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I had a request for a super easy, minimal ingredient dinner. This is for you Pat!

Aside from salt, pepper, olive oil and vinegar…these are staples most people have in their kitchen…this is super easy and yummy…AND only 5 ingredients to buy at the store.

1. Whole wheat penne pasta

2. Cherry tomatoes

3. Basil

4. Fresh mozzarella

5. Grated parmesan cheese

Cook whole wheat penne pasta in a pot of salted boiling water. Drain. When pasta is still warm toss with halved cherry tomatoes, torn basil, bite size pieces of fresh mozzarella, olive oil, salt, pepper and vinegar (red wine or balsamic), top with grated parmesan cheese. Enjoy!

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In a pinch to make a quick dinner? Serve an easy arugula salad over chicken cutlets. You can make the cutlets or buy them in the store. Top with baby arugula mixed with chopped fresh mozzarella, sliced roasted red peppers, cubed tomato, torn basil and a drizzle of balsamic vinegar and olive oil. Toss with salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Super simple. Super delicious.

Enjoy!

photo(2)I love to take comforting foods and switch them up a bit and make them more interesting. This is my version of Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese.

This recipe makes enough for two people with some soup left over. The leftovers make a delicious lunch the next day!

For the Soup…

Slice 2 pieces of applewood smoked bacon into chunks. Saute in a dry pan until the bacon is crispy and brown. Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon and place on a plate with a paper towel to drain. Set aside. Saute 3 sliced shallots in the bacon grease until tender. Add 3/4 cup of white wine, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and let the alcohol burn off – about 5 minutes. Add 1 large can of whole San Marzano tomatos, a handful of torn basil, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1 tablespoon sweet paprika, salt, pepper, a few dashes of chipolte hot sauce (or you can use regular hot sauce), tablespoon sugar. Let boil for about 15 minutes. Use an immersion hand blender (like this one) and puree the soup until it’s smooth. Stir in about 1/3 cup of cream. Reduce to simmer until you are ready to use.

For the Grilled Cheese…

The key to making a grilled cheese great, is having quality bread and good cheese. My sandwiches always start with Balthazar bread. Slice whole grain bread into about 1/2 inch thick slices. Place a thin layer of Dijon mustard on one side of the bread. Top with shredded sharp cheddar cheese, then thinly sliced tomato and watercress. Next place shredded Gruyere cheese on the sandwich and top with the other slice of bread. In a pan heat up a little bit of butter. Place sandwiches in the melted butter. While they are browning on one side, smear some butter on the side of the bread that is not in the skillet — This way when you flip the sandwiches you don’t need to put more butter in the pan. Flip sandwiches and cook until golden brown on the other side.

Slice sandwiches in half. Serve with tomato soup topped with the reserved crumbled bacon and torn fresh basil. Enjoy!


Friday Breakfast….A Sigma tradition.

At my office, each Friday someone brings in breakfast for the entire office. We rotate, so you only have to supply breakfast about once a year. This year I took it as a challenge to spend as little money as possible (recession special) but still put together a really nice breakfast for everyone to enjoy!

On the menu:

  • Egg casserole with turkey sausage, peppers, onions and potatoes
  • Egg casserole with spinach, feta and tomato
  • Egg casserole with cheddar cheese
  • French Toast (made with Balthazar Bread…of course!)
  • Apple & Cinnamon Compote to go on top of the French Toast
  • Cantaloupe
  • Strawberries / Blueberries
  • Greek Yogurt and Granola
  • Brownies
  • Orange Juice

It’s hard to believe, but by “shopping the sale rack” at the grocery store, I was able to feed 50 hungry employees for only $85! Eggs on sale for 99 cents / dozen…Cantaloupe 2/$3…Apples for 99 cents / lb. – the list goes on! I formulated my menu around what was on sale – and it worked!

On a super hot day, the last thing I want to do is have the oven on and multiple burners going. Ick! Here are some simple sandwich combos I love for dinner. And if none of my ideas sound delicious to you…visit Grey Dog Cafe’s website. They are located in NYC and have sandwiches to die for! I love it there…I actually went there yesterday! If you happen to be in the area stop in for a beer, sandwich and an oatmeal raisin cookie! Yumm!

If you have a panini press like this one from Cuisinart it’s a great tool to create a great pressed sandwich. If not, you can always have a cold sandwich or warm it in a pan or toaster oven. Oh and don’t forget, great bread can turn an average sandwich into a DELICIOUS sandwich!

Tasty Combos

  • Turkey, brie, sliced pear and honey mustard on multigrain bread
  • Grilled chicken on Ciabatta with melted mozzarella, roasted peppers, arugula, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt / pepper
  • Black Forest ham, melted Gruyere, sliced apple, spicy mustard on Pumpernickel
  • Turkey, sliced avocado, sliced tomato and chipolte mayo (blend chipolte in adobo with some mayo – spicy and yummy) in a wrap or on a crusty roll
  • Cheddar, swiss, watercress, applewood smoked bacon and sliced tomato on hearty wheat bread – Best grilled cheese!

About Me

My name is Ashley and I'm a self taught cook. Getting home from work, popping open a bottle of wine and cooking up dinner with my boyfriend is my favorite part of the day. I want to show you that making dinner can be fun and easy. I have some great tricks for the young professional...like me, that I know you will love! Follow me and I'll make you the talk of all of your friends! You won't believe the things you can whip up in the kitchen that are...Just Delicious!

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