Sunday, August 22, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti

It's August and the tomatoes are amazing! It's the perfect time to grab a big bunch of them from the garden or farmers' market and make homemade tomato sauce. There is nothing quite like making this sauce from scratch. I love tomato sauce year round, but at this time of year you can get the most out of the flavor of the tomatoes and can create a sauce that is not only delicious, but is also easy to make and really healthy. Make a big batch and freeze the extras for a special treat when these beautiful days of summer are behind us!

Homemade Tomato Sauce with Spaghetti
A wholesome and flavorful sauce that brings any noodle to life!
Makes about 3 cups

12 ripe tomatoes
1 small red onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. kosher salt
1 tsp. dried Italian herbs
3 T. extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil, chopped, optional
Grated Parmesan cheese, optional
Prepared Spaghetti, for serving

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Immerse tomatoes, a couple at a time, for 30 seconds, then remove into a large bowl of ice water to cool for a minute or two. Remove from ice water and peel off the skins (they will slide off easily). Cut out the cores, then roughly chop up the tomatoes.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and a pinch of kosher salt. Saute until they begin to soften, about 5 minutes, then add the garlic cloves. Saute while stirring for 2 minutes. Add in all of the tomatoes and their juices. Increase heat to medium high until mixture begins to boil, then reduce to medium low to simmer. Add dried herbs, salt and sugar and simmer for 45 minutes, until reduced by about 1/4, or to desired consistency.

Serve with hot spaghetti, fresh basil and grated cheese. Refrigerate leftovers for up to five days, or freeze.

Recipe by Sarah Saubert

Friday, August 13, 2010

Champagne Sangria and Mexican Roll-Ups

I recently had the pleasure of hosting my best friend’s wedding shower, and it was a Mexican fiesta. The party was in the middle of the day, so a meal wasn’t necessary, just a few yummy appetizers and a fabulous drink! For the appetizers I made my “famous” bruschetta with ripe summer tomatoes and lots of basil, guacamole served with chips and carrots, and Mexican roll-ups. Mexican roll-ups are easy and delicious, and they’re perfect for parties because they can be made ahead. The shining star of the (hot!) afternoon was Champagne Sangria, a light, fruity and bubbly cocktail that was refreshing and delicious. This menu was perfect because the flavors were so unique, everything was relatively healthy, and it was bright and colorful!

Mexican Roll-Ups
A make-ahead appetizer that everyone loves!
Makes 10 roll-ups, serves 20-30

2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
1 can chopped black olives
2 green onions, minced
2 T red onion, minced
¼ C red and green peppers, minced
1 T hot pepper sauce
3 T chopped fresh cilantro
¼ C salsa
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. garlic salt
½ tsp. chilli powder
10 flour tortillas

Combine all of the ingredients except the tortillas and stir well to blend. Spread some of the mixture on each of the tortillas and roll up tightly. Cover and refrigerate two hours or overnight. Slice into bite size pieces. Sprinkle with chilli powder.

Champagne Sangria
Fruity, bubbly and delicious!
Makes 6 drinks

1 (750-ml) bottle Prosecco or French Champagne, chilled
1/2 cup orange juice
2 cups Mint Simple Syrup, recipe follows
1 lemon, zested and thinly sliced
1 lime, zested and thinly sliced
1/2 cup sliced strawberries
5 fresh mint sprigs
Crushed ice

In a large pitcher, combine the Prosecco, orange juice, Mint Simple Syrup, lemon zest, and lime zest. Add the sliced strawberries, lemon slices, lime slices, and mint sprigs.

Fill glasses with crushed ice and pour the sangria over the top. Serve immediately.

Mint Simple Syrup:
2cups sugar
2 cups water
1 cup packed fresh mint leaves

In a small saucepan, combine the sugar, water, and mint over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the sugar has dissolved. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the syrup to cool for 20 minutes. Strain before using.

Recipe courtesy of Giada Delaurentis

Monday, August 9, 2010

Greek Pizza

Yes, it's another pizza recipe! As you know, I love making homemade pizza. Pizza has a bad reputation for being unhealthy, but that's mostly due to those delivery places. Making pizza at home is healthful, easy and fun! I created this delicious Greek pizza on a night when I was home alone, and I will admit, it was so good I ate the whole thing. Hey! I was hungry! At least it's better than eating a whole Pizza Hut pizza. :) Try this recipe and share with a friend (or not)!

Greek Pizza
Enjoy a healthy pizza with this recipe!

Pre-made thin pizza crust
Pizza sauce
Kalamata olives
Red onions, chopped
Green peppers, chopped
Garlic, minced
Grape tomatoes, halved
Zucchini, chopped (optional)
Cooked chicken breast, chopped (optional)
Mozzarella cheese, shredded
Feta cheese, crumbled
Italian herb seasoning

Spread sauce around the crust then add your favorite toppings. Finish it off with some cheese and Italian herbs. Bake according to directions on crust. Enjoy!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Braised Chicken in Sun-dried Tomato Cream

While my go-to dish for any occasion is usually pasta, for many it's chicken. Chicken is popular because there are so many options of what to do with it. Just like pasta, almost anything tastes great with chicken! I made this delicious braised chicken in sundried tomato cream sauce that was one of the tastiest chicken dishes I've ever made. The braising technique is easy to do and really makes the chicken succulent and juicy, while the sundried tomato cream has a rich, creamy and almost sweet flavor that is brightened with plenty of white wine. And best of all, this dish is easy to prepare and has a "wow" factor that's always appreciated!

Braised Chicken in Sun-dried Tomato Cream
A flavorful and delicious way to prepare chicken that's always a hit!
Serves 2

2 skinless boneless chicken breast halves
1 T oil from oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/3 cup whipping cream
1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes, thinly sliced
3 T thinly sliced fresh basil

Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a heavy medium skillet over medium-hight heat. Add chicken to skillet and saute until golden, about 4 minutes per side. Add garlic and stir 30 seconds. Add wine, cream and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover skillet, and simmer until chicken is just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken to plates. Add basil to sauce in skillet. Increase heat and boil until sauce thickens enough to coat spoon, about 2 minutes. Season sauce to taste with salt and pepper; spoon over chicken and serve.

Recipe courtesy of Bon Appetit