Monday, September 30, 2013

Tomato and Goat Cheese Tart

Ina Garten made this on the food network the other night and I had to try it!
Believe me when I tell you, it tastes even better than it looks. Ina rolls the puff pastry out to an 11x11 square and then cuts two round circles using a 6 inch saucer are her guide.  I thought this was somewhat of a waste because you only get two tarts and you are left with lots of extra dough.  
I rolled my puff pastry out to 11x11, scored the edges, pricked the middle like she does and baked the entire square.  After I pulled it out of the oven I was able to cut it into four even pieces.
One tomato per piece and no waste.
Also... The recipe calls for goat cheese but if you prefer a mild cheese you could use Mascaprone, which is a soft Italian cheese. 

Here is Ina's recipe from the Food Network...


  • 1 package (17.3 ounces/2 sheets) puff pastry, defrosted
  • Good olive oil
  • 4 cups thinly sliced yellow onions (2 large onions)
  • 3 large garlic cloves, cut into thin slivers
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons dry white wine
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme leaves
  • 4 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan, plus 2 ounces shaved with a vegetable peeler
  • 4 ounces garlic-and-herb goat cheese (recommended: Montrachet)
  • 1 large tomato, cut into 4 (1/4-inch-thick) slices
  • 3 tablespoons julienned basil leaves


Unfold a sheet of puff pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll it lightly to an 11 by 11-inch square. Using a 6-inch wide saucer or other round object as a guide, cut 2 circles from the sheet of puff pastry, discarding the scraps. Repeat with the second pastry sheet to make 4 circles in all. Place the pastry circles on 2 sheet pans lined with parchment paper and refrigerate until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium to low heat and add the onions and garlic. Saute for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and there is almost no moisture remaining in the skillet. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon pepper, the wine, and thyme and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the onions are lightly browned. Remove from the heat.
Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork and sprinkle a tablespoon of grated Parmesan on each round, staying inside the scored border.
Place 1/4 of the onion mixture on each circle, again staying within the scored edge. Crumble 1 ounce of goat cheese on top of the onions. Place a slice of tomato in the center of each tart. Brush the tomato lightly with olive oil and sprinkle with basil, salt, and pepper. Finally, scatter 4 or 5 shards of Parmesan on each tart.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until the pastry is golden brown. The bottom sheet pan may need an extra few minutes in the oven. Serve hot or warm.

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Using a sharp paring knife, score a 1/4-inch-wide border around each pastry circle. Prick the pastry inside the score lines with the tines of a fork.

Bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.  Cut into four equal pieces.  One tomato per piece.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Zuppa Toscana ... The Light Version

Just yesterday someone posted a recipe for Zuppa Toscana on Facebook.  It was a Copy Cat recipe from the Olive Garden.  The recipe looked great and I wanted to try it but it was loaded with fat and calories ,so I decided to make a few changes.   I used chicken sausage, fat free 1/2 and 1/2, left out the bacon and I used leeks instead of onions for extra flavor. 

The soup ended up with lots less fat and calories and the taste was still amazing!


1 lb. Chicken Italian Sausage Sliced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Large Russet Potatoes Diced Into 1 Inch Pieces
1 1/2 Cups Cleaned and Chopped Leeks
2 Tbsp Minced Garlic
32 oz. Chicken Broth
2 Cups Swiss chard, chopped ( no stems, just leaves)
1  Cup Fat Free Half and Half
Salt and Pepper To Taste

1. Heat olive oil on medium heat, add the chopped leeks.  Saute for 2 minutes.

2. Add the two cloves of garlic and the cut sausage and continue to saute for five minutes or until sausage browns, watch closely so garlic doesn't burn.
3.  Add the chicken broth and the chopped potatoes.
4.  Bring to a boil and then lower heat until potatoes are soft.  About 20 minutes.
5.  Turn the heat off and add the Swiss Chard and cream.  Do not boil.  Serve right away.

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Slice sausage into 1 inch slices.

Cook Leeks in olive oil for two minutes or until wilted.


Add two cloves of garlic.

Add sliced sausage and brown with garlic for 5 minutes.

Chop Swiss Chard Leaves and set aside.

Add Chopped Potatoes, bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low boil for 20 minutes until tender.

Add the Swiss Chard to the pan.

Add the 50% Fat Free 1/2 and 1/2 and turn off heat.


Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Meatloaf Stuffed Peppers

I love stuffed peppers and I love meatloaf so why not combine the two?
For this recipe I'll be using my  B&T Meatloaf  recipe.  

1.  Prepare the meatloaf mixture and set aside. 
2.  Remove and discard the tops, seeds, and membranes of the bell peppers.
3.  Divide the mixture evenly between each pepper.
4.  Place the four peppers in an 8 inch square pan standing up. 
5.  Sprinkle Chef blend 6 Italian Cheese Mix (Sargento) evenly over the peppers. 
6. Cook for 30 minutes covered, then cover with tin foil and cook an additional 30 minutes.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Boneless Grilled Pork Chops

 Cooking pork chops on the grill can be somewhat of a challenge.  They either come out too dry or they are moist but will be pale and bland looking.  I was watching America's Test Kitchen the other night and they came up with a great way to cook center cut loin chops on the grill.  By soaking them for 30 minutes in a simple salt water brine and mixing a quick paste to brush on the chops before cooking, the end result produces a well charred, juicy pork chop!
Here is the recipe...and they turned out fantastic!


Boneless Grilled Pork Chops
From :

Serves 4 to 6
6 (6- to 8-ounce) boneless pork chops, 3/4 to 1 inch thick
3 Tablespoons Salt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
1 1/2 Teaspoons Honey
1 Teaspoon Anchovy Paste ( you won't taste once the pork chops are cooked)
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper

Cut 2 slits about 1 inch apart through outer layer of fat and connective tissue on each chop to prevent buckling. Dissolve salt in 1 1/2 quarts cold water in large container. Place chops in brine and let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.
Whisk together oil, honey, anchovy paste, and pepper to form smooth paste. Remove pork from brine and pat dry with paper towels. Using spoon, spread half of oil mixture evenly over 1 side of each chop (about 1/4 teaspoon per side).

FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave primary burner on high and turn off other burner(s).
Clean and oil cooking grate. Place chops, oiled side down, over hot part of grill and cook, uncovered, until well browned on first side, 4 to 6 minutes. While chops are grilling, spread remaining oil mixture evenly over second side of chops. Flip chops and continue to cook until chops register 140 degrees, 4 to 6 minutes longer (if chops are well browned but register less than 140 degrees, move to cooler part of grill to finish cooking). Transfer chops to plate and let rest for 5 minutes


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