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I’m going to quickly jot down how I did this so I don’t forget. It was a really special meal. So delicious! I served it with roasted Italian sausage links and eggplant au gratin. Yummy!

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Cut about a dozen small roma tomatoes in half lengthwise. Prepare a large baking sheet by covering it with foil and sprinkling with a little bit of olive oil. Place the tomatoes, cut side up, on the baking sheet and sprinkle with olive oil and a little sea salt or kosher salt. Take 5 cloves of garlic and wrap in a foil bundle with a few Tbsp. water. Place the foil bundle on the baking sheet with the tomatoes. Roast the tomatoes (and the garlic bundle) for 30-35 minutes at 375 degrees F, or until the bottoms of the tomatoes are brown. Remove from heat and let cool. (I saved the leftover tomato-flavored olive oil to use in a salad dressing some day.)

While the tomatoes are roasting, swazz olive oil in a large skillet, sprinkle in about a tsp. of dried thyme. Heat the oil and then add 5 cups sliced red onion and a tsp. salt. Saute until the onions are brownish and soft. Remove from heat and let cool.

Open the foil bundle and remove the garlic from the skins. Mash.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place a single pie crust on parchment paper, or a silpat, on a baking sheet. Heap the onions in the center of the pie crust, then dab the garlic over the top. Place the tomatoes on top of that. Remember to leave an edge around the pie crust. Sprinkle with goat cheese crumbles. Fold the edge up, it will be haphazard, but it’s a “rustic” pie so haphazard is good. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until the center bubbles and the crust is nicely browned.

Ingredients:
1 dozen small roma tomatoes
Olive oil
Salt
5 cloves garlic
Few tablespoons water
1 tsp. dried thyme
5 cups sliced red onion (about two medium)
1 single-crust pie crust, unbaked
Crumbled goat cheese

 

 

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Spaghetti-Squash with TomatoThis has become a favorite. It’s based upon the recipe found at Simplex. The recipe requires cooked spaghetti squash. I prepare mine by cutting the squash in half (or in quarters if it’s very large), sprinkling it with olive oil, salt, and pepper and then laying it cut-side down in a greased baking dish. Bake at 425 degrees F for about 40-50 minutes.

Once you have cooked spaghetti squash, scoop out about 3 cups. In a 8″ square baking dish layer a cup of the squash, then a layer of sliced tomatoes, then sprinkle with salt, pepper, a pinch of dried basil and oregano. Sprinkle with Mozzarella cheese. Cover with another layer of squash, tomatoes, spices, and cheese. End with a layer of squash and then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.

This is a very forgiving recipe. You can use any kind of cheese, any kind of spices.

Layer of spaghetti squash.

Layer of spaghetti squash.

Layer of tomatoes.

Layer of tomatoes.

Layer of cheese.

Layer of cheese.

Stuffed Tomatoes1

I hosted a Realtor luncheon last week and laid out sandwich fixins. In the process of shopping I bought a box of big tomatoes at Costco. What was I thinking? I sliced a couple for people to put on their sandwiches, but really they only ate one. I had about a dozen leftover. Thus I was on the hunt for tomato recipes. Tomatoes where I live are very expensive and it’s not often I have to search for ways to use them up. I like this recipe because it doesn’t have the kind of carbs I’m trying to avoid. I served these with grilled lamb chops and salad. Yummy combo!

Ingredients

Four beefsteak tomatoes

Salt

Olive oil

½ cup finely chopped onion

1 yellow squash or zucchini

Fresh or dried parsley

Oregano

Basil

Baby spinach

Feta cheese crumbles

Grated or shredded Parmesan

Scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes. I used the pulp to make tomato soup the next day. You won't need the pulp anymore for this dish.

Scoop out the pulp from the tomatoes and then sprinkle the inside with salt. I used the pulp to make tomato soup the next day. You won’t need the pulp anymore for this dish.

Lay the tomatoes upside down on several layers of paper towel. Set aside while you make the filling.

Lay the tomatoes upside down on several layers of paper towel. Set aside while you make the filling.

Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent and then add the squash. Saute for a few minutes and then sprinkle in a little parsley, oregano, and basil. Continue sauteing until the squash is soft.

Saute the onion in olive oil until translucent and then add the squash.

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Saute for a few minutes and then sprinkle in a little parsley, oregano, and basil. Continue sauteing until the squash is soft.

Stir in a couple large handfuls of baby spinach.

Stir in a couple large handfuls of baby spinach.

Continue sauteing until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Continue sauteing until spinach has wilted. Remove from heat and let cool for a few minutes.

Prepare a baking dish with spray or olive oil. I sprayed mine. I used an 8" square dish, but a smaller one would have worked, probably better.

Prepare a baking dish with spray or olive oil. I sprayed mine. I used an 8″ square dish, but a smaller one would have worked, probably better.

Sprinkle feta crumbles into the bottom of each tomato, then add a layer of filling, more crumbles, and then more filling.

Sprinkle feta crumbles into the bottom of each tomato, then add a layer of filling, more crumbles, and then more filling.

Sprinkle the tops with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.

Sprinkle the tops with shredded or grated Parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Bake in preheated 350 degree oven for 35-40 minutes.

Ratatouille

I have prepared and eaten Ratatouille many times. Of course, why not, because I like eggplant . . . a lot. Usually my ratatouille is a delicious, but rather unappetizing-looking, mess. This recipe is something completely different. Not only is it delicious, it’s beautiful!

I used the recipe https://realfoodnuts.wordpress.com/2014/01/11/ratatouille-casserole/ at Real Food Nuts, with a few modifications. It was so tasty that I tried it again so I could take pictures and show you how I did it. This is what happens when you don’t have a round casserole dish and you’re married to a wine-maker. Recipes morph.

Here goes . . .

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Slice two small eggplants (each one is about 7” long) crosswise into ¼” slices. I had bought a package of these small eggplants at Costco the other day, there were five of them in the bag.

Set the slices on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Turn the slices over and salt the other side. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes.

Set the slices on paper towels and sprinkle lightly with salt. Turn the slices over and salt the other side. Let them sit for at least 30 minutes. (I’m only picturing part of them. You will have  more.)

In the meantime, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. When translucent, stir in a 6-oz. can tomato paste, ¾ cup red wine, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Rub a 9” square baking dish with olive oil. Empty the red sauce into the baking dish and smooth it evenly across the bottom.

In the meantime, saute onion and garlic in olive oil. When translucent, stir in a 6-oz. can tomato paste, ¾ cup red wine, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly. Set aside.
Rub a 9” square baking dish with olive oil. Empty the red sauce into the baking dish and smooth it evenly across the bottom.

Slice summer squash (yellow obviously is what I used, but zucchini would work just the same) into ¼” slices crosswise. I had a bag of sweet mini-peppers from Costco and I used what was left of those, a dozen should do it. I was a little shy on the peppers, but it turned out fine. I cut the tops off and made sure there weren’t any seeds, then sliced each pepper in half lengthwise.

Slice summer squash (yellow obviously is what I used, but zucchini would work just the same) into ¼” slices crosswise. I had a bag of sweet mini-peppers from Costco and I used what was left of those, a dozen should do it. I was a little shy on the peppers, but it turned out fine. I cut the tops off and made sure there weren’t any seeds, then sliced each pepper in half lengthwise. Of course, the usual thing to use would be sliced bell pepper. Use whatever you have.

Blot the eggplants with paper towels and put them, with the squash and peppers, into a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with olive oil and stir around with your hands so that all the vegis are coated.

Blot the eggplants with paper towels and put them, with the squash and peppers, into a bowl. Sprinkle lightly with olive oil and stir around with your hands so that all the vegis are coated.

Alternate rows of vegetables onto the sauce as pictured.

Alternate rows of vegetables onto the sauce as pictured.

I started with the peppers upright, but when I realized I’d be short at the end, I turned the remaining ones sideways. I filled in some of the gaps with the smaller slices of squash. Sprinkle the top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sliced fresh basil.

I started with the peppers upright, but when I realized I’d be short at the end, I turned the remaining ones sideways. I filled in some of the gaps with the smaller slices of squash. Sprinkle the top with olive oil, salt, pepper, and sliced fresh basil.

Cover with parchment paper, tucked into the inside, and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

Cover with parchment paper, tucked into the inside, and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

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Voila, so beautiful!

Voila, so beautiful!

And delicious!

Ingredients:

Eggplant (2 small, about 7”)

Summer squash (2 small, about 7”)

Mini sweet peppers (12)

½ onion, chopped

2 garlic cloves, minced

1 6-oz. can tomato paste

¾ cup red wine (or water)

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

RanchBeans

This dinner is one that I make fairly frequently. I call it the cowboy dinner. My father spent the first quarter of his life in Texas. That stays with you and a little bit of it gets passed down. I love spicy, smoky, salty foods.  The brisket recipe is from my aunt Joyce. It is so simple that you don’t really need a recipe. Simply know that if you put a beef brisket into a Reynolds oven bag and pour over a mixture of equal parts liquid smoke (1/2 bottle) with Worchestershire sauce and let it bake for 4 hours at 300 degrees, you will have a delicious piece of beef. Aunt Joyce served it on New Year’s Day with black-eyed peas (which I cannot abide) and it has become a favorite of mine. She sliced it across the grain. Mine sometimes comes out more like shredded beef instead of sliced beef, but the taste is fabulous so who cares?

I serve my brisket with Ranch Beans, a recipe that originally came out of Sunset Magazine, I don’t know when. The original recipe says that it serves 6, but really I think it serves 12, so I only make a half recipe anymore. That is what I am going to tell you about.

In a few days I look forward to heating up my leftover brisket and ranch beans, rolling them into a tortilla with grated cheese, jalapenos, and spiced sweet potatoes and chowing down. Amazing. Tonight I am serving the brisket and beans with corn bread muffins and BLT salad.

Put 1/2 # dried pinto beans into pan and cover with water to at least 2” above the beans. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 1 or up to 4 hours; drain beans and pour into bowl.

Put 1/2 # dried pinto beans into pan and cover with water to at least 2” above the beans. Bring to a boil and boil 3 minutes. Remove from heat, cover, and let stand at least 1 or up to 4 hours; drain beans and pour into bowl.

In the same pan, stir 1/8# (3-4 slices) chopped bacon over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Discard fat, if any. Add 1/2 small onion and 1 clove garlic; stir and cook until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.

In the same pan, stir 1/8# (3-4 slices) chopped bacon over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Discard fat, if any. Add 1/2 small onion and 1 clove garlic; stir and cook until onion is limp, about 5 minutes.

 

Stir in 1 Tbsp. chili powder. Add beans, 1-3/4 cups water, and pepper to taste.

Stir in 1 Tbsp. chili powder. Add beans, 1-3/4 cups water, and pepper to taste.

Cover and simmer until beans are tender to bite.

Cover and simmer until beans are tender to bite, about an hour.

 

Add tomato sauce. If beans are soupier than you like, boil, uncovered, over high heat until liquid evaporates to suit your taste;

Add 4-oz. (half of an 8-oz. can) tomato sauce. If beans are soupier than you like, boil, uncovered, over high heat until liquid evaporates to suit your taste;

stir occasionally and reduce heat as mixture thickens. Add salt to taste.

stir occasionally and reduce heat as mixture thickens. Add salt to taste.

 

Ranch Beans Ingredients

½# dried pinto beans

1/8# bacon, diced

½ of a small onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, minced

1 Tbsp. chili powder

Dash pepper

½ can (4-oz.) tomato sauce

Salt

Jalapeno cheese boatsThis recipe is based upon one found at Taste Of Home. I’ve never met anyone who didn’t like these very much. I like to serve these with enchiladas and rice.

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Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds into the trash. Place the jalapeños into an ungreased 15×10” baking pan or on a baking sheet.

In a small bowl combine 8-oz. container herb and onion cream cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup chopped green onion.

In a small bowl combine 8-oz. container herb and onion cream cheese, 1/4 cup cheddar cheese and 1/4 cup chopped green onion.

 

Spoon into the jalapeño halves.

Spoon into the jalapeño halves.

 

Top with shrimp in a decorative manner.

Top with shrimp in a decorative manner.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until jalapeños are tender. Yield 18 appetizers.

Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until jalapeños are tender. Yield 18 appetizers.

 

Jalapeño Cheese Boats Recipe

9 jalapeño peppers

1 8-oz. container spreadable herb and onion cream cheese

¼ cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese

¼ cup sliced green onions

¼# small cooked shrimp (salad shrimp)

Cut jalapeños in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds into the trash. Place the jalapeños into an ungreased 15×10” baking pan or on a baking sheet. In a small bowl combine cream cheese, cheddar cheese and onions. Spoon into the jalapeño halves. Top with shrimp in a decorative manner. Bake at 400 degrees for 18-22 minutes or until jalapeños are tender. Yield 18 appetizers.

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This makes a great side dish to burritos or barbecue brisket. It’s based upon a recipe found at Food Network. I don’t have frozen corn, never have, but I try to have canned corn on hand for occasional use.

Beat 4 ounces softened cream cheese, a 15-oz. can creamed corn, a 15-oz. can whole corn, 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/2 chopped onion.

Beat 4 ounces softened cream cheese, a 15-oz. can creamed corn, a 15-oz. can whole corn, 1/2 cup cornmeal and 1/2 chopped onion.

Stir in 2/3 cup milk, 3 tablespoons melted butter, 1 beaten egg, 1 tablespoon sugar, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper.

Stir in 2/3 cup milk, 3 Tbsp. melted butter, 1 beaten egg, 1 Tbsp. sugar, 1/2 cup shredded cheddar, and salt and pepper.

 

Spread in a buttered 1-quart casserole dish and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spread in a buttered 1-quart casserole dish and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Spread in a buttered 1-quart casserole dish and bake 50 minutes at 350 degrees. Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

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Let me just say right at the beginning . . . this recipe uses processed foods. It is a family favorite, the quintessential comfort food. Cheesy Potatoes is a nice accompaniment to ribs or meatloaf or fried chicken. You will need an extremely large bowl (mine is 32 cups) to mix it in. Do not thaw the potatoes, use them straight from the bag.

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Southern Style frozen hash brown potatoes
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 pint sour cream
½ cup onion
2 cups grated sharp cheddar cheese
½ cup butter, melted
Pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients together

Mix all ingredients together

Place into a greased 9X13” pan

Bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours (or at 375 degrees for an hour).

Bake at 350 degrees for 1.5 hours (or at 375 degrees for an hour).

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Alert: This recipe requires special equipment. There is a device called a spaetzle maker, which makes this recipe quite simple. Alternatively you could use a flat cheese grater, although it takes more time. I’ve used a spoon a few times and it’s quite tedious.

Alert: This recipe requires special equipment. There is a device called a spaetzle maker, which makes this recipe quite simple. The batter is dolloped into the bowl-shape you see here, then the bowl slides across the holes and the batter drips through. Alternatively you could use a flat cheese grater, although it takes more time. I’ve used a spoon a few times and it’s quite tedious. There may be other kinds of spaetzle makers, too.

Spaetzle is like pasta, but the batter-like dough is pressed through small holes into salted boiling water. Note, do not let whatever device you are using rest upon the edges of the pot for very long or the device will heat up and the batter will cook as soon as it touches the device. My friend Jo learned this from experience. She had to stop, clean her cheese grater, and begin again. Avoid this type of kitchen crisis by working quickly and don’t allow the spaetzle maker to rest on the rim of the kettle.

Spaetzle is like pasta, but the batter-like dough is pressed through small holes into salted boiling water. Note, do not let whatever device you are using rest upon the edges of the pot for very long or the device will heat up and the batter will cook as soon as it touches the device. My friend Jo learned this from experience. She had to stop, clean her cheese grater, and begin again. Avoid this type of kitchen crisis by working quickly and don’t allow the spaetzle maker to rest on the rim of the kettle.

We like to eat spaetzle with Hungarian Pork Stew, Baby Back Ribs with Sauerkraut, and Chicken Paprika. All those recipes can be found here by using the Search box. Oftentimes people like to sauté spaetzle in butter and serve that way. I’ve never tried that, but it sounds good.

Mix together 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp. oil, ½ cup water, ½ cup milk.

Mix together 2 eggs, 2 Tbsp. oil, ½ cup water, ½ cup milk.

Mix together 2-1/2 cups flour, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well.

Mix together 2-1/2 cups flour, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. baking powder. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture and stir well.

Let rest while waiting for a large pot of salted water to boil.

Let rest while waiting for a large pot of salted water to boil.

Working in batches, press a batch of batter through the device (spaetzle maker or flat cheese grater or dripping it off a spoon) into the boiling waterThe batter is supposed to drip into the pot and cook in the water.

Working in batches, press a batch of batter through the device (spaetzle maker or flat cheese grater or dripping it off a spoon) into the boiling salted water. The batter is supposed to drip into the pot and cook in the water.

The spaetzle is done once it floats to the surface.

The spaetzle is done once it floats to the surface.

Using a slotted spoon

Using a slotted spoon, scoop out the spaetzle and place into a bowl or a colander in a bowl. Complete all the batches in a like manner. The longest part of this process is waiting for the water to boil. Seriously.

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Another favorite, this is based upon the recipe in Betty Crocker’s Cookbook (1969). It goes really great with bratwurst. The dinner you see pictured here includes bratwurst and sauerkraut, but neither of those are in this potato salad recipe. Just sayin’.

I peel and then boil the potatoes, but as long as they’re cooked it shouldn’t matter how it’s accomplished.  The potatoes work best if they’re cooled.3 pounds cooked potatoes, peeled

3 pounds cooked potatoes, peeled
I peel and then boil the potatoes, but as long as they’re cooked it shouldn’t matter how it’s accomplished. The potatoes work best if they’re then cooled.

In a large skillet, fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp.

In a large skillet, fry 6 slices of bacon until crisp.

Remove bacon and place on absorbent towel to drain.

Remove bacon and place on absorbent towel to drain.

Cook and stir 3/4 cup chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender and golden brown.

Cook and stir 3/4 cup chopped onion in bacon drippings until tender and golden brown.

Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. celery seed, and dash of pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until bubbly.

Stir in 2 Tbsp. flour, 2 Tbsp. sugar, 1 tsp. salt, 1/2 tsp. celery seed, and dash of pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until bubbly.

Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 cup water and 1/3 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar). Heat to boiling; stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Remove from heat; stir in 3/4 cup water and 1/3 cup vinegar (I use cider vinegar). Heat to boiling; stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute.

Chop bacon, thinly slice potatoes. Carefully stir into hot mixture. Heat through, stirring lightly to coat potato slices.

Chop bacon, thinly slice potatoes. Carefully stir into hot mixture. Heat through, stirring lightly to coat potato slices.

Serves 5 or 6. And tastes pretty great the next day, too!

Serves 5 or 6. And tastes pretty great the next day, too!

Hot German Potato Salad ingredients

3 pounds cooked potatoes, peeled

6 slices bacon

¾ cup chopped onion

2 Tbsp. flour

2 Tbsp. sugar

1 tsp. salt

½ tsp. celery seed

Dash pepper

¾ cup water

1/3 cup vinegar

What kind?