Tag Archive | Tomato

Pesto Caprese Pizza


This recipe was inspired by Scott’s and my love for the pesto pasta recipe I already posted and caprese salad. It can be as difficult or easy as you want. If you want to make everything from the dough to the balsamic glaze it will take a little time. However, you can use store bought dough and skip the reduction and it will still be very tasty (and much easier). For the pizza dough, if you want to go homemade and don’t have a recipe yet I like to use this one. ( Mario Batali Pizza Dough ) It usually comes out a bit sticky if you follow the recipe exactly. Just add more flour little by little to help that situation.  This amount of pizza dough usually makes a 12-14″ pizza.


Pizza dough (If homemade you typically need flour, water, dry yeast packet, oil, and salt. See tips above for more info)

Healthy Pesto Sauce

½ cup part skim ricotta

2 tbsp. parmesan

2 oz. fresh basil

1 oz. fresh parsley

1/4 cup pine nuts (optional, tastes the same to me either way)

2 cloves of garlic

Salt and pepper (freshly ground, not that shaker stuff!)

Balsamic Glaze

3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1 tbsp honey

1 tbsp brown sugar


Fresh tomatoes, thinly sliced (sun dried is a good substitute or addition also)

Fresh mozzarella, sliced (go for the best you can afford, your taste buds will appreciate it 🙂 )

Fresh garlic, thinly sliced


1. Prepare your pizza dough (see Tidbits above for further instruction)

2. Prepare the pesto sauce by putting all of the ingredients together in the food processor. It may help to add the herbs a little at a  time, and you may find you need more ricotta.

3. Lightly oil a pizza pan and sprinkle with flour. Then, spread the dough on the pan

4. Spread the pesto sauce evenly on the dough

5. Place sliced tomatoes, sliced mozzarella, and fresh sliced garlic evenly around the pizza.

6.  Bake in oven preheated to 425 deg for 13-18 minutes. (Check frequently because cooking times will vary. When it’s done the crust will be light brown and the mozzarella cheese melted).

7. While the pizza is cooking, begin the glaze.

  1. Heat balsamic vinegar, brown sugar, and honey in smallest saucepan you have on medium-high heat until a boil is reached.
  2. Reduce heat and allow to simmer (whisk frequently) until the mixture becomes thick and gooey and the vinegar is reduced by about half it’s volume.

8. When the pizza is done, drizzle the balsamic reduction (however much or little you want) and serve immediately

Satchel’s Salad


Satchel’s famous salad recreated! Hope you enjoy.

The salad is more about how it is assembled then the exact ratios, if you mix all together, all the nuts will fall to the bottom and it will be sorta soggy and mushy.

This recipe makes alot, so I would halve it or even quarter it?


1 granny smith apple, diced
1/4-1/2 cup carrots
1/8 red onion, minced
2 tomatoes, seeded and blotted of excess moisture, diced
2-3 cups mixed greens (spring mix)
1/4 cucumber peeled, seeded, and diced (optional)
1/8 cup pecans, chopped

1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup salted, roasted sunflower seeds

1/4-1/2 cup Pecorino Romano, grated on finest setting possible


1/4 cup balsamic
1/2 cup olive oil (more if needed – i like it pretty vinegar-y)
1 tsp mustard
1 tsp honey

For the Salad:

  1. Mix apple, carrot, onion, tomato, mixed greens, cucumber, and pecans in a bowl, lightly tossing.
  2. Top with almonds and sunflower seeds on top.
  3. Top with the cheese.

For the Vinaigrette:

  1. Whisk all together until all the ingredients combine well into a smooth dressing.
  2. Drizzle dressing over the top.

Spinach and Chickpeas


This is a very easy, hearty, vegetarian, healthy dish that gets tastier as time goes on, all the flavors melding in the refrigerator and perfect for sopping up with some warm bread. It is a very forgiving dish, with the addition of several spices are optional if you can find them or have them, or even high/low temperatures or longer/shorter cooking time barely mattering.

Chickpeas are my favorite bean, so tasty yet I believe a pretty well liked ingredient (hummus!). Spinach is a bit more iffy, but in this dish it provides a bit of green to the more substantial chickpea and the sweet/tart of tomato, not so spinach-y. If you can’t find smoked paprika don’t worry, regular paprika is great as well, but if you can find it… yum!

A must with baguette, country boule (99 cents at Whole Foods), or even some pita bread.

Did I mention how healthy this dish is? Enjoy!


2 tbl olive oil, divided
1 pound spinach, washed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp of red pepper flakes (start with less if you don’t like heat)
1/4 tsp cayenne (leave out if don’t like spice)
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp paprika (I used hungarian, would be interesting to use sweet)
2 tomatoes (I used plum, any kind will do), chopped
1 15-ounce cans of chickpeas, with some liquid reserved
1 cup tomato sauce
1 tbl red wine vinegar/rice vinegar/white vinegar
1 tsp smoked paprika* if using
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Lemon juice, to taste


(The amounts on the spices – cumin/red pepper/cayenne/paprika/oregano/smoked paprika are all approximations, please spice to taste)

  1. Heat large saucepan on medium heat and once heated put 1 tbl. olive oil and spinach.
  2. Cook the spinach, rendering liquid and adding a bit of salt, stirring often til wilted, set aside.
  3. Add 1 tbl. olive oil and sautee garlic, tomatoes, cumin, oregano, paprika until tomatoes are starting to make a lovely little sauce.
  4. Add in chickpeas with some reserved liquid, tomato sauce, pinch of salt/pepper, bring to a boil and reduce to a bubbling simmer until the sauce reduces, stirring often, saucing the chickpea, about 10-15 minutes. Season to taste salt and pepper. (During this step, I add spices if I like a more bold flavor, if the sauce is a bit tart from the tomatoes, add more oregano, it will round out the flavor and bring that bit of sweetness).
  5. Add spinach to mixture with the vinegar (will brighten the flavor of the dish), check again for salt/pepper, and continuing reducing on bubbling simmer til the chickpeas and spinach are just coated with the spiced tomato sauce, about 5 minutes.
  6. Turn off the heat, add the smoked paprika, and spritz with lemon.
  7. Enjoy with some warm bread!




Tidbits: This chili is better when aged. What do I mean by this? The longer the flavors mingle, the better it gets! As leftovers, this chili is tops. If you can, try to make it at least a day ahead of time. You can warm it up in a crock pot for parties. To keep it vegetarian – just add more beans or vegetarian crumbles 🙂 Also, I’m not a bean fan, so I only add one can with its juice. If you just love beans, you can add as many as you want. Just make sure to drain all but ONE can.

3 lbs. of ground meat (can be turkey,  can be beef, can be sausage, can be vegeterian crumbles, can be a mix of all of the above)

1 15 oz. can of spicy chili beans

2 28 oz. cans of diced tomatoes with juice

1 6 oz. can of tomato paste

mustard (any kind, I use yellow. Make sure to get enough to completely cover the meat.)

1 large onion

1 green bell pepper

1 red bell pepper

4 cubes of beef bouillon

1/2 cup of beer

3 Tbsp – 1/4 cup chili powder (this one is really up to your preference)

1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1 Tbsp or more of minced garlic

1 Tbsp dried oregano

2 heaping Tbsp of cumin

2 tsp. of hot pepper sauce (I use Frank’s)

1 tsp. of dried basil

1 tsp. salt

1 tsp. of black pepper

1 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 tsp. paprika

3 Tbsp. brown sugar

Cheddar Cheese


1. Brown the meat together. Drain excess grease.

2. Squirt mustard on top of meat. Seriously, squirt until it’s completely covered.

3. Add all the other ingredients. Stir till evenly mixed. Heat to low, and allow to simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes. I like to simmer mine for at least 4 hours.

4. Stir occasionally. Adjust seasoning to taste.

5. Once it’s finished, use it to top hotdogs, french fries, corn chips, etc. Make sure to add plenty of sharp cheddar cheese on top!

More Tidbits: Seriously, with each day that goes by, this chili tastes even better. Chili is all about the seasonings you use! This is an easy to pull-together recipe, so maybe not the most authentic. Feel free to add whatever hot peppers/vegetables you like. Some favorites: okra, corn, green chilis. If you feel guilty for eating something so rich, go ahead and eat it with a salad. That’s what I do. You can adjust the spiciness by adding more or less cayenne and paprika. Chili powder is more for taste than anything!

Tomato Mozzarella Caprese

Tidbits:  I don’t ever measure any of this stuff, so the amounts of ingredients are up to you, these are just suggestions. Also, I found “on the vine grape tomatoes” which were amazing. But you can use any kind of tomato you prefer (cherry tomatoes, slices of plum tomato, etc).

8-10 grape tomatoes

2-4 oz. fresh mozarella

2 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil

2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar

1 tsp. italian seasoning

1/2 tsp. dry basil, or a few leaves of chopped fresh basil

1 clove fresh garlic, minced or finely chopped

Salt & pepper (freshly ground, not that shaker stuff!)


1.      Put tomatoes in bowl, and add desired amount of cheese. I use a melon baller to scoop the cheese into small balls.

2.      Add the Extra Virgin Olive Oil, seasonings, garlic, and salt & pepper and gently mix.

3.      Allow to sit in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes for best flavor.

4.      When you are ready to serve, add the balsamic vinegar and mix again.