Growing up in an Italian American family, every Sunday meant pasta was on the menu. My grandmother and mother could come up with an infinite amount of pasta recipes to keep us from getting bored. The smells were incredible. It is easy to keep the tradition alive, if you can keep the process simple. Which is what I have done with my Sunday dinner recipe for pasta. I hope you enjoy it.
Tomato Sausage Sauce
1/2 lb sweet or hot Italian sausage
1 (26-oz) container Pomi chopped tomatoes
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon crushed hot red-pepper flakes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
4 fresh basil leaves, torn into bits
1 lb spaghetti twists or other short pasta
1 cup ricotta cheese, warmed in the microwave
1 cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
For the sauce:
Heat the oil in a deep skillet. Brown the sausage on all sides and remove to a plate to cool. Then cut into ¼ inch slices.
Add the garlic and red-pepper flakes to the skillet, stir for a minute. Add tomatoes, sliced sausage and salt and simmer, uncovered, until sauce is thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil leaves.
For the pasta:
Cook the pasta in a 6- to 8-quart pot of well salted boiling water, uncovered, until al dente, then drain in a colander.
Return the pasta to the pot and add the sausage sauce. Cook for a minute.
Pour pasta into a large serving bowl, dollop with tablespoons of the warmed ricotta with and serve with the grated cheese.
The sauce can be made ahead and cooled completely, uncovered, then chilled, covered, up to 5 days or frozen in an airtight container for 2 months.
You can also turn this dish into a baked pasta casserole:
Add 8 oz cubed mozzarella cheese to the ricotta.
Drain the pasta and return it to the pot. Add 1 cup of the sausage sauce and toss to coat with the pasta.
Spoon the pasta into an oiled 9-by-13-inch baking dish. Pour the remaining tomato sauce over the pasta and dollop large spoonfuls of the ricotta-mozzarella mixture on top.
Gently fold some of the ricotta mixture into the pasta; don’t overmix—you should still have pockets of ricotta.
Sprinkle with the Parmigiano-Reggiano. Bake the pasta for about 45 minutes, or until bubbling and golden on top.
Let rest for 20 minutes before serving.
Italian Garden Salad
1 head of Romaine Lettuce, washed and torn into small pieces
1/2 of a cucumber, peeled and sliced
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
1 celery stalk, diced
1 carrot, shredded
1/4 cup Italian Olives
Italian Salad Dressing
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon onion powder
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried parsley
1/4 teaspoon celery salt
1 1/2 tablespoons table salt
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oi
2 tablespoons seasoning mix
For the salad dressing:
Combine the ingredients for the seasoning mix in a small jar.
In a mixing bowl whisk the vinegar and 2 tablespoons of the seasoning mix together. Whisk in the olive oil.
Combine the green salad ingredients together in a salad bowl Add some of the dressing and mix well.
Taste the salad to see if if needs more dressing or salt and pepper. Reserve any leftover seasoning mix and dressing for another salad.
2 large loaves
2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 cup sourdough starter
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 cup milk
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
6 cups unbleached All-Purpose flour
Mix the yeast with the flour.
In an electric mixer bowl combine the milk, olive oil and salt with the paddle attachment. Stir in the flour, a cup at a time, until you have a dough the consistency of drop-cookie batter.
Switch to the dough hook and knead, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough is smooth and satiny.
Place the dough in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel. Place the bowl in a warm spot and let the dough rise, undisturbed, about 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Punch the dough down and turn it onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough gently and divide it into two pieces.
Form the loaves into torpedo shapes, and place each loaf on a parchment-lined baking sheet. With a serrated knife, make three slashes in the tops of the loaves, each 1/2-inch deep.
Cover with a damp towel.
Let the loaves rise until they look puffy. This should take approximately 30 minutes. While the loaves are rising, preheat the oven to 425°F.
Brush or spray the loaves with water; a plant mister is good for this job. Bake for 10 minutes, spraying the loaves with water two more times.
Lower the oven to 375°F and bake for an additional 25 minutes.
No reservations needed for this dinner! Sometimes it is just nice to have a special dinner with your partner in your own home. I try to have this special kind of evening every once in a while. Come up with a menu that is elegant but easy to make and the evening will be memorable. The salad and main dish recipes below are easy and come together quickly. The dessert takes a bit longer but eclairs and cream puffs are not difficult to make. You can certainly make anything you like for dessert, as long as it is special to you. Keep romance alive.
Blue Cheese and Dried Cranberry Tossed Salad
1 hearts of romaine lettuce, chopped
1/4 of a cucumber, sliced
1/4 of a red onion, sliced thin
1/2 cup chopped toasted almonds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup crumbled bleu cheese
3 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Salt & freshly ground pepper, to taste
For the dressing: Whisk vinegar and honey in a small bowl until blended. Whisking continuously, slowly add oil. Season with salt and pepper.
Layer the romaine lettuce with the cucumber, onion, almonds, cranberries and bleu cheese on two individual salad plates. Dress the salad with the vinaigrette just before serving.
Filet Mignon with Leek Sauce
2 Filet Mignon steaks, about 7 oz each and 2 inches thick
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons butter
1 large leek, finely chopped white and light green sections of the leek
1/4 cup red wine (such as Cabernet)
1 tablespoon capers
1 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Preheat the grill or broiler. Lightly oil the grill rack or broiler pan. Rub the steaks with the salt, then press the pepper into both sides of the steaks.
In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter and cook the leeks for 6 minutes, or until very soft. Add the wine, capers and tarragon.
Simmer for 3 minutes, or until well blended and heated through. Keep warm.
Grill or broil the steaks about 5-6 minutes on each side or until a meat thermometer inserted in the center registers 135°F for medium-rare. Place the steaks on individual serving plates.
Top with the leek sauce and sprinkle with parsley.
Buttermilk Mashed Potatoes
1 pound potatoes, peeled and cut into cubes
1/4 – 1/2 cup buttermilk
2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and place in a large bowl.
Mash the potatoes, adding the buttermilk until moist. Add the chives, cover and keep warm.
Chocolate Filled Eclairs
Makes 12 medium-sized eclairs
3/4 cup water
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1/8 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs
Heat the oven to 425 degrees F; line a baking sheet with parchment paper or use an eclair pan.
Put the butter in a saucepan with the salt and water; bring it to a boil over medium-high heat and stir until the butter is melted.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the flour; continue to cook, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, until the mixture pulls away from sides of the pan and forms a ball, about 30 seconds.
Remove the pan from the heat and let cool for 3 to 4 minutes.
Add the eggs to the slightly cooled flour mixture one at a time, beating well with the wooden spoon after each addition — the batter will come apart after each egg is added but will reunite as you stir.
Mound dough about 1 inch high and 1 to 2 inches in diameter on the prepared baking sheet, leaving about an inch of space between each one. If using an eclair pan simply fill the indentations.
Bake until puffed and golden, about 25 minutes. Remove the puffs from the oven and pierce the bottom of each puff once with a skewer, to keep them from getting soggy.
Return to the oven; prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon and let the puffs crisp up for about 5 minutes. Cool on a rack.
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
Place cream, vanilla extract, sugar and cocoa powder into a large bowl. Stir to combine the ingredients. Cover and chill the bowl and the beaters for at least 30 minutes.
When chilled, beat until stiff peaks form.
3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
3 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
In a double boiler over hot, but not boiling water, combine the chocolate chips, butter and corn syrup. Stir until the chips are melted and the mixture is smooth; then add the vanilla.
To assemble the éclairs:
Cut the eclairs in half lengthwise. Pipe or spoon the filling into the pastries, then dip the tops of each one into the glaze.
For best results, serve immediately or refrigerate and serve within several hours.
Note: Puffs can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days; freeze unfilled eclairs for longer storage. If the eclairs soften in storage, they can be crisped up in the oven before filling and serving. To re-crisp; bake uncovered in a 300°F for about 5 to 8 minutes. Cool completely before filling.
Root Vegetables, Citrus Fruit, Leeks and Onions, Greens, such as kale, Potatoes and Beets are all available in January and make great tasting meals.
Purchasing seasonal foods is a healthy and cost-effective way to approach food shopping. Grocery stores tend to stock up on these items in bulk because they are plentiful, making them less expensive for you—especially when they go on sale or offer buy one; get one free.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 head of celery, diced including leaves
1 large onion, diced
1 bunch scallions (green onions) or use a leek, diced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 russet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 teaspoon salt
4 cups vegetable stock
¼ teaspoon white pepper
½ cup half & half (cream and milk)
Garnish with chopped chives and sour cream
Heat the oil in a soup pot or Dutch Oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables, reduce the heat to low, cover the pan and cook until the vegetables are softened, about 30 minutes.
Add the broth, salt and pepper and bring to a simmer. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat and puree with an immersion blender.
Return the pot to the heat. Stir in the cream and heat on low. Garnish individual servings with chopped fresh chives and sour cream, if desired.
Lemon Basil Roasted Chicken Breasts
Use any herb you like. When cold nights come in, I bring my herb pots indoors, so I always have fresh herbs on hand.
1/2 teaspoon lemon peel
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 whole fresh basil stalk, leaves removed and sliced
1 clove garlic, sliced
1 tablespoon olive oil, plus extra for the baking dish
2 bone-in, medium chicken breast halves, skinned
Salt and ground black pepper
6 very small potatoes
2 carrots, peeled and sliced on the diagonal
¼ of a fennel bulb, sliced
Preheat the oven to 400°F. Coat a shallow baking pan with olive oil.
Place the chicken breasts in the prepared pan. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle with the lemon zest and juice.
Scatter the potatoes, fennel, carrots and garlic around the chicken.
Bake, uncovered, spooning the pan juices over the chicken once or twice, for 30 minutes. Sprinkle the chicken with the basil and return the pan to the oven.
Bake 10-15 minutes more or until a thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the chicken registers 170°F and the juices are clear.
Beets, Red Onion & Orange Salad
Makes 2 servings
1/4 of a red onion, thinly sliced
4 small, cooked beets, sliced
1 navel orange
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 small clove garlic, minced
Pinch of sugar
Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
2 cup washed, dried, whole Bibb lettuce leaves
Soak onion slices in cold water for 10 minutes; drain.
With a sharp knife, peel the orange, removing white pith. Slice the orange between the membranes over a mixing bowl to catch the oranges and any juice.
Pour any juice in the bowl into a measuring cup. Add more orange juice to equal ¼ cup.
Whisk together the orange juice, oil, mustard, garlic, sugar, salt and pepper in the measuring cup.
Place lettuce leaves on individual salad plates. Arrange beets, onions and orange slices on top. Drizzle with some of the dressing and serve.
At times, it is just the thing to slow down and have a nice leisurely dinner with your partner. No TV, no phone – just a nice glass of wine, conversation and a delicious dinner to relax after a busy work week.
Stuffed Chicken Rolls
- 2 thin chicken cutlets, pounded thin
- 1/2 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese, divided
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup cooked spinach, chopped
- ¼ cup ricotta cheese
- 2 tablespoons shredded mozzarella
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Combine the Italian breadcrumbs and 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese in one bowl and the egg beaten with 1 teaspoon water in another.
Combine the remaining grated Parmesan cheese, the shredded mozzarella, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry) and ricotta cheese in a small bowl.
Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread half of the spinach cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and place seam side down on the work surface.
Dip chicken rolls in the egg mixture, then in the breadcrumbs.
Heat the oil in an oven proof skillet. Brown chicken on all sides and place the skillet in the oven.
Bake the chicken rolls for about 15 minutes or until an instant read meat thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Remove the pan from the oven and the chicken rolls from the pan to a serving plate.
Spaghetti with Fresh Tomatoes and Herbs
- 2 cups fresh tomatoes, finely diced
- 1 tablespoon shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- Salt, to taste
- 1 pinch black pepper
- 6 ounces spaghetti
Cook spaghetti al dente according to package directions. Drain.
Cook shallot in the olive oil in a small pot over medium high heat until soft, about 1 minute.
Reduce heat to low. Add tomatoes, pepper and salt to taste. Stir to mix.
Tomatoes should get warm, but not cooked, about 2-3 minutes.Add basil and oregano.
Mix the tomatoes with the cooked spaghetti and serve under the chicken rolls.
- 2 cups shredded romaine lettuce
- 1/4 of a medium red onion, cut into rings
- 10 Italian olives
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
Divide the lettuce between two salad plates and top each plate with rings of red onion and 5 olives.
In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, lemon juice, oregano, salt and pepper. Drizzle dressing over the greens and serve.
Toasted Coconut Custard Pie
- 1/3 cup honey, agave nectar, pure maple syrup or granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoons butter
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 cups unsweetened almond milk
- ¼ cup cornstarch
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup toasted finely shredded coconut, divided
- 1 teaspoon coconut extract
- 1 prebaked Pie Crust, cooled
In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the honey, butter, vanilla and 2 cups of the almond milk.
In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 cup of almond milk with the cornstarch. Slowly add this mixture to the saucepan, whisking constantly over medium high heat.
Continue whisking until the custard begins to thicken.
The custard will need to come to a full boil in order to thicken properly. You’ll know when the custard is ready because it will become the consistency of pudding.
Remove the pan from the stove and whisk in the salt, 3/4 cup of the shredded coconut and the coconut extract into the vanilla custard.
Allow the custard to cool to room temperature before spooning into the prepared pie crust. Sprinkle the top of the pie with the remaining 1/4 cup toasted coconut.
Refrigerate until chilled, about 2-3 hours.
That mound of apples and that mound of pears looked so beautiful at the market, so who could resist bringing them home. Now what to do with all this delicious fruit before it goes bad?
Here are a few ideas.
Apple Cinnamon Scones
Makes 12 scones
- 2 3/4 cups Self-Rising Flour (flour that contains baking powder and salt)
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon Apple Pie Spice or ground cinnamon
- 1/2 cup (8 tablespoons) cold butter
- 2 apples, peeled, in 1/2″ pieces
- 3/4 cup cinnamon chips
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup applesauce, unsweetened
- Topping: milk and cinnamon sugar
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking powder and apple pie spice.
Work in the butter with your fingers or a pastry blender just until the mixture is crumbly. Stir in the chopped apple and cinnamon chips.
In a separate mixing bowl, whisk together the eggs, vanilla and applesauce.
Add the liquid ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir until all the mixture holds together.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
Sprinkle flour on the work surface.
Scrape the dough onto the floured surface and divide it in half. Gently pat and round each half into a 5″ to 5 1/2″ circle about 3/4″ thick.
Stir together the coarse sugar and cinnamon. Brush each circle with milk, and sprinkle with the topping.
Using a bench knife, slice each circle into 6 wedges.
Carefully place each wedge on the parchment lined pans, at least a 1 inch apart.
Preheat the oven to 425°F.
Bake the scones for 20 minutes, or until they’re golden brown. Rotate the pans after 10 minutes.
Remove the scones from the oven, and cool briefly on the pan. Serve warm. When they’re completely cool, wrap in plastic and store at room temperature for up to several days.
Apple Crunch Bagels
- 2 cups apple cider
- 1/4 cup butter, at room temperature
- 6 cups bread flour
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon apple pie spice
- 2 1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
- 2 cups peeled and diced Granny Smith apples, about 2 medium apples
- 1 egg
- 1/4 cup room temperature butter
- 1/3 cup flour
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon apple pie spice
- Pinch of salt
In a medium saucepan, warm cider and butter just until the butter is melted. Remove from the heat and allow to cool to room temperature.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine two cups of bread flour, the brown sugar, the cooled cider mixture, salt, apple pie spice, apples and yeast with the paddle attachment on medium speed.
Keeping the mixer on medium, add the remaining bread flour, 1 cup at a time, until the dough comes together and is just barely sticky.
Switch to the dough hook attachment and “knead” the dough for about 6 minutes or until the dough is elastic.
Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and place in a warm spot. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Cover 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Punch the dough down and separate into 12 equal sized balls. on a well floured surface.
Roll and stretch one ball into an 8 inch-long rope and don’t taper ends.
Wrap the rope around your fingers, overlapping the ends by 2 inches, to create a ring. Pinch the ends together.
Once the bagels are shaped, place them on a kitchen towel to rise for another 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil and heat the oven to 425 degrees F
To prepare the topping, combine the flour, brown sugar, spice mix, salt and butter in a small bowl and mix until it is crumbly. Beat the egg with one teaspoon of water.
When the water comes to a boil, drop 4 bagels in at a time and boil for about 30 seconds per side. Remove with a slotted spoon to a kitchen towel.
After boiling, place the bagels on the parchment covered pans and brush with the egg mixture. Sprinkle the topping evenly over the bagels.
Bake for 25 minutes or until the bagels are golden brown, rotating the pans after 12 minutes.
Pear & Celery Salad
- 4 stalks celery, trimmed and cut in half crosswise
- 2 tablespoons cider, pear, raspberry or other fruit vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 ripe pears, diced
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 6 large leaves romaine lettuce, shredded
Soak celery in a bowl of ice water for 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry. Cut into 1/2-inch pieces.
Whisk vinegar, honey and salt in a large bowl until blended. Add pears; gently stir to coat. Add the celery, cheese and pecans; stir to combine. Season with pepper.
Divide the lettuce leaves among 4 plates and top with a portion of salad. Serve at room temperature or chilled.
Pork Chops with Pear & Ginger Sauce
- Two 4-ounce boneless pork chops, 1/2 inch thick, trimmed
- Salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- 1 medium ripe pear, peeled, cored and diced
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 shallot, trimmed and sliced
Season the pork with salt and pepper and coat in the cornstarch. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
Add the pork and cook until browned, 2 to 3 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate and keep warm.
Add the sliced shallots and cook for about 2 minutes. Pour in the vinegar and honey; stir to dissolve. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, stirring.
Add the pears and ginger. Cook, uncovered, stirring the pears occasionally, for 5 minutes.
Reduce the heat to low and return the pork and any accumulated juices to the pan; turn to coat with the sauce and heat through. Serve with a side of roasted acorn squash.
One of the best ways to cut back on wasted food is to use it in a new recipe before it goes bad. You will notice in the recipes below that I cooked several dinners in the past few weeks and, of course, we had leftovers. I don’t mind meatloaf reheated once or twice, but not more than that. Certainly, I can freeze meatloaf but there are more interesting things I can do with it, as well as leftover pork and chicken. Do you have a leftover recipe makeover?
Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Wine Sauce
Becomes Pork Stroganoff
- 3 cups chopped leftover Pork Tenderloin in Mushroom Wine Sauce (see recipe link here)
- 3/4 cup sour cream
- 8 oz wide noodles
Cook the noodles in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain and place the noodles on a medium serving platter.
Heat the leftover pork in a small skillet over medium low heat. Slowly stir in the sour cream.
Pour the meat mixture over the noodles. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serve immediately.
Italian Style Meatloaf
Becomes Meatloaf Panini
Serve these sandwiches with oven baked onion rings, pickles and a salad for dinner.
- 4 slices sandwich bread
- 2 slices leftover Italian Style Meatloaf (see recipe link here)
- 2 tablespoons spicy Italian peppers, chopped
- 4 slices Provolone cheese
- Olive oil
Layer 2 of the bread slices in the following way: a slice of cheese, a slice of meatloaf, 1 tablespoon of chopped peppers and a slice of cheese. on top of the each meatloaf slice.
Top with the remaining bread. Brush the bread with olive oil.
Warm up a large skillet over medium heat or heat a Panini maker. Place both sandwiches, oiled side down, in skillet or on the Panini press. Oil the bread on the top.
Close the Panini press and follow the directions for your machine.
If using a skillet, cook the sandwich for a few minutes, until the bottoms are golden brown.
Turn the sandwiches over and press down firmly with a spatula on the top of the bread to compress the sandwiches. Cook until golden brown.
Grilled Chicken Breasts
Becomes Leftover Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad and Small Batch Chicken Broth
Being a frugal Italian cook, nothing gets wasted in my kitchen. The chicken breasts I grilled last week were large, so we did not eat all the chicken. I removed the chicken that was left from the bones and reserved it for the Caesar Salad recipe. I also find that some recipes call for a small amount of chicken broth. The breast bones that were left can solve that need.
Small Batch Chicken Broth
- 2 leftover chicken breast bones
- 1/4 of a medium onion
- Celery top
- Small carrot
- Small garlic clove
- 1 bay leaf
- Few peppercorns
Place all the ingredients in a medium saucepan. Cover the ingredients with cold water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for one hour.
Strain the broth and pour into half cup containers. Freeze for future use.
Leftover Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad
- Leftover chicken cut into cubes
- 1 head Romaine lettuce, washed and finely chopped
- 1 cup croutons
- Shaved Parmesan cheese
- Fresh Cracked Pepper
- 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
- 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup olive oil
Combine the anchovy paste, Parmesan cheese, mayonnaise, lemon juice, mustard, garlic and Worcestershire sauce to a small bowl and stir together.
Gradually whisk in the olive oil, whisking until the dressing is emulsified.
Place the chopped lettuce in a bowl and toss it with the dressing, cubed chicken and croutons. Add shaved Parmesan and fresh black pepper. Toss and serve.
It is 90 degrees outside and you are thinking, “ I am not turning on the oven and heating up the house”. No need. There are plenty of light, delicious meals that you can serve cold or at room temperature for those hot summer days and nights. The Summer is filled with great seasonal foods like peaches, berries, melon, tomatoes, corn, bell peppers and cucumbers – all of which help keep us hydrated and cool during the heat. Turn these summer gems into light, easy meals.
Italian Cantaloupe Salad
This makes a great lunch. Just add a few bread sticks.
- 1/2 medium cantaloupe, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 10 basil leaves, sliced thin
- 12 Italian green olives
- 6 small sweet pickled Italian cherry peppers, diced
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup diced provolone cheese (or any cheese you like)
- 1 tablespoons olive oil
- 1/2 tablespoon red wine vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, mix all the ingredients together. Toss with the oil and vinegar. Add salt and pepper to taste. This salad is better chilled for a few hours before serving to allow the flavors to meld.
Carrot, Cucumber and Sweet Onion Salad
Good side for grilled meats or fish.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 1/2 cups thinly shaved carrot
- 1 small Vidalia onion, very thinly sliced
- 1 1/2 cups thinly shaved cucumber
- 1/2 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Combine the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Add the carrot and onion; toss to coat. Let stand 5 minutes.
Add the cucumber and parsley to the bowl; toss to coat. Let sit for an hour to allow the salad to marinate.
- 6 oz spaghetti, cooked al dente and drained
- 2 cups small heirloom or plum tomatoes of different colors, if possible, sliced thin
- 1/4 red onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup pitted and sliced Italian oil cured black olives, halved
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and black pepper
- Salt and black pepper to taste
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (chili)
- Basil leaves, sliced thin
In a serving bowl large enough to hold the pasta, add the the lemon juice, olive oil, onion, olives, red pepper flakes and a little salt and black pepper. Mix,
Add the sliced tomatoes and cooked spaghetti. Mix well and cover the dish until serving time. You can also serve this dish chilled.
Tuna Patty with Peach and Corn Salad
Using leftover grilled tuna gives the fish cakes much more flavor than canned tuna.
For 2 servings
- 6 oz leftover grilled tuna
- 1/4 cup finely diced celery
- 1/4 cup finely diced onion
- 1/4 cup finely diced green bell pepper
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- 1/3 cup panko crumbs
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon Tabasco (hot sauce)
- 1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon butter
- Ranch Dressing, recipe below
- Peach and Corn Salad, recipe below
Combine the tuna, celery, onion, bell pepper, mustard, lemon juice and zest, parsley, chives, hot sauce, salt and pepper to taste in a medium mixing bowl and stir to combine.
Add enough mayonnaise to hold the mixture together. Place the mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill.
Divide the mixture evenly into 2 rounds and coat in the panko crumbs, pressing the crumbs into the parry.
Heat the olive oil and butter in a medium skillet. Add the tuna patties and cook 2 to 3 minutes on each side or until golden brown.
Remove to a plate lined with a paper towel. Allow to cool for 2 to 3 minutes before serving.
Mixed Green Salad with Homemade Ranch Dressing
Combine a mixture of your favorite salad greens and spread them on two individual dinner plates.
Make the salad dressing according to the recipe link: Homemade Ranch Dressing.
Place a cooked tuna patty on each plate and drizzle the greens and tuna with ranch dressing.
Place the Peach and Corn Salad on the other side of the plate. The Peach and Corn Salad compliments the tuna very well.
Summer Peach and Corn Salad
Serve this on the side with the tuna patty or as a salad on its own.
- 2 ears fresh corn, kernels removed
- 2 peaches, diced
- 1 small shallot, finely diced
- 3 tablespoons champagne vinegar
- 2 teaspoons honey
- 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 pound fresh salad greens
- 1/2 cup shaved Pecorino Romano cheese
Whisk together the vinegar, honey and oil. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Toss the vinaigrette with the, shallots, parsley, corn and peaches.
Chill for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.
Serve as a side with the tuna patties over greens and top with the shaved cheese.
You can also serve the salad over greens and top with the shaved cheese as a separate salad with an entree.