Tomato Gratin

This is a custom French summer dish that I tweaked slightly. The entire thing cost me $4 to make $2 for a French Baguette and $2 for some tomatoes. Easy, cheap and delicious ?! Okay now! This is also perfect for warming up at work for leftovers! The bread stays crispy and it tastes amazing!

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Ingredients

  • 4-5 medium size tomatoes
  • 1 Baguette, either 1 large one or probably 2 small (Can also use whole grain bread)
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Basil, Parsley and Thyme (If you don’t have thyme, just go with basil and parsley!)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 1 sweet onion ( I just used half of one)
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Salt, pepper, red crushed pepper and Italian seasoning
  • Baking dish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven for 425 degrees. Slice your tomatoes thin, you can probably get at least 6 slices out of one tomato.
  2. Place tomatoes in bowl, season with salt, pepper, red crushed pepper, Italian seasoning and stir. Place tomatoes in rows in baking dish.
  3. Sprinkle Parmesan cheese over tomatoes.

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4. Take baguette and cut into small cubes, put in a medium mixing bowl.

5. Chop your basil and parsley and put in bowl along with Thyme.

6. Finely dice your onion and mince garlic, add to bowl.

7. Season  bowl mixture with salt and pepper, then pour in olive oil. You want bread coated evenly in the oil, so pour at your own discretion. This allows the bread to become crispy.

8. Toss the cubed baguette in the fresh herbs, oil and seasoning.

9. Pour bread over tomatoes and use anything left in the bowl to drizzle over top.

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10. Bake for 25-30 minutes, around 20 minutes check that your bread is golden and not burning…everyone’s oven cooks differently so better to be on teh safe side.

11. Serve and enjoy!

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Midwest Succotash

If you were like me, you may have heard the words “suffering succotash” by a famous by Sylvester the cat. Who knew succotash was a delicious meal/side dish that’s easy to make and perfect for all those summer veggies available!

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ears of corn or 1 bag of frozen corn
  • 3 fresh okra pods, chopped
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 can of diced tomatoes
  • 1 sweet yellow onion, diced
  • 4-5 small sweet peppers
  • 1-1 1/2 cups fresh green beans, snapped into small pieces
  • 1 bag frozen Lima beans
  •  1 TBSP fresh herbs, I used Tarragon
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 3/4 stick of butter
  • salt, pepper, chili powder, lime

Instructions

  1. Begin by cooking your corn, I usually put my corn in the microwave on a plate and wrap the corn in a wet paper towel for about 4 minutes. But prepare as you see fit.
  2. While corn is cooking put your onion, okra, zucchini and peppers into a skillet with a little olive oil and saute until tender. Medium heat
  3. In the same skillet, now add your chopped green beans, corn and 1/2 of your butter.

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4. Prepare your Lima beans and then add to your skillet with the rest of the butter and mayonnaise.

5. Season with salt, pepper and chili powder, add a little lime for a kick.

6. Now pour in your tomatoes and water. You want just enough water for all your veggies to marinate, not drown in. This will cook the green beans and make the Lima beans more tender.

7. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once at a boil lower to medium/low and let cook for about 20-30 minute or until water is almost evaporated.

8. Serve and enjoy

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French Carrot Salad

This is probably the best discovery since sliced bread…French carrot salad—taking the regular side dish to a whole new level! It’s easy, it’s cheap and it’s damn good! Not only is it fancy looking, it’ll easily impress all your friends! Take Memorial Day weekend up a notch with this dish!

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Ingredients

  • 6-7 large carrots, peeled and then grated or use a mandolin to slice thin
  • 3/4 TBSP honey
  • 1 TBSP Dijon mustard
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • 1-2 TBSP dices shallots
  • 1clove garlic minced
  • 2-3 TBSP parsley
  • 1-2 TBSP lemon juice
  • salt/pepper to season

Instructions

  • Grate your carrots, they should be shoestring/paper thin. You’re pretty much going for a coleslaw cabbage consistency. I used my mandolin on the 1 setting to get them thin. I broke the carrots in half to keep the size consistent so they weren’t long strings.
  • Once your carrots are ready, add in your garlic, shallots, honey, Dijon and olive oil.
  • Give everything a big stir then season with salt and pepper.
  • Add in your parsley and finish with a good spritz if lemon juice! Adjust seasoning as needed.
  • Serve and enjoy !!A24FBDB3-16B7-4F9F-B6E9-EAC559F2F01B

Mushroom and zucchini orzo

4C1B36C5-C541-4161-83A2-07D17E415EC8This is a simple side dish or a meal in itself. Easy to make within 15 minutes, delicious and keeps well!

 

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup orzo
  • 3 cups chicken stock (if youre vegetarian you can use vegetable stock or water)
  • 1 medium zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 cup finely chopped mushrooms
  • Fresh herbs (I used parsley, rosemary and thyme…you can buy them in premade packets at Kroger FYI)
  • 2-4 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt/Pepper and garlic powder

Instructions

  1. Add 1 TBSP of olive oil to your skillet on medium high heat, pour in your orzo. Saute your orzo for about a minute to give them color.
  2. Add in your chicken stock and turn up the heat to boiling, add in your fresh herbs and salt/pepper. Once boiling, cover with lid and cook until stock is almost evaporated. About 6-10 minutes. Watch to make sure your orzo doesn’t burn if all stock evaporates.
  3.  While your orzo is boiling, in a separate skillet saute your zucchini and mushrooms in olive oil. Once they’re tender add to your orzo and season with salt, pepper and garlic powder. (If your orzo or veggies are crunchy, it’s not done cooking.) Taste taste taste! Correct seasoning as needed.
  4. Cook low to low-medium for about 5 minutes or until ready to eat. Garnish with a little parmesan and enjoy.

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Mediterranean vegetable soup

A delicious light meal that’s easy to make and stores well!

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Ingredients

  • 2 cans of diced tomatoes
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 1-2 cans of cannellini beans
  • 2-3 large carrots chopped
  • 1 zucchini
  • 1 summer squash
  • 1 medium sweet onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped kale
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups tomato juice
  • 2 TBSP olive oil
  • Salt/pepper/garlic powder

Instructions

  1. In a large soup pot, pour in your vegetable stock and tomato juice. Turn the stove up to medium heat.
  2. Drain and wash your beans, then put the beans into your soup pot to cook.
  3. In a large skillet, we are going to saute your vegetables so they’re not crunchy in your soup.
  4. First saute your celery, onion and carrots in olive oil until they are tender. When ready place in your soup pot. Go ahead and add your kale to the soup.
  5. Next begin sauteing your zucchini and summer squash until tender. More olive oil may be needed. Once ready transfer to your soup.

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6. Taste taste taste, begin to season your soup.

7. Bring the heat up to medium high for about 15 min, then lower your heat to low and let cook for about 15-20 minutes until your beans are tender.

8. Correct seasoning and serve!

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Vegetable Marrow Farci

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The perfect meal for a Meatless Monday. I found this recipe in my Titanic cookbook, so we’re going old school here. Vegetable Marrow Farci, is pretty much fancy for stuffed zucchini boats. They’re easy to make, delicious even warmed back up and perfect for anyone watching their calories.

Ingredients

Will need a medium to large skillet and a baking casserole dish.

  • 2 large zuchinni
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 3 cloves minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 1/2 cups finely diced mushrooms
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 2/3 cup cooked rice ( I used a $1 whole grain, 90 second steam pouch from Kroger)
  • salt and pepper
  •  1/4 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs (Kroger has a can of these for 99cents)
  • 2 tbsp melted butter

Instructions

  1. Cut your zucchini in half, length wise creating two long spears each. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Hollow out your zucchini, put the guts to the side because we will be using these again.
  3. Place your hollowed out zucchini shells into your baking dish.

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4. Put your skillet on medium to medium high, add in your olive oil and your red onions and garlic. Saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.

5.While these are sauteing, dice up the reserved zucchini guts.

6.When your onions are a nice translucent color (not burnt) add in the dried oregano, tomato paste and the diced zucchini reserves. Cook for about 4-5 minutes. While doing so prepare your mushrooms.

7.Turn up the heat a little and add in your mushrooms, cook for about 5 minutes or until your vegetables are a nice brown. Now stir in your vinegar, let it saute for a few minutes. This is when I put my 90 second rice into the microwave to warm up.veg2

8.Now remove  the skillet from the heat, stir in your rice–add in your salt, pepper and your Parmesan cheese. Taste, taste, taste–make sure its how you want it.

9. Now comes the fun part, you’re going to restuff your zucchini shells with your filling. Don’t pack too tightly.

10. Once your shells are filled sprinkle bread crumbs over the top, maybe a little extra parmesan and then poor on a little melted butter to get those breadcrumbs toasty.

11. Place in oven and cook for 40 minutes. The zucchini should be tender, like stick a fork in it soft.

Maybe top with some fresh basil and enjoy. This can be a dish all on its own or a great side dish.