Spinach and Tomato Tortellini

After doing an Internet search, I was not able to find a recipe which comes close to how I have prepared this dish several times.  It is quite tasty and has gone through some variations in the past years. I have finally settled on this method which produces a very delicious quick and easy dinner.

I use microwave bacon to start, which immediately speeds up the cooking process. In a large 10 inch deep saucepan, I heat 5 strips of bacon with just a teaspoon of olive oil.  Remove the bacon and set aside to cut into pieces.  In the pan, brown one white chopped onion.

   

Next, add 1/2 of one frozen box of spinach, which has been thawed and drained.  And, also 1/2 bag of frozen tortellini, which have been thawed, but not yet cooked. Stir to combine and heat slightly.  Then add, one canned of drained diced tomatoes.

Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Then add bacon pieces and cook and additional five minutes.

Top with Parmesan cheese and parsley flakes. Serve and enjoy.

more green tomatoes

When the tomato growing season ended, I had more than my share this year of green tomatoes.  I happen to love them and rarely see them in the marketplace.  In fact, I made two trips to two different farmer’s markets just to look for large-sized green tomatoes.  No luck there either.

So, I decided to just use my harvest of them and bake them for a green tomato sort of jam to eat with toast.  I simply sliced and baked the tomatoes on a sheet pan at 350 degrees for about 25 minutes, turning them half way through the process.

Next, I just added a tablespoon or two of sugar and some lemon peel shavings.  I mixed these ingredients and have been sampling them over a period of days on crackers and toast.  I actually warm up a few tablespoons of the mixture in the microwave for about 30 seconds each serving.

I love them, and really feel that the baking preserves their texture so much more than cooking them in a sauce pot.  Harvest season is so much fun for experimentation.

 

appetizer presentation

An easy appetizer menu is one that is handy for summer entertaining.  Here is a quick appetizer that looks perfect and takes five minutes to prepare 20-30 bites.

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I use grape tomatoes and Monterey Jack cheese cubes.  I usually purchase in the block, and cut my own to size.  It is nice if the cube size is similar to the tomatoes.  Alternatives would be to use feta or swiss, or even pitted olives.

Super quick and easy and fun for summer!

roasted tomato soup with grilled cheese croutons

I felt “Fall” in the air this past weekend in Michigan.  I must admit, I love this season the best of all of the seasons of the year.  The brisk mornings and the changing leaves make the season so comfortable for me.  I have been looking at many recipes over the past few weeks just getting ready for comfort food season.  I found this one in Jamie Deen’s cookbook titled Good Food.  It felt perfect for dinner last night, since I still had a whole bowl of tomatoes from the garden ready to be used in a recipe.

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I have made homemade tomato soup several times before and have posted recipes on the blog, but not for roasted tomato soup.  I must say that the tomatoes had an extra layer of flavor, since they were combined with the roasted onions and garlic.  The soup was delicious, making extra for lunches and to freeze for another colder fall evening dinner.

I loved the grilled cheese croutons.  They were delicious in the soup and were such a great garnish.  My husband had an extra grilled cheese on a plate, since the croutons were just not enough for his meal. The sandwiches could also be cut into strips and served with the soup, for dunking.

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to make the soup recipe:

Gather the following ingredients for the recipe–3 pounds of fresh tomatoes, or a mixture of fresh for roasting and boxed, one Vidalia onion, 6 cloves of fresh garlic, 3 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tablespoon honey, Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, 3 1/2 cups of chicken stock and dill.

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  Slice the tomatoes in quarters, and the large onion into chunks.  Separate the garlic into cloves. Place all on a heavy sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Mix well together.  Roast in the oven for 35 minutes.

Remove from the oven and take out the garlic cloves.  Smash 2-3 cloves depending on their size and return to the pan,  discarding  the rest.  Place all in a blender to puree in batches.  Mix any browned bits from the baking pan into the chicken stock. Using about 2 cups of stock, add to the soup pan on the stove.  Add the tomato mixture from the blender along with other boxed tomatoes as needed for the recipe volume.

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Season as needed.  Simmer for at least 25 minutes. Add the rest of the stock to incorporate during the cooking time.  Stir in the dill during the last minutes of cooking to taste.  Or use as a garnish on the soup when serving. I also used fresh basil from the garden as a garnish.

 

to make the grilled cheese croutons:

Prepare a sheet pan with cooking spray.  Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Using margarine, spread one side of each slice of bread making a sandwich.  For 4 sandwiches, that would be eight slices of bread.  Place butter side down, one slice for each sandwich.  Add shredded cheddar cheese or other cheese slices.  Place the second slice of sandwich bread on top, butter side up.  Bake in the oven for a total of 20 minutes.  I usually bake 12 minutes on one side and flip the sandwiches.

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Cut into slices, strips, or cubes for croutons.  Delicious and so perfect for Fall.

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open faced tomato sandwiches

all of my summer tomatoes have ripened and for the past few weeks, i have been making a variety of recipes to take advantage of their delicious homegrown taste. this past week, i made open-faced tomato sandwiches. this process is really not even a recipe, but just a personal preference on how to make a tomato sandwich.
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one of the best steps of the sandwich, is to grow your own tomato. if it is an heirloom tomato, then the sandwich is even better. i toast my slice of bread, add a smear of low-fat mayonnaise, a bit of crumbled crispy bacon, some fresh lettuce leaves, and then the sliced tomato. sometimes i even top with some sea salt and freshly ground pepper.

served with a side salad, this is one of my favorite “end of the summer” meals to enjoy for lunch or dinner.

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late summer in the garden — green tea goddess hand soap


after an August vacation week, i returned home to find many of my tomatoes ripe and ready for our next dinner.  although the hot summer sun in Michigan could never compare to our week in Florida, the tomatoes look beautifully colored reOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAd. several are still developing, but my largest harvest so far this year has taken place.  i collected six tomatoes and one pepper today.

i spent just a short time in the garden this morning looking over all of my plants that i had abandoned for one week. i do have an in ground sprinkler system for my lawn and garden, so they were well watered. however, the day-to-day maintenance that a gardOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAen requires, calls for a few hours of work in the coming days.

i was so pleased to have received a lovely soap sample from Keomi Skincare for my after the garden clean-up today.  the fragrance of the green tea goddess soap sample is filled with the scent of clary sage, oranges and cloves.  the soap provided such a fragrant hand-washing.  Keomi Skincare products do not contain sulfates, parabens, artificial fragrance, artificial colors and are cruelty free. oils of olive, grape seed, coconut, palm, avocado and cocoa butter are some of the other ingredients listed on my hand-wrapped soap.

the hand-made soaps are crafted in a cold-processed method and provide wonderful aromatherapy each time they are being used.  for a gardener, like myself, i love the fresh herbal scents and soft feel of my hands after using this product.

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the scent is not overpowering, but so fresh and pure.  the company sells their products on amazon.com  and offers free samples.  i encourage every one who is a gardener to check out their offer. i am very pleased with the quality of this soap.  for more information, please check out this link:

Soap

http://www.amazon.com/ORGANIC-NATURAL-HANDMADE-Aromatherapy-Grade/dp/B00H3WGNA4/ref=aag_m_pw_dp?ie=UTF8&m=A393P9KKOLE7QO#cm_cr_dpwidget
I received one or more of the products mentioned above for free using Tomoson.com. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will be good for my readers.

tomato cheese bruschetta

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appetizer time.  here is an old standby that i haven’t made in years.  toast some crusty bread with seasoned garlic butter for about ten minutes.  add some mozzarella cheese and tomato topping in a jar.  i sprinkled the tops with chopped parsley and baked at 350 degrees for another ten minutes.  delicious!

this can be served as an appetizer to a pasta meal or along with a baked fish entrée.  the garlic flavor is a nice match for the tomato topping. the cheese is a perfect addition.

this is a ideal appetizer to serve at any type of party, including any sporting events.  other options could be to use Gruyère or Monterey jack cheese for a different taste profile.

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