Tag Archives: tomato

Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary

10 Oct

As part of my end of the season bounty, I have a big pile of slowly ripening cherry tomatoes.  At the peak of the cherry tomato season, we’d easily polish off a bowl in an afternoon just as a wander-by snack.  They were delicious eaten that way, but now that it’s the end of the season, they are a little more sour and less popular.  And at this stage, the time between “almost ripe” and “super ripe” is pretty short.  So, to boost the sweetness and encourage consumption, I decided to roast the tomatoes with a few of our favorite things and serve it up as a side.  And. It. Was. Awesome.

Unless you are my son, who says that the smell of rosemary can ruin a life.  And of course, he is wrong.

This dish could not be easier.  Cut up a bunch of stuff, throw it in a covered casserole, put it in the oven, stir and serve.  It would be excellent served with pork, chicken, turkey, or wild game.  It is very versatile and packed with flavor.  If you were cooking for a crowd, it would be easy to double – just increase the cooking time until the potatoes are tender.  So easy, so delicious.  You should make some.

Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary
Serves: 6


1 lb. red potatoes, cut into big chunks
½ lb. cherry tomatoes, halved
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1 t. rosemary, minced
Kosher salt and Freshly ground black pepper
½ c. kalamata olives, halved


Preheat oven to 350° F.

In a casserole dish combine potatoes through rosemary and season with salt and pepper.  Cover and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven, stir in kalamata olives and set aside for 5-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper if needed, and serve.


Estimated Calories:  123 cal/serving

Print it:  Roasted Potatoes and Tomatoes with Kalamata and Rosemary


Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese

14 Aug

In Minnesota, there’s a slim space in time when fresh tomatoes are available.  After making it through a long winter filled with mealy, flavorless tomatoes, homegrown tomatoes taste gloriously wonderful.  If you are like me and your green thumb is actually plant poison, what you hope for is that someone in your family or one of your neighbors have a bumper crop of tomatoes and want to share their bounty.  For the past few years, this has been the case, and almost nothing makes me happier.

For a few awesome weeks, I will have a tomato at every meal.  And I will be so happy.

Last week, my mom loaded me up with treasures from her garden including cucumbers, green beans, and a bag full of tomatoes.  Earlier in the day, I had also purchased a few yellow and pink tomatoes from the farmers market.  And as they lined up like a tomato beauty pageant waiting to see who would be crowned, I pulled a few winners out of the queue and whipped up some dinner.

This is a very simple and fast dish to prepare.  Wonderful as a side dish, or in my case the main course, the combination of tomatoes, green beans, and bacon is divine.  Throw a little goat cheese on there and you can practically hear the archangels sing.  For real.  You can use any variety of tomato, but know that they cook down so the colors that show up when using non-red varieties are fleeting.  But for those few moments, your pan will look really, really pretty.  For my own dinner, I used pink and yellow tomatoes from the Tomato King (location: Albany, MN).  If you’re lucky enough to spot his tomatoes at your local Farmer’s Market or co-op, grab a few.  They are mighty fine.

To start, I cooked up a little bacon until it was crisp, then removed it and set it aside until it was cool enough to crumble.  In the meantime, I added the veggies and a little garlic wine to help sauce it up and add some flavor.  This was my first time using a garlic wine and it might be one of my new favorite things.  Made at the Crow River Winery (location: Hutchinson, MN), the wine is light in color and packed with roasted garlic flavor.  Added to this dish, it gave a nice, mild, and slightly smoky garlic flavor.  If you don’t have any garlic wine on hand (which is a very likely scenario), feel free to use another wine or water in its place (see notes below).

For those of you who love making foods ahead (hey mom!), this dish is excellent reheated.  For best results, add the bacon and goat cheese after reheating.    As a side, I’d definitely recommend this with pork, BBQ, or any grilled or smoked meats.  As a main dish, I’d recommend grabbing a big bowl.

Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon, and Goat Cheese
Serving size: 1 to 1-1/2 c.
Serves: 2

2 strips pepper bacon
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and snapped into bite sized pieces
1 clove garlic, minced
1 lb. tomatoes, diced
1/4 c. garlic wine
Dash crushed red pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 T. goat cheese, crumbled

In a skillet over medium to medium-high heat, cook bacon until crispy.  Remove from pan and set aside to cool.  Reduce the heat to medium low, add green beans and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes and cook for 2 minutes.  Add wine, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper.  Reduce heat to low and cook uncovered for about 20 minutes.

Divide mixture between plates or bowls.  Top with goat cheese and crumbled bacon.  Serve.

Estimated calories:  247 cal/serving

Print it: Green Beans with Tomatoes, Bacon and Goat Cheese

– Although this was a really great way to use fresh produce, this is the kind of dish that would also be pretty good in the winter, using frozen green beans and canned, diced tomatoes.  It would not be as fresh tasting, but the flavors would hold up really well as a tasty winter side.
– Don’t have any garlic wine?  You could substitute any wine.  Red will give it a full flavor, white will be a bit crisper.  I’d stay away from any sweet wines for this one.
– If you’re a vegetarian, substitute the bacon for some olive oil.  The flavor will be different, but it will still be quite tasty.
– Need to make it non-dairy?  Simply omit the goat cheese or top it with a dollop of non-dairy sour cream.

Corn, Black Bean and Tomato Salad

29 Jun

The best thing about watching the kids play baseball four nights a week is that we’re outside watching baseball.  The worst thing is that we have a very small window to get home, ready for baseball, and eat dinner.  The eating dinner part of this is particularly tricky because it needs to be ready, quick to eat, and something everyone will eat because there’s no time for dilly-dallying at the dinner table while we have an EAT YOUR DINNER SHOWDOWN.  Last night I made a cold salad that I considered to be the ultimate meal – a base that everyone would enjoy, hidden protein, and lots of extra toppings to meet the needs of the picky palates at my table.  A cold salad featuring corn (everybody’s favorite), black beans, and tomatoes topped with a light honey-lime dressing.  The dressing is really nice, a little sweet and kind of tangy; it has the kid friendliness of French dressing with the added benefit of not being French dressing.  As I pulled out the bowls and encouraged everyone to DISH UP and ENJOY, I started to hear the words I dreaded most.

I hate black beans.
Are the tomatoes already mixed in?
Is there anything else?
Why isn’t this a pot pie?

Using the words that I knew their baseball coaches would later in the night, I told them to HUSTLE and GET GOING and NOT EVERYTHING IS A POT PIE (okay, no baseball coach is likely to say this, but they could because it is totally true).  I loved the dish, adding radishes and Sriracha to mine.  Martin said that it was edible, and liked the dressing even though the tomatoes contaminated the rest of his food.  And Sophie begged me to never to make it again.

Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad
Serves: 8
Serving Size: 1/2 c.

15.5 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
12 oz bag corn, steamed, rinsed, and drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
Salt and pepper to taste

Diced avocado
Chopped cilantro
Thinly sliced radishes
Sliced green onions
Shredded lettuce
Corn chips

In a large bowl, mix together black beans through salt and pepper.  Stir well to combine.  For best flavor, refrigerate for an hour before serving.

As is, this makes a nice side dish.  Add avocado, cilantro, radishes, green onions, or jalapenos if desired.  If serving as a main dish, serve in a bowl, over lettuce, in tortillas, or with corn chips.  Top with salsa or sriracha for extra kick.

Estimated Calories:  138 cal/serving

Print it: Corn, Tomato and Black Bean Salad

Churros Locos

22 Jun

Last summer while we were in Tucson, we visited Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados where we made two important discoveries.

#1 The Sonora Hot Dog, aka The Best Hot Dog on Earth

#2 Churros Locos

I’m not sure that I’ll ever be able to recreate that delicious hot dog, but I’ve taken the Churros Locos on as a personal challenge.  Living in Minnesota, there are two key ingredients that can be hard to find.  One I hauled back in my suitcase (Chamoy – a sweet, spicy, limey sauce, that is a bit like French dressing but kickier) and Churritos (sort of a like Cheetos but spicy and lime flavored).  In this recipe, the Chamoy is essential.  Without it, you are pretty much left with a veggie laden virgin Bloody Mary (also not bad, but not the same).  Most would argue that the Churritos are even more essential than the Chamoy.  I will agree that they give a crunchy goodness to the dish, but most of the time, I’d rather skip those calories and use them for something else later.  This dish is good with and without; add them if you’d like.  If you can’t find Churritos, I would recommend substituting Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, Crushed Doritos, or Chili Fritos.




Churros Locos
Serves: 1

½ cucumber, quartered and cut into chunks
2 radishes, quartered and cut into chunks
4 baby carrots, cut into sticks
3 oz. Clamato
3 oz. Spicy V8
Salt and Pepper
2 T. Chamoy


Fill a large glass with as many cucumbers, radishes and carrots as you can.  In a separate glass, mix together Clamato, Spicy V8, salt and pepper.  Pour over vegetables.  Top with Chamoy.  Serve.


Estimated Calories:  88 cal/serving

Print it: Churros Locos

– Want it a bit spicier?  Add some tabasco to the tomato juice mixture.
– Don’t like Clamato?  Skip it and double up on the Spicy V8.
– Too spicy for you?  Skip the Clamato and Spicy V8 and use regular V8 instead.


And if you’re in Tucson, track down a Sonora Hot Dog here:
Michoacan Taqueria/Raspados
3235 N. Flowing Wells Road
Tucson, AZ 85705

More info:
(520) 888-0421

Pumpkin Gnocchi and Roast Chicken with Tomato Sauce

30 Jan

I love, love, love gnocchi.  But, I almost never make them, primarily because the idea of a big bowl of carbs just seems like a bad idea.  This weekend, as I stared down the items in the freezer, it occurred to me that if I added something less starchy to the gnocchi mixture, I may be able to lighten it up a bit.  And right in front of me was the perfect answer – pumpkin.

Last fall, I decided to roast the non-carved pumpkins I’d used to decorate the front step.  It was very easy, exactly like roasting a squash, but on a larger scale.  Here are the basics:
– Cut pumpkin in half, remove the seeds and discard (or save for something else)
– Place open side down on a baking sheet, bake at 350 degrees F until the flesh is tender.  Set aside to cool.
– When cool enough to handle, scoop out the flesh and place in baggies to freeze.  I froze mine in 2 c. portions so that I wouldn’t have to measure later, and could easily thaw enough to use in most recipes.
– When ready to use, set at room temperature to thaw.

Roasted pumpkin is different from canned pumpkin (not flavored pumpkin pie filling, just the canned pureed pumpkin) in two big ways – texture, and moisture content.  To use the pumpkin in this recipe, I removed a LOT of water before it was ready for the gnocchi.  When I set the pumpkin to thaw, a bunch of water came out right away.  But when I gave it a squeeze, I could tell that there was still quite a bit of moisture in the pumpkin.  To remove even more liquid, I put the pumpkin into the potato ricer and used it like a press.  It isn’t important to get the pumpkin to come out of the ricer, it is simply a way to press out a ton of liquid.  When I was done, the pumpkin had reduced almost in half, but was nice and dry.  Still sort of chunky, I decided to chop it finely on the cutting board.  This left me with slightly stringy pumpkin mush, which turned out to be perfect in texture for the gnocchi.

For most recipes, I am a big supporter of substitutions.  In this recipe, there is one substitution you CANNOT MAKE – you must have a potato ricer.  If you don’t have a potato ricer, you’re definitely going to want to get one if you’re going to give gnocchi a good try.  In order for gnocchi to be light and awesome, all of the ingredients need to be mixed and handled gently.  Otherwise, you run the risk of having super heavy gnocchi, which while they still taste fine, serve as an anchor for your gut.  Using anything other than a potato ricer to prep the potatoes will result in heavy gnocchi – mashers and mixers that usually work fine on potatoes for other recipes, just will not do for gnocchi.  Trust me on this one – the ricer is totally useful, not very expensive, and essential for light gnocchi.

The combination of the gnocchi (now slightly healthier due to the pumpkin), tomato sauce, and chicken was delicious.  A flavorful and hearty dish, 2 out of 3 of us LOVED the dish.  At my house, this is considered wildly successful.  I’ll definitely make this again, probably when the other 1/3 is off doing something else.

Pumpkin Gnocchi with Roast Chicken and Tomato Sauce
Serving size: 1
Serves: 6

3 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
1 t. olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 c. spaghetti sauce (Barilla Tomato & Basil recommended)

12 oz. yukon gold potatoes, peeled and diced (about 2 c.)
12 oz. roasted pumpkin chunks (about 2 c.)
1-1/2 c. flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Kosher salt


Preheat oven to 450° F.  Spray an oven-safe dish with cooking spray.  Coat hands with 1 t. olive oil and rub over the chicken.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place chicken in dish skin side up and cook for 30-40 minutes or until chicken reaches 165° F.  Remove from oven, set aside for 10 minutes or until cool enough to handle.  When chicken has cooled, remove the skin and bones and discard.  With hands or fork, shred chicken into bit-sized pieces.  In a medium-sized pan over low heat, combine the sauce and chicken and keep warm.

While chicken is roasting, fill a large pot with water over high heat to bring to a boil.

In a microwave-safe dish, add potatoes and cover with water.  Microwave on high for 7-8 minutes or until potatoes are tender.  Remove from water, rinse and set in a strainer to remove as much water as possible.  When slightly cooled, pass the potatoes through a potato ricer, and add to a large bowl.  Using the potato ricer, press as much liquid out of the pumpkin as possible.  After the liquid has been removed, place on cutting board and chop finely.  Add pumpkin to the potato, and mix well, trying to keep it as light as possible.  Add flour, eggs, and salt and stir gently.  Using hands, bring together until a dough forms and is pliable.

Lightly flour a work surface.  Pull a piece of dough about the size of a racquetball.  Gently roll into a tube that is about 3/4″ thick.  Using a knife, cut into one inch pieces.  Place the gnocchi on a baking sheet covered in wax paper.  Gently press with finger to create indent.  Repeat until all the gnocchi have been formed.

In several batches, drop the gnocchi into boiling water.  When they float to the top, about 2-3 minutes, remove with strainer and add to the warm sauce.  Stir well to combine, then serve.

Estimated calories:  297 cal/serving

Print it: Pumpkin Gnocchi with Roast Chicken and Tomato Sauce

– Feel free to make some substitutions with the chicken – chicken breast would be fine or leftover rotisserie chicken would be awesome.  If you prefer to have a meat-free dish, cannellini beans would be wonderful in this dish in place of the chicken.
– You can use any tomato sauce you like – home made or from a jar.  This time I used Barilla’s Tomato and Basil sauce, it is light, flavorful, and saved me a bit of time.
– I used pumpkin in this recipe, but really anything in the squash family would be just fine.
– If you’re like me, and love to make parts of the meal ahead of time, then this recipe should work well for you.  When I made this, I roasted the chicken in the morning and added to the sauce, then simply reheated when I put the water on to boil.  I also made the gnocchi in the morning, covered, and placed the cookie sheet in the refrigerator until I was ready to drop them into the boiling water.

Italian Meatball Soup

23 Nov

Next week, when you’re so sick of turkey and turkey related goods, this is the meal to make.  It is easy, delicious, and light, all of which will be totally welcome.

Making this soup is super easy and most of the cooking is done in the crock pot.  Dice up a few things, open a can, toss in the rest and let it cook for 6-8 hours if you can wait that long.  It is hard, because this recipe will make your house smell like heaven (if heaven smells like Italy, which some might argue would be just).

Before you get started, there is one thing about this recipe that is very different from those that I usually make.  Most of the time, I am fully in favor of substituting ingredients based on what is on hand.  This recipe is the exception – there is one ingredient that you CANNOT DO WITHOUT.  Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle.

Never heard of it?  Neither had I, until this summer when I was at a Penzey’s store with my cousins Julia and Jenine.  They told me about how much they loved the Sandwich Sprinkle.   “It makes any sandwich awesome,” they said.  “You can put it on anything and the kids will eat it,” they told me.  They are trustworthy gals, so I picked one up.  To be very honest, I expected to like it fine but thought it was unlikely to be THAT remarkable.   And seriously, not only were they right, but I do not think that they did it justice.  I put it on sandwiches, use it to make croutons, mix it with cream cheese for my bagel, add it to soup, you could even SHAKE IT ON YOUR TONGUE AND BE HAPPY.  It is that delicious, and you should order one today.  Get a good-sized one, you won’t be sorry.

Italian Meatball Soup

Serves: 8
Serving size: 1 c.

1 lb. cooked meatballs, halved or quartered
4 c. beef broth
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1 c. carrots, diced
1 c. potato, peeled and cubed
2 T. onion, diced
1 t. Penzey’s Sandwich Sprinkle
1/2 t. Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset (Italian Herb Blend)

Add all ingredients to a crock pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Estimated Calories:  170 cal/serving

Print it: Italian Meatball Soup

– If you’d like, you can add some shredded parmesan to the soup, like I did in the picture.  I thought it was good, but liked it just fine without it so I skipped it every other time I had the soup.  If you add parmesan, 1 T. of shredded parmesan adds 21 cal/serving
– I used Penzey’s Tuscan Sunset herb blend, but if you don’t have that, you could try another Italian herb blend.  It is pretty good though, so if you’re ordering some Sandwich Sprinkle anyway you might want to give it a try.
– For the meatball recipe, I used a modified version of the kind made at Buca (this recipe, but without the romano cheese and panko instead of the Italian breadcrumbs).  However, you could use any recipe you like, frozen meatballs, seasoned or plain.  Just make sure they are cooked before you throw them into the pot.

Lemon Tomato Bruschetta Mixture

8 Jun



Last week, the kids and I went to the Farmers Market for the first time this season.  It is very early in the growing season, but there were a few greenhouse grown tomatoes on hand.  They were giant, heirloom varieties in beautiful colors.  The tomatoes were packed with flavor, had few seeds, and were perfectly ripe – such a welcome change from the grocery store variety that we’ve been eating for the past few months.  Seasonally available tomatoes are such a treat that I wanted to make something that would bring out the full flavor.

I diced the tomato, added some lemon juice and threw in some herbs from the garden.  Originally made to top asparagus (that recipe will come another time), I was lucky enough to have some of the tomato mixture leftover the next day.  I added a scoop to a pita, topped it with goat cheese, and baked it until the cheese was just melty.  It was delicious. 

This mixture is very versatile – use it as a pizza topping like I did, place it on sliced baguettes for bruschetta, spoon over grilled vegetables, or eat it straight out of the container.  As written, this recipe is both low-calorie and dairy-free, which could change depending on how you use it.

Lemon Tomato Bruschetta Mixture
Serves: Approx. 1-1/2 c.
Serving Size: 1/2 c. 

1 large heirloom tomato (yellow, purple, red)
1 t. lemon zest
2 T. lemon juice
1 T. olive oil
2 T. fresh chives, chopped
2 T. fresh parsley, chopped
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Chop tomato into 1/2” cubes and place in bowl.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.  Let sit at room temperature for 1-3 hours.

Estimated Calories:  55 per serving (tomato mixture only, not including any of the serving ideas)

Print it: Lemon Tomato Bruschetta