My Aunt Johnnie brought this Artichoke and Tomato Panzanella salad over to one of our family dinners and we all loved it! I had never tried Panzanella salad before but had been curious about it for a while now. I thought that the bread would get soggy and yucky and that didn’t appeal to me at all. The bread in this salad was delicious and even though it absorbed some of the flavors it still stayed crisp arround the edges. The bread with the fresh tomatoes, artichokes and olives was wonderful! Aunt Johnnie adapted the recipe from one of Giada De Laurentis’.
The ingredients are:
- 3 cups 1-1/2 inch-cubed Ciabatta bread
- 2 cans artichoke hearts in water (it looks like halves or quarters)
- 2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- 1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
- 3 large red tomatoes, cut into wedges (about 2 pounds)
- 1 cup pitted black olives, halved
- 1/2 cup manzanilla olives, halved
- 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves (about 1 bunch)
- 1/4 cup white wine vinegar
- Place a grill pan over medium-high heat or preheat a gas or charcoal grill. Drizzle the bread with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill the bread until golden brown at the edges, about 6 minutes total, turning every 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the bread from the grill and transfer to a large bowl.
- Add the tomatoes, artichoke hearts, olives and basil to the bowl and toss to combine. In a small bowl, stir together the olive oil, white wine vinegar, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Toss to combine and serve immediately.
I know I post a lot of sweets on my blog (my weakness for sure), but we do eat healthy foods as well. Like everything else in life there has to be balance, right? I do like to bake and make rich foods, but we also eat a lot of stir fry, fish, fruits and veggies. My kids get some kind of fresh fruit in their lunch and some type of fresh veggie with dinner every day. We also love salads and could eat them daily, my daughter even prefers a salad for her school lunch over a sandwich. I’m going to post a couple of salads that I have made recently for you. The first one is a Romaine salad with crispy prosciutto and homemade garlic croutons. I adapted the recipe from one in an Everyday Food magazine.
The ingredients are:
- 1 loaf of fresh bread with garlic, (I get mine from Costco), cut into chunks
- 3 Tablespoons olive oil
- coarse salt and ground pepper, to taste
- 9 slices prosciutto
- 3 romaine hearts, chopped
- 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
- 3 scallions, thinly sliced
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Arrange bread pieces on a rimmed baking sheet, toss with oil and season with salt and pepper. Lay prosciutto on another baking sheet. Bake until both are golden brown, 8-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl add romaine, croutons, prosciutto (crumbled), beans, and scallions and toss to combine.
I served this salad with a simple red-wine vinaigrette, (red-wine vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper to taste). This recipe makes a big salad you could cut this in half or even in a third.
I have seen so many recipes for Morning Glory Muffins over the years and I have always wanted to try to make them. I liked the idea of these muffins being packed with so many good for you ingredients like carrot, apple, and raisins. I’m so glad that I finally did because we really liked these muffins! I don’t know if the kids realized that they were getting fruit and veggies in their muffin. I would definitely make these again. The recipe came from my Taste of Home 30-Minute Cookbook.
The ingredients are:
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1-1/4 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 cups grated carrots
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 medium tart apple, peeled and shredded
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Stir in carrots, raisins, coconut and pecans.
- Combine eggs, oil, apple and vanilla; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.
- Spoon into greased or paper-lined muffin cups. Bake at 350 degrees for 15-18 minutes or until muffins test done.
Yield: about 1-1/2 dozen
Here is a good recipe for Eggplant Parmesan. I have to say, not as good as grandmas but still very good. Now only if I could get my grandma to write down some of our families traditional Italian recipes I’d be happy, but older Italian women don’t follow recipes for Italian food they just make it like their mom taught them. Well that’s at least how it is in my family….. This recipe was very tasty and could be adjusted however you like it, more cheese, less cheese, more sauce, less sauce. I adapted the recipe from the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. If you don’t have this book yet I would go get it. I have already gotten so many good recipes out of it and I have at least 50 others marked to try…… The ingredients are:
- 2 medium-to-large eggplant (2 to 3 pounds total)
- Salt (to taste)
- Olive oil as needed
- Flour for dredging
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 2 Cups Basic Tomato Sauce (I made a very easy and quick tomato sauce but you could use what ever sauce you like)
- 2 Cups grated mozzarella cheese
- 1 Cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Peel the eggplant if the skin is thick or the eggplant is less than perfectly firm (as you can see I left the skin on). Cut it into 1/4 inch thick slices.
- When you’re ready to cook, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Start with about 5 Tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet and turn the heat to medium – medium high. When the oil is hot (a pinch of flour will sizzle), dredge the eggplant slices, one at a time, in the flour (I season my flour with salt and pepper), shaking off the excess. Place in the pan, but do not crowd; you will have to cook in batches. Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on each side, until nicely browned, then drain on paper towels. Add more oil to the skillet as needed.
- Lightly oil a baking dish, then spoon a little of the tomato sauce into it. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a thin layer of each of the cheeses. Repeat until all the ingredients are used up. End with a thin layer of the cheeses.
- Bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the dish is bubbling hot.
(I served the eggplant with a simple green salad.)
Here is another good recipe out of the cookbook How to Cook Everything by Mark Bittman. So far I am really enjoying this book. I have only come across 1 recipe that I didn’t care for and that was the Corn Bread recipe (the corn bread recipe that I already have is better, and my son looked at me like why did you go and mess up a good thing. He would never say that to me because he is way to sweet, but mamma knows. My kids are such troopers when it comes to all of my food trials.) but 3 good recipes out of 4 is not a bad start. This Butternut Squash Puree was smooth with a slight sweetness and the perfect touch of ginger. It kind of looks like baby food but definitely does not taste like it (actually you probably could feed your baby this). The ingredients are:
- 1 1/2 pounds butternut or other winter squash, peeled and cut into chunks (I used the already peeled and cut up butternut squash from Costco)
- 2 Tablespoons Butter
- 1 to 2 teaspoons peeled and roughly chopped fresh ginger or 1 teaspoon ground ginger, or to taste. (I used 1 teaspoon fresh ginger. I didn’t want the ginger to overpower the delicate flavor of the butternut squash.)
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar, or to taste (I used 1 Tablespoon in the puree and then even sprinkled some on the top before I served it. It says to taste, and I love the taste of brown sugar on my butternut squash! : )
- Place the squash in a steamer above about 1 inch of salted water. Cover and cook until the squash is very tender, about 20 minutes. To microwave, place the squash and 2 Tablespoons of water in a microwave-proof plate or shallow bowl; cover with a lid or plastic wrap. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, shake the container, and continue to microwave at 2-minute intervals, until the squash is very tender.
- While it is still hot, place the squash in the container of a food processor with the butter and ginger; process until smooth. Taste and add salt, pepper, and brown sugar if you like. (You may prepare the recipe in advance up to this point; refrigerate, well wrapped or in a covered container, for up to 2 days before proceeding.)
- Reheat over low heat or in a microwave and serve.
My family loves Brussel Sprouts and this is our favorite way to prepare them. When you roast them at a high temperature in the oven they don’t get mushy, like I remember them as a child, YUUKKK! The rosemary and garlic in this recipe give them great flavor. If you are a fan of Brussel Sprouts like my family and I are then you will like this.
The ingredients are:
- 2 lbs. Brussel Sprouts (washed and sliced in half)
- 1/4 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 1/2 t. any dried chunky garlic seasoning
- 1 t. dried rosemary seasoning blend (I use a rosemary seasoning that I got from Pampered Chef but any rosemary seasoning would probably work)
- 1 t. Sea Salt
- 1/4 t. Ground Pepper
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Put Brussel Sprouts on a large cookie sheet. Add the rest of the ingredients and toss well to coat. (I use my hands and make sure all the sprouts are coated well)
- Bake for 20 minutes. The Sprouts should start to turn a little brown at the edges. (The brown ones are my faves, but be careful not to burn. Burnt Brussel Sprouts don’t taste good.)