Tag Archives: Tomato

Spinach, Tomato and Chicken Pasta Bake

Spinach, tomato and chicken bake
Is there a better combination than basil, tomato, and mozzarella? There’s something so soothing about the familiar flavor combination and truth be told, I’ll look for any excuse I can to use it. A few weeks back I marinated cherry tomatoes in espresso balsamic vinegar and skewered them with squares of fresh mozzarella and a basil leaf, and called it an appetizer. Or I called it dinner. Whatever.

This chicken pasta bake is easy as pie and is a great way to use up leftover shredded chicken if you have some in the fridge. And who doesn’t ALWAYS have leftover shredded chicken in the fridge? This is also a brilliant way to get spinach-haters to eat the good greens. The BF barely noticed it underneath all that cheese. #Win

On the menu:
Spinach, tomato and chicken pasta bake
Serves 3

1 1/2 cups whole wheat penne pasta
2 cups fresh spinach
1 medium sized tomato, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
2 Tbsp fresh basil, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 Tbsp ricotta cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Cook pasta according to instructions.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add tomatoes and spinach and cook for 3 minutes or until spinach is cooked down. Add chicken and basil and stir until combined.

In a large bowl, combine pasta, chicken mixture, ricotta cheese, and 1/2 the mozzarella. Stir mixture until combined and add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a large baking dish (I used a 9 inch round tart dish) and cover with remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until cheese is bubbly.

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Vegetarian Week: Appetizer

Hello friends! Welcome to vegetarian week on Food E. I know it doesn’t really fall within the traditional parameters I’ve set for myself here on my “eat butter and beef and don’t apologize for it” food blog, but this past weekend I challenged myself to make an all-vegetarian meal in honor of my mother’s first visit to my new-ish apartment. She’s a vegetarian and is often relegated to pasta with peas or platters of roasted vegetables when we go out to dinner. My goal for the meal was to create a full spread that not only she would enjoy, but also The BF and my father, both proud carnivores, would love, as well.

Each day this week I’ll share a recipe from this meal and by Friday you’ll have a stack of recipes that you can use to create a complete and filling vegetarian meal yourself. No boring pastas included.

On the menu:
Caprese crostini
Serves 4

1/2 baguette
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch fresh basil, leaves plucked from the stems
2 ripe tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup fresh mozzarella, sliced
3 Tbsp balsamic vinegar*

Slice baguette into 1/2 inch rounds with a sharp bread knife. Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and distribute olive oil evenly over the tops (I used a spoon but if you have a basting brush, use that). Bake rounds at 350 degrees for around 10 minutes or until the rounds are stiff to the touch. DO NOT wait until they are brown! They will be too crispy by the time you serve them if you wait for them to brown up in the oven.

Top each round with a slice of mozzarella, a basil leaf, and a slice of tomato. Drizzle the balsamic vinegar over the top, plate, and serve.

*I’ve been meaning to highlight an incredible store I visited in Virginia called Savor the Olive where I purchased an espresso balsamic vinegar, which I served in place of your standard balsamic. The espresso balsamic has a smoother finish than traditional balsamic and just a hint of espresso flavor. Savor the Olive offers dark and white balsamics (imagine a white apricot balsamic drizzled over vanilla ice cream…), and every olive oil under the sun. If you’re ever fortunate enough to be in the area of Norfolk, Virginia you should definitely swing by.

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Just Chill and Lay Back Cause It’s…

Oh hey! Remember me? I missed you guys. So I’m back. With a couple basic recipes, but stuff you’ll want to make over and over again. And ain’t it pretty?

On the menu:
Cranberry, almond chicken salad
BTM Salad
Serves 4 

Chicken salad

2 chicken breasts
1 sprig fresh dill
1/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1/4 cup craisins
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbsp mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste

Place chicken breasts in a medium sized pot and cover with water for poaching. Turn heat to high and let water come to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot for 10 minutes. Turn heat off and let chicken sit in hot water for 15 – 20 minutes. Once chicken is cool, shred with fingers and toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate chicken salad for at least 30 minutes before serving.

BTM Salad

1 medium sized tomato, sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1 ball of mozzarella (approximately the same size as the tomato), sliced to 1/4 inch slices
1/4 cup basil, roughly chopped
1 cup of fresh corn, boiled on the cob and then sliced off the cob

Dressing:
1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 Tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Plate slices of tomato alternately with mozzarella. Mix corn together with balsamic/oil dressing. Top slices of tomato and mozzarella with corn mixture.

This meal is so basic, is best served cold, and is super light and refreshing for summer. The subtle change in the classic BTM salad is really unexpected and delicious… and led this “meal for 4” to turn into a “meal for 2” when The BF had seconds. And then thirds. I thought I’d have leftovers but the “This is SO GOOD!”s were way more gratifying.

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