Bear with me – I am trying to make my recipes printable so you don’t have to print out 10 pages of wordy blog or splatter your laptop with sauce while you’re cooking. Btw: this is the EASIEST tomato sauce I’ve ever heard of or made!
This post is dedicated to my dear friend Meghan. She and Briar stopped by a few days ago. She’s my inspiration for the kale chips. How did she do it? She suggested, “You should try kale chips.” So I did.
G was watching college football so I thought I’d test these “chips” on him as we are eating healthier these days. Most of the time.
Kale. I used to be scared of kale. Not only did I not like the looks of it, but I didn’t know what to do with it. There are different kinds of kale. Some are bitter, some are curly, some are tasty raw & some aren’t. It was overwhelming! Lately though, I’ve been making dishes with kale and it’s really yummy & easy to prepare!
I looked at 4 or 5 recipes for the chips online and they were all the same basic idea:
Coat potato chip-sized pieces of kale in olive oil and bake. Salt to taste.
Mine turned out excellent. (Unlike some things I make which are not posted.) Here’s what I did:
1 bunch kale (curly is recommended but any kind will do)
2 tbsp olive oil
I planned to use the olive oil in spray form so as to go sparingly on the fat but then I said, “What the hay!” and dumped olive oil in. You’ll see. I don’t recommend you do that.
**PREHEAT OVEN OR TOASTER OVEN TO 350**
1. Cut the thick stem out of each leaf.
2. Cut or tear stemless leaves into potato chip-sized pieces.
3. Wash the kale. I am one of those people who is too lazy to wash veg that I plan on cooking because I believe the heat will kill anything on it. But this time I obeyed and I did see some actual earth (dirt) come off. I used a spinner. You can just rinse in a colander and dry with a clean kitchen towel if you don’t have a spinner. But you probably knew that. I add details like that for people who don’t cook or get anxiety about not having all the kitchen tools.
4. Toss in olive oil. I rinsed out & used the spinner bowl to save on dishes! I HATE doing dishes but I love making food. So I try to be strategic. I dumped olive oil in so who knows how much I added? I know how much: TOO MUCH. I would use 2 tbsp next time. Toss to coat leaves.
How much did I pour in there? 2 cups?? A quart?
I tossed the leaves with salad tongs.
5. Spread on a cookie sheet. Some people suggest using parchment paper but since I don’t know what parchment paper is I ignored that advice.
6. Set timer for 12 minutes.
Did I really need a picture of the timer? Heck yeah!
7. See what everyone else is doing.
8. Remove to a plate with paper towels, salt to taste & enjoy right away!
Let’s see how the meatatarian liked them:
He’s a phony. I don’t trust him a bit. Let’s go to someone who can’t tell a lie!
She likes them!! She really likes them!
These are really good but I could’ve eaten a lot more. I would make 2 bunches but they must be eaten right away!
1. seasoned salt instead of sea salt
2. soy sauce mixed with the oil instead of salt
3. a dash of balsamic vinegar before you pop in oven
ENJOY!!! If you have any variations on this please let me know! This recipe proves my belief that almost any veg tastes great coated in olive oil & baked. Stay tuned for Toaster Oven Brussel Sprouts…
Did I mention how many tomatoes I have right now? What’s a person to do with all this bounty? Go to the farmer’s market and buy MORE cherry tomatoes b/c they’re such a good deal! And that’s just what I did.
Now, besides popping them in my mouth and eating one after another, what to do with them? Somebody send me this recipe for Giada De Laruentils’ Pasta Ponza. For some reason I keep calling it Pasta Ponzi but that’s not right. Anyway, I like this recipe because it’s easy, it involves the staple of my kids’ diet: noonels (otherwise known as noodle/pasta) and a ton of cherry tomatoes. Plus, I had all the ingredients handy.
These tomatoes are AMAZING!!! Not the tasteless things I get at Trader Joe’s which are imported etc. These are from a local farm and sooooo sweet & yummy!
Maddie ate some while I prepared them. Bea emptied the drawer of plastic containers & lids all over the floor. Then she leaned against the drawer closing it on her hand. Then she shrieked. When she was done shrieking, she went over & did it again.
- 4 c cherry tomatoes (or grape or whatEV you can get your hands on!)
- olive oil
- 1 lb pasta – the original recipe recommends tubular pasta but I didn’t have it so I used something curly
- 1/2 c breadcrumbs (seasoned Italian)
- 1/4 c capers (rinsed & drained)
- fresh ground black pepper
- 1 1/4 c Pecorino Romano cheese (grated)
- 1/4 c chopped Italian parsley (I totally forgot this as you can see)
1. Set oven to 375 and grease a baking dish. I used a glass lasagna dish & sprayed with olive oil spray.
2. Cut all tomatoes in half. Try not to eat half of each one while doing that.
These tomatoes are good looking!
3. Toss in a large bowl (you can re-use this bowl at the end – save bowls!!) with the capers, 1 tbsp olive oil, 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper. I’m not a stickler for measuring the oil, salt or pepper and you needn’t be either!
I just realized this looks kind of gross with the salted capers. Like hairy little eyeballs. Or something. Note to self: spoon salt to the side in a tidy pile next time.
Stir to coat tomatoes evenly. Much better!
4. Spoon into greased baking pan.
Sprinkle breadcrumbs on top of tomatoes. Drizzle or spray olive oil on top. Bake for 30-35 minutes.
5. About 15 or 20 minutes into the baking, boil your water for the pasta.
NOTE: I forgot this both times but save 1 or 2 cups of the pasta water before you dump the pasta! You can use this later if your pasta needs it.
Some people can’t wait the 15-20 minutes remaining and have to be fed instant macaroni & cheese PRONTO.
And they’re STILL not happy.
6. Take out your baked tomato mixture.
I probably could’ve used more olive oil drizzled on top of the breadcrumbs.
7. After saving 1-2 c of your hot pasta water, dump your pasta out. Combine in the big bowl you used earlier with the baked tomatoes mixture. Add cheese & stir gently. Add some of that water you saved if your pasta needs it (if you think it’s too dry.) Add parsley if you remember to!
This is SO tasty! Both the kids liked it though not that night. Here’s what they did while we were waiting for the pasta.
and They did enjoy it for lunch the next day. It’s really easy and a lot tastier than jar sauce (though it does make more dishes to clean than jar sauce…) As always, I’d love to hear feedback below if you try this dish!
All of the sudden I have a lot of tomatoes in the backyard!
By a lot I mean about 3lbs which actually isn’t that much. But to me it’s a TON! Finally an opportunity to make tomato sauce as these babies won’t last forever.
Since anyone who’s home with one, two or more kids alone all day knows, time is of the essence when cooking, I found a 15 minute tomato sauce online and then VOILA I tried it! Even if you don’t have kids this won’t tie you up in the kitchen for hours. It DID take me longer than 15 minutes due to several adorable little interuptions (if you think hair-pulling, sitting on someone’s back or hurling a plastic cup at someone’s head is cute in any way). If they’re not doing that, you’re entertaining them whilst trying to cut X’s on the bottom of tomatoes.
Here’s what you need:
Actually, all you really need is some olive oil, tomatoes, salt & pepper. The rest is optional!
- About 2 lbs tomatoes
- olive oil (better have a bottle!)
- 2-3 cloves garlic, minced (OPTIONAL)
- 1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar (OPTIONAL)
- salt (to taste)
- pepper (to taste)
- fresh basil (OPTIONAL, but highly recommended!)
- crushed red pepper (OPTIONAL)
1. Boil a big pot of water or big enough to cover your tomatoes.
2. While that’s heating up – cut X’s in the bottom of all your tomatoes.
That might be a bigger X than is needed.
3. When water is really hot or has just started boiling, turn it off and put all the tomatoes in for about 2 minutes.
4. Ladle/spoon out the tomatoes into a colander where you can run some cold water over them to stop them cooking. (SAVE your hot water!!! You can use it for your pasta!!)
5. Peel the skins off (they should come off easily) and gently squeeze the seeds/juice out of each tomato. I did this over the sink so that the juice/seeds went down the garbage disposal. Don’t worry if you don’t get all the seeds out! You won’t die. And no, a tomato plant won’t grow in your stomach. Mash up the pulp with your hands and drop in a bowl. Hopefully you WASHED YOUR HANDS thoroughly before doing this but knowing you, you did!
6. Heat some olive oil in a skillet on the stove. Saute minced garlic on medium heat for a minute or so.
My kids started fighting and I burned my garlic. It still tasted good but burnt garlic is not ideal.
Add the mashed tomatoes. Stir. When you notice the mash separating from its juices, spoon the mash out back into that same bowl. (I hate washing dishes and try to use as few bowls as possible. I STILL end up with a ton of dishes though so obviously I’m doing something wrong.) Make sure your remaining liquid is bubbling but not crazily!! Just cooking away. Give it a stir every once in a while. When you notice it’s reduced enough that dragging the spoon through it leaves a trail, you are almost done! (I got this tip from the website with the original recipe and it’s very helpful.)
Add some salt & black pepper to taste. If your tomatoes aren’t tasty, add the 1/2 TBSP balsamic. If they’re really tasty ones you probably won’t need it. Add anything else you like: crushed red pepper, oregano, etc.
7. Turn that water you saved back on to boil your pasta. What pasta should you use? Whatever you have on hand! I like this kind of sauce with spaghetti and since I had some, oh boy!
8. Add the mashed tomatoes back to the liquid (that has now been reduced to a tasty pasty. (Nice!)
9. Taste. Does it need anything else? Add it!
10. When your pasta’s done – toss with sauce & some chiffonaded basil (correct usage??) If you don’t know what I am talking about, you need to watch more TV! Or just read this link about how to chiffonade basil. If you don’t have time or don’t give a damn, just chop your basil leaves long & thin.
Or, better yet, just throw in some full leaves!
Toss & put on a plate!
YUM!! This was soooooo fresh, tasty & sweet! I think my tomatoes are peaking right now. I did sprinkle a little fresh parmesan atop mine after I put the camera away but I’m sure you already thought of that.
I’d love to read about how it went for you if you try it!
why don’t I put the oven on to 375 for an hour or so?
What was I thinking? My friend posted a recipe for quinoa stuffed squash on my Facebook wall (DANG another plug for Zuckerberg! You haven’t won YET, Zuckerberg!) and, having only multi-colored peppers (on sale at Ralph’s for $1 each!) I decided to stuff some peppers. All I thought about was the lightness, the sweet & the crunch. Not the HEAT.
But I digress… these came out AWESOME!!
After being inspired by my friend’s squash version, I did use a recipe from Christie’s Corner to which I made some changes.
Here’s what you need:
(I always seem to forget at least one ingredient in the ingredients picture!)
First, pre-heat oven to 375.
2 tbsp oil (canola, olive – whatever you have!)
1 onion (finely chopped)
1-2 stalks celery (finely chopped)
2 tbsp chili powder
1 tbsp cumin
1 tsp oregano
2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
1 14-oz can diced tomatoes
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup frozen or 2 ears fresh corn (if fresh, cut off cob)
1/2 cup grated carrots (or whatever you can bear grating!)
3/4 c quinoa
1.5 c vegetable broth
1 c grated cheese (swiss/gruyere if you can find it!)
Heat oil in sauce pan on medium-high heat.
Add chopped onions/celery.
Watch 2 year old rearrange silverware drawer with sticky hands.
When onions & celery are soft & translucent, add spices. It will get pasty & dry-ish so have your can of tomatoes ready to dump in! The original recipe said to use a 28 oz can but I didn’t read the directions so I used a 14.5 or whatever those smaller cans are. Do whatever you want! If you go for more tomatoes, it says to drain them first but I wouldn’t.
NOTE: Do NOT cut your corn off the cob onto a FLAT PLATE unless you feel like washing the kitchen floor afterwards.
Who is holding that corn up?
Add black beans, carrots, corn & 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa.
Now, stir it and if it seems to “dry” i.e. there’s no way in $#@@ that quinoa is going to cook (for those who don’t cook quinoa it is a grain that needs water the way rice does so think about that kind of liquid), add 1.5 cups of veggie broth. If yours has a lot of liquid, hold off on the broth! Mine needed liquid so I added the broth.
If you’ve never cooked quinoa, how do you know when it’s done? Easy – it will have these tiny white “threads” coming out of each grain. You can also taste it and I recommend you do taste it! It should have a pleasing crunchiness. Not to be confused with a bad crunchiness, signaling the need for longer cooking time. The threads look like this:
Now, prep your peppers. The author of Christie’s Corner cuts her peppers sideways so they won’t fall over but I just can’t make that radical move. Instead, I cut just the tips off the bottoms of the peppers to make them flat. See, like this?
Don’t go crazy with this! You don’t want holes in the bottom or your filling will come out. But now that I think about it, who cares? It’ll be good and the filling won’t come out b/c it’s standing up anyway.
See how it stands up:
I didn’t tell you this but you should’ve cut the tops off the peppers first. Don’t cut too close to the stem or it’ll fall out of that pretty ring. Or do. It really doesn’t matter!
Scoop out the seeds/innards & throw into the compost! (If you have a yard & want to start composting – let me know!)
Hold onto the cute little tops!
Now add 1 c grated cheese. I can’t recommend the swiss/gruyere combination cheese enough. The gruyere has so much flavor that you don’t need that much which keeps the dish healthier and the swiss keeps it from being too rich/overpowering. Add salt & pepper to taste & stir really well.
I tasted the filling and didn’t find it spicy enough for my tastebuds but it was plenty spicy for the little monsters. So I separated about 1/3 of the filling into a bowl which I saved for the monsters. To the other 2/3rds (which I intended to stuff the peppers with) I added chopped jar jalapenos. Obviously you can add any kind of heat you like/have! Fresh is great but I am addicted to these hot jalapenos in a jar that I get at Ralph’s. Mezzetta Deli-Sliced HOT Jalapenos. Mmmmmmm…
Now stuff those peppers & put the lids on.
Stand them upright in a baking dish that has been sprayed with cooking oil. Cover loosely with aluminum foil. Bake about 25 minutes. Take out of oven, remove lids & add grated cheese to tops of peppers, put back in for 10-15 minutes.
Take out & serve. These would be good with some crusty bread. Maddie ate hers with a spoon with the pepper rings as a side. YUM I can’t believe how much flavor these have and they are a very light yet satisfying dish for the summer.
As a main course – probably 2 peppers per adult. I had a LOT of extra filling but it’s really good the next day too! Enjoy and please comment on my blog if you make this recipe especially if you altered the recipe at all. Thank you!