I have five new recipes that include an appetizer, two meat free options, a chicken dish, and how to make your own Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and to incorporate last weeks ingredient, I have included something that can be eaten for dessert. So why don’t we get started:
HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN SUN-DRIED TOMATOES
- 1 Lb. Plum Tomatoes, smaller size if you can get them
- 1 Tbsp Coarse Salt
- 3-4 Sprigs of Thyme, fresh
- 1/2-1 Cup Olive Oil
- 1 Clove Garlic, Minced
- Preheat oven to 225 degrees
- Put a metal cooling rack on a sheet pan
- Layout paper towels or a clean tea towel
- Cut the tomatoes in half, if they are the small ones. Or in quarters if they are the larger.
- Put them cut side up on the paper towels or tea towel
- Sprinkle them lightly with the Coarse Salt
- Place some more paper towels or another clean tea towel over them
- Take the sheet pan and place it over the top, then place a couple of heavy cans or a bag of flour on top and let sit for about half an hour (we are trying to get as much of the water out of the tomatoes as we can before we put them in the oven.
- After half an hour, remove the flour or cans, take the sheet pan off the top and make sure you wipe off the bottom of it, put the rack back on top of the sheet pan and once you have removed the towels from the tomatoes lay them cut face up on the rack.
- Pop the pan into the oven and let them bake for about three hours
- Once you have put them in the oven, get the jar you plan to pack them in, or the container, put the half the olive oil in, then the minced garlic, and the sprigs of thyme. Let the jar sit with both the garlic and the thyme until the tomatoes come out, so that the flavour goes into the oil.
- After three hours, here comes the part where you get to decide, if you like yours very dry, then you will probably want to leave them in for awhile longer. If like me you prefer them to have a little bit of chew, then take them out when they are a little plumper. In either case, the tomatoes should feel dry to the touch and maybe look a little bit like wrinkled up prunes. The timing is subjective here, it depends on how you like your sun-dried tomatoes and how your oven holds the temp. It may take longer it may take shorter, three hours is a good sort of check them time, but you may need more time, so don’t be afraid to leave them in for even a couple of more hours if that’s how you like them.
- Once the tomatoes have cooled to room temperature, put them in the jar or container with the garlic and thyme and top either of them off with the remaining oil. The tomatoes should be totally submerged in the oil.
- If you do not intend to use these within the next day or so, I would pop them into the freezer, that will prevent any bacterial growth from happening. When you need them take out what you require, let them defrost , and pop the rest back in the freezer until you need them again.
The appetizer is up next, I hope you are not on a diet because this one is not exactly figure friendly. I’m already round, so it doesn’t matter as much to me, haha.
I saw a recipe somewhat like this in a magazine or on a recipe card only they were using olives and sun-dried tomatoes, I adapted it a little bit because I don’t like warm olives. So, my apologies if I am stealing your recipe, but I can’t even recall where I saw it first, so my thanks are all I can offer.
SUN-DRIED TOMATO TOPPED BAKED BRIE
- 4-6 oz of Sun-dried Tomatoes, chopped very finely
- 2 cloves of Garlic, minced
- 1 tsp. Balsamic Vinegar (that’s right the ingredient from two weeks ago)
- 1 wheel of Brie Cheese
- 1 Tbsp Parsley, chopped
- Pita or Bagel chips, or even crackers if you like.
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Place the chopped Sun-dried Tomatoes, the chopped Garlic, and the Balsamic Vinegar in a bowl. Stir together
- Place the wheel of Brie on a parchment covered sheet pan
- Place the Sun-dried tomato mixture on top
- Bake for about 10 minutes or until the Brie is soft
- Slide the Brie off the parchment and onto a serving plate and sprinkle with the Parsley
- Serve with the Pita or Bagel chips and or crackers.
Next up, we have one of the meat-less recipes, however, if like my family, meat must be at every meal, you could add chicken, or bacon, or Italian sausage, it is entirely up to you. I have had it with and without meat and it tastes good to me either way (how did you think I got so round)?
PENNE ALFREDO WITH SUN-DRIED TOMATOES AND GARLIC
- 1 box of Penne Pasta
- 1 Jar of Alfredo Sauce, if like me you decide to be lazy, or your own homemade Alfredo Sauce if you are that ambitious
- 1 lb Asparagus
- 1 Small Onion, chopped
- 2 cloves Garlic, chopped
- 1/4 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes, drained and chopped
- 1/4 Cup White Wine
- 1/4 Cup Chicken Broth or Vegetable broth if you are going truly meat free
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil (or use the oil drained from the sun-dried tomatoes and top up to 2 Tbsp with regular Olive Oil)
- Salt and Pepper
- Put water on to boil for Pasta
- Chop vegetables and Sun-dried Tomatoes
- Put large frying pan on the burner and turn to medium high
- Salt the Pasta water once it has come to the boil, remember you only get this one chance to flavour the pasta so the water should, as Mario Batali would say, “Taste like the sea”.
- Drop the Pasta in and cook according to package directions
- In the frying pan, add the olive oil and cook the onion and garlic until the onion becomes translucent about 3-4 minutes
- Stir in the tomatoes, the wine and the chicken stock and bring to a boil over high heat.
- Stir in the Alfredo sauce and turn the heat down to low and let simmer
- When there are only two minutes left on the pasta, throw the asparagus in with it and cook
- Drain the pasta and asparagus and add to the pan with the Alfredo mixture. Toss together
- Serve with a green salad and some garlic bread
This next one has become one of my family’s favourites. It is so tasty and luscious, and yes, once again, this is not a diet’s dream recipe. I’m sure it could be adapted to be, but trust me, if you are allowed a cheat meal, make this one it. Or save it for company, this one is definitely worth it.
TUSCAN GARLIC CHICKEN
- 1 1/2 lbs Thinly sliced Chicken Breast or Skinless Boneless Chicken Thighs
- 1 Cup Whipping Cream
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
- 2 cloves Garlic, minced or if you have no fresh garlic, you can use garlic powder, just a tsp though.
- 1 tsp Italian Seasoning
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
- 1 Cup Spinach, chopped
- 1/2 Cup Sun-dried Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- In a large frying pan, add the Olive Oil and Cook the chicken on medium high until it is cooked through. Remove from pan and set aside on a plate
- Add the Whipping Cream, Chicken Broth, garlic (powder or fresh), Italian Seasoning, and Parmesan Cheese. Whisk over medium high heat until it begins to thicken.
- Add the Spinach and Sun-Dried Tomatoes (and yes, leave them whole for this one) and leave it to simmer until the Spinach starts to wilt
- Add the chicken back to the pan and stir to coat.
- Serve over rice, with a side salad
I know, so easy right? We really love this dish and I make sure that everyone is going to be home when I make it, because if they find out and they weren’t home, I am in so much trouble.
Next up, we have our second meat-less option, but once again, it is entirely up to you whether or not to add meat. This could also be used on Bruschetta, but we like it with pasta.
SUN-DRIED TOMATO PESTO
- 1/2 pkg Spaghetti or 1 pkg Linguine (whichever you prefer)
- 1/2 Cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 jar of Sun-Dried Tomatoes, drained (don’t waste that oil however, save it for cooking something else, and this time you might want to buy a jar, because if you have used the Sun-dried tomatoes that we made at the beginning, I’m pretty sure, you don’t have any left.)
- 1/4 Cup Pine Nuts or Almonds if you have them, or even Walnuts
- 2 Garlic cloves, chopped
- 1/4 Cup Parsley, chopped
- 1/3 – 1/2 Cup Olive Oil
- Salt and Pepper
- Put a large pot of water on to boil
- When it comes to the boil, salt the water and then drop in the Pasta of your choice
- While the Pasta is cooking, combine the Parmesan, Sun-dried Tomatoes, Pine Nuts, Garlic and Parsley in your food processor
- Pulse the ingredients in the food processor until chopped up fairly fine
- Slowly, with the machine running, add the olive oil in until it is completely incorporated (the mixture should not look like it’s been drowned in oil, but neither should it look too dry)
- Saving about a cup of the boiling pasta water, drain the rest and toss with the pasta until completely coated. Add a little bit of the pasta water to thin the sauce and keep it lovely and loose
- Serve with a side salad and garlic bread
Ok, while you probably wouldn’t have all these recipes in one week, not unless you were to make one of these and then two nights of something else before you go back to this list, these are pretty rich dishes, something lighter in between would make a lot more sense. I have still done up the grocery list for you, if yo wanted to do all of them, just add your own stuff to this list.
Oh, but, I promised a dessert didn’t I (well, kind of a dessert). It’s going to use our ingredient from last week:
GINGER SNAP COOKIES
- 3/4 Cup Butter, softened
- 1 1/2 Cups Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1/2 Cup Molasses
- 2 tsp Vinegar
- 3 3/4 Cups Flour
- 1 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
- 3 tsp Ginger, ground
- 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Allspice
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy
- Add the eggs one at a time and beat well in between
- Then add the Molasses and Vinegar and stir together
- Sift together the Flour, Baking Soda, Ginger, Cinnamon and Allspice
- Add to the wet mixture and stir until well blended together
- Roll the dough into 3/4 inch balls and place on a greased cookie sheet
- Bake in the center of the oven for 12-14 minutes depending how your oven bakes
One more thing, if you make these bigger, then you can put ice cream between two of them and make them into ice cream sandwiches. If you are having company, roll the edges in ground almonds, or other nuts, and serve for dessert.
Well now, that really is all this time, except for the Grocery List of course, so here goes:
- Brie Cheese
- Parmesan Cheese
- Whipping Cream
- Chicken Breasts, or Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs
- Garlic Bread
- Plum Tomatoes
- Thyme, Fresh
- Garlic, Fresh
- Parsley, Fresh
- Coarse Salt
- Pita or Bagel Chips, or crackers
- Penne Pasta
- Spaghetti or Linguine Pasta
- Chicken Broth
- Alfredo Sauce
- Italian Seasoning
- Pine Nuts, Almonds, or Walnuts
- White Wine
Ok everyone, there you have it. This weeks recipes with our special ingredient. Come on back next week to find out what ingredient is next. Don’t forget to click on the MINI-COOKBOOK at the side, the recipes in there are really good too, and it also comes with a grocery list. And don’t forget to go to the CONTACT ME page and send me an email, let me know what you think of the recipes and what you think of the format, I really love to hear from you.
I’ll be back on Tuesday with another round of what’s going on in my house or What is Willie up to now? Take care and have a safe and wonderful weekend.