garlic to the pan and use a spoon to spread it out throughout the pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and baking soda together.
- Add the milk and mix with a wooden spoon until combined. Form the soft dough into a ball and gently fold it over three or four times.
- On a generously floured surface, roll it out and cut it using a sharp knife. I made my breadsticks a bit bigger than the ones in the recipe because I didn’t want quite as many – I think I had 10 total.
- Place the bread sticks in the pan and turn them over to coat both sides together. I also used a spoon to scoop the garlic pieces on top of the breadsticks.
- Bake 15-20 minutes, until light golden brown.
I found this alfredo recipe from My Simple Blessed Life and was intrigued by the use of cream cheese; I’ve never seen that before so I had to give it a shot (I added a little nutmeg too). It was great; thick and creamy, as it should be! I will say that it didn’t taste like a traditional alfredo, but a perfectly wonderful cream sauce. I served the sauce over spaghetti with homemade garlic breadsticks. It was incredibly easy to make and I will definitely make it again, I think as a base for a mushroom cream pasta dish! I cooked up some garlic and tomatoes and tossed it with the leftovers, which was fabulous as well.
Creamy Alfredo (serves 4)
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 4 Tbsp butter
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 3/4 cup milk
- 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- pinch of salt, pepper, and nutmeg
- Heat the cream cheese until it just begins to melt, then add the butter. Once the butter has melted, mix them up a little bit.
- Add the remaining ingredients and mix with a whisk.
- Allow mixture to boil for 2-3 minutes with constant stirring, then reduce heat to medium-low.
- Cook for 5-7, stirring occasionally.
- Remove from heat when it is slightly thinner than you’d like it to be; it will thicken up as it cools.
I stumbled across a pin titled OMG Chicken on pinterest and it sounded too easy not to try. It had a broken link and I couldn’t find the dish on the website it was pinned from; fortunately the directions were in the pin description. I cut it in half for a quick and easy dinner for two…well, I’m a vegetarian so it’s dinner + lunch for my husband. He loved it, though! And with how easy it was to prepare, I can definitely see myself making this again. I served it with a creamy skillet corn that was amazing and
just might be is definitely my new favorite way to serve corn!
- 2 chicken breasts, thawed (slice in half if very thick)
- 1/4 cup sour cream
- 2 Tbsp Parmesan
- pinch of garlic salt and pepper
- Italian breadcrumbs for sprinkling
- Place chicken breasts in a 9×9 baking dish lined with foil.
- Mix sour cream, Parmesan, garlic salt and pepper in a small bowl.
- Slather over chicken breasts and sprinkle Italian breadcrumbs over top, I used maybe 2 tsp.
- Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes for a thinner breast, up to 45 minutes for a thick one.
Creamy Skillet Corn (serves 2, from plainchicken.com)
- 1 1/2 cups frozen corn, thawed
- pinch of salt, pepper, and garlic salt
- 1/2 Tbsp sugar
- 2 Tbsp butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 Tbsp flour
- 2 Tbsp milk
- grated Parmesan for sprinkling
- Melt butter in a skillet, then add corn, salt, pepper, sugar,and water.
- Cover and simmer 5 minutes or until corn is heated thoroughly.
- Combine flour with milk, whisk with a fork until smooth. Stir into corn.
- Cook five more minutes, stirring constantly.