Category Archives: tomatoes

Greek Shrimp w/ White Beans & Feta

shrimp

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

I love this fast and flavorful shrimp dish from Cooking Light. It is both light and satisfying and when paired with a crusty loaf of French bread for sopping up all of the tasty broth, it makes for a perfect end of the week dinner. It is so good that it takes me far away from the dreary winter weather we’ve been having and places me on a Greek island. One can dream……….

GREEK SHRIMP w/ WHITE BEANS & FETA

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup finely sliced fennel bulb
1/2 cup finely sliced onion
1 teaspoon minced fresh oregano
1 cup chopped plum tomato
3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock
1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 bay leaf
8 ounces medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
2 tablespoons finely minced fresh parsley
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • Heat a large saucepan over medium heat.
  • Add the oil, swirling to coat.
  • Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds or until fragrant.
  • Add the fennel, onion, and oregano; sauté 5 minutes or until lightly browned.
  • Add the tomato; cook 2 minutes.
  • Stir in the stock, beans, and bay leaf. Reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 10 minutes.
  • Gently stir in the shrimp and cook for 2 minutes or until shrimp pink.
  • Remove the bay leaf, stir in parsley and pepper.
  • Sprinkle feta over top.

Serves 4

Tuscan Sausage & White Bean Soup

soup
It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.
Tonight calls for soup. After a holiday season filled with rich treats and perhaps a late night ringing in the new year, tonight’s dinner needs to be easy, fast and on the lighter side while still being warming and comforting (since the weather is anything but). So soup it is. And this soup, from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe fits the bill perfectly. It is warm and satisfying without being heavy. And in true Fast Friday form, it is fast. So go ahead and make a pot tonight. Just add some crusty French bread and dinner is served.
TUSCAN SAUSAGE & WHITE BEAN SOUP

1 pound mild Italian sausage links, casings removed

1/2 cup chopped carrots

1/2 cup chopped yellow onion

3 cloves garlic, chopped

6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

2 (14.5-ounce each) cans diced tomatoes

1 (15-ounce) can Cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1/2 tablespoon dried basil

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 1/2 cups uncooked small pasta

9 ounces spinach leaves, coarsely chopped

1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese

  • In a large pot, cook the sausage over medium heat until browned, 3-4 minutes, breaking it into small pieces as it cooks.
  • Add the carrots, onion, and garlic, and continue to cook, stirring often, until the sausage is cooked through, 5-10 minutes.
  • Add the broth, tomatoes, beans, basil, salt and pepper.
  • Bring the soup to a boil.
  • Add the shell pasta, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover the pot. Cook for about 8-10 minutes, until the pasta is tender, stirring occasionally to make sure the pasta isn’t sticking.
  • Stir in the spinach and simmer for another minute until the spinach is wilted.
  • Serve sprinkled with Parmesan cheese.

Serves 6

Moroccan Beef Tagine

tagine

I feel like we are in the calm lull between back to school craziness and the madness of the holiday season. The cooler weather has been inspiring my cooking and has me wanting to spend more time in the kitchen putting together satisfying and comforting dishes. And because some of the best dishes are those that take time to make, this is the season to make them.  While the dishes take time to prepare much of the time is spent on the cooking rather than the preparations. And as these dishes cook their aroma fills the house with wonderful scents that give you a hint of the meal that is to come.

I’ve adapted this dish from a Jamie Oliver recipe and like so many of his recipes, it doesn’t disappoint. It is rich, flavorful and thoroughly satisfying. If you don’t have a tagine, or have one but also have a very small European sized oven that can’t accommodate a tagine, make this dish is a heavy, ovenproof Dutch oven. The slow cooked results will be the same. And if you want to make a fancy presentation like I do for company, I transfer the cooked stew into my tangine and serve it at the table.

MOROCCAN BEEF TAGINE

For the spice rub:

 

1 tablespoon sea salt

1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper

 

1 tablespoon ras el hanout spice mix

 

1 tablespoon ground cumin

 

1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

 

1 tablespoon ground ginger

 

1 tablespoon sweet paprika

For the tagine:

1 pound stew beer

  • To make the spice mix, combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl.
  • Place the beef into a large bowl, sprinkle with the spice mix and use your hands to massage it into the meat.
  • Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 2 hours or up to overnight.
  • When you’re ready to cook, heat the olive oil in a tagine or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the meat and cook, tossing to ensure it is seared on all sides for about 5 minutes.
  • Add the onion and coriander stalks to the pan and cook for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Add the chickpeas, tomatoes and stock to the pot.
  • Bring the mixture to a boil, cover the pot, reduce the heat to low and continue to cook for 1 1/2 hours.
  • Add the squash, prunes and additional stock if the mixture looks too dry. Cover the pot and continue to cook for an additional 1 1/2 hours until the meat is fork tender.

Adjust the seasonings and serve alongside couscous and topped with the slivered almonds.

Serves 4

Chicken w/ Artichokes in Creamy Mustard Sauce

IMG_2986

It’s Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing I want to do is cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat. The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes. Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This dish adapted from The Splendid Table (which by the way is the best podcast ever) uses one of  my all time favorite vegetables: artichokes. Artichokes have a mild and slightly sweet and tangy flavor that pairs well  with just about anything. Here it is combined with Dijon mustard and chicken to make a quick end of the week dinner that the entire family will eat. In order to keep the flavor subtle, be sure to use plain artichoke hearts and not ones that have been pickled. Serve the chicken over rice so you can absorb all of the yummy sauce.

Chicken w/ Artichokes in Creamy Mustard Sauce

8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

1 teaspoon salt, divided

1 teaspoon, divided freshly ground black pepper

3 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, minced

1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 1/2 cups canned artichoke hearts, drained and sliced

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 cup grape tomatoes, halved

1/2 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth

1/3 cup heavy cream

2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Chopped parsley, for garnish

  • Season the chicken on both sides with half of the salt and half of the pepper.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large skillet set over medium-high heat. When the oil shimmers, add the chicken  and brown for 2 to 3 minutes per side. It does not need to be cooked through at this point.
  • Remove the chicken from the pan and reduce the heat to medium.
  • Add the shallot and red pepper flakes and scraping the bottom of the pan, cook for 2 minutes.
  • Add the artichoke hearts, lemon zest, oregano and the remaining salt and pepper. Cook for an additional 2 minutes then stir in the tomatoes.
  • Return the chicken to the pan then add the wine and chicken broth.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the chicken is at a low simmer and cover.
  • Cook for an additional 8 to 10 minutes or until the chicken is tender and cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, combine the cream and mustard in a small bowl.
  • When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat and stir in the mustard sauce.
  • Top with the chopped parsley and serve immediately.
Serves 4

Stuffed Peppers

DSC_0175

Cooks have been stuffing vegetables for centuries.  Whether it be squashes and peppers or grape and cabbage leaves, vegetables serve as the perfect vessel for holding meats and grains.  Growing up my Polish grandmother would stuff cabbage leaves with meats and rice and we would eat them as fast as she could cook them.  When I went through a phase of cooking Greek food I would patiently stuff and roll grape leaves with rice, herbs, and dried fruits before steaming them.  All of this work was time-consuming but worth it.

Peppers are a much easier vegetable to stuff since they don’t require the tedious rolling process.  Bell peppers aren’t always readily available here in Albania but you can use any variety of peppers you like. I like to use red and yellow peppers since they are sweeter but green peppers work as well.  The larger the pepper the easier it is to stuff but smaller ones are ok too.  If you can’t find ground lamb in the market feel free to substitute a lean ground beef.

STUFFED PEPPERS

6 whole peppers

3/4 pound ground lamb

1/3 cup red onion, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1/2 cup water

1/3 cup long grained white rice

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  • Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  • Fill a large pot with water and bring to a boil.
  • Carefully remove the stems and seeds of each pepper keeping the pepper whole and intact.
  • Submerge the peppers in the boiling water and boil for three minutes.
  • Remove from the water and drain on paper towels.
  • In a large saute pan set over medium-high heat, cook the lamb and onion until the meat is cooked and the onions are soft, approximately 5-7 minutes.
  • Add the tomatoes and their juice, the water, rice, Worcestershire sauce, oregano, salt, and pepper to the meat mixture and bring to a simmer.
  • Continue to cook for 15 minutes or until the rice is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
  • Off the heat and add half of each cheese to the mixture.  Stir to combine.
  • Stuff each pepper with the meat mixture until filled and place in a shallow casserole dish.  If you have additional filling place it in the dish around the peppers.
  • Sprinkle the peppers with the remaining cheese.
  • Bake the peppers for 15 minutes or until the cheese is browned and bubbly.
  • Allow the peppers to sit for 3 minutes before serving.

Serves: 6

Pesto Chicken Bake

DSC_0188

It is Fast Friday again and time for another fast and fabulous dinner suggestion. If you are anything like me, by the time Friday rolls around the last thing you want to do to cook a big meal yet we all still have to eat.  The dishes featured in this series aren’t necessarily fancy but they bring together simple ingredients most people already have in their pantries or have easy access to and allow you to put a real meal on the table in between 30 and 45 minutes.  Enjoy and if you have your own fast recipes you want to share, please send them my way and I will in turn share them with all of my readers.

This time of year fresh pesto is a regular staple in my refrigerator.  This simple basil and garlic sauce can easily turn pantry basics from ho-hum to fantastic.  When you add ripe tomatoes and fresh mozzarella to the dish you have a new twist on a classic Caprese salad.  Chicken is by far my favorite protein to pair with pesto.  For the sake of time I use chicken filets in this recipe. If you don’t have filets you can make your own by slicing whole boneless chicken breasts lengthwise .  Simply use a meat mallet to pound them to a uniform thickness after slicing and you are good to go.

PESTO CHICKEN BAKE

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/4 tsp garlic powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon black pepper

8 chicken breast filets

2 large tomatoes, cut into bite-sized pieces

1/2 cup pesto

1/4 pound fresh mozzarella, cut into slices

  • Pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees.  Coat a medium-sized baking dish with cooking spray and set aside.
  • Place the olive oil in a large skillet and heat over medium-high heat.
  • Sprinkle the garlic powder, salt, and pepper evenly over both sides of the chicken breast filets.
  • Working in batches, quickly brown the chicken on both sides, placing the cooked chicken in a single layer in the prepared baking dish.
  • Spread the pesto over the top of the chicken.
  • Evenly distribute the tomatoes and fresh mozzarella over the top of the chicken.
  • Place in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the chicken is cooked through.
  • Let rest for 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 4

Tomato & Ricotta Tart

photo 2-287

Tomatoes are plentiful now and while it is tempting to eat them as is out of the garden sometimes you want a little more. And at the end of a hot day who wants to spend a lot of time in the kitchen fussing over dinner? (or any meal for that matter). So why not try this easy tomato and ricotta tart? With only a few ingredients, this tart is easy and as a added bonus, you can pre-bake the shell earlier in the day then put the dish together right before serving.

Choose the best tomatoes you can find, either a single type or go for a variety, since they really are the highlight of this dish. I’ve become a huge fan of making my own ricotta cheese but you can also use whichever brand you prefer. And for the crust? Either make your own or use a pre-made one. I like to make it even easier and make a free form crust rather than fussing with a tart plate. However you make it, this is a delicious and easy dish. Enjoy!

TOMATO & RICOTTA TART

1 single pie crust

1 cup fresh ricotta cheese, either purchased or homemade

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons fresh basil, minced

1 teaspoon lemon zest, finely minced

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, or more to taste

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1 pound heirloom tomatoes, sliced 1/4 inch thick

For the crust:

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.

  • On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough to 1/8 inch thick and transfer to an un-greased baking sheet.
  • Using your fingers crimp the edges of the crust to form an outer ridge. You don’t have be to exact but try to keep the crust in a circle formation. Prick the bottom of the crust all over with a fork.
  • Place the baking sheet in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until it is light brown on all sides. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.

For the filling:

  • In a small bowl, combine the ricotta, Parmesan, basil and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Using a small spatula spread the cheese mixture over the top of the prepared tart shell.
  • Arrange the tomatoes over the top of the cheese.
  • Return the tart to the oven and bake for 3-5 minutes until the tomatoes and cheese are warm.
  • Serve immediately.

Serves 8

Making Here Home

Expat life, travel...and books

One Real Peach.

reflections on the heartbreak and hilarity of mothering, writing, and living authentically

Wine and Cheese (Doodles)

Salty observations about life, love, and living abroad

Sprouted Kitchen

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Not Without Salt

Delicious Recipes and Food Photography by Ashley Rodriguez.

101 Cookbooks

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Local Milk Blog

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Spoon & Shutter

In and out of the kitchen with Susan and Ted Axelrod

Plating Up

The food that accompanies my adventures!

A Life of Spice

Food, Culture and Lifestyle with Monica Bhide

The Blueberry Files

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Zosia Cooks

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Yummy Supper

The food that accompanies my adventures!

What Julie Ate

It's a delicious life, but somebody has to live it.

United Noshes

The food that accompanies my adventures!

The Bitten Word

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Hip Foodie Mom

The food that accompanies my adventures!

From Away

Cooking and Eating in Maine

Always Order Dessert

The food that accompanies my adventures!

Yankee Kitchen Ninja

The food that accompanies my adventures!

%d bloggers like this: