RECIPE: 13 Top Tomato Recipes ROUND UP!

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Are you as over run with garden tomatoes as we are? You have a lot of guilt, don't you? You have to use them up and enjoy them before they get mushy, right! 

Well, I am here to help. I'm a helper.

Here are my favorite recipes on my blog that use tomatoes in all shapes and sizes.

And if you are the nasty, trashy, self-entitled lady we caught on security stealing ALL of our ripe tomatoes out of our vegetable garden last week (leaving us no ripe tomatoes for a while) we hope KARMA pays you a visit-or the police. We'll see which is faster.

Sorry. I had to get that out publicly. 'Gotta love living in the city sometimes.

Well, when I get my next round of ripe tomatoes, rest assured we'll be making quite a few of these yummies.

Cream of roasted tomato soup

Garden Tomato Sauce

Marinated & Grilled Shrimp and Vegetables with Tomato Onion Puree and Whole Wheat Fettuccini

Baked Rigatoni with Garden Eggplant and Zucchini

Tomato Frezzelle

Baked Peas, Artichoke and Tomato Pasta Bake

Summer Veggie Pizza

Lighten Up! Vegetable Lasagna

Easy Tomato Sauce

Velvety Fresh Garden Tomato Pasta Sauce

Oven Dried Tomato, Caramelized Onion and Olive Cheese Pie

Farmers Market Junk Drawer Quinoa Salad with Chicken

Rigatoni, Fresh Mozzarella, Olive, Tomato and Thyme Salad

RECIPE: Peach Puff Pie

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Recently we were vacationing in Michigan, and the farmers markets were overflowing with peaches. It's the season for peaches, and this is a super-easy pie that I whipped up with some extra peach filling I had that didn't fit in my traditional peach lattice pie I was baking. I didn't want to throw the extra peaches away, and I had extra pie crust from the scraps of my lattice crust, too. So this was a quick yummy made out of all my left overs! It was like I got two pies out of one baking day, really!

You can make your own filling, or just use peach pie filling from the store to top the pie. We enjoyed it warm with a little vanilla ice cream. A perfect summer treat!

Peach Puff Pie

1 9 " store bought pie crust dough

3 Tbsp. flour
3 Tbsp. sugar
2 eggs
splash of water or milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
dash of salt
6-8 oz. softened cream cheese
1 cup peach pie filling with syrup


Unfold and pat the pie crust dough in a pie tin. It doesn't need to go all the way up the sides, but if you have enough dough to do so then do.

Preheat oven to 400˚. Bake the pie crust until just set and golden, about 10 minutes. Cool crust slightly while making the filling.

In a medium bowl, whisk the cream cheese with sugar, salt and vanilla until smooth. Add the eggs and splash of water or milk, and whip until thick and smooth. Add the flour, and whisk until smooth.

Pour the batter into the crust. Spoon the peaches and syrup over the top, evenly. Sprinkle the top with granulated sugar. Bake the pie for about 30 minutes, until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

Make your own pie filling:

1-2 peaches, depending on size, peeled, cored and sliced
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1 Tbsp. sugar
dash of salt
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. orange juice
dash of almond extract
1/2 Tbsp. corn starch
1 tsp. butter

Macerate the peach slices for an hour. Drain the peaches, reserving the juice. SImmer the juice for about 5-10 minutes until reduced by 2/3rds. Swirl the butter into the juice, and pour the juice back into the sliced peaches. Toss with corn starch and dash of almond extract. Your pie filling is ready!

RECIPE: Tortellini in Beef Mushroom Broth

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This is simply a delicious, light dinner. You throw everything in a pot, cook it up, strain it, cook up some tortellini, and slurp slurp slurp. Delish.

This soup does include a technique that my Italian mother uses a lot in peasant Italian dishes-throwing a chunk of Parmesan cheese rind into the stew pot for flavor and depth. It works wonderfully in this soup. and the extras make a nice, light lunch the next day.

Tortellini in Beef Mushroom Broth
Adapted from Food Network Magazine


1 cup dried Porcini mushrooms, rinsed
1 onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
2 carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
2 stalks of celery, trimmed and roughly chopped
1 large piece of Parmesan cheese rind (3-5" long, 1-2" thick)
1/4 cup parsley leaves and stems, torn up roughly
5-6 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 tsp. black peppercorns
6 cups beef broth
4 cups water

1 lb. fresh or frozen cheese tortellini, cooked al dente according to package directions.


In a large stock pot, place all the ingredients minus the pasta. Bring to a boil, and simmer slightly covered for about 1 1/2-2 hours. The broth will be dark, aromatic and reduced down.

Take off heat and pour the broth through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Press the vegetables aggressively to get all the juice and flavor out of everything. Discard the broth remnants, and pour the clear broth back into the pot. Heat through and adjust flavor. You may wish to add a little hot water to balance the salt and "punchiness" of the broth.

Serve warm with a handful of tortellini in each bowl, and garnish with extra chopped parsley and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.

RECIPE: Multigrain Spinach Egg Bake

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This was my guilty working mom breakfast.
You see, my husband went on a trip to Canada-leaving my daughter and I to fend for ourselves for a week. So the first Friday on our own, I had had a very long day at work. My daughter and I were pretty hopeless. "What do you want for dinner?" "I dunno, what do you want?" "I dunno." Sigh.*

And that continued for about an hour. We had no idea what we wanted, and finally I walked over to my daughter's favorite rotisserie chicken shop up the street (which I hate) and brought home some chicken and home style sides. We picnicked in the living room watching a Disney movie. She was happy as a clam. It was cozy, I agree. But I felt like a really lame mom, not having a nice dinner planned for us.

So I got up early and whipped this puppy up based on what I had in the kitchen. I based it on a recipe I found on a great blog, Brown Eyed Baker. I thought we could enjoy some baked deliciousness to start our weekend off right.

My daughter liked it, but I think she enjoyed our chicken picnic better. And the moral of the story in that? Sometimes, our children want to just spend time with us, they don't have high expectations. They have very simple needs, and simple palates. We are the ones that have put the expectations on ourselves. And in trying to live up to those, we are missing out on some precious time with our kids.

Now I am not saying NOT to make this dish. It's a hearty, aromatic breakfast dish. Just don't do it out of guilt. As the recent Johnson's commercial says, "You're doing okay, Mom."

Multigrain Spinach Egg Bake


10 ounces of multigrain bread, cubed and crusts sliced off 
6 ounces of turkey bacon, cooked crisp and drained on a paper towel 
1 pound Cremini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced 
1 shallot, finely chopped 
1 cup frozen chopped spinach, defrosted and squeezed dry 
1 teaspoon of seasoning blend (I like a blend called Sunny Paris from the Spice House) 
salt and pepper to taste 
4 1/2 ounces of shredded mozzarella 
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese 
1 cup of shredded Irish Swiss cheese Irish or Gruyere 
8 eggs, lightly whisked 
1 1/2 cups of milk 
1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded


Preheat oven to 250°. Lay the chopped bread on a baking sheet in an even layer and place in the oven to dry out while making other ingredients. They should take about 15 to 20 minutes. 

While the bread is drying out, defrost the chopped frozen spinach and squeeze dry. In a large sauté pan cook the bacon in a tablespoon of olive oil until crispy. Drain on paper towel but reserve the pan juices and return pan back to the stove. Reheat the pan and add the chopped shallots and sauté until translucent. Add the mushrooms and cook until they begin to release their juices. Add the chopped spinach and cook until softened. Add 1 teaspoon of the seasoning blend and salt and pepper to taste.

Chop the cooked bacon and toss the bacon with the mushrooms in the shallots and take off the heat. Meanwhile take the bread out of the oven and let cool slightly. Get a big bowl, and pour the bread into it. Turn up the temperature up on the oven to 425˚. Toss the bread together with the vegetables, Parmesan, Mozzarella and Swiss cheese until well mixed. In another bowl whisk the eggs with the milk. Pour the egg mixture over the bread mixture and toss to coat and moisten the bread mixture well.

Spray a deep 10-11" long casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the wet bread mixture into the pan. With the back of a spoon, push the mixture down and pack it in tight. Sprinkle the top with the cheddar. Bake in the oven until top is melted and golden brown and bread is puffed up, about 35-45 minutes. Serve hot.


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How is your garden growing?

Ours is pretty lush, as the Midwest has had SO MUCH WATER! My neighbors and I have had a windfall of various produce, and we share and exchange various vegetables and herbs with one another, which is super fun.
A lot or fresh produce means what I call "Farmer's Guilt"  pressure on what to make with it all. Well, worry not. I have posted my top favorite zucchini recipes from the blog, so that you can start making a dent in what I am guessing is a prolific zucchini crop. 

Some of our family's top faves? The chocolate zucchini bread is life changing, and the zucchini fritters is an easy way to get some vegetables into little kids tummies. I know because they've worked for us every summer. And those fritters heat up nicely for a light lunch the next day.

Happy harvesting!

Baked Rigatoni with Garden Eggplant and Zucchini

Zucchini Fritters

Zucchini Pine Nut Bread

Stuffed Zucchini with Corn and Cous Cous

Lighten Up! Vegetable Lasagna

3 Cheese Quinoa Cups

Summer Farro and Grilled Vegetable Salad

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

RECIPE: Slow Cooker Smoky Corn Chowder

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It's summer, and that means corn, corn corn. Ever have a large BBQ, and you have a ton of left over ears of corn? That happened over the 4th, and my friend Jean gave me a ton of left over corn from the BBQ. She did this cool thing where she cooked a ton of it in a cooler of boiling hot water for half the day, and served it up like that to a large crowd. She found it on Pinterest...I'll have to find that pin.

Anyway, I digress. So I had all this corn, and you can make a lot with corn. But I had some delicious smokey Hunter style bacon, and decided to make a wonderful corn chowder in the slow cooker using the bacon as a base. The slow cooker kept the kitchen cooler, and I chose it also because I had a full day of yard work ahead of me. It worked out great. The bacon gave a nice salty-smokey flavor, and the corn had a fresh flavor to it. I also tried this trick (see pic below) of using a Bundt pan to cut off and catch corn kernels off the cob. I don't need to tell you, it was pretty life changing. The chowder wasn't too bad either!

Slow Cooker Smoky Corn Chowder
Adapted from america's best slow cooker recipes


7 ears of corn kernels, cut off the cob (see trick in picture below)
1/2 cup hunters bacon, chopped in dice
3  stalks of celery, thinly sliced 
2 large baking potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped 
1 1/2 cups medium onion, finely chopped 
4 cups of chicken stock
2 bay leaves 
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt and ground black pepper to taste
2 tablespoons of butter 
2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour 
1 can (13 ounces) of evaporated milk 
1 cup grated cheddar cheese plus extra for garnish 


In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the bacon until beginning to brown and fat is rendered. Next, add the onions and the celery and saute until onions are beginning to become translucent. Splash a 1/4 -1/2 cup of chicken stock to the pan and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon to deglaze it. Continue cooking until some of the liquid has been evaporated. 

Take off the heat and add to the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on low and add the chopped potatoes, the corn and the rest of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, salt and pepper. 

Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 10 hours (HIGH 4-5 hours), stirring occasionally. Once the vegetables are tender and the time is up remove the bay leaves and prep the roux. In a sauce pan over medium heat melt the butter then add flour and stir to make a smooth paste. Slowly add the milk, whisking constantly to combine. Bring to a boil, whisking constantly until thickened. Remove from heat and stir in the cheese until completely melted. Gradually stir in the milk sauce into the slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker on high and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Ladle up the soup and serve garnished with additional cheddar cheese on top and fresh parsley.

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