Tag Archives: basil

Tomato Sauce

9 Feb

You may remember a little while back I made Pizza Sauce.  I had tomatoes that I wasn’t sure what to do with, I decided to make Tomato Sauce again, but wanted to try to cook it instead.  It was a bit more time consuming than the other recipe I tried, but still very good.  I plan to use this for dinner later this week for Lasagna Rolls.  I still don’t have a deep red sauce like you see in jars, but it’s still very good, much better and fresher tasting than the jarred sauce.

Tomato Sauce
Makes approximately 4 cups

What you need:

4 lbs tomatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
Any other vegetables you want to add, peppers, celery, carrots, all finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
Fresh basil

How to make it:

Bring a large pot of water to a boil.  Cut an X in the bottom of each tomato and place in boiling water.  Keep in water for about 30 seconds, long enough for the skin to peel of easily, but not too long so that tomatoes become mushy.  Carefully remove from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice cold water.  Skin should peel off easily, if not, return to boiling water a few seconds, then back in the water a few seconds.  Squeeze tomatoes over a sieve to remove excess juice and seeds.  Chop up the tomatoes.

Next, heat olive oil in a sauce pan.  Add onion, any additional veggies, and garlic.  Cook until onions and garlic are translucent, veggies are soft.  Add in chopped tomatoes  and basil, and allow to simmer over medium-low heat.  As tomatoes cook, you can mash them with a masher or use an immersion blender on low to achieve your desired consistency.  (I don’t mind mine a little chunky, so I just mashed them slightly.)  Simmer for 30-45 minutes, until you reach your desired taste.  Use immediately in a dish or store in an airtight container in the fridge for another time.

Baked Ratatouille

31 Jan


My oldest daughter thought it was so cool to make Ratatouille like in the Disney movie, Ratatouille.  I used the eggplant from the Asian themed veggie pack I got this week, a zucchini I had left in my fridge, rosemary, oregano, and parsley from the Italian themed veggie pack a few weeks pack, and tomato and onion from this week’s basket.  It tasted really good, but my presentation needs some work.  I had wanted to use a round casserole dish, but it wasn’t fitting right, so I put it in a 13 x 9 pan instead.  But, then it was all spread out too much, but it still cooked fine.  Also, most recipes also call for peppers, which I have, but just didn’t add in since my husband doesn’t really like cooked peppers.


Baked Ratatouille
Based on recipes here and here

What you need:

1 large onion, cut into rings
1 medium eggplant, cut into 1/2″ slices
2 zucchini, cut into 1/2″ slices
1 green bell pepper, seeded and sliced
3 tomatoes, sliced
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp fresh chopped parsley
2 tsp fresh chopped rosemary
2 tsp fresh chopped oregano
Olive oil

How to make it:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In a small bowl, mix together Parmesan cheese, garlic, parsley, rosemary, and oregano.

Grease a medium-sized casserole dish with olive oil.  Make a layer with the onions.  Drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and spice mixture.  Repeat this process for the remaining vegetables.

Cover and bake in the preheated oven for 45 – 60 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

24 Jan


In recent weeks of Bountiful Baskets, I have received a lot of tomatoes.  I like tomatoes in salads, but I also wanted to try some new things with them.  One of those things was pizza sauce.  Most recipes I found called for canned, diced tomatoes or canned, whole tomatoes, or tomato paste, and while I knew I could make those things with fresh tomatoes, I didn’t want to spend the extra time.  So, I finally found a recipe on AllRecipes.com that was exactly what I wanted, a recipe that used fresh tomatoes and didn’t require any extra prep to those tomatoes.  Perfect!  It also used up the rest of my fresh basil and fresh oregano, and some of the fresh parsley in my Italian veggie pack.  Even better!  This sauce was used on a Sausage Florentine Pizza.  It made about 1 1/2 cups of sauce, so was perfect for the size pizza I was making.


Pizza Sauce
Based on this recipe

What you need:

2 ripe tomatoes, quartered and seeds removed
1 clove garlic
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
1 pinch ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 pinch ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon white sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil

How to make it:

Place all ingredients in a food processor.  Do not liquefy, sauce should remain somewhat chunky.

Balsamic Bruschetta and Garlic Herb Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower

23 Jan

We are big fans of Olive Garden restaurant, and we don’t get to go too often.  So, I decided I would try to make a couple of my favorites at home.  It worked out perfectly with some of the things I had gotten from Bountiful Baskets recently.  For the bruschetta, I used the Italian olive oil bread that my friend gave me this week, plus tomatoes from this week, then fresh garlic, fresh basil, and fresh parsley from the Italian themed veggie pack the week before.  For the chicken, I used part broccoli, part cauliflower from this week’s basket.  I wasn’t able to find the exact kind of pasta they use at Olive Garden, so I used medium shells.  I think that next time I will only use half a box of pasta instead of a whole box or double the sauce, because I felt like there wasn’t enough of the sauce to really get the full taste.  However, it still was very good.

Balsamic Bruschetta
Based on recipes here and here

 What you need:

4 tomatoes, seeds removed and diced
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 loaf Bountiful Baskets Italian olive oil bread, or french baguette, sliced
1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dries parsley

How to make it:

Toss together the tomatoes, basil, mozzarella cheese, garlic, balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper.  Cover and chill in refrigerator for at least an hour.

When ready to serve, preheat oven to 450 F.  Combine Parmesan cheese and parsley.  Place bread slices on a baking sheet and pinch some of the Parmesan cheese mixture over each slice. Toast in oven for 5 minutes or until bread starts to crisp.

Spoon some of the tomato mixture over each slice to serve.

Garlic Herb Chicken with Broccoli and Cauliflower
Based on recipe here.

What you need:

Spice Mixture for chicken
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons dried rosemary
2 teaspoons Mrs. Dash Garlic Herb seasoning
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste

2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts (pounded to 1/2 inch thickness)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 box medium shell pasta
1 pint half and half
4 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons minced garlic
4 teaspoons cornstarch
3 cups broccoli and cauliflower florets
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
Grated Parmesan cheese

How to make it:

Combine ingredients from spice mixture. Rub onto the chicken breasts. Cook chicken in the olive oil until browned, set aside and keep warm.

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Add broccoli and cauliflower for the last 2 minutes of cooking.  Drain, return to pot.

Melt butter in a sauté pan and add garlic. Cook until garlic starts to brown, then stir in the half and half and cornstarch.   Simmer for 3-4 minutes over medium heat, until it thickens to a sauce.  Add additional salt, if necessary.  Pour over pasta and vegetable mix in pot, coat evenly.  Remove from heat.

To serve, place pasta and vegetable mixture on a plate, then place a chicken breast on top.  Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste.

Spinach Basil Pesto Pizza

17 Jan


In the Italian themed veggie pack I got from Bountiful Baskets, I got some fresh herbs, which included basil.  I like pesto, but have never actually made it, so I decided the basil would be made into pesto.  I still have some spinach left from my 1/7 basket, so the Spinach Basil Pesto recipe I came across on allrecipes.com seemed perfect to try.  Since I had plenty of tomatoes to use, I wanted to make a pizza with the pesto as the sauce.  I had sliced olives on hand, and I used chicken from a rotisserie chicken I bought at the store.   I was hoping to also add feta cheese, but it didn’t make it into the fridge after the store, so I used mozzarella.  The crust was from a pouch, since I’m really bad at making breads from scratch.  The results were delicious!  There are a number of other toppings that would go great with this, red onion, yellow onion, green peppers, mushrooms, so I suggest using your favorites!


Spinach Basil Pesto Pizza

What you need for the Pesto:

1 1/2 cups spinach leaves
3/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts, optional (I omitted them)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4 cloves garlic, peeled and quartered
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

How to make the Pesto:

Blend the spinach, basil, pine nuts, Parmesan cheese, garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons olive oil in a food processor until nearly smooth, scraping the sides of the bowl with a spatula as necessary. Drizzle the remaining olive oil into the mixture while processing until smooth.

What you need for Pizza:

Pizza crust, pre-made, from a pouch, or your favorite recipe to make a 12″ pizza
Pizza toppings, such as sliced tomatoes,  cooked chicken, olives, mushrooms, onions, green peppers
Cheese, like crumbled feta, fresh mozzarella, shredded mozzarella

How to make the Pizza:

Prepare pizza crust.  Spread pesto evenly on crust.  Add the pizza toppings, then the cheese.  Bake according to the directions for your crust, most likely around 425 F for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown.

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