Spaghetti Squash with Garlic and Burst Cherry Tomatoes

I accidentally grew a spaghetti squash.  At first I thought it was a weird looking cucumber, but it gre larger, rounder and eventually yellow.  I’m so glad we got this extra vegetable from the garden. It’s sweet, a bit crunchy, versatile and fun to make.

  • Spaghetti squash (2-3 lbs in size)
  • 1 cup Cherry tomatoes
  •  Fresh Basil, small handful chopped
  • 3 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 1 garlic clove minced
  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Wash, cut the squash lengthwise and scoop out seeds.  Drizzle with 1 tbsp of the olive oil on the flesh side and season generously with salt and pepper.  Place on microwave safe dish cut side down and cook approx 10 minutes or until skin feels soft.  Remove carefully from microwave and let cool enough to handle.  In the meantime, in a small pan heat the remaining 1 tbsp olive oil, place cherry tomatoes in the pan along with the garlic.  Salt and pepper to taste.  Cook on low to medium heat until tomatoes burst gently, approx 6-8 mins. Remove from heat and set aside.  With a fork scrape the flesh from the squash into a large bowl stirring gently to break it up.  Pour the tomato mixture on top, season with more salt and pepper if needed, sprinkle with the parmesan and fresh basil.

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Back to School Pizza Rolls

I feel like I blinked and summer break has spread it’s wings and flew by in a rush.  With my youngest homeschooling again and my oldest doing independent studies, plus all the other things I’ve got going on the side, I felt an easy dinner was in order.  With the girls being able to help with this meal it made it even easier on me.  Use store bought pizza dough ( I use Trader Joe’s brand) of your choice and follow pre-cooking instructions on box before starting. I use a 12 muffin tin to cook the rolls in because it keeps them from falling apart and spreading everywhere.  Grease the muffin tin with small amount of olive oil and preheat oven to 350F

Pizza Rolls (makes 12 rolls)

  • 1lb pizza dough
  • 1/2 cup pizza sauce of your choice
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella
  • any other toppings of your choice, just try not to over load the dough or it’ll be hard to roll

Flour your workspace and roll the dough into a rectangle approx. 13×18 in.

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Spread the sauce, cheese and choice of toppings onto the dough. Starting at the long end roll the dough away from you as tight as you can.

Cut the roll into 12 equal pieces using a large knife or bench scraper. Place rolls into the muffin tin and bake about 30 mins or until dough is golden brown and cheese is bubbly.  Serve with a garden salad for an easy back to school dinner.

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From the Garden-Caprese Salad

One of my favorite produce from the garden are the tomatoes.  So sweet and juicy right off the vine, we eat them like candy.  The weather has been so hot here that I’ve had no desire to turn on the oven, so for dinner  the kids picked a bowl of tomatoes and we turned them into this delicious caprese salad.  Try it with this smoky eggplant dip.

Makes about 4 servings

  • 1 1/2 lbs cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil
  • 3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Cut the cherry tomatoes in halves and add them to a medium bowl followed by the oil, salt, pepper and vinegar.  Toss gently and taste, adjust the seasoning if needed.  To the tomatoes add the mozzarella and top with the basil.  Toss again gently before serving. Enjoy the taste of summer in this simple salad!

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Bread and your coffee grinder

Follow my blog with BloglovinI love fresh ground coffee in the morning. The smell takes me to a calm and relaxing place full of wonderful memories (I don’t know what those memories are but I like them.) What I don’t like is cleaning the coffee grinder, especially when the grounds get all over the place and stick to everything.
An easy way to clean the coffee grinder is with a slice of white bread. And yes, it has to be white because white bread is softer than other types and easy to maneuver inside the grinder without breakfast no into crumbs. Make sure your grinder is unplugged and stick the slice of bread in there and wipe the coffee grounds out. That’s it, it will leave your grinder clean and fresh. Now throw that bread to the birds so it doesn’t go to waste!

Simple Fruit Tart

With such an abundance of stone fruit and berries during the summer months it’s easy to have leftovers that have over ripened.  This simple fruit tart has been my go-to recipe for many years.  It is passed down to me from my aunt who is an amazing cook.  She’s in her 80’s now, but growing up we would to go to her house for different occasions and she made the trendiest food, before trendy and food were even used in the same sentence.

This is  a very basic batter to which you can add any mixture of fruit that you have lying around.  This time I happened to have leftover peaches that I sprinkled on top before baking.  Give it a light dusting of powdered sugar, and you can serve this simple tart anytime of the day.  Preheat your oven to 350F, or 176C and grease a 12×12 round dish or 9×9 rectangular dish.  The smaller the dish, the taller the tart will be.

  • 400 grams sugar
  • 400 grams all purpose flour
  • 200 ml vegetable oil
  • zest from one lemon
  • 4 eggs, yolks and white separated
  • 2 tbsp cold water
  • 8 tbsp hot water
  • 2 cups your choice fruit (leave whole if  berries, cut small if  other fruit)

Place the egg whites in a large bowl and beat on high until lightly foamy (you don’t want peaks forming just a light foam.) Into the egg white foam add one after the other while gently mixing in between, the sugar, the egg yolks one at a time, the cold water, the hot water, the oil, lemon zest and finally the flour.

Mix these gently until just well incorporated and pour the batter into your baking dish.  Evenly sprinkle the fruit on top and bake about 30 minutes, or until lightly brown on top, and when toothpick is inserted in the middle it comes out clean. Remove from oven and cool on a cooling rack before serving. Enjoy!

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Portabella – Swiss Burger

Grilling time is still on and portabella mushrooms are one of my favorite meat alternatives.  It’s meaty, juicy, and very flavorful.  You can use your favorite toppings to turn it into your own meat-free burger creation.  Most of the time I caramelize onions and place on top, this time I used pre-bought crispy onions. In a bowl or dish place the following.

  • 4 large portabella mushroom caps, cleaned
  • 1/4 cup  olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika powder
  • 4 ciabatta buns
  • 4 slices swiss cheese
  • Mustard of choice
  • 1 Cup prepackaged crispy onions, or 1 onion sliced and caramelized

Place mushrooms in dish.  Drizzle evenly with the olive oil on both sides and rub evenly with the minced garlic.  Sprinkle both sides with the salt, pepper and smoked paprika.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least one hour.  Reserve the marinate oil that is left over in the dish or bowl. On medium fire, grill mushrooms approximately 6 minutes per side.  While mushrooms are cooking, brush the ciabatta buns with the garlic oil reserved from earlier.  Grill the buns over low heat taking care not to burn them, about 1 minute per side.  When mushrooms are about 1-2 minutes from being done, top with the swiss cheese and finish cooking. Now for assembly, place a mushroom on each bun, top with the onions.  Brush the other half of bun with mustard.  Don’t forget extra napkins!

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