Red Potato, Onion and Tomato Gratin

I bought too many tomatoes last weekend the farmers market and after a very busy week of not cooking I knew I needed to use up the tomatoes or I would have to throw them in the trash. I went to a local restaurant close to my apartment and had their potato, onion, and tomato dish. It was good but extremely greasy for me. Sunday mornings are my favorite to create something interesting. Instead of the traditional egg, bacon and potato breakfast, I created a similar dish with all the farmer’s market vegetables I bought and the results were fresh, simple and healthy.

Red Potato, Onion and Tomato Gratin, created on 7/3/2011

3 lbs of baby red potatoes, scrubbed well and sliced 1/8” thick

1 large Vidalia onion or red onion – cut in half-moon slices

3 large tomatoes, seeded and sliced in half-moon slices, lightly salted

1 cup of grated tomato basil pine nut cheese – I bought this cheese from the cheese vendor at the market – they specialize in this type of cheese but you can use any cheese you like, a nice sharp white cheddar cheese, or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese are excellent choices

Fresh Thyme

Olive Oil

Salt / Pepper

I used the steamer because it is extremely healthy, low fat and it helps cut down on the cooking time in the oven for the potatoes. I find that steaming the potatoes brings more flavor than par-boiling the potatoes for 10 minutes.

In a steamer, add the sliced red potatoes and steamed for about 5 to 7 minutes until semi-soft. Remove from the heat – set aside uncovered. In a sauté pan over medium heat, heat up about 2 tablespoons of olive oil and add the half moon onion slices. Sprinkle salt on the onions as it will help make the onions sweat.  Cook the onions for about 10 minutes or until caramelized.

In a casserole dish, single layer the steamed potato, half the onions and half the tomatoes.

Sprinkle with half the grated cheese.

Season lightly with salt and pepper and repeat the 2nd layer with steamed potato, onion, tomato and grated cheese.

Sprinkle the top very lightly with olive oil and with fresh thyme.

 Bake at 350 degrees uncovered for about 40 minutes – the cheese should be melted and brown. The tomatoes have that roasted look.

Enjoy!!

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Spinach Eggs Benedict

Spinach Eggs Benedict what can I say. Sometimes I want to be bad and have something that is sinfully rich. I never made Hollandaise sauce before so this was a new experience for me. I do not know what I was so afraid of before but after making the sauce, it was a huge WOW! factor for me. The homemade version is just exquisite. I saw this recipe on one of the food blogs I follow called Simply Recipes and modified the recipe to have some healthier ingredients such as spinach, tomatoes, and avocado. I used Canadian bacon instead of bacon or ham for a lower fat version of the dish and only used 1 tablespoon of the sauce instead of dousing the whole dish with it. Enjoy!

Click on picture to enlarge

Spinach Eggs Benedict:
8 eggs
1 tablespoon of vinegar
8 slices of Canadian bacon (optional)
4 Multi-Grain English Muffins
1 tablespoons freshly chopped basil
1 cup of Baby Spinach

Hollandaise Sauce:
10 tablespoons of unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon of salt
3 egg yolks
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Avocado Grape Tomato Salsa:
1 pint of grape tomatoes
1 large ripe avocado
Fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil

The hollandaise sauce: separate the egg white from the yolk and reserve egg white if preferred for an omelet for a later time. Put egg yolks in a blender with lemon juice and salt. Blend for 30 seconds or until the yolks become a light yellow color and add the hot melted butter to the egg mixture and blend until combined. Pour sauce into a bowl and set aside.

Fill a 10” non-stick frying pan with water about ¾’s full. Add 1 tablespoon of vinegar to the water mixture. While the water is heating up in one frying pan, in another frying pan, cook the Canadian bacon till crispy around the edges in another frying pan with about 1 teaspoon of olive oil or butter and remove when edges are crispy. Set aside.

In the simmering hot water, crack an egg in a small bowl, and then use the bowl to transfer the egg to the simmering water. It is easier to use the bowl, so you do not burn your fingers while adding the egg to the water. Put all eight eggs in the water and simmer for approximately 4 minutes.

Clean grape tomatoes and halve. Remove the seed from the avocado and cut up avocado in cubes and spoon out of the skin. Put halved tomatoes and cubed avocado into a bowl. Squeeze fresh lemon juice approximately 1 to 2 tablespoons over the mixture. Add freshly chopped basil and olive oil. Toss well. Season the tomato and avocado salsa with salt and pepper.

While the eggs are cooking, toast the English muffins and put on plate. Take 2 English muffins, line English muffins with about 7 to 8 leaves of baby spinach each halve. Lay the cooked Canadian bacon on top, spoon the drained poached egg on top of the Canadian bacon. Drizzle with hollandaise sauce and sprinkle with fresh basil on top.

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Spinach Dumplings

I miss eating pasta and any Italian food sometimes. I do not really eat it because it is high in carbs, fat, and it causes my sugar levels to be high. It takes a while for the levels to come back down to normal. I decided to stop eating pasta and anything made with white ingredients a while ago and have been able to keep my sugars under control. I was in the mood for Italian food so I made the dumplings instead of using pasta. The dumplings came from watching the cooking channel show Ask Aida the other day. I substituted Arugula for spinach. I love this idea, and was pleasantly surprised. Next time, I will try using more natural and healthier approach to the dumplings. This recipe is a great substitution for pasta, still a little high in fat content but was very good. Enjoy!

Click on picture to enlarge

Spinach Dumplings with Marinara Sauce, created 01/07/11

1 box of chopped spinach thawed and excess water squeezed out
½ cup of skim milk ricotta cheese
2 eggs
½ cup of Japanese Bread Crumbs
¼ cup skim milk
1/2 cup flour
¾ cups freshly grated Parmesan Cheese
1 to 2 teaspoons of kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly cracked pepper
1 cup of freshly grated Mozzarella cheese for sprinkling on top of the dish

For Marinara Sauce: Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium high heat and add 2 gloves of fresh chopped garlic. Add one 16 oz can of your favorite tomato sauce, I happen to like Muir Glenn tomatoes so I use that brand. Add one to two teaspoons of basil fresh or dried, either one. Optional add a pinch of red pepper flakes. Season with salt and pepper and simmer for about 15 minutes. The sauce will thicken up. Add caramelized onions if you wish. Adjust your seasonings as needed. Set cooked marinara sauce aside.

For Dumplings: Bring a medium stockpot of water to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer. Add salt. In a bowl add the eggs and milk together, beat well. Add the breadcrumbs to the milk/egg mixture and let the breadcrumbs soak up all the liquid. Add the rest of the ingredients and blend well.

Shape the dumplings into small balls using a tablespoon to measure out the dumplings. Drop 10 dumplings at a time into the hot simmering water and let them cook for about 5 minutes until the dumplings rise to the top. Spoon the dumplings out with a skimmer and put in a colander to drain the excess water.

Cook the rest of the dumplings you should have about 20 to 25 depends on how big the dumplings are. After all the dumplings are finished cooking, lay them single file in a stone or baking dish.

Click on picture to enlarge

Spoon the marinara sauce over on top of the dumplings, and sprinkle with mozzarella cheese and a little bit of Parmesan cheese.

Click on picture to enlarge

Put in the oven set on broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes until all the cheese is melted and bubbly.

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7 Layer Salad Squares

A friend asked me for some appetizer ideas for a family get-together for the New Year holiday. I used to be a Pampered Chef kitchen consultant so I thought I would check out some of the cookbooks and see what I could come up with. I found this recipe that I demonstrated at a kitchen show but really wanted to change the recipe to a more healthier version for my parties. Due to the travel time, there were some ingredients in the recipe that could become spoiled I had to figure out a way to make the recipe travel friendly.

7 Layer Salad Squares
Modified recipe from Pampered Chef on 01/02/2010

2 packages (8 ounces each) low-fat refrigerated crescent rolls
1 package (8 ounces) Neufchatel cheese
1 garlic clove minced
6 slices bacon, crisply cooked, crumbled (put bacon on paper towel to drain grease)
1 cup thawed frozen baby petite peas
3 plum tomatoes or ½ pint of cherry tomatoes, seeded and chopped
2 cups thinly sliced Roman lettuce
½ cup (2 ounces) 2% milk fat shredded cheddar cheese
½ cup thinly sliced red onion

Salad Dressing (need ½ cup of this)
½ cup 2% Fago Greek Yogurt
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon sugar
½ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease a 12×15 tray with a lip or a 12 x 15 stone with a lip. Unroll the crescent rolls with the longest side of the rolls to the shortest side of the tray.  Seams of the crescent roll need to be pressed together tightly using your fingers or a mini roller. Bake 12 minutes until lightly golden brown. Remove from the oven and cool completely.

In a bowl, combine the Neufchatel cheese, ½ cup of the homemade salad dressing, and garlic, mix until completely smooth. I found using a spoon first and then a whisk later helped gets rid of all the lumps. Add half of the crumbled bacon with half the peas in the salad dressing and spread mixture over the baked cooled crescent roll square.

Spread the seeded chopped tomatoes evenly over the salad dressing. Spread the thinly sliced lettuce over the tomatoes. Sprinkle the shredded cheddar cheese over the lettuce and the thinly sliced onion.  Cut the appetizer into 24 even squares.

Eat Healthy!

Cook’s Note
The Greek yogurt… I am just hooked on this. I am using the Greek yogurt for recipes that require mayonnaise and sometimes sour cream. It is a perfect match and much healthier for you with really no difference in texture or flavor.

Another Pam’s Tip
Always remember to remove the seeds from tomatoes when using it for appetizers because the seeds cause juice and it could make the recipe very soggy.

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Lori’s Taco Dip

This dip is my sister’s favorite thing to eat. Very easy to make and a huge hit at parties. My friend Lori gave this recipe to me years ago and we love it!

Lori’s Taco Dip, created on 06/30/2008

1 package 8 oz of cream cheese softened
1 16 oz container of sour cream
1 package of Taco Bell Seasoning Mix

Mix the cream cheese and sour cream together well and then add the taco seasoning mix.

1 head of chopped Romaine Lettuce
2 to 3 tomatoes seeded – removing the seeds help prevent the dip from becoming watery – or – 1 container of grape tomatoes halved and halved again
1 large can of black olives sliced
2 to 3 green onions chopped
1 package 16 oz of sharp cheddar cheese

Layer dip as follows:
Sour Cream mixture on the bottom of serving platter
Lettuce
Cheese
Tomatoes
Black olives
Green onions

Serve with Tostitos Scoops it is much easier to use the scoops than the flat tostitos

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Lettuce Wraps

 

Lettuce Wraps
C
reated on 09/28/2007

2 ripe avocados
3 Roma tomatoes, diced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, diced (optional)
2 tbsp yellow onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced (use the Garlic Press from Pampered Chef)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro chopped
1 corn cob (cut kernels off) (organic)
2 tsp fresh lime or lemon juice
6 – 8 large romaine lettuce leaves

In bowl, mash avocado using fork or potato masher, add remaining ingredients mix well. Spread 2 – 3 tablespoons of mixture onto lettuce leaves and wrap. Enjoy!

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