You Say Tomato, I Say Ricotta

SNACKS

Homemade Fig Newtons – Have you ever looked at all of the ingredients in a package of store bought fig newtons? It’ll blow your mind! (#junkgalore) Stop buying, make your own. Trust me, homemade takes the cake every.single.time. Check out the original recipe link for a picture. I forgot to snap a picture of my own.

DINNERS

Eggs, Avocados & Olive Oil Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon – When my little one is asked about dinner, this is often her first request. She (and I) love eggs and avocados. Normally we put it on toast.  This past week, we shook things up and went with Olive Oil Drop Biscuits.  These biscuits ridiculously easy, fast, and delicious!

Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese – Yes, you’ve seen this recipe here before…and you’ll see it again and again and again. It’s a family requested fave, and I’m happy to oblige.

Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Salad, Potatoes Gremolata, and Pan Seared Chicken – An impromptu dinner with old friends happened this weekend. Rather than go out, we opted to have them over and stay in. Sometimes, there’s nothing better than sitting around a table with great friends, reminiscing over great food and enjoying a great bottle of wine (or two). What I had in the fridge and pantry was a hodgepodge of veggies and some leftover herbs.  However, when good quality cheese and olive oil are household stables, great things happen.  Ricotta replaced mozzarella for a caprese-like salad that was ever so creamy.  Basil gremolata with a hint of sea salt on roasted fingerling potatoes were a perfect combo of chewy with a slightly crunchy edge. All of this with pan seared chicken was definitely an easy and entertaining worthy meal.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Homemade Fig Newtons

Adapted from My Whole Food Life
2 c. white whole wheat flour OR (1 c. white whole wheat flour + 1 c. almond meal)
2 organic eggs OR 2 flax eggs (stir together 2 T. ground flax seed + 6 T. water in a small dish and allow to set 5 min.)
1/3 c. coconut oil, softened
1/3 c. maple syrup
1 t. baking powder
2 t. organic vanilla extract
1/2 t. cinnamon
2 T. organic milk (alternative: almond milk)
2 T. organic applesauce unsweetened
Directions: In a small bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, cinnamon).  In a larger bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (eggs, coconut oil, maple syrup, vanilla, milk, applesauce).  Add the dry ingredients to the wet.  Stir until a dough form.  Form the sticky, wet dough into a ball and cover with plastic wrap.  Refrigerate for at least 1/2 hour (or freeze for 15 minutes if time is limited).  While the dough is resting/cooling, prepare the fig filling (see recipe below).

Tip: If using almond meal, the dough will be exceptionally wet and somewhat tricky when working with it.  The almond meal substitution came out of desperation when I had once run out of flour.  We found the outcome less visually pleasing because the sticky dough was a bit unforgiving. However, it was still absolutely yummy with a bit of a grainier texture.  In our house, we don’t judge food based on looks.  This is where the “two bite rule” comes in handy.  We often discover that ugly food can be quite delicious 😉

Fig Filling
15-20 figs rough chopped w/ tough stems removed (Turkish Figs or Black Mission Figs)
1 T. maple syrup
2-3 T. water
Directions: To a food processor, layer ingredients in this order: maple syrup, water, and then the figs.  Pulse until a peanut butter consistency is achieved.  Stop and redistribute ingredients in the food processor, if needed while pulsing.

Preheat the dough to 350 degrees.

Once the dough is cooled and ready to be rolled out, with flour dusted hands, turn the dough out onto a generously floured surface.  Using a flour dusted rolling pin, roll out the dough (checking often that it is not sticking) into a rectangular shape between 1/4 and 1/8 inch thick.  Spread the fig filling over 1/2 of the dough.  Fold the uncovered portion of the dough on top of the fig filling covered portion.  Use a pizza cutter to cut the dough into 2′ squares.  Bake the squares on a silicone lined baking sheet or baking stone for 12 to 15 minutes, or until slightly golden.  Enjoy!


Eggs, Avocados, & Olive Oil Drop Biscuits with Easy Oven Bacon

Adapted from A La Graham

IMG_7094

This meal requires a bit of commentary to help ensure the steps are timed right.  The bacon is prepared for baking (line baking sheet with foil & lay out the individual bacon slices).  Similarly, the biscuits are prepared and ready to pop in the oven, when it’s time.  Once these both are in the oven (which does not happen simultaneously – keep reading below), the avocados and eggs are prepared.

This meal starts with a cold oven.  The bacon goes in the cold oven, and then it’s turned on and begins to heat.  When the oven reaches full temperature, the biscuits go in the oven.  When the biscuits are done, your bacon will most likely be done too. (An exception would be for those who desire exceptionally crispy bacon. In that case, the bacon may need to remain in the oven a few minutes longer than the biscuits).

Easy Oven Bacon            
6 slices, preservative free bacon
Directions: Line a baking sheet with foil. Arrange the bacon on the baking sheet in a single layer. Place the bacon in a cold oven (note: the oven is NOT preheated). Heat the 450 degrees. Bake for 15 to 25 minutes, depending on your preferred doneness. It’s soooo easy this way, and there is no mess!

Biscuits (this recipe can be doubled)
1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
.5 t. sea salt
1 T. local honey (alternative: 6 drops of organic stevia), optional
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. milk
Directions: In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil (add the sweetener now, if using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Use large serving spoons or a large scooper to “drop” the biscuits on a baking sheet. Once the oven reaches 450 degrees, bake for  for approximately 10-12 minutes, or until slightly golden.

While the biscuits are baking, prepare the avocados and eggs.

Avocado Mixture
2 avocados, mashed
Lemon juice
Sea salt/pepper, not optional
6 slices whole wheat bread, toasted
Dash of hot sauce (optional)
Organic tomato, sliced (optional)

Eggs – prepped to your preference (I whisk eggs with a splash of milk and sea salt/pepper)
Directions: Half the avocados, remove the seeds, and scoop the goodness into a small bowl. With a fork, mash the avocado. Season with salt/pepper and add a squeeze of lemon (note: lemon keeps the avocado from browning). Stir once more.

Cook the eggs as desired.  I typically scramble the eggs for a week night meal.  However, sunny side up (AKA “dippy eggs” in my house) is also popular.  The warm, but still liquid yolk, adds richness to each bite!

Assembly

Start with an upside down biscuit (the flat surface is key). Next, comes a healthy slathering of avocado mixture. Finally, top with eggs, pressing the eggs into the avocado to help them “stick” to the biscuit. Finish with a dash or two of Tobasco style hot sauce, if you’re feeling daring.  It really adds a great additional layer of flavor.


Corn and Tomato Pizza With Cilantro and Goat Cheese

Adapted from Bev Cooks


Dough
Trader Joe’s premade whole wheat dough, prepared per package directions

Pizza Toppings
2 T. extra-virgin olive oil)
1/2 red onion, chopped
2-3 NON GMO sweet corn ears, shucked and kernels removed (alternative: 2 c. frozen NON GMO sweet corn)
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 small pkg. organic cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. fresh cilantro, chopped
1 lime, juiced
1 c. organic mozzarella, shredded
2 oz. goat cheese
Sea salt/black pepper, freshly ground
Tabasco style hot sauce, optional topping (recommended if you omit the jalapeno)
Directions: Preheat the oven to required pizza dough temperature. In a medium/large skillet warmed to medium heat, add the olive oil and onion and jalapeno (if using). Sauté until onions are translucent (about 5-7 minutes). Add the corn and sauté another 5 minutes. The next step happens quickly because you do not want to burn the garlic! Add the garlic, stirring constantly, allow it to cook until for about a minute or until you can really smell it. Immediately squeeze the lemon over the skillet and add the cilantro. Stir in the cherry tomatoes and allow the heat to release their juices (about 5 minutes). Remove from the heat. With the dough on the pizza stone or baking sheet, add a thin layer of mozzarella cheese, followed by the corn mixture. Crumble the goat cheese atop the pizza and add the remaining mozzarella cheese. Bake according to your pizza crust directions. This is amazing – especially with a few drops of hot sauce on each slice!!!


Ricotta, Basil, and Tomato Salad, Potatoes Gremolata, and Pan Seared Chicken

Adapted from Farm Flavor 

 

Ricotta Basil and Tomato Salad
4 organic ripe tomatoes, sliced
1 ½ c. organic whole milk ricotta
⅓ c. organic basil, thinly sliced (check out this how-to chiffonade video)
1 t. orange zest (optional)
½ c. extra virgin olive oil
⅓ c. white wine vinegar (alternative: red wine vinegar)
Sea salt and pepper, to taste
Directions: In a glass jar with a lid, add the dressing ingredients (olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper) and shake vigorously. Set aside. Arrange the tomatoes in a circular platter on a serving dish. Dollop (is that a verb?) the ricotta evenly on the tomatoes. Next, sprinkle the basil and orange zest on the top. Drizzle the dressing over the salad. Refrigerate any dressing leftovers. Enjoy!

Potatoes Gremolata
Basil Gremolata
1/2 t. sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 c. fresh basil, finely chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese

1 pint organic fingerling potatoes (AKA la ratte)
Directions: In a food processor, combine salt, garlic, basil, lemon zest, and olive oil. Pulse until combined. Add mixture to a medium bowl and stir in the Parmesan cheese.  Set aside.

Boil potatoes in salted water until soft. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a single layer of the potatoes.

Gently smash the potatoes with a meat tenderizer or bottom of a glass. Don’t be too rough.  The desired outcome is an intact, but smashed potato. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt.

Place potatoes in the oven. [Begin pan searing chicken now].  Bake the potatoes for 15 minutes before carefully flipping them over with a spatula.  Roast another 10-15 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the oven, and immediately spoon the gremolata mixture on the tops of the potatoes.

Serve with pan seared organic chicken breasts.

CSA + Game Day = A Win!

SNACKS
Sweet Beet Cookies – Yes, these are cookies with beets in them. They are  undetectable in the cookies…well, except for the color. These cuties are  slightly sweet and perfect with hot tea (if you’re feeling British). If you like a sweeter cookie, increase the organic coconut palm sugar just a bit.

DINNERS
Easy Caprese Salad & Greek Turkey Burgers – It’s officially college football season in the bluegrass [Go CATS] and tailgating menus have begun. While we opted for a rather traditional burgers/dogs menu this week, that doesn’t mean the burgers or sides have to be dull. This quick and super easy caprese salad is always a hit. It, along with the ever popular Greek Turkey Burgers, can even be prepared the night before and refrigerated until game day!!

Breakfast for Dinner – Olive Oil Drop Biscuits, Bacon, & Eggs – Who doesn’t like breakfast for dinner? Don’t have time to roll and cut out traditional biscuits? No worries. Mix and drop these guys on a baking sheet…Presto!

Feta Watermelon Salad with Grilled Chicken – Okay, peeps. If you’ve ventured into the feta watermelon salad craze, now’s your chance to take it to the next level. This flavor combination is incredible. I’ve heard from a pretty reliable source (guest blogger here) that switching the basil to fresh mint is also fantastic. This is another great tailgate dish option!

Greek Salad with Chicken Sausage – Fast, fresh, score!!

Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf – This meals seems out of context with the rest of this week’s recipes. But hey, a craving is a craving! I don’t care what season it is… this meatloaf = delicious comfort.

Hope something makes your belly smile…

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Sweet Beet Cookies

Adapted from Weelicious


1 c. whole white wheat flour
1/2 t. baking powder
4 T. organic coconut palm sugar
1/4 t. sea salt
1/2 c. organic raw beets, shredded fine
4 T. olive oil
¼ c. milk
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, coconut palm sugar, and sea salt. Stir in the shredded raw beets until coated with the flour mixture. In a small bowl, whisk the milk and olive oil and pour it over the dry ingredients. Stir until incorporated, eventually working the mixture together with your hands to form a dough ball. Lightly flour a dry surface and roll the dough until ¼” to 1/2” thick. Cut shapes using cookie cutters. Bake on parchment or silicone lined baking sheets. (I’ve also used a Pampered Chef baking stone) for 15 minutes.


Easy Caprese Salad with Grilled Chicken

Adapted from Savory Sweet Life


2 pints organic cherry tomatoes, halved
16 oz. fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls, halved
6-8 T. olive oil
Big bunch basil leaves (18+ leaves), finely chopped or get fancy and chiffonade
½ to 1 t. sea salt
½ to 1 t. freshly ground pepper
Balsamic reduction, optional (easy recipe below)
Directions: In a medium bowl, gently toss the tomatoes, mozzarella, olive oil, and basil. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Finish with a drizzling of balsamic glaze (optional). Refrigerate or serve immediately.

Serve with pan seared organic chicken breasts.

Balsamic Reduction
1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional)
Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer. Allow to simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  It’s done when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.


Breakfast for Dinner – Olive Oil Drop Biscuits, Bacon, and Eggs

1 c. whole white wheat flour
1.5 t. baking powder
.5 t. sea salt
1 T. local honey (alternative: 6 drops of organic stevia), optional
¼ c. olive oil
½ c. milk
Directions: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. In a small bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. In another small bowl, whisk together the milk and olive oil (add the sweetener now, if using it). Add the dry ingredients to the wet and stir just until combined. Use large serving spoons or a large scooper to “drop” the biscuits on a baking sheet. Bake for approximately 10 minutes or until slightly golden. Makes approximately 6 biscuits.

Note: Recipe can be doubled.

Serve with preservative bacon and organic free range eggs.


Feta Watermelon Salad with Pan Seared Chicken

Adapted from Farm Flavor


4 heaping c. 1-inch watermelon chunks, seeds removed
1 ½ c. organic tomatoes, chopped or grape tomatoes, halved
½ c. red onion, quartered and thinly sliced
¼ c. fresh organic basil, chopped (alternative: mint)
1 ½ T. extra virgin olive oil
3 T. fresh lime or lemon juice
¼ t. freshly ground salt
¹⁄₈ t. freshly ground black pepper
½ c. crumbled feta cheese
Directions: In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, lemon juice, and salt/pepper. Option: Add the onions to the dressing to “soften their bite.” Otherwise, to a large serving bowl, add the watermelon, tomatoes, onions, and basil. Gently stir and top with the feta cheese. Pour the dressing over the top. Enjoy!

Serve with pan seared chicken.


Greek Salad with Chicken Sausage

Adapted from Katri

Salad
1 pint of organic grape or cherry tomatoes, halved (Alternative: any organic tomato)
1 organic cucumber, chopped (skin on or off, up to you)
1 organic bell pepper, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 c. Kalamata olives, halved
8 oz. feta cheese, crumbled

Dressing
2 T. of fresh lemon juice (alternative: lime juice)
2 T. vinegar (red or white wine vinegar)
1 t. dried oregano
2 t. of dried parsley, optional (I’ve omitted it when I didn’t have any, and it was still great!)
1 t. of sea salt
1/2 t. of freshly ground pepper
1/2 c. of extra virgin olive oil
4 drops organic stevia, optional
Directions: Stir together all ingredients for the dressing. Set aside. Add all veggies and cheese to a large serving bowl. Pour the dressing over the top, and gently stir. If you can wait, refrigerate this for at least 30 minutes. The flavors will marry and get happier the longer they hang out together.


Spinach and Ricotta Turkey Meatloaf

Adapted from In Sock Monkey Slippers


1 lb. all natural ground turkey
10 oz. organic frozen spinach, thawed and squeezed dry*
2/3 c. ricotta cheese
2/3 c. Parmesan cheese, grated
4-5 cloves of garlic, minced (Carly: added)
1 cage free, organic egg, beaten
1/2 c. whole wheat bread crumbs (alternative: ¼ c. ground flax seed + ¼ c. almond meal)
1/2 t. sea salt
1/4 t. fresh black pepper
pinch ground nutmeg
1 c. organic, sugar free marinara (tip: read labels to avoid sugars, corn syrups, soybean oil, etc.)
1/3 c. organic mozzarella cheese
Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients (EXCEPT marinara and mozzarella) with your hands. Line a bread loaf pan with plastic wrap. Add turkey mixture to the loaf pan, pressing it down firmly.  Place a baking sheet on top of the bread loaf pan. Invert the loaf pan upside down onto the baking sheet. Gently life the loaf pan to find your meatloaf resting on top of the baking sheet (you’re done with the loaf pan). Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and top with the marinara and then the mozzarella cheese. Bake for the remaining 30 minutes.

NOTE: This makes a juicy, yet “crusty-crunchy” exterior style meatloaf. In our house, the crusty ends are the pièces de résistance. If for some reason, unbeknownst to me, you don’t like slightly crunchy ends, top the uncooked meatloaf with the marinara and mozzarella cheese and bake for the entire 50 minutes.

Our Take on Smashing Tomato’s House Salad
Organic greens of your choice
¼ c. chopped walnuts
½ red onion, sliced
¼ c. shredded Parmesan cheese
Balsamic reduction
Balsamic Reduction
1 c. store bought balsamic vinegar
4-5 drops organic stevia drops (optional) (alternative 1 t. honey)

Directions: In a small sauce pan, add the balsamic vinegar and stevia.  Bring to a boil and immediately reduce to a simmer until it has reduced by one-half (about 30 minutes), stirring occasionally.  It’s ready when it is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon.