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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!

I love soups of all kinds and they are so easy to make!  Sauté any veggies you have in your fridge, add some spices, boxed broth and simmer away for 15 minutes. Healthy. Delicious. And a great way to use up leftovers in your fridge.

This is my super easy minestrone. Sauté a cup each of chopped onions, zucchini, carrots, green beans and celery until crisp but tender. Add in a box of chicken broth, a cup of crushed tomatoes, salt, pepper, crushed red pepper flakes, herbs de provence, oregano and fresh parsley. Stir in a can of drained white beans. Simmer for 15 minutes. Serve with a small shaped pasta and grated parmesan. Make a batch on Sunday and eat it for lunch all week long. Tons of veggies and protein from the beans…just yummy!

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Lobster was on sale for half price at the supermarket….$4.99 / lb — A Steal! Here’s my recipe for what turned out to be delicious lobster rolls. Serves 2. ENJOY!

Ingredients

2 – 1 1/2 lb. lobsters

2 tbsps mayo

1 tbsp dijon mustard

2 ribs celery chopped small

1/4 cup cucumber, seeds removed, chopped small

1 teaspoon fresh tarragon, chopped

sprinkle of dried dill (or fresh if you have)

squeeze of lemon

splash of red wine vinegar

salt / pepper

hot dog rolls

teaspoon butter

Directions

For the lobsters: Bring 2 inches of salted water to a boil in a large pot. Add the 2 lobsters, cover and lower heat to a simmer. Cook for about 20 – 22 minutes. Let cool. Crack and remove meat. Cut into chunks.

Mix together the mayo, mustard, lemon, tarragon, dill, vinegar and salt / pepper. Add in lobster, celery and cucumber. Mix to combine.

Melt butter in a pan. Toast up hot dog rolls on the inside and outside. Spoon lobster salad into toasted rolls. Serve with a simple salad and kettle cooked chips.

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!


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!

I was in the mood for some good bread for dinner. I decided to make a salad with a twist. I stopped by Balthazar Bakery and picked up a baguette – cheap and delicious!

Toss cubed bread with olive oil, salt and pepper. Bake at 425 until golden brown.

Cube up 2 baby eggplants toss with olive oil, salt, pepper and herbs de provence. Bake at 425 until tender.

In the meantime, cube 2 vine ripe tomatoes and put in a bowl. In a separate small bowl, whisk together red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly stream in olive oil as you whisk until a nice dressing is formed.

Toss the tomatoes, eggplant and bread with the dressing. Let sit for about 15 minutes. Before you serve toss with chopped basil and small cubes of fontina cheese. Eat alone as a great vegetarian dinner, or serve with lemon and mustard baked chicken (that’s what I did). Make a simple marinade of lemon juice, dijon mustard, fresh thyme, salt and pepper. Bake off the chicken until it’s cooked through. Just delicious!

Want something light to eat during those hot summer days? How about a delicious Summer Salad. The beauty of this recipe, like many of mine, is that it’s just a concept – you can mix it up with whatever ingredients you like. Substitute goat cheese for feta cheese, or pears for apples. You could easily add grilled chicken or shrimp to this salad…or even the left-overs from yesterday’s recipe for Herb Roasted Chicken!

Here’s a tip…make your own dressing! I never keep bottled dressing in the fridge. Homemade dressing is not only easy, but much healthier then the bottled kind. I’d rather save my calories for a snack!

 

Summer Salad

Mixed greens

1 diced Fuji apple

1 handful of dried cranberries

1/2 cup of walnuts (toast lightly in a dry pan to bring out the flavor)

1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese

 

Mix together above ingredients and drizzle dressing over the top. Toss and serve immediately.

 

For the dressing: Whisk together 1 tsp dijon mustard, 1 tsp honey, 4 tbsp apple cider vinegar, salt and pepper. Slowly add in, while whisking, about 1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Yummy!

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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