August 29, 2007

Up for Pasta Tonight

Pasta. Pasta. Pasta.

It's quick and easy to cook. It comes in of so many shapes. It can be a main dish or even a side dish. You can serve it hot or cold. Baked or a salad.

That's why I love's so versatile.

This is a quick meal I serve at my house of the weekdays that takes no time preparing, so it gives me more time to enjoy my family.

Tomato and Olive Penne

by Martha Stewart

Salt and pepper

1 pound penne or other short pasta

1/4 cup olive oil

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2/3 pound cherry tomatoes (2 cups), halved or quartered

1 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)

1/4 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and sliced

1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving

In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook penne according to package instructions until al dente, about 13 minutes. Drain.Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add garlic, and cook, stirring, until just golden, about 1 minute. Add cherry tomatoes, oregano, crushed red pepper, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Reduce heat to low, and cook, stirring, until tomato juices run, about 3 minutes.Add penne, olives, parsley, and 1/4 cup Parmesan to the skillet and toss to combine. Serve with more cheese if desired.

August 19, 2007

Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes

Pasta is one of my favorite foods because it is so diverse. You can make a cream sauce or a butter and garlic sauce and toss it was some pasta and add some grilled veggies and you have a simple meal.

This is an easy meal from the Food Network’s Tyler Florence that is perfect for a weeknight menu.

Spaghetti with Roasted Eggplant and Cherry Tomatoes Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence

Tomato Sauce:

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 onion, chopped

5 garlic cloves, minced

2 cans (28-ounce) whole, peeled tomatoes, drained

Handful fresh basil leaves, torn

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 small (3/4 pound) eggplants, stemmed but not peeled

2 to 3 garlic cloves, chopped

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound dried spaghetti

1 pint cherry tomatoes, stemmed

1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Handful fresh basil leaves, torn

First, make the tomato sauce: Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring, for 7 to 10 minutes until the vegetables are soft but not browned. Add the tomatoes, crushing them in your hand to break them up. Add the basil and season with salt and pepper. Cook until the sauce is reduced and thickened, about 10 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Cut the eggplants crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick rounds and put them in a large bowl. Add the garlic, salt, and pepper, and drizzle generously with olive oil. Toss to coat, drizzling in more oil if you needed. Arrange the slices in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast 20 minutes until eggplants are very tender.

While the eggplants are roasting, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil for the pasta. About 5 minutes before the eggplants are done, drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook until al dente, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain. Bring the tomato sauce to a simmer and pour it into a large pasta bowl. Add the drained spaghetti and stir to coat with the sauce. Fold in the eggplants and the cherry tomatoes. Add the cheese and basil, and another drizzle of oil, and toss gently. Serve immediately and pass extra cheese at the table.

August 16, 2007

Grillin' Time Again

It’s hot, the humidity is horrid and the sun is shining bright…guess it must be time for another bbq.

If you are planning your next bbq party, here’s a recipe that is very easy to put together so you’ll have plenty of time to talk with your guests and enjoy in your favorite summer beverage.

I would suggest kicking it up a notch and adding to the ribs some season salt, garlic powder and whatever else your favorite seasonings are though.

All- American Pork Baby Back Ribs
from the Other White Meat Website

4 pounds pork back ribs
Your favorite barbecue sauce (purchased or homemade)

Cooking Directions
Season ribs with salt and pepper. Place ribs on a medium-hot grill over indirect heat; close grill hood and grill until ribs are tender, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. (add more charcoal briquettes to fire, if necessary, to maintain grill temperature of about 325-350 degrees F.) Finish by turning and basting ribs with barbecue sauce for the last 15 minutes. Serve ribs directly from the grill or, for extra tender ribs remove from grill, wrap in heavy aluminum foil. Place foil-wrapped ribs in brown paper bags, close bags and let ribs rest for up to an hour. Unwrap ribs, cut into serving pieces and serve with extra barbecue sauce. Serves 4.

Serving Suggestions
If you don't have a favorite homemade sauce, "doctor" up purchased sauce with flavorful ingredients like chili powder, orange marmalade, grated ginger root or hot mustard.

August 15, 2007

Cold Strawberry Soup

First, I apologize for not updating my blog for awhile…I’ve been working at the Missouri State Fair since last Monday.

The heat has been over 100 degrees the past week in Missouri and we are looking forward to some much needed rain and cooler temps by Friday.

For a cool treat today I’ve got a Strawberry Soup recipe that a friend of my husband’s passed along to me that really hits the spot on hot summer days.


Cold Strawberry Soup

2lb. Fresh Strawberries
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Tub Whipped Cream (I used the light, but you can use whatever)
1/3 Cup Sour Cream
1/3 Cup Whipped Cream Cheese

Clean and stem Strawberries. Puree strawberries and sugar in blender. Pour into large mixing bowl. Add everything else and blend. Refrigerate and serve. (It's better cold)