Tag Archives: basil

Green Chile Tomato Pie

There are two kinds of tomato pie here in the United States.  One is the Italian version, aka pizza, the other is one of my summertime faves, the savory oh so Southern Tomato Pie!

This not too heavy pie is filled with fresh ripe tomatoes from your garden and bright herbs and onions.  Topped with a warm cheesy topping that gives you that comfort food feel pie always brings.  My only change up to the classic is I like to add a bit of that Tex-Mex flair with sliced jalapenos and green chiles.  I swear on a baby, they only enhance the flavors of the dish and do not overpower with heat..promise!

*You can drain and dry your tomatoes ahead of time and keep between paper towels on a plate or large Ziploc baggie in the refrigerator.  You can also make the cheesy topping ahead of time and keep in the fridge as well. 🙂

**Another great ingredient you can add in is bacon!!  Bacon is good in everything, right?

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 deep dish pie crust, frozen works great!
  • 4-5 large ripe tomatoes, sliced and patted dry
  • 3 green onions, sliced
  • 1 jalapeno, sliced
  • 8 fresh basil leaves, chopped/torn
  • 4oz can green chiles, I prefer ‘hot’
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 cup sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1 cup mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper, to taste

Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

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Preheat your oven to your pie crusts directions (mine was 375 degrees).  Once the oven has heated up, take a fork and prick the bottoms and sides of your pie dough shell a few times and place in the oven to bake for 10-12 minutes.  Remove the par baked pie dough and set aside.

Meanwhile, rinse and slice your tomatoes.  Sprinkle with kosher salt and lay in a colander and let drain for 20-30 minutes.  Also pat dry with a towel or paper towel.  You really want to remove as much moisture as you can from the tomatoes so that the pie wont be soggy.  TomPie2.JPG

Once the tomatoes have drained, layer in the half-baked pie shell.  Sprinkle the green onions, sliced jalapeno and torn basil leaves overtop the tomatoes.

In a large bowl, simply combine the mayonnaise, cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, drained green chiles and a pinch each of salt and pepper,  Fold together till mixed.  Top this mixture evenly overtop the fresh vegetables and place in your oven, now at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.  Enjoy!!

 

 

Serve by itself for a light lunch, bring to a brunch or as a side dish along with grilled pork chops!  Just delish!!

TomPie7

 

Strawberry Basil & Goat Cheese Chicken w/ Grilled Romaine Salad

I’m lightening it up and fancy’ing it up (I realize that’s not real a word..but it works!)!  No despite the glamorous sounding name to this recipe, it’s actually super easy and quick!  I honestly say that this can be made in well under 30 minutes.  

It has so much flavor, so much FRESH flavor to be exact.  You get in fruit, veggies and protein here and zero guilt or that yucky “I’m stuffed” feeling.  Which is why I pair mine with a crisp glass of vino..I mean c’mon!  I have to have a little naughtiness! 

*Balsamic Glaze:  it’s not to be confused with “balsamic vinegar”.  This is a thicker, syrup-like glaze with a slightly sweet finish.

The Starting Lineup

  • 4-6 chicken cutlets
  • 2 cups strawberries, quartered
  • 4oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Balsamic glaze
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 bunch romaine lettuce, quartered 
  • Salt & pepper 

We’ll start this light and tasty recipe by cleaning and quartering the strawberries and chopping up the garlic and basil..or be fancy and do a chiffonade 😉   Next combine the fresh basil to the strawberries and 1 tbsp each of extra virgin olive oil and the balsamic glaze, gently toss together.  Cover and set aside.

Next, heat up either your grill or a grill pan with a couple Tbsp’s of olive oil on your stovetop to medium-high heat.  Generously season the chicken cutlets with salt, pepper and the minced garlic and place on grill/pan.  Cook for approximately 4 minutes per side, till cooked through and beautiful golden brown grill marks appear.  Set aside. 

Now that the chicken is done, it’s time for our lettuce!  To each quartered piece of romaine, drizzle a bit of evoo, balsamic glaze and a generous sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place ‘face-down’ onto the grill pan and let the grill make those fantastic char marks. 

To serve!!   On a large family style platter (or individual plates), lay down the grilled romaine and top with the chicken cutlets.  Spoon the strawberry-basil mixture all over top and sprinkle on the goat cheese crumbles!  I also like to add another drizzle of that sweet balsamic glaze over top and another pinch of kosher salt & pepper.  Enjoy!! 

Spinach, Goat Cheese & Chicken Stuffed Roasted Peppers 

The warmer months are upon us where no one wants a heavy meal and eating a reoccurring plate of grilled chicken over salad can get old.  Now this dish isn’t much different, it still has grilled chicken and vegetables, but it’s put together in a beautiful way with extra flavor from a basil pesto and goat cheese crumbles.  Still light and pretty darn healthy!

Another fun thing about this recipe is it can be done in your kitchen OR take it al fresco and do this ALL on your backyard grill for a fun, light dinner!

*I like to serve this either with: pasta tossed in the remaining pesto, with a pich of kosher salt & fresh ground pepper OR if I’m on the grill…I just grill up some more veggies!  Especially fresh asparagus, mushrooms, etc.

The Starting Lineup

  • 3 red bell peppers
  • 1lb chicken
  • 1 bunch fresh spinach, rinsed 
  • 1 4oz container crumbled goat cheese
  • 1 jar basil pesto
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Kosher salt & ground black pepper

Garnish/Side

  • Italian flat leaf parsley, rough chop
  • 1 pckg pasta noodles of choice or grilled vegetables  

Begin by preheating your oven to 425 degrees and rinsing, cutting in half and removing the seeds of the bell peppers.  In a large bowl combine about 1 Tbsp of EVOO along with 2 Tbsp’s of the basil pesto.  Toss the cut bell peppers in the mix. 

      

Lay the coated peppers cut-side down on a baking sheet and sprinkle a pinch of kosher salt & ground pepper over the tops.  Roast in the oven until just slightly soft (the skins start to bubble), about 10-15 minutes.  Remove from oven and set aside.  *Keep the oven on, but you can drop the temperature to 400 degrees. 

 While the peppers are roasting you can prepare the chicken and spinach.  Heat a pan with a bit of oil to medium-high heat while coating the chicken also with a tbsp of pesto and salt & pepper.  Cook/grill the chicken for about 4-5 minutes per side, till just cooked through (I had thin strips, so please cook accordingly), and has a nice golden-brown crust. 

 Also, rinse the spinach and chop off the hard stems (don’t worry if you miss a couple) and place the cut spinach into the same pesto bowl that the bell peppers where in. 

As soon as the chicken is done cooking, remove to a cutting board and chop up.  Immediately tossing the hot, chopped chicken into the fresh spinach.  *The hot chicken will help to wilt the fresh spinach.  Again, add a pinch of salt & pepper and another Tbsp of pesto. …I promise you, this will not be too much of a basil flavor.

   Assembly time!!  Bring over the baking sheet of roasted red peppers and fill with the pesto-chicken-spinach mixture.  Next, take a good amount of the crumbled goat cheese and sprinkle over top.  *I like a lot, so I press that goat cheese in there! 

 

Finally, pop these stuffed peppers into your preheated oven for about 5-7 minutes.  Remove and serve with a side of pasta or fresh, grilled vegetables.  Enjoy! 

 
*This time I served ours with a side of pasta.  After the noodles boiled, I tossed directly into yes, that same bowl with a bit of pesto in it!  I added more pesto, salt & pepper.  One bowl, three times..LESS cleanup!! 👍 

 


Open Face Caprese Chicken Sandwich

Alright, now THIS is one of my “easy” meals!  There’s almost no actual skillet required (truth be told, you can broil the chicken as well instead) which makes this fantastic for these warm summer months we’re in.

Secret:  Take it up a notch, for flavor too, and cook on your outdoor grill…every bit of it!!  Plus, your home never heats up at all!

  • 1 pckg Chicken Breasts, cut in half lengthwise 
  • Jar of premade Basil Pesto
  • Mozzarella Cheese, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Fresh, ripe tomatoes, sliced 1/2″ thick
  • Ciabatta Bread, sliced 1″+ thick
  • 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
  • Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper
  • 1-2 Tbsp EVOO 
  • Balsamic Vinegar Reduction (optional)

In my usual prep method, let’s slice the chicken breasts in half length-wise.  Only a thin cutlet is needed here AND it doubles your serving amount for the same price! 👍 Season both sides of your chicken with kosher salt & pepper and set aside.  (Wash hands ;))


In a skillet over medium heat, drizzle a bit of EVOO in pan (heat) and then add your chicken.  These are thin cuts, so cook just 2-3 minutes per side.   Once finished, set aside on a dish for use a bit later.

Now is time to slice your tomatoes (sharpen that knife!) and cut your bakery fresh bread loaf into your ideal thickness (serrated bread knife if you have one).  *Also, chop that garlic. 

Set your oven’s broiler to high..on a baking sheet lay your ciabatta bread slices down.  Drizzle each slice with a bit of EVOO, a bit of your chopped garlic and a sprinkle of salt & pepper.  Place your baking sheet about 6″ under your broiler, watch this CLOSELY and broil until JUST a light golden brown. 

 Assembly time has come once again!!!  With an oven mitt…take your baking sheet of browned, garlicky ciabatta bread out of the oven.  Leave on baking sheet.

Layer on top of the bread the (cooked) chicken cutlet, the tomatoes and then the mozzarella slices.  I like to sprinkle a bit of S&P on both my tomatoes and cheese.  More flavor my friends..

Place this back in the oven under ther broiler for another few minutes.  Watch closely again, as to not burn the bread, but for the cheese to start melting and become gooey.  Gooey cheese=some sort of heaven, I’m sure of it! 

*This will usually take about 3-5 minutes.

Woohoo!!  This super easy and tasty meal is done!  Let’s just dress it up a bit with a spoonful of the basil pesto and a drizzle of the (optional) balsamic reduction.  Did I mention the word “heaven” yet…. 😉 

 

Roasted Red Pepper and Sausage Pasta

Traditional marinara sauce can get boring..but a roasted red pepper sauce??  Let’s try!!  This is easy to make and will give your tastebuds a nice treat and dinnertime a kick!

While watching some of my favorite shows on my beloved Food Network, I saw two “chefs” have similar recipes like this (I use the word chef loosely because they’re not formally trained, but fantastic cooks nonetheless).

Anywaayy, I combined the two ideas, tweaked a few things and the end result has won rave reviews with my friends and family.  Again, even my two toddlers approve and that’s saying something!

So feel free to give this recipe a try when your family’s response to what they’d like for dinner is “I don’t care..” Man, I hate that one 😉

The Starting Lineup

  • 1 lb Italian sausage, sliced
  • 12oz+ penne pasta
  • 15oz jar roasted red peppers
  • 1 cup chicken broth/stock
  • 3/4 cup heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 large sweet onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • Italian flat leaf parsley, chopped
  • Basil, fresh torn
  • Kosher salt & pepper 

We’ll start this pasta delight with prepping some of the veggies.  Slighty chop up the roasted red peppers (drained from jar), dice the onion and mince those garlic cloves.


Now, start the water for your pasta.  Bring to a boil and cook till one minute under your package directions.  They will finish cooking in your roasted red pepper purée.

You’ll also want to start the sliced Italian sausage links in a separate pan.  Cook till browned.


Now to make that rich and creamy sauce!  In a heavy bottom pot, heat 1/2 of the butter (2tbsp) over med-high heat.  Add in your onions and garlic, cook for 2-3 minutes.  Next add in the roasted red peppers and cook for another 2-3 minutes till heated through.

*your water should be boiling about now to add in your pasta.

After the veggie mix is softened and hot, spoon into a food processor (you can use a blender as well, just make sure to secure the lid while holding a hand towel.  The hot liquid and normal blenders don’t mix well and can explode).

Pulse this mix till pretty smooth.  A few veggie chunks left are still great for texture.

  

In the same heavy bottomed pot on med heat, add in the last two Tbsp’s of butter.  Pour the pepper purée back in with the chicken broth/stock, heavy cream, salt and pepper.

  
The noodles should be just about done now, so really quick, grate 3/4 cup of parmesan and give a rough chop to your parsley & basil leaves.  Ladle your pasta noodles directly into your sauce along with the chopped herbs and 3/4 cup cheese.  Toss together.

  

Lastly, mix in your now cooked Italian sausage straight into your dressed pasta and get garnishes ready to serve!

Plate your pasta with an extra serving a grated Parmesan cheese and sprinkle of torn parsley and basil.  Enjoy!

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