A light Heirloom Tomato, Red Onion and Cilantro salad for the hot summer!

I believe that salads area a wonderful way to highlight fresh and tasty ingredients. This heirloom tomato salad below has red onion and cilantro in it . It is a perfect light fresh lunch !! I always like to serve it with an lemon oil dressing 😁🌿🍅

For the salad
mix in bowl heirloom tomatoes sliced, red onion chopped, fresh cilantro, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste.

My love of heirloom tomatoes began many years ago. I love all types of tomatoes but after I had chance to learn more about them in cooking magazines I like to use different tomatoes for different preparations..

Some personal favorites of mine and how I use them
Roma or Plum Tomatoes— great for homemade sauces and stews,
cherry or compari on the vine – great for roasting, sauces or fresh in a salad
Heirloom , Brandywine , beefsteak, – perfect for salad because of their natural sweetness and great on sandwiches

A Salad inspired by the Greeks!

Sometimes nothing beats a vine tomatoes and Kirby cucumbers with a homemade parsley, dill , extra virgin olive oil and balsamic glaze dressing.

In the salad I only used chopped tomatoes and kirby cucumbers This dressing doesn’t overpower all the fresh ingredients, it combines everything so well. Try this dressing out on all your salads!

This combination in this simple salad is so easy and tasty! Sometimes I replace the glaze with red wine vinegar and add crumbled feta cheese, sliced red onions to make it like a Greek salad. I love salads because they are a blank canvas. This one is one of my favorite dressings I use it on a lot of salads.. Toc cut out some calories and sweetness replace the balsamic glaze with apple cider vinegar or red wine vinegar

Balsamic Glaze Dressing

2 tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of sweet Balsamic glaze
chopped fresh dill
chopped fresh Italian Parsley
Salt and Pepper

Orecchiette Pasta with Brussel Sprouts and Pancetta

I like to pair orecchiette pasta with pancetta and roasted brussel sprouts for easy and tasty dish. I’ve seen heavier variations of this dish online and I wanted to make a simpler and lighter version.

I found out the pasta’s round, concave shape led to its name, which means “little ears” in Italian. ! You can enjoy it as a main dish or side dish. It goes well with a lot of things and is a great side dish as well. . It also tastes great reheated the next day for leftovers.

Ingredients for 4 servings

8 ounces orecchiette pasta
8 ounces brussels sprouts
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 pancetta chopped
2 cloves garlic minced
1/3 cup Grated parmesan cheese

How to make it

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain while reserving 1 cup of pasta water. With a sharp knife or mandoline, slice brussels sprouts very thinly.

Cook pancetta over low heat until browned and crisp. Remove from pan and set aside reserving drippings. Add garlic and olive oil. Cook just until fragrant, about 1 minute. Remove garlic so it doesn’t burn.

Add brussels sprouts and 2 tablespoons of parmesan cheese and cook for 2 minutes. Add in pasta and heat through and add pasta water

Season with salt & pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

chef tip: Use shaved Brussels or cut them in think slices to let them cook faster. I think it makes it more palatable for people who don’t like them.

Quick Wine-less Chicken Bolognese !

A hearty big bowl of pasta and sauce. Is there anything better sometimes?

This lighter and healthier alternative is so easy to make if you have tomato sauce already at home. By leaving out the wine it saves on calories and time in the process because the wine doesn’t have evaporate so the dish is done faster.  I decided to substitute it for chicken broth . I’m sure red wine adds a tasty element to this sauce, but its not necessary to get a sauce with flavor.

This version is also very lean because it uses ground chicken instead of beef. I’ve used ground turkey also, but a little dry. I suggest combining the chicken and turkey to get a more flavorful sauce if you have to.

I also use a homemade tomato sauce. You don’t have to but it does taste better in my option. Any plain jarred or canned store bought sauce will also work with this recipe.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
1 pound ground chicken
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon of dried tarragon
1 table spoon of dried basil
1 tablespoon of dried parsley
1/2 cup of chicken stock
2 cups of cooked tomato sauce
1 pound pasta
Freshly grated Parmesan for serving

How to make it

Heat a large skillet over medium-high. Add in oil. Add onion and and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until softened, 5 to 7 minutes. Add chicken.

Cook, breaking into bite-size pieces, until no longer pink, 3 to 4 minutes.

Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes. Add in a bit of chicken stock and boil until almost evaporated, 1 to 2 minutes. Add in the finished tomato sauce and reduce heat and simmer until thickened about 12 minutes.

I serve mine with store made spaghetti and freshly grated Parmesan cheese on top.

chef tip : this sauce freeze well, so I always make more and freeze it.

Blueberry Red Wine Spritzer

Have you tried smashed fruit into your wine? Well , wine not? The berry flavor was subtle and really nice doing it this way! I leave the berries pretty chunky but that is up to you. I love the wine flavor with fresh blueberries and bubbles – there just isn’t anything bad about it. If you’re looking for a new drink for the summer this could be it.

How to make it

Fill glass with fresh smashed fruit.
Fill half the glass with wine
Fill remaining glass with club water or plain seltzer

More tips

When choosing a wine to make wine spritzers, the most important characteristic is that you enjoy drinking it on its own. I usually reach for something that has good fruity flavor. As for the fruit, just choose what you like and works best with the wine you are choosing.

One Fabulous Frittata

Inside in mine I added mushrooms, bell peppers,onions, fresh chives garlic and onion powder and a 6 whole eggs. Plus one cup of Sargento® Shredded 6 Cheese Italian blend . The pre-packed Italian blend contains shredded Part Skim mozzarella, Provolone, Parmesan, Fontina, Romano and fresh Asiago. Adding the right kind of cheese makes the difference.

Note for meat lovers: I sometimes add in bacon bits to if there are meat lovers coming.

How I make my version.

In very large, bowl beat the eggs with the cheese herbs and spices and set set a side.

Saute any veggies and any meat that you want first in a large cast iron skillet, then pour the egg mixture over the mixture. While still hot, transfer to oven and bake about 20 – 25 minutes until the eggs set. Watch it carefully so the eggs don’t overcook or burn om top.

Pro tip I’ve learned : Don’t over beat the eggs.

I love that you can easily make frittatas for one in the microwave . Just mix and heat eat for 90 seconds. Or for many this way for a large group.

Need a mini version for many people?

Yes, this recipe will also work great to make individual mini frittatas using muffin pans. Just divide the egg mixture among greased muffin cups, filling each about 3/4 full. Bake at 350 about 13 – 18 minutes. These are great also for pre-made breakfast option on go.

Leftover Chicken Stuffed Peppers

Winner-winner chicken dinner as they say . I turned leftover grilled chicken into light and meaty stuffed peppers. My twist to make it more healthy is that I left out the tomato sauce and used very little cheese and rice.

How to make it

Heat the oven to 350 F (180 C/

Cut the tops off peppers and carefully scrape out the seeds.

To make sure the peppers full cooked through you have to simmer them in water for about 8 to 10 minutes, or until the peppers are just tender. Drain well. This makes a big difference.

Meanwhile on the stove top cook together a finely chopped onion, cooked long-grain white rice, sweet bell peppers and the diced chicken breast.

Stuff the peppers and bake an add a sprinkle of grated cheese on top.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes, or until the peppers are tender and filling is hot.