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Posts Tagged ‘tomatoes’

okra&tomatoes_final

Okra! It’s one of those vegetables where you find very little middle ground. It seems that people either love it or they hate it. I, of course, fall into the “love it” category. I like it every single way I’ve ever had it. Fried, boiled, in gumbo, in soup, and of course the classic dish of okra and tomatoes.

BeeBop on the other hand, falls into the “hate it” category. Just not his thing. That’s okay. We don’t judge. I try to tell him what he’s missing, but that just falls on deaf ears.

Okra and tomatoes is a quick side dish that goes with so many entrees.  And the frozen okra is always just as good as fresh. Cooking okra with something slightly acidic like tomatoes, cuts out nearly all of the slime factor, too.

So, next time you’re at the grocery store, grab a bag of frozen okra and give this a try.

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caprese_final

All the elements of a classic caprese salad in an appetizer!  I actually wanted to call this “Caprese on a Stick” but thought that really wasn’t quite nice enough for this little appetizer. Make these in advance if you like, but be sure to let them come to room temperature before serving. Much more flavorful that way.

For 20 appetizers, you will need:

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shrimpcreole_final1

Another old favorite, Shrimp Creole. This recipe for Shrimp Creole has, naturally, been tweaked somewhat by me, but it originally came from Craig Claiborne’s “Southern Cooking.” Craig Claiborne was a food writer for the New York Times, but he was born and raised in Mississippi. He had a lifetime appreciation for southern cuisine which grew throughout his childhood and youth in the kitchen of his mother’s boardinghouse. Over the years he wrote several cookbooks, but my favorite was his Southern Cooking. He included many of his mother’s original recipes in that cookbook, and they are all so familiar to me from my own childhood. Throughout the book he writes about his memories of classic southern food such as fried catfish, fried chicken, field peas, greens (collards, turnips and mustard), cornbread and a huge variety of desserts. Any time I need inspiration for something to cook, I know I can find it in Southern Cooking.

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 ravioli_final1

Buitoni pasta has this new line of filled pastas that you can find in your local grocery store’s refrigerated section. There are four of them: Chicken and Four Cheese, Quattro Formaggi, Spicy Beef and Sausage, and Wild Mushroom. I chose to try the Quattro Formaggi first. I have to tell you that it was excellent. The quality of a good Italian restaurant. Really. You could use any of your favorite Italian style sauces on this ravioli with very good results. I made up a chunky tomato and veggie sauce for mine.  We added a tossed salad and garlic bread to complete the meal. Very good. Not too heavy but very satisfying. 

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gnocchi_final1

Ever tried gnocchi? No? Know what they are? No? Well, give this recipe just one try and you’ll always keep a package of gnocchi in your pantry for a very quick, very easy, very satisfying dinner. Actually gnocchi are little Italian potato dumplings. They’re made with steamed potatoes, flour and a little salt. That’s all. And if you want to give making homemade gnocchi a try, go for it! Let me know how it turns out. However, there’s a very good packaged gnocchi available in grocery stores under the Vigo brand name. You will find them in the same area with the instant mashed potatoes and boxed rice dishes. So, go grab a box and make a memorable dinner!

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Freezing Tomatoes

tomatoesHere’s a tip. Preserve those beautiful red, ripe tomatoes when they are plentiful in the summer. Simply wash and dry them thoroughly and place in plastic freezer bags. When it’s cold and dreary in the winter, take out a bag and let it thaw in the fridge or on the counter. Once they’re thawed, the skins will slip right off and you can chop the tomatoes for whatever use you want! Great in pasta sauce or a steaming bowl of tomato-ey vegetable soup on a cold day!

Enjoy!

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Chili – My Way

chili_platedIf you are a true chili connoisseur or a native Texan, please look away now. Just go somewhere else because this recipe is nowhere near authentic. It’s more beans and veggies than meat. It’s my quick and easy chili that I can put together after work without measuring stuff or soaking beans or any of that kind of tedious work. So next time you have a hankering for chili and it’s nearly dinner time, give this method a try.

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