Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti

I think my pasta-tomato ratio was a little low, but other than that, this was really good! I took the liberty of adding black olives to this. My kids really liked this, and the adults did, too! I think next time I will keep the olives and add twice as many tomatoes.

rating: 9

Tomato-Ricotta Spaghetti
(Cooking Light)

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved (about 4 cups)
5 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) ricotta salata cheese, crumbled

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • 2. Place tomatoes on a foil-lined baking sheet. Drizzle with 1 teaspoon oil; sprinkle with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until tomatoes collapse.
  • 3. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/3 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta and reserved liquid to pan; stir in tomatoes, remaining 4 teaspoons oil, remaining 3/8 teaspoon salt, basil, pepper, and cheese. Toss well. Serve immediately.photo
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Pinto Bean Nachos

These were really good, but I didn’t love the homemade tortilla chips. They ended up being really chewy! But I liked the toppings a lot! And you could add a lot more toppings, too, like chopped tomatoes, jalapenos, etc.

rating: 8

Pinto Bean Nachos
(Cooking Light)

Ingredients:

  • 12 (6-inch) corn tortillas, quartered
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans pinto beans, undrained
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) crumbled queso fresco
  • 1 cup bottled salsa
  • 1 cup diced peeled avocado
  • 6 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

Directions:

  • 1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  • 2. Arrange half of tortilla wedges in a single layer on a large baking sheet; lightly coat wedges with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 8 minutes or until crisp. Repeat procedure with remaining tortilla wedges and cooking spray.
  • 3. Heat oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin, chili powder, and garlic; cook for 30 seconds, stirring constantly. Add pinto beans, and bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer 10 minutes. Partially mash bean mixture with a potato masher until slightly thick. Place 8 chips on each of 6 plates. Spoon about 1/2 cup bean mixture evenly over tortilla chips on each plate; top each serving with about 2 1/2 tablespoons queso fresco, 2 1/2 tablespoons salsa, and 2 1/2 tablespoons avocado. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cilantro.

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Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto

Man, was this good! Risotto is so hard for me, for some reason. It’s never done when the recipe says it should be done. I had to add an extra cup or so of broth to this one. But the end product? AWESOME! I had no leftovers!

rating: 9/4

Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto
(Cooking Light)

makes 4 servings

Ingredients:

3 1/4 cups organic vegetable broth
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
1 1/4 cups uncooked Arborio rice
3/4 cup canned crushed tomatoes (I didn’t have any, so I used 3/4 cup chopped tomatoes)
2 ounces chopped fresh mozzarella cheese (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt
2 cups torn fresh baby spinach
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil (I omitted)
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

Directions:

1. Bring vegetable broth to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
2. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic to pan; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Add rice to pan; cook for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add 1/2 cup broth to rice mixture; cook for 5 minutes or until the liquid is nearly absorbed, stirring constantly. Reserve 1/3 cup broth. Add remaining broth, 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of broth is absorbed before adding the next (about 22 minutes total). Stir in tomatoes; cook for 1 minute. Add cheese, pepper, and salt to rice mixture, stirring constantly until cheese melts. Remove from heat; stir in reserved 1/3 cup broth, spinach, and basil. Place 1 cup risotto in each of 4 shallow bowls. Drizzle 1 teaspoon oil over each serving.

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Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad

I have started making recipes from the “Cooking Light Diet” plan. A lot of them I have made before, since I love Cooking Light magazine. I had not made this one before, and I have to say, it was good! The combination of the dressing, blue cheese, raspberries and nuts was just really good.

rating: 9

Raspberry and Blue Cheese Salad
(Cooking Light)

serves 4

Ingredients:

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
5 cups mixed baby greens
1/2 cup raspberries
1/4 cup chopped toasted pecans
1 ounce blue cheese

Directions:

Combine olive oil, vinegar, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper. Add mixed baby greens; toss. Top with raspberries, pecans, and blue cheese.

photo (1)

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Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas

Eh. This sounded so much better than it was. I was underwhelmed.

rating: 6

Cheesy Scrambled Egg Fajitas
(Good Network magazine, July/Aug. 2015)
serves 4
time needed: 30 min.
Ingredients:

1 avocado, diced
1 large plum tomato, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped (optional)- I omitted
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for topping
Juice of 2 limes
8 large eggs
Kosher salt
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 bell peppers (any color), sliced
1 Vidalia onion or other sweet yellow onion, halved and sliced
1 3/4 cups shredded monterey jack or pepper jack cheese (about 6 ounces)
8 6 -inch flour tortillas
Directions:

Gently toss the avocado, tomato, jalapeno, chopped cilantro and lime juice in a medium bowl. Whisk the eggs with 1 tablespoon water and 1/4 teaspoon salt in a separate bowl. Set aside.

Melt the butter in a medium nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bell peppers, onion and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove the vegetables to a plate using a slotted spoon. Add the eggs to the skillet and cook, stirring often, until almost set, about 2 minutes. Stir in the cheese until melted.

Warm the tortillas as the label directs. Divide the scrambled eggs, sauteed vegetables and avocado mixture among the tortillas and top with cilantro leaves.

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Rigatoni with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata

Wow, I was amazed at how good this was. And I can’t believe I ever used to hate tomatoes! Have you ever had Burrata? I looked it up online, and it says it is usually made with rennet, but my burrata did not list rennet as an ingredient (I always read my cheese labels). Burrata is mozzarella with a twist. When you cut into the “ball” of cheese, it’s almost like it’s filled with ricotta (and if you can’t find burrata for this recipe, you can sub in ricotta). My 8 year old LOVED this recipe, as long as I didn’t give him too many tomatoes.

rating: 9.5

Rigatoni with Roasted Cherry Tomatoes and Burrata
(Food Network magazine, July/Aug. 2015)

serves 4
time needed: 30 min.

Ingredients:

3 pints cherry and/or grape tomatoes, halved
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
12 ounces mezzi rigatoni pasta
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
1 8 -ounce ball burrata cheese, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup torn fresh basil

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss the tomatoes with 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of pepper in a large bowl. Spread the tomatoes on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until softened, about 20 minutes. Return to the bowl and stir with a wooden spoon to break up the tomatoes and make a chunky sauce.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and cook as the label directs. Reserve 1/2 cup cooking water, then drain.

While the pasta is cooking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly golden, about 3 minutes; add to the bowl with the tomatoes.

Add the pasta to the tomato mixture and toss, adding enough of the reserved pasta cooking water to loosen the sauce. Stir in the oregano and season with salt and pepper. Top each serving with the burrata, basil, a drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper.

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Greek Salad Tartines with White Beans

Wow, this was the best dinner I’ve made in a long time! It really surprised me! I made a few tweaks to this recipe: I omitted the red onion (mine had gone bad). I left out the cucumbers and used golden zucchini instead (I pan fried them a little so they weren’t raw). And the bread I used had some garlic in it. Even my 8 year old liked this! What a great summer meal.

rating: 9.5

Greek Salad Tartines with White Beans
(Real Simple, July 2015)
serves 4
time needed: 25 min.
Ingredients:

1 pound cherry tomatoes, halved
3 baby cucumbers, halved lengthwise and sliced into half moons (I used zucchini)
1/4 small red onion, sliced (I omitted)
2 tbsp capers
5 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
kosher salt and black pepper
1 15.5 ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
4 thick sliced whole-grain country bread, toasted
2 ounces Feta, crumbled (about 1/2 cup)

Directions:

Combine the tomatoes, cucumbers, onion, capers, 2 tbsp of the oil, 2 tbsp of the vinegar, and 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Let sit for 10 min. to allow the vegetables to absorb the flavors.

Meanwhile, toss the beans with the parsley, 1 tbsp of the oil, the remaining tbsp of vinegar, and 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper.

Drizzle the toasts with the remaining 2 tbsp of the oil. Divide the tomato mixture among the toasts and top with the feta.

Serve the toasts with the bean salad.

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