Tag Archives: Tomatoes


Needless to say, fall is prime minestrone eating time.  There are so many variations of this delicious and healthy soup –  it’s a handy recipe to have when you need to clean out the fridge, just throw in whatever you need to use up! Personally, I prefer a semi spicy tomato-Parmesan flavoured broth with a healthy serving of veggies, beans and pasta with some fresh spinach thrown in right before you eat.  I don’t find soggy soup soaked spinach particularly appetizing, so I usually wait until the last possible minute to add it.  And, if you have some crusty Italian bread on the side, you’ve hit the fall-dinner jackpot 🙂

Fresh Sinach and Minestrone

Give it all a stir and dig in!


Minestrone Recipe

2 tbsp canola oil
3 slices back bacon, chopped
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic
2 carrots, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 tbsp dried oregano
1 tsp red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 can diced tomatoes
6 cups chicken stock
1 can each red kidney beans and chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 cup short pasta (rigatoni, penne, shells, tubetti etc. etc. etc.)
1/3 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Grated fresh Parmesean, to taste

  1.  In soup pot, heat oil over medium-high heat and cook back bacon for 2 minutes.  Reduce heat to medium and add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, oregano, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.  Cook for about 10 minutes or until softened and just about golden.
  2. Add tomatoes, pour in chicken stock; bring to boil.  Reduce heat to simmer and add beans, chickpeas and pasta.  Simmer for about 20 minutes or until pasta is tender.  Stir in Parmesean, parsley, and basil.  Add spinach right before eating.

*Skip the back bacon and use veggie broth for an easy vegetarian meal!


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Filed under Main Courses, Soups & Stews

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes with Fresh Pasta

As I’ve mentioned before, I love carbohydrates intensely.  And for this reason, I think this might be in my top five favourite homemade recipes of all time.  But I’ve only made it the once…  It takes a long time to make pasta from scratch, it can’t be denied, but it’s also what makes this recipe so outlandishly tasty. Of course it will still be amazing using store bought pasta, but if you have a few hours to kill one afternoon (and a pasta maker), I strongly encourage you to try it.

AND this dish is perfect if you’re having company.  Impressive presentation is simple because everyone gets their own lovely roasted tomato on top of a heap of pasta!  Add a leafy green salad on the side, and tada!

So, get all your pasta making gear set up to start.

Pasta making Set-up

Make and knead your dough.

Dough Kneading

Pass it through the pasta maker a few times.

Dough through the roller

It should start to get really long, narrow and thin.  And try not to get too jealous of my gray jogging pants.

Dough rolled through the pasta maker

Next, put it through the spaghetti attachment.


Lay it out to dry.  Beware, it will take over your kitchen.

Spaghetti Invasion



Now prepare delicious stuffed tomatoes to roast, and then devour with some fresh pasta. Start with the filling.  AKA:  Panko bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, pine nuts, fresh parsley, fresh basil, garlic powder, coarse salt and fresh ground pepper and olive oil.

Roasted tomato filling

Scoop out of some of the tomato filling (dicing it if necessary), and stir it into  the bread crumb mixture.  Stuff everything back into the tomatoes, and roast at 400 degrees for about an hour.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes

Toss some fresh pasta with a bit of olive oil and/or melted butter and a bit of fresh parsley.  Top with roasted tomatoes. And if you feel like getting fancy, sautée up some pancetta in a little bit of maple syrup.  MMMMMMMmmmmmmm, crazy ingredients mixing and causing intense flavour sensations 🙂  IMAGINE IF YOU ADDED ROASTED GARLIC TOO????  Why didn’t I think of this before? 😦

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes over Fresh Pasta

From another angle…

Birdseye view

Fresh Pasta Recipe

6 cups (+ more as necessary) all purpose flour
5 Eggs (Tip:  Don’t use eggs straight from the fridge!)

1.    Pour flour into large mixing bowl, and add eggs to centre.
2.    Mix eggs with a fork until completely blended with the flour.  Knead the mixture with your hands until it is completely homogenous and consistent.  If the mixture is too dry, add some water.  If it is too soft add some flour.  A good mixture should never stick to your fingers.
3.    Remove the mixture from the bowl and place it onto a lightly floured surface.  Cut mixture into small pieces.
4.    Set your pasta machine to the widest setting and pass a piece of the pasta mixture through the machine.  Repeat this 5-6 times, folding the dough over and adding some flour to the middle if necessary.
5.    When the dough has started to take shape, pass it through the smaller settings once or twice, until you obtain your desired thickness.
6.    With a knife, cut the dough crossways in pieces that are approximately 10 inches long.
7.    Switch your machine settings to the spaghetti attachment and pass the dough through to make your pasta!  Note:  if the rollers won’t “cut” this means the dough is too soft.  In this case you should pass the dough through the smooth rollers, adding some flour to the mixture.  If the dough is too dry and won’t catch in the machine, add a little water to the mixture and pass it through the smooth rollers once again.
8.    Place the pasta on a table-cloth (or hang from a pasta drying rack if you’ve got one) and leave it to dry for at least an hour.  This pasta can last a long time (1-2 weeks) if stored in a cool, dry place.
9.    Bring a pot of salted water to a boil and add the pasta.  Fresh pasta cooks in just a few minutes, averaging about 2-5 minutes, depending on thickness.  Stir gently and then drain the pasta once it has finished cooking.

Roasted Stuffed Tomatoes Recipe

6 Big, Juicy Tomatoes
1 cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ cup chopped artichoke hearts (optional)
¾ cups Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup Toasted Pine Nuts
¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¼ cup fresh basil
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp each kosher salt and pepper
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
½ cup pancetta, sautéed in maple syrup until crispy (optional)

1.    Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.    Cut the tops off the tomatoes and scoop out 2-3 tbsp of the innards.  Dice tomato innards into bite size pieces.
3.    Put diced tomato into big mixing bowl, and add the rest of the ingredients.  Stir until everything is thoroughly combined and stuff mixture back into tomatoes.
4.    Put in oven for 45 minutes until tomatoes are soft.  Serve on top of fresh pasta, and add sautéed maple pancetta if desired.

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Filed under Pasta, Vegetarian

Avocado and Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Once you’ve had avocado on your chicken salad, you’ll never go back. Every time you’re forced to endure an avocado-less chicken salad sandwich, you’ll spend the whole time thinking “Where is the closest grocery store?  This thing really needs some avocado!”

Often I find it’s easy for chicken salad to be  drowning in heavy mayonnaise dressing, but this dressing is light and the avocado brings an amazing creamy texture.  Also, the addition of chickpeas and diced tomato to the mixture help make it light, fresh and healthy. And you can absolutely use light mayonnaise and sour cream in the dressing to make it that much healthier.

The end product is a bit messy, but totally worth it.  Make this for a hearty lunch or a light summer dinner.  (If you opt for the dinner option, add wine :).  Or even at lunch, I won’t judge you.)

Start by mixing up the dressing, then put it in the fridge until you’re ready to use it.

Chicken Salad Dressing

Throw everything you want to appear in the chicken salad into one bowl.  The possibilities are endless!  Usually I add celery because I like it’s crunchiness, but I didn’t have any this time around so I used snow peas instead.  It was delicious, and got me thinking that you really could add any vegetable you want to this mix.  I also used grated carrot, diced red pepper, and chickpeas.   Such a tasty way to get your veggies!

I also added chives from my “garden” (aka, a few planters on my 4′ X 4′ balcony), but again add whatever fresh herbs you have on hand.  It’ll add another dimension of freshness!  So much freshness going on in this sandwich!

Chicken Salad Mixture

Mix in the dressing and load it up on your favourite bread.  Bring a fork along to finish this sandwich….it can get messy!  Or you could stuff it into half a pita and reduce the mess, but I rarely pass up the opportunity to consume fresh baked bread.

I added a few slices of cheddar to this too, because I also rarely pass up the opportunity to consume cheese.

Chicken Salad Sandwich

Attempt to fold it up into sandwich form, and dive in!

Chicken Salad on Artisan Bread

Avocado and Chicken Salad Sandwiches Recipe

2 large chicken breasts, cooked and chopped into bite size pieces
1 red pepper, diced
1 large carrot, grated
2 -3 stalks celery, diced
1 cup chickpeas
1/2 cup diced tomatoes
2 tbsp fresh herbs, chopped
¼ cup mayonnaise
2 tbsp sour cream
1 -2 tbsp lemon juice (to taste)
Salt and pepper to taste

  1.  In a large bowl, combine chicken, vegetables, chickpeas and fresh herbs.
  2. In a small bowl, add mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Stir together until completely mixed.
  3. Add mayonnaise mixture to chicken mixture, and stir until completely coated.
  4. Serve on fresh bread, or stuffed into a pita.

From:  G.I. Diet Cookbook

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Filed under Burgers & Sandwiches

Baked Brie with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil

MMMMMMMMMMmmmmmmelty cheese 🙂

You can put almost anything with brie, put it in the oven, and 20 minutes later you’ll be in a cheese coma.  Which is truly the best kind of coma. For this batch, I poked holes in the cheese and dumped a mixture of  garlic, diced tomatoes, fresh basil and few other yummy ingredients, on top.

Baked Brie Ingredients

After it comes out the oven, serve it with a fresh baguette and you’re friends will never leave.

Baked Brie with Fresh Baguette

Baked Brie with Tomatoes, Garlic and Basil Recipe

1 wheel brie cheese
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tomato, diced
2 – 3green onions, diced
Handful fresh basil leaves, ripped into small pieces
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Olive oil
1 – 2 tbsp lemon juice  

1.  Mix above ingredients in a bowl, and poke holes in top of brie.  Dump mixture onto cheese and allow marinade in fridge for a few hours.  
2.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees, bake cheese for 20 – 30 minutes until cheese looks melty and bubbly.
3.  Serve with fresh baguette or crackers and enjoy!


Filed under Apps & Sides, Dips, Easy Peasy, Vegetarian

Pita Pizzas

It doesn’t get any easier than this.  All you need is some store bought pitas (I like the big thick greek ones), tomato sauce and cheese.  And whatever else you have in your fridge that would work as toppings.  Not only are these fast, but they’re really good too.  If you want to get fancy, you can make your own tomato sauce, but stuff from the store will work just fine. There you have it, food doesn’t always have to be complicated to be delicious!

Pita Pizza with Chorizo, Red Peppers and Parmesean

So many possibilities for these little beautys.

Pita Pizza with Broccoli, Italian Sausage and Old Cheddar

Pita Pizza Recipe

Greek Pitas
Tomato Sauce
Garlic Powder
Salt and Pepper
Whatever toppings you desire

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2.  Add tomato sauce onto pita.  Sprinkle a little garlic powder and salt and pepper on top of sauce.  Or whatever spices you like best.
3.  Top with whatever toppings you have come up with, and then put lots of cheese on top of that!
4.  Put it in the oven for about 10 minutes, or until it gets adequately crispy and melty.

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Filed under Easy Peasy