Posts Tagged 'basil'

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Collyn Wainwright was the first person to introduce me to grilled pizzas. It was close to 10 years ago and I still remember it.  Sautéed wild mushrooms and smoked mozzarella on a slightly charred pizza crust. Heaven!

The sky is the limit on variations you can make, but this is a good starter recipe. The smoked mozzarella and the kalamata olives add great flavor to a “not-so-traditional” pizza margarita.

You can use this same technique with your favorite pizza toppings. Since the crust cooks rather quickly, it is best to use toppings that are pre-cooked or thinly sliced.

If you choose to add tomato sauce, be sure to lightly sauce your pizza. Too much liquid will result in a soggy crust.

Also when grilling pizzas, the lid is your best friend. Use the lid to control the heat as well as to help your toppings to cook and melt more quickly.

You have lots of options for the pizza dough. You can always make you own – click here for my recipe. For a short cut, you can now find pizza dough in the refrigerated section of most markets. Gourmet varieties are available, but to be honest, that first  delicious grilled pizza I had years ago at Collyn’s house was made on Pillsbury canned pizza dough! Definitely not gourmet but definitely a great short-cut option! Another route is to pick up dough from your neighborhood pizzeria. I often get dough at my local Whole Foods store from their pizza station.

Enjoy!

Grilled Pizza Margarita

Vegetable oil, for the grates
Unbaked pizza dough, enough for a 12-inch pizza
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3/4 pound smoked mozzarella, coarsely shredded
1 cup cherry tomatoes, cut in half
3/4 cup pitted kalamata olives, drained and coarsely chopped
1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh basil

Preheat a clean grill to medium with the lid closed for 8 to 10 minutes. Lightly brush the grates with oil.

Let the pizza dough come to room temperature. Place the dough ball onto a baking sheet. Using your hands, gently flatten, and pull into a circle about 12 inches in diameter. Brush the crust with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Transfer the dough to the grill, oiled-side down. Close the lid and cook until the dough begins to bubble on the top, about 2 minutes. Working quickly, brush the dough with the remaining oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Turn and top with the mozzarella, tomatoes, and olives. Close the lid again and cook until golden and crisp on the bottom and the cheese is melted, 4 to 5 minutes more.

Remove the pizza from the grill. Evenly sprinkle the basil over the top of the cooked pizza. Serve warm.

Serves 4 to 6.

Recipe from Simply Grilling by Jennifer Chandler.

Photo by the talented Justin Fox Burks.

Tomato Pie

 

There is nothing better than a ripe, juicy summer tomato. I sometimes find it hard to believe that these bright red, juicy fruits are even in the same family as the bland, pinkish variety available at supermarkets the rest of the year.

Tomato pie is a classic recipe that is a delicious way to enjoy this summer treat. Tomatoes take center stage in this dish that is made with simple ingredients.  In this recipe, the taste and texture of the tomatoes don’t get lost in a rich custard. Instead, the additions of cheese and a flaky crust compliment the tomatoes to make this dish irresistible.

Summer tomatoes tend to be very juicy. To make your tomato pie less watery, place the tomatoes in a colander over the sink.  Sprinkle a little bit of salt on them and allow to drain for about ten minutes. This simple step will make your pie easier to slice. If you don’t mind the juiciness, you can skip this step.

When reading the ingredient list, you may question the mayonnaise. Be assured it is an essential addition to this recipe. The thin layer of mayonnaise on top offers a crusty golden top to the creamy, juicy interior of the pie.

Perfect hot from the oven, or equally as good at room temperature as well, tomato pie is perfect summertime fare. Pair it with a leafy green salad and you have a complete meal.

Tomato Pie

1 unbaked pie crust (9-inch), homemade or store-bought
4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp. thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic, minced
2/3 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/3 cup mayonnaise

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Place the pie crust in a deep-dish pie pan. Flute the edges, if desired. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 10 minutes.

While the crust is baking, place tomato slices in a single layer in a colander; sprinkle with salt. Let stand for 10  minutes. Pat dry with paper towels.

Remove the crust from the oven. Layer 1/2 the tomatoes slices on the bottom of the crust. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle 1 clove of minced garlic and 1 tablespoon of sliced basil evenly over the top. Sprinkle 1/3 cup cheddar cheese and 1/3 cup mozzarella cheese over the tomatoes. Arrange remaining tomato slices over the cheese. Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining garlic, basil, and cheeses evenly over the top of the tomatoes. Evenly spread the mayonnaise over the entire pie.

Bake until golden, about 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes before serving.

Serves 6.

 

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

I have always loved a light and refreshing Tomato and Cucumber Salad.  It is so easy to make and truly lets the flavors of summer produce shine through.

Two years ago we planted our first garden.  No one told me that 8 cucumber plants is way too much for a family of four!  So needless to say I was whipping up this salad every week with tomatoes I bought at the farmers market.

Last year we added tomatoes to our garden but they didn’t fare so well with the extreme heat we had in Tennessee last summer. (I have to admit it may have also had something to do with the fact that we didn’t add any compost or lime to the dirt!)

This summer is our third year of gardening and it looks like we are finally getting the hang of it! We are already on to a bumper crop of tomatoes of all varieties … and I only planted 3 cucumber plants (which will still be more than enough to feed our family!).

To make my version of this “fresh from the garden” salad, I love using all types of tomatoes … heirlooms of all shades and sizes. I also throw in sweet Vidalia onions in lieu of the white onions the classic recipe calls for.  Fresh basil from the garden also adds a delicious touch to this dish.

Enjoy!

Heirloom Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 small Kirby cucumbers, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds
4 heirloom tomatoes, cored and cut into 1/4-inch wedges
1/4 cup thinly sliced Vidalia onions
1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place the cucumbers, tomatoes, and onions in a large bowl. Add the vinegar, olive oil, and basil and gently toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serves 4 to 6.

Cooking Tip: If you can’t find heirloom tomatoes near you, this salad would also be delicious with any ripe tomato from garden or market.

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

I am always looking for recipes that are easy to prepare and are dishes that my whole family will love.  This recipe that I found at www.Frenchs.com fits that bill.  And as an added bonus, all the ingredients are ones that I always have in my pantry!

Enjoy!

Chicken with Creamy Dijon Herb Sauce

1/2 cup chicken broth
6 tablespoons French’s® Dijon Mustard
1/3 cup cream cheese spread, softened
1 tablespoon minced herbs (parsley, basil, or chives)
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 (6 oz.) boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 teaspoon minced garlic

In a small bowl mix the broth, mustard, cream cheese, and herbs until well blended; set aside.

Cook the chicken in hot oil in nonstick skillet until browned on both sides, about 15 minutes.

Stir in the mustard sauce and garlic. Simmer over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly and flavors are blended, about 3 to 5 minutes.

Serves 4.

Cooking Tip: Substitute 2 tablespoons prepared pesto sauce for the herbs.

Oven Bake: Mix the sauce ingredients. Pour over chicken in greased baking dish. Bake at 375 °F for 30 min. until cooked through.

Vegetable Beef Soup

I love soup.

On a cold day, not much else can warm you in the same way.

Vegetable Beef soup is one of my favorite one-dish meals.  It’s chockfull of vegetables, hearty thanks to the beef, and totally satisfying.

It’s also super easy to make.

You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.  In addition to no chopping, there no need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

As an added bonus, did you know that some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety? Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

I always have several containers of this soup in my freezer.  It is my healthy “go-to” meal when I don’t have time to cook.  Think it may become the same for you!

Enjoy!

Vegetable Beef Soup
From Simply Suppers by Jennifer Chandler

1 pound beef chuck roast or stew meat, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1 can (28-ounce) diced tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 cup frozen peas
1 cup frozen cut green beans
1 cup frozen corn kernels
1 cup frozen lima beans
1 cup peeled and diced carrots
6 cups chicken stock

Pat the meat dry with a paper towel and generously season with salt and pepper. In a large stockpot over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 minutes. Transfer the meat to a plate and reserve. Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot.

Reduce the heat to medium. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the reserved meat, peas, green beans, corn, lima beans, carrots, and chicken stock. Stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until the flavors have melded, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve hot.

Cooking Tip: You can always use fresh vegetables if you prefer, but I just love the ease of using frozen vegetables.

Some products in the frozen food section may even be healthier than the fresh variety. Several research studies show that freezing vegetables and fruits “locks in” important vitamins and stops the nutrient loss that can occur in fresh vegetables that are often picked weeks before they make it to the grocery store aisles.

Time-Saving Tip: No need to thaw the frozen vegetables. They will thaw as they cook.

Freezes well.

 

 

 

Tomato Tart

This quick and easy Tomato Tart is one of my favorite summer-time treats.  It is so easy to make and so tasty.

I like to mix it up and use both red and yellow tomatoes as well as cherry tomatoes.

Enjoy!

Tomato Tart

1 9-inch tart pan lined with pie crust (store-bought is a great shortcut)
3 large tomatoes, cut into 1/2 -inch thick slices
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1 cup coarsely grated Gruyere cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
1 garlic clove, minced
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Bake until the crust is light golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool on a wire rack. Leave the oven on.

While the crust is baking, sprinkle the tomatoes with salt and drain in a colander for 10 to 15 minutes.

Spread the mustard over the bottom of the pie crust and sprinkle the cheese over it. Arrange the tomatoes over the cheese in 1 overlapping layer. Bake until the pastry is golden brown and the tomatoes are very soft, 35 to 40 minutes.

In a small bowl, stir together the basil, garlic and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle the pie with this mixture while hot and spread out gently with the back of a spoon. Serve the pie hot or at room temperature.

Serves 6 to 8.

Cooking Tip: Sharp white cheddar is an acceptable substitute for the Gruyere cheese.

Mama’s Spaghetti

I wish I could say this recipe came from a true Italian, but this is the name my girls’ have affectionately given my meaty spaghetti sauce.

It’s really just a simple sauce made from ground beef. But it sure is yummy!

I have been making it for years.  I always keep a portion or two in my freezer for those days when I run out of time, but still want a home-cooked dinner. Serve it over pasta or use it in your next lasagna.

I have experimented with fresh tomatoes, canned whole tomatoes, and canned diced tomatoes, but I have found that canned crushed tomatoes offer the best “saucy” texture. If you like chunks of tomatoes in your spaghetti sauce, then add a small can of diced tomatoes to this basic recipe.  I often add a half a pound of Italian sausage for a little extra “Italian-ness.”

Enjoy!

Mama’s Spaghetti

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 pound ground beef
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion (1 small onion)
1/2 cup finely diced green bell pepper (1 small pepper)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 can (28-ounce) crushed tomatoes with juice
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 box (1 pound/16-ounce) spaghetti, cooked per package directions and kept warm

In a large stockpot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat, warm the oil until a few droplets of water sizzle when carefully sprinkled in the pot. Add the meat and cook, breaking up the beef with a wooden spoon, until the meat is browned and cooked through, about 5 minutes. Transfer the cooked meat to a colander and drain off the excess fat.

Drain all but about 1 tablespoon of fat from the pot. Add the onion, bell pepper, and garlic. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes, basil, thyme, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the meat to the pot and stir to combine. Over high heat, bring the sauce to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until thickened, about 45 minutes. Adjust the seasonings as needed. Serve hot over warm pasta.

Serves 6.

Cooking Tip: Draining the excess fat once the ground beef is cooked makes for a healthier and less greasy finished dish.

Freezes well.


Jennifer Chandler

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