Keeping it Simple

You’re going without makeup, walking around barefoot and even actually reading hardcover books.  Midsummer is here.   That means life is easy, and you’re  enjoying the simple things.    I hope that extends to your meal planning.

Here’s where a good pasta recipe comes in.  And those tomatoes that are really starting to ripen up?   Make them the star of the dish.  Roast or sauté 3 -4 of them along with some garlic and pour over thin spaghetti cooked al dente..  Then, before serving, top with chopped fresh basil and grate some cheese on top.   Oh my!  All that goodness in one place—-I think I might swoon!

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

Spaghetti with Fresh Tomato Sauce

The kind of tomatoes you use for this dish can be any kind you have available.  I’m partial to roma/plum tomatoes because they are so meaty without a ton of seeds,  Sometimes I mix different kinds for some variation.  In the version I made here, I added some small meatballs to the sauce and let them simmer just to cook through, making it a little more hearty–the way Mr. D. likes it.  Lots of fresh basil cut up on top is a must, and let everyone grate on some Parmesan cheese.



Yield:  Makes 4 main-dish servingsIMG_7846


  • 1  (8-oz.) package spaghetti
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil, use a good quality with a nice fruity aroma
  • 2 small cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 – 4 medium tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tsp. fresh basil, torn
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • more bail for garnish
  • grated Parmesan cheese for serving (vegans, omit the cheese)


1.  In a 6-quart saucepan, cook spaghetti as label directs.

2.  Meanwhile, in a medium saucepan or skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add mixed garlic and cook until tender, 1 – 2 minutes.  Stir in tomatoes, 2 tsp. torn basil and salt;   heat through.    If adding meatballs, cover, and simmer on low to heat through, stirring occasionally.

3.  Drain spaghetti, and save 1/4 cup cooking liquid.    Pour into serving bowl,  pour tomato sauce over, and stir to coat.  Add cooking liquid a little at a time, if needed, to further loosen the sauce.  Sprinkle more chopped basil over the top and serve.  Pass the grated cheese.



This is my idea of great summer eating;  pick those tomatoes while they’re still warm with sunshine, cut them up, cook briefly, and eat ASAP.  Sigh!

SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Originals






Roast Tomato Bruschetta

Roast Tomato Bruschetta

Roast Tomato Bruschetta

It’s a fact that the majority of foods that we love and that I prepare here at home make their way to the pages of this blog.  However, there are some recipes that I make over and over again and somehow never think to share them with you.  Usually that’s because they are so simple, I don’t view them as a “recipe’, but they are non-the-less-good in spite of it.


A few weeks ago I shared a picture on Facebook of an appetizer that I was making to bring to a family picnic,  and almost instantly I was getting questions about what it was, and requests for the recipe.   All it consisted of was roast tomatoes, coarsely chopped then mixed with some diced shallots, olive oil, and chopped basil.   Spread this mixture on some  toasted whole-wheat baguette slices, and you have yourself  one delicious appetizer, an accompaniment to a salad, or a little extra something to round out a meal.

I make this using whatever kind of tomatoes I have in abundance, but my favorite is to use small heirloom varieties.  I like the mixture of colors.  The tomatoes can be roasted in the oven on a cookie sheet, or on the grill if you already have it heated up.  One quick way to do this on the grill is to thread the tomatoes on skewers (6-8/skewer) and lay them on the grill, turning every 2 – 3 minutes until the tomatoes start to crack and begin to look charred.  Then bring them into the kitchen, chop them up, add the remaining ingredients, and its done!


Yield:   Make about 2 cups

I get the dressing ready before roasting the tomatoes.

I get the dressing ready before roasting the tomatoes.


  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, or any variety of tomatoes you desire
  • 4 teaspoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1 small shallot, chopped  (or finely minced red onion)
  • 1 whole wheat French bread baguette, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, halved


1.   Preheat oven to 375*F.   or heat grill to medium-high heat.

2.  Thread tomatoes evenly on 4 skewers;  lay on a cookie sheet and brush all over with 2 teaspoon olive oil.  If using grill, brush tomatoes with oil and lay on grill .   Turn the skewers several times for even roasting, and when the tomatoes start to crack and look charred ( about 5 minutes on the grill) remove from heat.

Roasting the tomatoes on skewers.

Roasting the tomatoes on skewers.

3.  Remove tomatoes from skewers; chop coarsely.  Place tomatoes, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, basil, and shallot in a small bowl, stirring to combine.


4.  Brush bread slices evenly with some olive oil,  Grill for about 30 seconds on each side or until toasted.

Toasting the bread.

Toasting the bread.

Rub cut sides of garlic over one side of bread slices, top evenly with tomato mixture.

Once you try this, you will want it with every meal. 🙂





SOURCE:  Carolyn’s Creations

Pie For Dinner

I’m Stressed!  I’m experiencing two things that are not compatible with each other.  One is writing this blog where I want to include baked goods, and more importantly reading other blogs where there is all kinds of wonderful baking going on; and two is trying to follow a low carbohydrate diet plan.  Baked goods, generally speaking, have no place on a strict low carb diet.  I need to bake something to bring my stress level down.  I want to stir something or roll out something like pie dough or cookie dough.  Yeah, that would help out a lot!  I don’t need to eat it, just make it.  What to do?

Well after giving this situation a lot of thought,  I decided to make a pie.  Not a dessert pie, no sireee; a dinner pie.  My analysis of the standard pie crust shows that 1/8th of a 9-inch pie contains 13 Gms. carbohydrate, none of which comes from sugar.  This is well under the 20 Gms. I’m limiting myself to per day.  So then I needed to figure out what the filling should be.  I decided on cheeses and fresh tomatoes flavored up with pesto.  With the creative juices flowing, and the stress level coming down, I set to work mixing up the pie dough. Cutting in that shortening and rolling out that dough takes muscle, but I was up for it!

Here then,  ladies and gentlemen, I present to you for the first time, my newest creation:  Fresh Tomato and Ricotta Cheese Pie


Makes 8 servings

  • pie dough for a single crust 9-inch pie, either home made or store-bought
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 large tomatoes, and 4-5 grape or cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup packed basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2-3 Tablespoons olive oil


1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Fit pie dough into a 9-inch pie pan.  Do not prick.  Line with heavy-duty foil.

2.  Bake at 450 degrees for 5 minutes.  Remove foil and continue baking for 8 more minutes.  Remove from oven.  Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees.

3.   In a medium bowl mix together the ricotta cheese, Parmesan and mozzarella cheeses, salt and pepper to taste, and egg.

4.  Spread the cheese mixture in the partially cooked pie crust.

5.  Slice each large tomato into wedges, small tomatoes in half.  Remove as many seeds as possible.   Arrange attractively  on top of cheese layer.  Heirloom tomatoes produce vibrant colors ranging from pale yellow, pale pink,   purplish red,  even striped.  No two taste alike.  A tomato is a beautiful thing!  Mixing 2-3 varieties together makes a pretty presentation.

6.  In a food processor, process basil, garlic and olive oil until coarsely chopped.  Drizzle over the tomatoes.  I used my own previously made basil pesto, or you could use commercially prepared pesto here.

7.  Bake at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  The filling will firm up a little more as it cools, so allow to cool for a few minutes before cutting.

8.  The finished product!  I served this pie with chicken salad on a bed of greens and a cucumber salad with a vinaigrette dressing.  I would also serve this dish as an entree for brunch along with some bacon or ham.  Oh, Yum!  The best part of all folks,  I didn’t just make it —-I got to eat it, too.  I am no longer stressed!

SOURCE:   a Carolyn Original