Tag Archives: Tomatoes

Mediterranean Dip

26 Apr

Two to Three nights a year, my family enjoys snack night for dinner.   These special occasions include Christmas Eve, New Years Eve and Super Bowl Sunday.  It is pure gluttony.  We eat with total abandon!  We all really look forward to these nights because anything goes.  However, there are a few must haves on the menu.  These include my guacamole (my 8 year old is an avocado fiend) and something with Velveeta.  We all know it isn’t a party without Velveeta.  I usually make an assortment of cold dips and hot dips.  Our proteins are usually Little Smokies and chicken wings.  But that’s not all my friends.  I have a chocolate popcorn recipe reserved just for these events.  And you know we have to have nachos.  Because I am a mom, I cut up peppers and fruit to balance out the fat.  But these go largely untouched.  And I don’t care.  This is one night were we all break the rules.  I mean we get to eat with our hands!  Plates are strictly optional.  Everyone is two -fisting it, with one fist holding dessert!  A kids dream, to eat dessert and dinner at the same time!!!!!  No one sits because we have to rotate around the table to sample everything.  Bowls, hot plates, dip bowls, chip bags and sweets litter the table to the fullest.  These are nights I never have to get after any one to eat or to stop talking.  In fact there isn’t any talking because all our mouths are crammed with deliciousness!  Alas, this doesn’t last long.  We fill up quickly.  Party comes to a halt.  We find ourselves feeling a bit down.  Partly because we are literally weighed down by all the cholesterol laden, high fat food.  And partly because this meal held such anticipation.  Come on, this is snack night after all.  We’ve cheated the norm!   Everyone backs away from the table in horror.  No one can look at whats left because then you have to face the reality of what’s been consumed.  My dog will get a few Smokies.  I keep what’s salvageable.  Somethings I cannot look at again without vomiting, therefore must be disposed of immediately.  The word Velveeta must not be ushered for another year!  Yes, we move heavily to our next activity, which hopefully involves sitting.  Rolaids is now our friend.

This year, I’ll be adding Mediterranean Dip to the rotation.  It is has a rich taste without the guilt.  Unless of course I eat it all by myself, which is certainly not out of the question.

Mediterranean Dip

8 oz package softened cream cheese

6 oz Greek style yogurt

3 cloves garlic minced

1 tsp Greek seasoning

Hummus (10oz)

4 oz crumbled feta cheese

1 cup chopped kalamata olives

1 small  cucumber diced

2 roma tomatoes diced

chopped parsly

In a bowl combine the softened cream cheese and the Greek yogurt until combined and spreadable.  Add in the garlic and the seasoning.  Spread  onto a serving plate.  Top with Hummus.  I used a traditional flavor, but you could use whatever flavor you like.  Top hummus with diced cucumber, diced tomatoes, olives and feta.  Garnish with parsley.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.


Busy Night Pasta Jambalaya

23 Apr

I thought this past weekend was going to be incredibly busy.  Between a zoo field trip, two baseball games, two gymnastics classes, a birthday party, movies with friends, I assumed we’d have no time to breath.  Well a lucky thing happened.  It rained.  Baseball was cancelled!!!  I shouldn’t feel elated when that happens, after all, the season just started, but I was!  A busy weekend instantly turned into a free weekend.  I capitalized on that immediately!  I read!  I don’t  normally get to read during the day, but I found myself on the couch with The Hunger Games Trilogy.  I finished books two and three over the weekend!  Holy Cow!  Why did I wait so long to read these!  They are wonderfully written.  So many twists and turns.  I couldn’t put them down!  Which meant my family was going to suffer when it came to dinner.  I simply didn’t have time to whip up my usual gourmet meals (you can totally hear the sarcasm in that statement can’t you??).  I had to rely on a quick stand by and a family favorite: Pasta Jambalaya.  I always have these ingredients in my house, you probably do too or can adapt the recipe to fit what you do have in your home.  It’s quick, it’s tasty, it’s perfect for a busy night.

Pasta Jambalaya

Serves 4

1 lb  angel hair pasta

1 tbs olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 cup diced onion

1 15 oz can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 15 oz can diced tomatoes

1 teaspoon cajun seasoning

1 lb Kielbasa or smoked sausage,sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions.  Meanwhile, in  a large skillet,  cook onions in olive oil until soft and translucent.  Add garlic and cook for one minute.  Add drained black beans and cajun seasoning.  Cook for about two minutes until black beans just begin to soften.  Add in canned tomatoes, juice and all.  Let mixture come to a boil and add sliced sausage.  Let simmer on low for 10 minutes.  Serve over cooked angel hair.  Top with cheese or hot sauce.

recipe adapted from Cooking Light

Grilled Steak with Roasted Tomatoes and Blue Cheese

9 Apr

Did you have a lovely Easter?  How much Easter candy did you eat?  Now, how much did you eat when your kids weren’t looking????  I’ll be honest, I kept a whole bag of the flavored Tootsie Rolls just for myself.  My original intention was to put some into the Easter baskets, but darn it, they just didn’t make it.   I don’t feel guilty about that either.

I could go on about candy, but that’s not what I want to write about today.  We did not have a big to-do  for Easter.  My extended family could not come together.  So we’ll celebrate this Sunday instead.  Since Sunday was a holiday, I felt compelled to come up with a “fancy” dinner for the five of us.  We deserve special meals too right??   A few days ago, my mom had given me two pints of cherry tomatoes.  They were deeply discounted at a produce store.  My mom is a professional discount shopper.  She is retired and has time to frequent every  grocery store in a 25 mile radius!!!  That’s a post for another day.  As I was saying, I was given these tomatoes.   I was tired of salads.  My kids do snack on them, but that’s hit or miss.  So what to do????  Here’s the “fancy” part.  I decided to roast them.  Couldn’t be hard right?  Guess what?  It wasn’t.  It was insanely easy and 100% flavorful!  I thought they’d be excellent as a steak topping along with some crumbled blue cheese. Since I was roasting tomatoes, on another sheet pan, I threw together some diced potatoes and cauliflower tossed with olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper.  This meal came together beautifully.  Everyone asked for seconds.  Even my 3 year old!  Ok, so she hadn’t eaten any lunch (don’t judge me) and was extremely hungry!!  But everyone agreed it was a good meal.  Good enough to share with friends like you.

Right before bed, my 3 year old gave me kisses and wished me a happy Easter.  She asked if the next time we have a fancy meal will it be Easter time?  I thought that was precious. Or was she insulting me?  Perhaps, to  her, my everyday meals are ordinary and bland?  Perhaps I’m not giving her taste buds enough credit?  Perhaps I’m over thinking this?  Regardless, this meal seems fancy, but is easy and tastes amazing.  This meal will impress your friends, your dinner guests, and yes, your own family.  You will be a rockstar.

For the steak:

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tbs balsamic vinegar

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 tsp Herbes De Provence



2 lbs sirloin steak

Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

2 tbs crumbled Bleu Cheese.

Combine marinade ingredients in a large ziplock bag, add your steak.  Marinate two hours.



For the tomatoes:

1 pint cherry tomatoes

2 tbs olive oil

2 cloves of garlic, minced



Pre-heat oven to 400.  Lay your tomatoes on a foil lined baking sheet in one layer.  Drizzle olive oil over the tomatoes.  Sprinkle garlic, salt and pepper over the olive oil.  The seasonings can be completely adjusted to your tastes.  Roast in oven for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, grill steak on a preheated grill for 5-6 minutes per sided depending on your desired degree of doneness and the thickness of your steak.   Be sure to allow your steak to rest for about 10 minutes prior to cutting so that your juices can redistribute.

Top your steak with your tomatoes and crumbled Bleu Cheese, voila!  I told you it was easy.

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