Tag Archives: Cherry Tomatoes

Quick & Easy Arugula & Penne Pesto Salad

I watch far too many cooking shows. I’ve always watched them though.

I remember way back when I would have sick days as a child, I’d watch cooking shows. And I’d be super relaxed watching them. However at this time in my life was a time where I didn’t even know how to turn on the oven to make corndogs. Keep in mind that I only really learnt how to cook at the age of seventeen.

Shocking right? Well growing up in third world countries and having a housekeeper or your mom always cook for you leaves you uneducated in the kitchen. At least I sure was!

Well in this day of age when I watch cooking programs I also learn from them.

For this evenings meal I decided to apply some of my new found cooking techniques to the meal.

This evening I made a simple salad with roasted pepper in it. Well it’s the pepper that I roasted just like they do on cooking programs!

Roasting a Bell Pepper
Roasting a Bell Pepper

I got the recipe from Gimme Some Oven, the original recipe can be found here. And when I say original it is because I did tweak this recipe some.

Arugula and Penne Pesto Salad
Arugula and Penne Pesto Salad

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups (115g) whole wheat penne
  • 2 bell peppers
  • ½ cup (74g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 cup (150g) fresh mozzarella
  • ¼ cup (62g) coriander pesto
  • 2 cups (80g) arugula/spinach mix salad

Instructions:

  1. Cook penne as directed on packaging.

  2. Meanwhile turn heat on a small burner to low and place bell peppers (one at a time) on the burner. Allow to brown (it may bring up a burnt smell so keep an eye on the pepper), rotate often until brown enough for your likings.

  3. Chop roasted bell peppers and place in large bowl.

  4. Combine roasted peppers with arugula/spinach mix, mozzarella, and tomatoes.

  5. Once penne has cooked, drain and rinse in cold water for twenty minutes until cool.

  6. Add cooled penne with vegetables and mix with coriander pesto.

  7. Enjoy!

As you can tell, I roasted my pepper on the oven burner! I actually know how to do a few things on the burner as my friends once taught me how to cook the “ghetto” way.

This recipe was FANTASTIC, super easy and just great. You may need some salt, but otherwise it was great!

But have any of you heard of coriander pesto? It is divine! You can add this to wraps, salads, sandwiches, the works. It is so tasty!

Coriander Pesto

You can use any pesto for this salad though. Actually are there other types of pesto? Besides the original one and this coriander one? Are you curious about what sort of pesto’s there are? If so I just googled it, here is a link including eleven different types of pesto’s!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe as much as my mom and I did! It is a great easy and healthy recipe for those nights when you need a quick meal!

Happy eating!

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Spanish Influenced Quinoa Scramble

Meatless Monday came and went for this week and although I went with a shrimp meal, I didn’t get around to posting it online. Also, I actually wanted to make todays meal for the whole meatless theme, but when I finally got around to going to the grocery store (about 7:15pm) there wasn’t a single zucchini in sight!

Serves me right though as I only went to the grocery store at a quarter past seven in the evening.

I had planned to go at ten in the morning, and then at eleven, then later at two or three in the afternoon and finally I went at seven. I have this thing where I prefer to go to the grocery store when it is somewhat deserted. Does anyone else have that?

I mean I don’t have a fear of people – I love people! I talk to strangers all the time when I am downtown or at the grocery store, hell I’ve even gone on dates with people I’ve met while downtown! BUT I hate going to a very packed grocery store.

I finally got the zucchini I longed for yesterday, but today. And I made this:

 Spanish Quinoa Scramble

The PERFECT meal for a breakfast. But I had it more as a dinner. Good thing I’ll have enough leftovers!

I got the recipe from here, and for once there were no tweaks. Though I should have added garlic and red onion.

Ingredients:

  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 zucchini, julienned
  • 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped
  • ½ cup (100g) cherry tomatos, quartered
  • ½ cup (85g) cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup (50g) cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 avocado, sliced

Instructions:

  1. In a medium bowl mix together eggs, oregano, paprika, salt and pepper.

  2. Heat oil in a skillet and add zucchini and red pepper. Cook for 5 to 8 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add tomato and quinoa and cook for an additional 3 minutes. Pour egg or tofu mixture over the vegetables and cook, string constantly, until the eggs are cooked through. Top with cheese and allow to melt.

  3. Serve with avocado and enjoy!

Spanish Quinoa ScrambleI can definitely picture myself making this for my father once I move to South Africa. This would be a perfect protein-packed healthy breakfast, though for his taste it would need to be ever so slightly spiced. Maybe with Sambal or just a lot of red pepper flakes. 

Speaking of South Africa – only twenty days left until I header out! Exciting stuff!

Anyway, if you make this meal, I hope you enjoy it! Beware that it will probably be much better as a breakfast…

¡Buen provecho!

Filled Pasta Dish for Summer

I love summer, I truly do. I did however realize that it makes me into one helluva lazy woman. I have put off going to the grocery store for about a week long. When I do go out I end up avoiding the grocery store altogether, but when I stay home I keep getting dressed and ready to leave around twelve, and then I never do because I want to avoid the busyness in the grocery store. How lame am I?!

I’ve even been running out of things to create in my kitchen that I ended up ordering in on what we call Thuisbezorgd (this being an online website to order from). The food wasn’t even all that good! So finally today I went to the grocery store. My body is quite happy having cherry tomatoes, avocado, and bread again.

But for tonight’s dinner I went for something very Summer-festive. I think y’all will like it too!

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

I saw a photo online and thought it looked grand so I had to make it myself. There was no recipe so I created one on my own.

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (250g) perline purse pasta filled with Parmesan cheese (you can also use ravioli or another filled pasta)
  • ½ cup (50g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 ball (125g) mozzarella, chopped
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 ½ Tablespoons vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Fill a pan with water and set to boil, once boiling cook perline pasta as directed on packages

  2. On a chopping board, halve tomatoes, chop mozzarella, and slice 3 leaves of basil.

  3. Once pasta is cooked, drain and replace in pan. Once cool, add tomatoes, mozza, and basil to pasta and mix.

  4. Sprinkle dried parsley and oregano onto pasta mixture and mix with vinegar and olive oil.

  5. Add a pinch of salt and pepper and serve immediately.

  6. Enjoy!

First, I apologize for neither knowing what perline pasta is in English, nor being able to find it online. If you know what it is, please leave a message to let me know!

The amount of color on this dish makes it the perfect summer meal. Although the actual ingredients and taste make it more summer-worthy than the look of the meal itself.

Parmesan Perline Pasta Dish

Be sure that your pasta is cooled or the mozzarella will harden and take on a more solid-like cheese than the soft almost solid that it is.

Besides the fact that my mozzarella is kind of a rock-hard solid, my meal was fantastic! And so easy! I don’t know about y’all, but I love easy meals to go with the summer fun. Or as it seems to me (my summer laziness).

Oh well, I have food again! Hope you all have had a lovely Canada Day and have a fabulous American Independence Day (AKA, 4th of July) tomorrow!

Buen provecho!

Pasta with a little Red, Green, and White

For a mostly vegetarian eating vegetarian, I have not been eating a lot of vegetarian meals. What a contradiction! For the past couple of weeks my diet has consisted of a lot of shrimp and chicken. Guess that is why I consider myself a pesco pollo vegetarian. Alas, for today’s meal I went back to the basics. Went for something simple and completely delicious.

Shell Pasta with Sautéed Spinach and Feta

Now I know my plate does not look all that attractive, but the meal was just what I needed. A bit of spinach, a bit of tomatoes, and just the right amount of healthy salt found in the feta – delicious!

My all-time favourite cheese may just have to be feta. Well and Gouda.

I saw a photo online without a recipe, so I made the recipe on my own. Here is the recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup (170g) small whole wheat shell pasta
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 cups (450g) spinach
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 shallot, chopped finely
  • ½ cup (75g) cherry tomatoes, halved
  • ½ cup (75g) feta, cubed
  • Salt  and pepper to taste

Instructions:

  1. Heat a pot of water on the stove top and let water boil. Once boiling cook pasta as instructed on package.

  2. While pasta is cooking, heat tablespoon olive oil in frying pan. Add shallot and garlic to pan and begin to fry (about 1 minute) add spinach to pan and sauté until spinach is wilted and garlic is aromatic.

  3. Once pasta is cooked, drain well and return to pot, mix spinach with pasta. Add chopped tomatoes and cubed feta to pasta and stir.

  4. Immediately plate and sprinkle with pepper and additional salt (if desired)

  5. Enjoy!

Pretty easy! And I swear, the feta was the perfect touch. Yes you can substitute feta with Parmesan cheese, but the feta was pretty great!

Hope y’all try this recipe and enjoy it as much as I did. It is a great summer recipe!

Buen provecho!

The Absolute Perfect White Fish Summer Salad!

How does one prevent smoke from making way to the smoke detector when frying some sort of meat? I know the easiest way to prevent it from going off is by opening windows and using doors or towels to “swoosh” the smoke out of the area, but really how do you not smoke up a place?

I know how to use all sorts of techniques in the kitchen but I have no idea how to prevent smoke from appearing as I fry fish or poultry.

(Well daddy, I hope you’re happy to know that my smoke detector works!)

Yes, today as I made my early dinner, I faced with a loud beeping from my smoke detector. I don’t know what I did as I tried to rip it from the ceiling, but it did finally stop (thank God!)

Besides having struggled with such a horrible (yet appropriate) machine, I also made a fantastic meal. A meal I may never make again due to my fear of having the smoke detector go off again.

Grilled Pangasius Spinach Salad

I actually may never make any non-vegetarian meals ever again because of that very fear. Well after this weekend that is, because I’ve purchased a few containers of shrimp at the same time that I purchased the pangasius used in this dish.

The lovely recipe for this dish is found here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup zucchini, sliced
  • a pinch of salt and pepper (to season fish)
  • 2 teaspoons honey
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice
  • 2 fresh pangasius fish fillets
  • 3 cups spinach
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon lime juice

Instructions:

  1.        Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium high. Add the mushrooms and zucchini, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes, until softened and starting to brown. Remove from pan and set aside to keep warm.

  2.        In a small bowl, whisk the honey and lime juice together.

  3.        Preheat a large pan at medium-high heat. Lightly coat with cooking spray. Season the fish on both sides with salt and pepper and place on the grill. Grill for about 3 minutes on each side, brushing the fish with the honey lime glaze.

  4.        Divide the spinach leaves over two dinner plates. Arrange the sautéed vegetables over the spinach and top with grilled. Sprinkle the cherry tomatoes over the salads. Lightly dash with olive oil and lime juice.

  5.        Serve immediately and enjoy!

I truly enjoyed this dish. Even though my fish was a bit on the burnt side along the edges, it tasted amazing! Best of all is that this recipe is for 2 people so I’ve got leftovers for a fantastic lunch tomorrow! I am excited. Especially since I do not have to fry the fish again and listen to the singing of my smoke alarm.

I feel like such an idiot because of that. I had to Facetime my mom in my distress from my incident. Instead we had a lovely twenty minute conversation.

 Anyway this meal is super light and very ideal for a summer dish. If it is hot where you’re at you should be making this white fish dish!

Enjoy your meal!

Basil Chicken, So Good It Should Be Take-Out!

Have you ever gone to an Italian restaurant? Well of course you have as everyone who has not gone to Italy loves Italian food! Actually no, even Italians love their food! So really everyone loves Italian food!

Have you ever tried making an Italian dish which has the aroma and taste of something you could order at an Italian restaurant? That mouth watering balance between basil, tomatoes, and butter?

If you have tried making such a dish, was it easy or rather complex?

Well whether you have tried making an Italian dish or not, I have found the most amazing and simple recipe ever. This is a recipe I may have to make twice this week because it was so good!

Oregano Basil Chicken over Whole Wheat Penne

Now I know that photo doesn’t look quite as attractive, but the next photo you see after I give you the recipe definitely will look spectacularly delicious! The recipe I got was from here.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb (500 g) pre-sliced chicken
  • 3/4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 lb cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • ½ cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 Tablespoon dried oregano
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 300 g of wholewheat penne pasta, cooked

Instructions:

  1. Place a medium frying pan on a stove top burner at medium-high heat, add olive oil and allow to heat up. 

  2. Season pre-sliced chicken with oregano, salt, and pepper and place in frying pan, Cook for eight minutes or until cooked thoroughly. 

  3. Turn heat down to medium and add halved tomatoes and garlic and cook for four minutes. 

  4. Add chopped basil and butter to chicken mix and allow butter to melt.

  5. Turn burner to a low and bring a sauce pan to boil to cook your pasta as directed on the box/package. 

  6. Once al dente, pour pasta into a colander and return penne to pan. Pour olive oil onto pasta to prevent from sticking and then spoon penne into a bowlplate and place chicken over penne. 

  7. Then dig in!

Tomato Basil ChickenI do not know about you, but I think that looks absolutely divine! The entire house smelled of pasta you could get at the restaurant Vapiano.

Then as soon as I gave a plate to mom the first thing I heard from her mouth was “sweet good!”, I asked her what she said and then she changed her statement to “really good!!”

Then when I took my first bite I could definitely agree with her. It both smelled amazing as it was being prepared and it tasted even better than amazing. This is 100% what you would call food heaven. Maybe even two hundred percent!

And this is saying something as I don’t quite like eating meat products. But this is seriously something I will be making again. And probably before the week is over.

There shouldn’t be any ifs, you should make this.

Tomato Basil Chicken on Penne

Buon appetito!

Chickpea, Tomato, and Basil Salad

Chickpeas

How did the chickpea get its name? In Dutch they are called kikkererwten (direct translation: frog peas), which to me is even weirder than being called a chickpea.

I decided to look it up and unfortunately only found a true definition of it on yahoo answers and that answer was in fact linked to Wikipedia. Now I know Wikipedia is the one source you should never trust when looking up information but here is the bit I read about chickpeas:

The name “chickpea” traces back through the French chiche to Latin cicer (from which the Roman cognomen Cicero was taken). 

The Oxford English Dictionary lists a 1548 citation that reads, “Cicer may be named in English Cich, or ciche pease, after the Frenche tonge.” 

The dictionary cites “Chick-pea” in the mid-18th century; the original word in English was chich, found in print in English in 1388, and taken directly from French.

Now that we know where the name comes from I should tell you that I made a fabulous chickpea salad last night for dinner. My sister liked the idea of this salad, so I made this salad to go with chicken, asparagus, and endive which mom made. Even though it is obviously winter, this salad and honestly the entire meal would be an idea summer meal.

Chickpea Salad with Dinner

The recipe I followed can be found here.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 500g cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 box fresh basil, chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic, grated
  • 2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, add drained and rinsed chickpeas, halved cherry tomatoes, chopped basil, and grated garlic. Then add all liquid ingredients and salt.

  2. Cover and refrigerate for 20 minutes to allow flavours to blend.

  3. Uncover and enjoy!

Extremely easy and absolutely wonderful. In my opinion it tasted much like bruschetta while my mom thought it tasted like a caprese salad. At any rate we all enjoyed it immensely!

Tomato, Basil, Chickpea Salad

It is honestly these kinds of meals that make me wish I were in the Caribbean with my loves. The beautiful hot weather would go perfectly with this sort of meal, don’t you think? I know my vegetarian best friend would love this salad as would my carnivorous boyfriend who is on his way to Tobago.

If you make this salad, I am sure you will enjoy it just as we did!

Buon appetito!

Almost Caprese Sandwich for Lunch

Do most people eat lunch usually? At work do you take a break in the day to consume more energy or consume enough starch to cause a food coma? I know so many people who skip the meal we call lunch to go to the gym. Is that truly smart? Not really, but you try convincing those who seem to know best…

For today’s lunch I stopped in the grocery store to buy sliced goat cheese for sandwiches and some cherry tomatoes.

I absolutely love cherry tomatoes. When we lived in Canada I even briefly had a cherry tomato plant. Although once I got my first tomato I gave up on the process of growing more. Actually, I did the same with my watermelon vine when we lived in Venezuela. As soon as the first sign of an actual fruit being made sprouted, I completely gave up making them. I could never work at a nursery.

Image
Caprese-Style Sandwich

My aim for this sandwich was to follow the theme of a caprese salad. Except caprese salad is made with mozzarella which comes from a cow. This cheese is just regular sliced goat cheese. And instead of using fresh basil I just went for dried basil, because why waste large box of fresh basil when you already have dried basil?

These are the ingredients for the one sandwich:

  • 6 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 slice goat cheese
  • ½ teaspoon dried basil
  • ½ teaspoon olive oil
  • 2 slices brown bread
  • Soy butter for one slice of bread

Directions:

  1. Pop 2 slices of brown bread in toaster. As you wait for bread to toast, chop cherry tomatoes in half.

  2. Once bread is ready, coat butter on one piece of bread.

  3. Place goat cheese on butter coated bread, then add tomatoes on top of cheese.

  4. Sprinkle dried basil over tomatoes and cheese. Then drizzle olive oil over second piece of bread.

  5. Finally put second piece of bread with olive oil side down on tomatoes. Enjoy.

Almost Caprese Sandwich

I must say, this was rather delicious. Made me wonder why anyone would ever want to skip lunch when one could go down a healthy route or at least a tasty one!

If you try this faux Italian sandwich then I hope you like it.

Buon Appetito!

Zoodles with Oven Roasted Tomatoes

Happy Sinterklaasdag everyone!

Now I know that is incorrect “sinterklaasdag”, but what is it that they say to someone when it is Sinterklaas in the Netherlands? Because when it is Christmas in the rest of the world they say “Merry Christmas!” or when it is Easter it is “Happy Easter!”, but what do they say when it is Sinterklaas?

Sinterklaas is a Dutch iconic figure who is much like Santa Claus, but this man comes to the Netherlands on a boat with a white steed and little zwartepieten who are his helpers. The boat hails from Turkey (or so I think it does) and has many of presents for all the little ones who leave their shoes out of their houses. Sinterklaas then rides his white horse down each road to place treats and gifts in the shoes of the children while letting his horse eat the carrots and cookies left out for the animal. Anyway, that day in which all that gift giving from this man and the treat eating is today.

Many Dutch families all over the country are celebrating this day, while our not-so-Dutch Dutch family are not. Not that I mind, to me this is just a day on the calendar. The 25th of December is something to make a big deal about. What about for you? Do you have a special day to celebrate?

So for todays dinner I made zoodles! You know, zucchini noodles! They are so delicious, I do not know why I have not heard of them until recently.

Pesto Zoodles with Oven Baked Tomatoes

Doesn’t that just look delicious. Super festive with the color scheme, but also just purely good! I got the recipe from here. But here is the recipe that I did, because as you should know, I tweak everything.

  • 2 medium zucchinis

  • ½ pint multicolored cherry tomatoes

  • clove of garlic

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon organic pesto

  • sea salt and pepper 

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425ᵒF or 220ᵒC

  2. Clean and halve half pint of multicolored cherry tomatoes and toss in a splash of extra virgin olive oil until evenly coated. Crush and then chop a clove of garlic and add to tomato mixture. Sprinkle with a generous dash of sea salt and spread on a cookie sheet, seed side up.  (I used a small glass baking dish)

  3. Roast tomatoes for 15-20  minutes

  4. Use a julienne peeler to create zucchini noodles 

  5. Place a pot of water (below half of pan) on stove top and allow to boil.

  6. Once boiling put julienned zucchini into a colander and place colander over boiling water. Allow zoodles to become al dente.

  7. Once complete, place in a large mixing bowl combining zoodles with tablespoon of pesto (more to your preference) and mix well.

  8. To serve: place zoodles in a bowl, top with cherry tomatoes. Serve hot. 

This recipe is super easy and super delicious. Not to mention it is completely gluten free and vegan! It makes my body feel happy.

Zoodles with Tomatoes

I also then decided to treat myself to a perfect romantic meal for one. That makes me sound so lonely and pathetic. Stupid long distance relationship! So I poured myself a glass of wine and lit a couple candles.

Romantic Dinner for One

If you end up trying this recipe out, please let me know. I would love to know how you feel about these zucchini noodles!