Tomato Soup

Ingredients:
3 pounds ripe plum tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons good olive oil
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
6 garlic cloves, minced
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 (28-ounce) canned plum tomatoes, with their juice
4 cups fresh basil leaves, packed
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 quart chicken stock or water

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Toss together the tomatoes, 1/4 cup olive oil, salt, and pepper. Spread the tomatoes in 1 layer on a baking sheet and roast for 45 minutes.

In an 8-quart stockpot over medium heat, sautee the onions and garlic with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, the butter, and red pepper flakes for 10 minutes, until the onions start to brown. Add the canned tomatoes, basil, thyme, and chicken stock. Add the oven-roasted tomatoes, including the liquid on the baking sheet. Bring to a boil and simmer uncovered for 40 minutes. Use an immersion blender to puree. Taste for seasonings. Serve hot or cold.

from the Barefoot Contessa

Spicy Greens and White Bean Stew

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 anchovies, minced
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
2 slices bacon, finely diced
1 sweet onion, diced
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound of uncooked white beans, soaked for at least 4 hours or overnight
6 cups water
4 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 parmesan cheese rind
1 bunch of kale, stems removed and chopped (about 3 cups)
1 bunch of flat-leaf spinach (about 2 cups)
2 cups of arugula greens, chopped
shave parmesan for topping
a crusty baguette for serving

Directions:
Heat a large stock pot over medium heat and add the olive oil. Add the anchovies and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes, stirring well, and saute until the anchovies melt into the oil. Add in the bacon, onion, salt, pepper and paprika and toss to coat. Cook until the bacon crisps and the onion softens, about 6 to 8 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for another minute. Add in the soaked beans, water, stock and parmesan rind. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are falling apart, most of the water is absorbed and the mixture is thick and creamy. I simmered mine covered for about 1.5 hours, then took the lid off for the remaining time. If at any time the stew seems to be drying out, add more water or stock.

Use a potato mashed and smash some of the beans to give the mixture a thicker consistency. If it seems too thick, you can add a bit of water or stock – however much you’d like to get to the consistency you desire. Stir in the kale, spinach and arugula. Toss in the remaining pepper flakes. Cook over low heat, stirring until the greens are wilted, about 5 minutes. Taste and season as desired, adding more pepper flakes, salt and pepper if you’d like.

Serve immediately with shaved parmesan some crusty bread!

Peach Caprese Salad

Ingredients:
Dressing:
Juice and zest of 1 lime
1 tablespoon champagne or white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon honey
½ teaspoon salt
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Salad:
2 (4-ounce) balls fresh, water-packed mozzarella
4 ripe peaches, unpeeled, each cut into 8 wedges
½ cup fresh basil leaves

Directions:
To prepare dressing, combine lime juice, zest, vinegar, water, honey, and salt. Slowly whisk in olive oil and set aside.
Cut cheese into 1-inch pieces and gently toss with peaches and basil leaves.

Whisk mint into dressing and toss about 2 tablespoons (or more to taste) with salad. Season with freshly cracked pepper and serve.

7 Layer Greek Dip

Ingredients:
1 8-oz. package cream cheese, softened (I used low-fat) NOTE: use plain Greek yogurt
1 tsp. dill weed or Greek seasoning (salt free–go for a mix that just has herbs)
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
2 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 c. hummus
1 c. seeded, diced cucumbers
1 c. seeded, diced cherry tomatoes
1/2 c. chopped Kalamata olives
1/3 c. chopped green onions (about 3 green onions completely chopped)
1/2 c. crumbled Feta cheese
1/8-1/4 c. minced fresh parsley

With an electric mixer, combine the cream cheese, seasoning, garlic, and lemon juice until light and fluffy. Spread in the bottom of a pie plate or a small, shallow baking dish. Then spread a layer of hummus. In order, create layers by sprinkling the cucumbers, tomatoes, olives, onions, Feta cheese, and parsley.

Cover with plastic wrap and chill for at least 2 hours. Serve with pita chips, fresh vegetables, and/or flatbread

Greek Couscous Salad

Ingredients:
1 bag or box pearled couscous
diced cherry tomatoes
diced kalamata olives
diced English cucumber
thinly sliced spinach
diced red bell pepper
diced red onion
feta crumbled
1/2 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
juice of half a lemon
1 garlic clove minced
salt and pepper

Directions:
Cook Couscous according to box.

Chop all veggies and place in large mixing bowl. Add cooled couscous to veggies. Mix together olive oil and next 4 ingredients. Pour over couscous mixture. Add feta and toss all together. Best served room temperature.

Feel free to double dressing if you think you salad needs more.

Chicken and Beef Fajitas

Ingredients:
1 whole beef flank steak
1 whole chicken (brined overnight)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1/3 cup Lime Juice, Fresh Squeezed
3 cloves Garlic, Minced
1 Tablespoon Cumin
1 Tablespoon Chili Powder
1/2 teaspoon Red Pepper Flakes
1 teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 whole Medium Onions, Halved And Sliced
1 whole Red Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Orange Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Green Bell Pepper, Sliced
1 whole Yellow Bell Pepper, Sliced
Oil, For Frying
Flour Tortillas, Warmed
Cheese (grated Cheddar/jack Or Crumbled Queso Fresco)
Salsa
Sour Cream
Cilantro Leaves

Directions:
In a dish, mix together olive oil, Worcestershire, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, red pepper flakes, salt, pepper, and sugar until combined. Pour half of the marinade into a separate dish. In one dish, place the flank steak, turning it over to coat. In the second dish, place all the veggies, turning to coat. Cover the dishes with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours.

Smoke chicken (with beer can) on grill for ~2 hours; grill steak until cooked.

Prepare tortillas, salsa, sour cream, and cilantro.

Heat a heavy skillet over medium-high heat and drizzle in some oil. Add the veggies and cook them for a few minutes, until they’re cooked but still slightly firm and have nice black/brown pieces. Remove to a plate and set aside.

(adapted from Pioneer Woman)

Lemon Ricotta Blueberry Muffins

Ingredients:
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup ricotta cheese, low fat
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
zest of 3 lemons
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1/2-3/4 cup fresh blueberries
Turbinado sugar for topping

Directions:
Preheat oven to 375°. Place 12 muffin-cup liners in muffin cups and set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Make a well in center.

In a separate bowl, combine ricotta, water, lemon juice, olive oil, zest, vanilla extract and egg.

Add the wet to dry mixture and stir just until moist.

Fill each muffin cup half way. Add about 4 blueberries to each and then top it off until it’s about 3/4 or all the way full. Sprinkle turbinado sugar over the muffins.

Bake for 16 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

Cool 5 minutes in pan on a wire rack.

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Ingredients for Wraps:
1 pound ground chicken or ground turkey
8 scallions, white and green part chopped
1 (8oz) can water chestnuts, drained, rinsed and chopped fine
1 red bell pepper, chopped fine
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2½ tablespoons hoisin sauce, see shopping tips
1 tablespoon ginger (from a jar) or fresh grated ginger
1 tablespoon water
2 teaspoons sesame oil
1 large head butter lettuce, wash, dried and leaves separated

Ingredients for Dipping Sauce:
¼ cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ tablespoon ginger (from a jar) or fresh minced ginger
1 teaspoon sesame oil
½ teaspoon garlic (from a jar) or fresh minced garlic

Instructions
In a large pan, brown the ground chicken over medium-high heat, breaking up the pieces. Pour into a colander, in the sink and drain fat. Return chicken to pan. When cool enough to handle, break up the chicken pieces until minced.

Add the scallions, water chestnuts, red pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, water, and sesame oil. Cook for a few minutes until the scallions and red pepper are soft. Keep warm.

In a small bowl, add all the dipping sauce ingredients and mix well.

To assemble each chicken wrap: Spoon about ⅓ cup of chicken filling onto one lettuce leaf and roll it up, if desired. Serve with dipping sauce on the side. This sauce is quite strong. You’ll only need 1 teaspoon of sauce per wrap. You can also set up the components on individual plates and serve family style. Let everyone make their own wrap.

Lentil and Chickpea Salad

Ingredients:
4 small handfuls of spinach leaves, divided
1 can of lentils, drained and rinsed
1 can of garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1 English cucumber, quartered & sliced
1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
4 small handfuls of fresh arugula, divided
Shaved parmesan cheese
Ground pepper

Dressing:
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 1/2 tablespoons of dijon mustard (I used a dijon/horseradish mustard)
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Juice of one lemon
1/2 cup olive oil
salt + pepper to taste

Directions:
If you want to set this up in a mason jar, I would suggest using a smaller, but wide jar. You don’t want too tall & narrow or else it’ll be hard to get the fork in. If you don’t have a mason jars you can always layer this in a salad bowl. The other option is to have all the ingredients placed in separate bowls and have your guests build their own. You’ve got options.

One salad at a time, start with the spinach. Then layer a few spoonfuls of lentils and garbanzo beans.
Stack slices of cucumber, and then add a handful of tomato halves. Top with fresh arugula.

In case there are any dairy allergies, you can keep the cheese on the side. If not, add the parmesan and some ground pepper – ties all the ingredients together nicely.

To make the dressing: In a small bowl, add garlic cloves, mustard, apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and mix together. Continue to whisk, while you pour in the olive oil. Season with salt + pepper.

(from With Style & Grace blog)

Goat Cheese and Tomato Tarts

Ingredients:
1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
Good olive oil
4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tablespoons dry white wine
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves

Directions:
Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.

Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.

Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.