Monday, July 26, 2010

Cherry Tomato Sauce with Pasta

Last night my husband went fishing with his best friend and our daughter was working, so I had the house to myself. I decided to make myself some dinner and this is what I came up with, a dish that is inspired by one of Jamie Oliver's recipes from his new book Jamie's Food Revolution.

I have lots of grape tomatoes coming in almost everyday, so I've been looking for ways to use them up. I've never used balsamic vinegar in a pasta sauce before but I will be doing it again! I love how quickly this meal came together and how packed with flavor it was. The tomatoes were so sweet and delicious.

Cherry Tomato Sauce with Pasta

1/2 onion, chopped
1 pint grape tomatoes, halved
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 small bunch of fresh basil, torn into small-ish pieces.
1 pound pasta
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pan of water to a boil for the pasta. When the water comes to a boil, cook pasta according to directions on box, saving a little of the pasta water for the sauce.

Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Add the oil and onions til almost softened and translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the grape tomatoes and garlic. Cook for a couple minutes. Add half the basil, balsamic vinegar, butter, half the Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper (to taste). Add the drained pasta to the skillet, along with a couple of splashes of the cooking water, mixing well, until the pasta is coated with the sauce.

Serve with a little Parmesan cheese and the rest of the basil on top.

I'm participating in Jessica's What's On Your Plate?

Monday, July 19, 2010

Pineapple Wedding Cake

I haven't a clue as to why this is called a "wedding" cake but it sure is good. This past weekend when my three younger daughters and three sons-in-law, one boyfriend, and our grand daughter came over for dinner I needed a dessert. I looked through my Desserts binder and came across this one. It's originally from my Aunt Mary Lee but my Grandma had it and she told me how good it was. I remember sitting with Grandma at her kitchen table and going through her recipes.

The strange thing about this cake is that the actual cake part has absolutely no butter or oil in it. The fat is in the frosting. My son-in-law loved this cake and told me he would eat it without the frosting. He is also a big carrot cake fan and this cake has the same dense texture. I think I will try this recipe without the frosting and maybe I will also use half whole wheat flour for the flour to just have around the house when I need a little sweet something but nothing too fattening, which I've been trying to do anyway. It's amazing what I don't eat when it's not in the house ;)

On a side note, I felt there were a tad too many nuts in the cake so I will put in maybe 2/3 to 3/4 of a cup next time instead of the full cup, but it's totally up to you.

Pineapple Wedding Cake

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

2 eggs

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 cup nuts (chopped)

1 pound can crushed pineapple not drained

Mix flour, sugar, eggs, baking soda, and vanilla. Add the nuts and pineapple. Bake at 350 for 30 to 35 minutes in a 9 x 13-inch pan.


8 oz. cream cheese, room temperature

1 stick butter, room temperature

1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups powdered sugar

Mix together and frost cooled cake.

I'm participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Mom's Classic Potato Salad

One of my biggest food memories growing up is that every summer my mom would make her potato salad. I know, I know, everyone has had potato salad but there's something about my mom's recipe that makes it different. I'm not sure what it is but it's the only potato salad my oldest daughter likes and you will never catch me buying potato salad at the deli, no ma'am. I just don't like it. I'd rather spend the time making my mom's recipe.

Mom's Classic Potato Salad

6 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed

2 ribs celery, sliced

1 small onion, diced

1 kosher pickle, diced

1 hard-boiled egg, diced

1 cup mayonnaise

1 tablespoon sugar

1 tablespoon mustard

1 tablespoon vinegar

Salt and pepper

Milk, just enough to make the dressing creamy

Boil the potatoes in salted water just until fork tender. Drain and cool. Place the celery, onion, pickle, and hard-boiled egg in a large bowl.

In a small bowl, mix together the mayonnaise, sugar, mustard, vinegar, salt and pepper, to taste. Add just enough milk to make the mixture creamy.

Add the potatoes to the large bowl. Add the dressing and lightly mix together until the vegetables are coated. Taste and adjust for salt. Chill for at least a couple of hours.

I'm linking up with:

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thai Style Pork Noodle Toss

We love stir fry dishes. It's a great way to use up whatever bits and pieces of vegetables or meats that you have in the refrigerator. I found this one on the Common Room site and stayed with the original recipe for the most part. I added about 1/2 of a red pepper to it since I had some in my fridge.

Thai Style Pork Noodle Toss

Serves 6

1 pound raw pork loin (I used tenderloin), sliced into thin strips


2 tablespoons soy sauce

1 1/2 tablespoons minced ginger-root (or you can use ground ginger)

1 tablespoon minced garlic

Add the meat to the above marinade for about 1/2 hour. (I only marinated the pork for about 10 minutes because I was using tenderloin, which is a very tender cut)


4 1/2 tablespoons oil

2 cups thinly sliced onions

1 teaspoons crushed red pepper, or to taste

4 cups sliced Chinese Napa cabbage-or regular if it is cheaper

1 grated carrot

1/2 of a red pepper, sliced thinly

1 1/2 tablespoons vinegar


Mix together:

1/4 cup soy sauce

3 tablespoons vinegar

1 teaspoon honey

1 1/2 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds

3/4 pound pasta, cooked al dente, drained (I used spaghetti)

In a bowl marinade meat for at least half an hour as stated above. Heat a wok or large skillet, add 3 tablespoons of oil and then the meat, stir-frying until no pink remains. Set meat aside in the serving bowl.

Add the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoon of oil and heat over high heat until hot. Add the onions and crushed pepper, and stir-fry for about 1 minute. Add the cabbage, carrots, and any other vegetables you are using. Toss in the oil until the vegetables are cooked to the desired doneness (we like our vegetables more tender than crisp but not mushy). Add the sauce and heat until boiling. Add the cooked pork and noodles and toss to coat and blend.

I'm linking up with Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Fourth Of July Weekend Food

It's always great to have a long weekend because that means I have more time to be a little more creative with our food. Like with the Black Bean Salsa that I made. It was originally a recipe for Black Bean Salad but my husband loved to eat it like a salsa and asked for me to put in more onions and tomatoes the next time I made it. So, I changed some things from the original recipe and came up with this one.

Black Bean Salsa
2 cans (or 4 cups cooked) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 large onion, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1 jalapeno pepper, chopped
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
Juice of 1 lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon basil

Combine the beans, onions, tomatoes, peppers, and cilantro in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine the rest of the ingredients, whisking together to combine. Pour over the vegetables and toss lightly to coat. Let sit for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld. Serve with tortilla chips.

On Friday evening I stopped at our local Farmer's Market and picked up some fruit and vegetables. And since we were cooking on the grill, I made a double recipe of the dressing ingredients from my Black Bean Salsa and marinaded some onions, yellow squash, baby portabella mushrooms, and red peppers for about half an hour. I then put them on skewers and my husband cooked them on the grill. We haven't had kebabs for a long time and these were a nice change of pace.

Although this isn't your typical Fourth of July food fare, I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the back of the refrigerator as well as a couple of leftover baked potatoes and decided to make some Potato Patties to round out one of our meals. This is my favorite way to use up cooked potatoes.
Potato Patties
1 1/2 cups cold mashed potatoes or scooped-out baked potatoes (mashed)
2 tablespoons flour
1/2 teaspoon garlic
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 egg
Salt and pepper
In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients with a fork, mixing well. Heat a skillet on medium heat and place 2 to 3 tablespoons of butter, oil, or bacon. Form the potatoes into patties and place in hot fat. When golden brown on one side, flip and brown the other side.
I like to top these with just butter and salt or sour cream.

I'm participating in Tempt My Tummy Tuesday and Delicious Dishes.