EASY Italian Pasta Salad recipe! This vegetarian recipe uses Italian dressing, tri color pasta, fresh cherry tomatoes, celery and arugula! It’s the perfect garden Summer salad!
Best Pasta Salad for Summer
When it’s hot out all I crave is fresh vegetables. That’s why this Italian Pasta Salad is one of my favorite meals in the Summer!
When it’s hot out, I don’t want to think about turning our oven on. I also don’t want to even think about drinking or eating anything hot, instead I like to rely on chilled recipes, like Chilled Strawberry Soup and this Pasta Salad!
That’s why my family loves this recipe during the Summer months!
One thing that I do enjoy about the Summer is that it means fresh vegetables are being picked in the garden by the handful. And because this recipe is bursting with fresh cherry tomatoes, arugula and celery – it’s a garden lovers dream recipe! I get so excited when we start to fill our basket with garden tomatoes, that means we’ll making this pasta salad often!
If you wanted to add some more Summer time vegetables, you could even chop up some onions or green peppers to throw into this salad!
A easy Chicken Vegetable Soup recipe that is ready in 35 minutes. This is my family’s favorite Winter soup that uses fresh vegetables! We use Instant Potatoes to make the broth more creamy!
Chicken Vegetable Soup
I am in love with this Hearty Chicken Vegetable Soup This soup is delicious because it’s full of vegetables to fill you up and keep you warm during the winter months. It’s also incredibly easy and quick to make. At the end we throw in some instant potatoes to thicken up the soup to make it a bit extra creamy. Instant potatoes are my new favorite thickener for soups, I love using them this way.
Easy recipe for the best tri color pasta salad! This is the perfect Summer time salad that uses Italian dressing, fresh vegetables and rotini pasta!
Tri Color Pasta Salad
The great thing about pasta salad is once you have the basics of pasta, salad dressing, herbs – the vegetables are really up to you. There needs some type of tomatoes (I prefer halved grape tomatoes). There needs to be celery chopped up. What else? Well that’s up to you. You can add carrots. You can add onions. You can add broccoli. You can add chopped up cauliflower. You can can add black olives (yum!).
HOW TO MAKE diced tomatoes recipe from fresh tomatoes. Step by step instructions walk you through the beginning all the way up to freezing or canning them. This is a great way to preserve your garden tomatoes!
Right now we have a explosion of cherry (hello cherry tomato sauce!), roma (hello roma tomato sauce!) and beef tomatoes of all sizes currently occupying our counter. I love seeing a kitchen full of fresh vegetables but it also gives me a slight overwhelming fear of anxiety because I know I have to go to work on them and start preparing our tomatoes to last the next few months.
We pretty much only buy tomato sauce or tomato products during the months of May and June. July, August and September gives us fresh tomatoes by the basket full while October-April supplies us tomatoes that were canned or frozen months prior.
It’s always a special feeling when its a cold Wintry day and you can still enjoy some fresh tomatoes you grew months prior when the garden wasn’t covered in snow.
CREAMY TOMATO SOUP using fresh roma plum tomatoes! This easy homemade recipe is perfect for when you are picking fresh tomatoes from the garden! You will never buy canned tomato soup again! This is kids favorite tomato soup!
There’s something romantic about tomato soup isn’t there? Maybe it reminds you of curling up with a warm bowl in Fall and Winter. Maybe it gives you memories of Mom opening a can of it as a kid. Or maybe you associate it with with the peak of garden season when you’re picking tomatoes by the basket. For me, it’s all 3 of these.
Tomato soup is a favorite of mine, it’s one of those dishes that when you see on a menu you immediately know what you’re ordering. But the best tomato soup is homemade. It’s made with fresh tomatoes (preferably Roma/plum tomatoes), onions and a little bit of heavy cream with bread served on the side for dipping.
The first step to making homemade tomato soup is getting the tomatoes peeled and diced. If you’ve never made tomato soup from scratch, don’t worry, this is easy. Cut a small X in the stem end of each tomato. Drop the tomatoes into the boiling water and blanch them for about 1 minute. Using a slotted spoon, transfer them to a pot of cold water to cool. When cool enough to handle, remove and discard the skin from the tomatoes (you can use tomato skins to make tomato powder!), remove the core, and coarsely chop the flesh.
EASY Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can make ahead! This easy recipe makes a ricotta garlic mixture to spread on the bread! Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the bread – perfect for a afternoon tea party or baby shower!
There’s something about a afternoon get together with mini sandwiches that makes me happy. Can you imagine a brunch with friends and there’s heart shaped delicious sandwiches waiting for you on the table? Doesn’t that scream love and yum at the same time? In this super easy to put together recipe we’re going to make Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can whip up in just a few minutes.
Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwich Ingredients
You only need a few ingredients for this recipe: bread, ricotta/garlic/basil mixture, diced tomatoes, and more basil. You’ll also need some adorable cookie cutters where you can be creative. I used hearts here because I love you guys, but stars and festive shapes like pumpkins for Thanksgiving would be super cute too. Also, cat cookie cutters are always a good idea. Anything cat is always a good idea. Trust me.
Perfect for Afternoon Tea Parties!
You can use any type of bread, I used whole wheat because that’s always something I have in my refrigerator. Grab a bunch of pieces of bread and start cutting your shapes out.
It’s not often that taking photos of a recipe actually takes longer than how long it took me to make the dish!
We’ve been busy with work lately so when we get home we usually want a quick meal so we can gather in front of the television and watch NBA playoffs (best time of the year, go Cavs, go Net). Pasta is a great quick meal but are you ever so hungry that you can’t even wait for the water to boil? Let me introduce you to Barilla’s Pronto pasta which is one pan, no boil, no drain pasta. I wasn’t sold on it when I first heard about it – I mean seriously, I didn’t have to boil the water? But after multiple recipes, I’m hooked. A great tasting pasta dish with fresh vegetables that actually only takes 10 minutes? Totally sold.
Say hello to No Boil Rotini Pasta With Plenty of Vegetables, it’s my new favorite quick dinner recipe. Fact: We had it for dinner last night! This recipe calls for red peppers, yellow peppers, tomatoes and basil so it’s a fresh harvest meal! I can’t wait until Summer time when I can pick our peppers and tomatoes from our garden and throw them right in this dish. This dish is entirely customizable too, add whatever vegetables you want! It’s a great dish to clean out that refrigerator! Never let a pepper go bad, life motto to live by. :D)
But sometimes you might not have a over abundance of cherry tomatoes. Sometimes your garden might be full of beef tomatoes. Can you make a simple and quick oven roasted tomato sauce with them? You bet your tomatoes you can!
The beef tomatoes are cut up into bite size pieces, a little olive oil is poured on then a little onion powder is sprinkled on top. At this time the good smells are about to start. Then they go into the oven for 35 minutes. Now the good smells are really starting to happen. I dare you not to get hungry after smelling this Oven Roasted Beef Tomato Sauce in the oven. It won’t happen, you’ll immediately want to eat it, trust me.
What can you do with this sauce? Anything! Pour it on some pasta. Bake some lasagna. Use it in a stew. Eat it by the spoonful (hey, it happens, and it should!).
Enjoy this Oven Roasted Beef Tomato Sauce! It’s a garden favorite!
CHEESY STOVETOP Meatball Lasagna Skillet! This quick and easy stovetop lasagna recipe includes ricotta and mozzarella cheese to make it extra cheesy! Ready in 25 minutes!
This Cheesy Lasagna Meatball Skillet rules! If you make it I hope it becomes one of your favorite go to easy dinner recipes!
Stovetop Meatball Lasagna
I love myself some lasagna. There’s something about pasta noodles slathered in various types of cheese with tomato sauce that does the trick to me. How about you? Do you start to see hearts when you hear the word lasagna too? I was in the mood for lasagna but I wasn’t in the mood to do the stacking that lasagna usually involves. I also wasn’t in the mood to turn my oven on because Summer is here and who wants to heat up their home? So I used my original Lasagna Skillet recipe to come up with a Meatball twist.
The recipe calls for 15 cooked meatballs. It’s really up to you what kind you want to include. Store bought is quick, but homemade is also awesome.
Collection of 4 Mason Jar Salad Recipes. These salads are healthy and easy to pack for lunch. Recipes include Watermelon and Feta Salad, Caprese Salad, Green Bean and Feta Salad and Southwestern Salad.
Mason Jar Salad Recipes
I’m obessed with Mason Jar Lunches! They are just the perfect lunch time choice because you get to pack lunch. Also, since you’re packing lunch it’s a economical choice. Plus.. they look pretty cute!
Mason jars work great because it’s a vertical layered lunch. Instead of mixing it together like a salad, you stack it together. This allows you to keep some vegetables inside more crunchier instead of wilting at the touch of a salad dressing. I also love how quick it is to make a Mason Jar lunch. I can make the entire weeks worth in 30 minutes. Because you are packing all the ingredients together in the jar you are keeping the vegetables fresher longer.
Easy to make Mason Jar Watermelon and Feta Salad. Ingredients include watermelon, feta, tomatoes, sherry vinaigrette and parsley!
Mason Jar Salad Recipes, Watermelon Salad
2 to 3tablespoonsSherry Vinaigrette
1cuphalved cherry tomatoes
⅓cuproughly chopped fresh parsley
2cupscubed seedless watermelon
2ouncescrumbled feta cheese
1pint-size Mason jar
Layer the salad ingredients in the Mason jar, starting with the vinaigrette dressing and continuing with the tomatoes, parsley, watermelon, and feta cheese, in that order. Seal the jar and refrigerate until ready to use.
Easy to make Mason Jar Carpese Salad Recipe. Ingredients for this healthy salad include tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, balsamic vinaigrette and basil.
caprese salad, Mason Jar Salad Recipes
8ouncesfresh mozzarella cheese
6 to 8fresh basil leaves
2pint-size Mason jars
Slice the tomatoes and the mozzarella cheese horizontally into ¼-inch rounds. Place 2 tablespoons of vinaigrette in the bottom of each Mason jar. Starting with the tomatoes, layer the salad — tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil leaves — repeating the layers until the jar is full. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
Easy to make Mason Jar Green Bean and Feta Salad. Ingredients for this healthy salad include green beans, tomatoes, shallots, balsamic vinaigrette, feta cheese and basil.
green bean salad, green beans and feta, mason jar salad recipe
¾cuphalved cherry tomatoes
¼cupthinly sliced shallots
6or 7 basil leaves
2ouncescrumbled feta cheese
1quart-size Mason jar
Trim the ends from the green beans; cut the beans in half crosswise. Bring a pot of water to a boil over high heat (don’t salt the water), add the beans, and boil for 5 minutes. Transfer the beans to an ice-water bath for a minute to stop the cooking process and preserve their color. Drain. When the green beans have cooled, layer the salad ingredients in the Mason jar, beginning with the vinaigrette and continuing with the tomatoes, shallots, cooked beans, basil leaves, and feta cheese. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
Easy to make Mason Jar Southwestern Salad. This healthy salad includes lime, black beans, tomatoes, peppers, avocado, corn, salad green and cheddar cheese.
mason jar mexican salad, mexican mason jar recipes, southwestern salad
½cupblack beansrinsed and drained
½red vine-ripened tomatodiced
¼red bell pepperdiced
¼yellow bell pepperdiced
½cupcorn kernelsfresh or frozen
2cupsmixed salad greens
1quart-size Mason jar
Start by pouring the vinaigrette dressing into the Mason jar. Then layer in the black beans, tomato, bell peppers, avocado, and corn. Finish with the salad greens and, finally, the Cheddar cheese. Seal and refrigerate until ready to use.
First of all, do you have World Cup fever? I get so darn excited every 4 years. If you’re from America, did you watch the USA vs Portugal game yesterday? Did you scream, yell, cheer, cry, then become confused why you are crying because after all tying Portugal 2-2 is actually ok? Yeah, me too. The game had so many ups and downs and the last 30 seconds.. oh man. I can’t even talk about it! Let’s get psyched for USA vs Germany on Thursday though! Here in NYC they have been showing all the World Cup games on a big screen under the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO (part of Brooklyn). Being a Sunday evening, the game was packed with USA USA USA chanting fans. We went and it ended up being such a blast. Large groups of people cheering with positivity and little negativity (basically only when Ronaldo is on the screen) is always a good time.
Doesn’t a big bowl of pasta just fill you up with happiness for dinner? How about we add a touch of spice with some crushed tomatoes? Magic, right?
That’s how I feel about this recipe, it’s absolutely magical. I think most times when we think of tomato sauce it doesn’t have that kick to it, but this Spicy Italian Crushed Tomato Sauce definitely has some spice. It’s not overly spicy, but there’s enough that gives it a extra zip zap taste. Also, can we talk about the aroma that that this sauce has? It’s delicious. If you give this sauce a shot, just watch your kitchen start to fill up with people asking when dinner is ready. Tell them them a few more minutes and kick them out of your kitchen. Then take a few big spoonfuls of this sauce first.
Speaking of tomatoes… our tomatoes have adjusted from their transplanting period and are now firm in their containers. I love seeing them start to add a few inches of height and turn a nice green color. Expect a big garden update post at the end of this week! The other fresh star of this recipe is the basil. I was able to throw in a big bunch of basil chopped up in this sauce and it was a perfect fit (not to mention the smell was amazing!). Don’t you just love fresh basil? Mmmm!
You can totally use whatever pasta you want to use. This was one of those nights where I threw a bunch of quarter filled boxes together for a pasta mix!
Now go on and have a great pasta dinner tonight.. enjoy!
EASY, BUDGET FRIENDLY Basil Pesto Pasta recipe made with fresh basil and almonds! This easy, healthy homemade recipe makes delicious basil pesto that can be served over pasta, as appetizers or on a sandwich! Pine nuts are expensive so this is a much more budget friendly pesto. Recipe also includes a vegan alternative.
I’m in love with this Basil Pesto. Big time.
Growing up, pesto wasn’t big in our house. It’s one of those things that I honestly can’t even remember having until I was in my 20’s. Then I started to make it and fell in love. Then when started to grow our own basil and could pick it and immediately make the freshest pesto possible, then I really fell in love with it.
Welcome to a new week, I hope you all had a lovely weekend.
We have a new favorite dinner that we’ve been making almost bi-weekly now, it’s Easy Cheesy Lasagna Skillet. Lasagna is hands down one of our favorite dinners, but sometimes you just don’t have the time to organize the layers and bake in the oven, this skillet is quick, cheesy and oh goodness is it delicious. What makes this lasagna extra special? Well besides the ricotta cheese which makes everything creamy, there’s Sweet Italian Sausage which I’m pretty much in love with at the moment. After I brown the sausage there’s a good 3 minute period where I just stand by the stove and eat it out of the pan.
Added into the lasagna is garden fresh spaghetti sauce, fresh basil, green peppers and some mushrooms. In my opinion life is better when there is mushrooms and green peppers involved. Lately, we’ve been putting them on our pizza too – what a great combo.
So next time you are craving lasagna but don’t want to wait or do the extra work, throw all these ingredients in a skillet and you’ll have the creamiest dinner in all the land! This is definitely a keeper. Bonus: Leftovers are delicious!
ROASTED CREAMY Cherry Tomato Sauce is sweet, creamy and SO EASY to make! This is the best recipe for growing garden tomatoes! You can serve immediately on pasta, can it or freeze it! Find out why thousands of people love this sauce!
My life has officially been taken over by tomatoes. Is there anything else to talk about except tomatoes right now? Tomato this, tomato that, do the tomato dance.
Do you know how many cherry tomatoes are in this big bowl below? 16 cups! And there’s a few plants that need to be picked… so double that or more. And that’s just cherry tomatoes!
What do with Cherry Tomatoes?
Make Roasted Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce of course!
I love cherry tomatoes (and cherry tomato recipes) and they work great for snacking and halved in pasta, but what about tomato sauce? Cherry tomatoes aren’t usually the first choice to use for homemade tomato sauce but I’m out to change that.
Cherry tomatoes can result in a creamy tasty sauce which will knock your red socks off (red because it’s tomato season – what, you don’t match your socks to your harvest?).
The key to this recipe is first we oven roast the tomatoes – oh yeah, baby. Then after that we throw them in a food processor with some fresh basil and season them. Then it’s made! It’s that easy.
This homemade sauce doesn’t require you to simmer over the stove for 2 hours. I really love this creamy sauce over pasta, with lasagna, stuffed shells. It’s also pretty fantastic to add to pizza as a creamy sauce.
So when you pick your cherry tomatoes, change it up a bit and make some sauce. Bonus: You can freeze this sauce, throw in the freezer and defrost it months later for a spaghetti dinner in February.
Cherry Tomato Sauce Recipe
Gather your tomatoes, make sure to take the stems off.
Put them in a pan, single layer. I was making a few batches so I had multiple pans.
Drizzle your olive oil over the tomatoes. Take a picture and completely miss the olive oil coming out of the bottle.
Sprinkle your onion powder over the tomatoes. Take a picture and completely miss the onion powder being sprinkled.
How to roast cherry tomatoes
Bake for 35 minutes until your tomatoes are all wrinkly.
Let them cool then put them in the food processor with your other ingredients. Fresh basil – doesn’t it smell great?
Give it a few pulses, it doesn’t take much.
And you are left with some creamy, amazing smelling cherry tomato sauce!
This makes 3 cups of sauce. Feel free to use immediately after, put in the fridge for tomorrow, or freeze (in a freezer bag) for a few months later.
Whenever I freeze sauce, puree, diced/stewed tomatoes, I always put in a freezer bag and lay flat while pressing it out, so it’s as thin as possible. Then once it’s frozen, I stand it up. This saves space and lets you have a better organized freezer.
To defrost it I throw the bag into a pot of hot tap water. It defrosts pretty quickly. Then into a saucepan it goes to heat up.
I hope you enjoy this Roasted Creamy Cherry Tomato Sauce – it’s one of my favorite Summer recipes!
ROASTED CREAMY Cherry Tomato Sauce is sweet, creamy and SO EASY to make! This is the best recipe for growing garden tomatoes! You can serve immediately on pasta, can it or freeze it! Find out why thousands of people love this sauce!
Main Course, Side Dish
4cupsof tomatoes cherry tomatoesstems off
salt + pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Spread tomatoes single layer in a pan. Drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with your onion powder.
Bake for 35 minutes, your tomatoes should be wrinkly.
Let cool for a few minutes, then put tomatoes in food processor.
Add fresh basil, garlic powder and salt + pepper to taste in food processor.
Blend to smooth and creamy.
Use it right away, or throw it in the fridge to use tomorrow, or freeze it for next month.
When I first found a great cauliflower pizza casserole recipe it called for pureed cauliflower, but pureeing cauliflower that we grew seemed like a absolute sin to me. I can’t give so much energy and love to our garden cauliflower and then just blend it up, that would be the saddest thing ever. If we were ever to sell produce commercially I would put on every single package a (cute) warning sign that says “YOU MAY NOT PUREE ME, IT WILL MAKE PAMELA VERY SAD, PLEASE LOVE CAULIFLOWER WHOLE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH”. So in my recipe, we cut it into small bite size pieces. I prefer it this way as well as the cheese will get in all the nooks and crannies of the cauliflower. And who doesn’t’ like cheese? Especially with cauliflower. This is a absolute win situation. Here’s your cauliflower. Mine happens to talk.
Here’s your cream, butter and garlic mixture. Pizza always needs a little garlic.
And here’s your pepperoni. I quartered each slice. Do this with scissors, a knife or just tear it apart with your hands.
This is step 1 of the casserole, your cauliflower/butter mixture/pepperoni are all mixed up.
Step 2: Add your pizza sauce.
Step 3: Add your cheese! Be brave, cover this sucker.
Step 4: Pepperoni time. Feel free to eat a few slices too, I won’t tell anyone.
Then into the oven it goes…
And out of the oven it comes! Mamma-Mia!
The cheese is melted, a little bubbly, a little brown. I have pure joy right now.
Then take a few whole basil leave and put it on top. I love pizza with fresh basil.
Cauliflower Pepperoni Pizza Casserole, it’s like having your own garden pizzeria! Major winner here – enjoy!
As the garden season takes off, I will be doing a series of posts on how to preserve everything you grow so you can enjoy them now and many months later. We won’t let any of our hard work that went into planting and caring for these plants go to waste here!
I often say “I garden because I cook”. My love for being in the kitchen goes hand in hand with getting my nails dirty pushing down seeds.
Here are other reasons why I love bringing these worlds of gardening and cooking together:
-You learn where everything comes from. Did you know Brussels Sprouts grow the way they do? I didn’t either! By gardening you see the process from seed to harvest, it often surprises you!
-You respect everything you grow. Those pumpkins that I grew? They came from me pollinating them for a week straight at 5:30AM in the morning. Those tomatoes that are beautiful red and perfect? They stayed alive because you ran out into the pouring rain to make sure their windblocker fabric was up and everything was secure. Those sugar snap peas? Do you know how long they take to pick? Oh my!
-You try new vegetables. I hated lettuce before we had our garden, now I’m like a rabbit where Matthew has to shoo me away. I never tried radishes before, now I eat them whole.
-This results into trying new dishes in the kitchen. Pesto? Never made before, except now I have about 10 different recipes for it with every different plant. I scour websites and cookbooks looking for new ways to use tomatoes, broccoli, carrots. Dinner, Lunch, Desserts – I try it all! The most important part is starting with a base you love. So grow what you like!
-Preserve! Preserve! Preserve! This is the big one for me. There are a few weeks in July and August that I am spending many hours every single day preserving our tomatoes to last us (forever). So you just grew those kale plants – but did you have any idea how much kale grows on a plant? Or those edamame plants that I grew last year – did I know that I would get 20 pounds of edamame, all at once? What are you going to do? Well you just spent so much time and energy and love on these plants to grow great vegetables so now we’re not going to let it go to waste! Oh no we aren’t! We are going to preserve it! Did you know I had to buy my first can of diced tomatoes earlier this month because I had enough saved from last summer’s harvest? Do you know how awesome of a feeling that is to have fresh vegetables you grew in your freezer all winter long? Oh it’s snowing out and 3 degrees, let me just grab a extra fresh pack of frozen green beans that I grew a few months back. *High 5’s*
I spend quite a bit of time preserving everything we grow, and figuring out new ways to try. One year I went as crazy as literally not wasting any of the broccoli plants, by finding ways to use the leaves and chop up the stems. I blanch, I freeze whole, I puree, I turn into sauces, I chop, I husk, I dry. I do whatever it takes to preserve everything. This post will be dedicated to strawberries, kale and basil. Sometimes in future posts, I will give you another idea for the same vegetable. There are many ways to preserve each plant, so I want to share some options for whatever is best for you in your kitchen. 🙂
Strawberries Who doesn’t love strawberries? And is there anything better than a sweet strawberry picked right off the vine and plopped straight into your mouth? Oh yum! But what happens when you are are harvesting pounds of strawberries? Or what happens when you go the grocery store and find out that they are selling pints of strawberries for 89 cents. Buy a bunch, we can keep your strawberry love stocked up for months!
We are going to freeze strawberries. Strawberries keep in a freezer for a long time, I’m talking a year. Amazing, right?
What can we do with frozen strawberries? Well I’m glad you asked.
–Smoothies! My favorite. Throw frozen strawberries in your blender and continue as usual in creating your favorite smoothie.
-Throw them into pies.
-Strawberry sauce! Blend them up and pour over ice cream, cakes and waffles.
-Strawberry butter. Yup, you heard me right!
-Make strawberry bread.
Here are your beautiful strawberries. Seriously, aren’t they the most loveliest things in the world? I hope one day I can be at least 1% cool and classy as strawberries.
Now you want to wash them, wash them real good.
Then once they are washed, you want to hull them. Basically you want to rip off their green tops and cores. You can do this a variety of ways with special tools, or just a knife. Personally I just use my finger nails to get in there. Then lay them on a cookie sheet and let freeze. Once they are frozen, put them into freezer bags.
Then when you need some strawberries, take them out of your freezer and bask in the glory of them! Use them however you want. I will be making myself one happy strawberry smoothie. 🙂
Kale Kale, the winner of everything cool in 2013. Do you hear all the buzz about kale? What a popular guy. It seems to be the king of greens! One cup of kale contains 36 calories, 5 grams of fiber, and 15% of the daily requirement of calcium and vitamin B6, 40% of magnesium, 180% of vitamin A, 200% of vitamin C, and 1,020% of vitamin K. It is also a good source of minerals copper, potassium, iron, manganese, and phosphorus. Can we say it’s healthy?
So what to do with kale? When you’ve eaten your share of fresh raw kale, let’s figure out ways to preserve it, so you can be eating this vegetable powerhouse for months to come!
I like to make kale cubes, which is basically kale all chopped up, frozen into cubes. It’s all kale, nothing else added in.
What you can do with those frozen kale cubes?
-Smoothies! Again! Want a real pick me up? Throw a kale cube into your next smoothie.
-Defrost and mix into pasta. Warm through.
-Throw a cube or two into any soup or stew. Just a little bit of frozen kale goes a long way in getting your vitamins in!
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious ravioli.
-Defrost and mix with meats to make delicious meatballs!
Kale! You hearty animal you (not really a animal). I destem it. I do this with my hands too, I just rip it off. Maybe I’m the animal here. Then I rip it into pieces to fit it into my food processor. A few pulses later and your once entire food process cup hardly has any kale in it. Kale likes to shrink. Then spoon it out and throw in some ice cube trays. Fill them up to the top. A entire bushel of kale filled up one ice cube tray, so pack it down. Now put into the freezer. Once they’re frozen, poke them out with a fork. I find it works best to let them sit on your counter for a few minutes, then poke them out. They defrost pretty quickly for you to grab one out of the tray. From here you can keep them in the tray and use as you want, or throw them in freezer bags.
Because you packed them in, they stay in cube form nicely.
Basil Who else loves the smell of basil? I love picking fresh basil and putting it in pasta, and especially on pizza! A slice of margarita pizza with basil is the key to my pizza loving heart. But what do you do when you have pounds of basil and you can’t eat 8 pizzas a nights (don’t try this, just believe me). You can dry it! I love dried herbs. Almost 80% of the time if a recipe calls for fresh herbs, I will ignore it and use dried herbs. Why? Because I know the dried herbs are ones I grew, loved and they will taste just as good in the dish! What can you do with dried basil? -Any dish call for fresh basil? You can substitute with dried basil. -Use in any tomato pasta. -Sprinkle over each lasagna layer. -Sprinkle over pizza.
-Use in rices.
-Use in a varieties of stews and soups for extra seasoning.
-Use in pasta salad.
-Sprinkle on garlic bread.
So let’s pick your basil! What you want to do is wash it, then let dry. I do this by putting it on paper towel sheets and then help blotting excess water on top. Let dry completely. Then find a space of your home that you want to smell like basil for the next few weeks. Grab a rubber band and hang on something. We have screws in the top of our loft that we drilled in just for drying herbs. This is at the very front entrance of our loft, so as soon as you walk in… it’s fresh city USA. Then just let dry until they are completely brittle. If the basil seems “fresh” and flexible they aren’t dry enough. You basically want them to the point of if you touched a leaf, it would crack. You can see in the top right of this picture I have some dried oregano ready to go. Then pick the leaves off the plant (do this over a bowl, the leaves are going to fall apart beautifully). Throw in your food processor and you’re done. If you don’t have a food processor, just crumble with your fingers. Now you have dried basil ready for whenever you want!
DIY frozen pesto cubes! Perfect to use for easy dinner recipes!
If you are growing herbs in your garden then right now you might have alot and not sure what to do with them. Do you dry them? Do you use them as is? How about we make delicious pesto and freeze them? Yes, let’s do that! Here we will use our fresh parsley and basil. Just think about in December when it’s freezing out and you’re in a bad mood because your boot has a hole in it and you stepped in a big slush pile. You come home, cranky, boil some pasta. What to put on top.. pesto… from your garden.. oh the summer time memories.. everything feels better now. 🙂
What can you do with pesto besides put in pasta? Use it as a pizza sauce. Marinade chicken or steak or shrimp in it. Use it as a vegetable dip. Make soup. So many options!
Let’s make some pesto and freeze it!
Directions: Blend all ingredients together. Put in ice cube trays, freeze for a few hours. Take out and then package in freezer bags. Can it get more simpler?
From the recipe/ingredients above I made 2.5 batches of it which equaled 6 cups of fresh parsley and 1.5 cups of basil. I also made a quick batch of just basil pesto.
Gather your supplies.
I have 2 bags of walnuts just in case. I totally didn’t need all those but I’m overly prepared (in life). I have so many bottles of soy sauce in the pantry.. just in case.
EASY Ricotta and Tomato Tea Sandwiches that you can make ahead! This easy recipe makes a ricotta garlic mixture to spread on the bread! Use cookie cutters to cut out shapes in the bread - perfect for a afternoon tea party or baby shower!
shake ofsalt and peper
5fresh basil leavesminced
16pieces of whole wheat bread
Add diced tomatoes to a small bowl, add olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix and then cover in the refrigerator, letting it chill for at least 1 hour.
In a separate bowl add ricotta, basil leaves and garlic. Mix so basil and garlic are completely mixed up with the ricotta.
Cut your bread into shapes with a heart cookie cutter.
Spread some ricotta mixture on a slice of bread. Add a small spoonful of the diced tomatoes mixture. Add additional basil leaves on top if desired. Finish with top piece of bread.
Serve and enjoy! Or keep chilled in the refrigerator until the next day.
You want to marinade your tomatoes overnight. Just a little tablespoon of olive oil goes a long way.
Mince your garlic and basil. Smells so good!
Add your ricotta. Store overnight. Tastes so good!
Right before your tea date, get your bread ready. You will basically be able to do one heart per piece of bread.
Well aren’t they lovely…
Now put some ricotta on top of each one.
Top with a fresh basil leaf..
Or a marinated tomato.
Serve fresh or throw in the refrigerator if your friends like to be late (*cough cough*).