Stuffed Peppers

DSC_9123 (1600x1060)So then, what to stuff these babies with was the question.  There are many more recipes out there than I had peppers for so I stuck close to the basic recipe of tomatoes + meat + rice, after toying with one that featured an egg baked on the top.  Maybe sometime…DSC_9133 (1600x1060)

I made two versions today, one with sauteed grape tomatoes and pancetta and the other with crumbled Italian sausage and roasted grape tomatoes.  Don’t ask which is which in the photo, though if pressed I would say the pancetta variant is in the foreground.  Both recipes combined the meat plus tomato with brown rice and shredded mozzarella.  They baked at 400 for about 25 minutes, more shredded mozzarella added to the top during the last few minutes.DSC_9135 (1600x1060)I didn’t parboil the peppers, hoping they would turn out soft enough.  I think they were just right.  I cut the first pepper right down the middle but that resulted in a pair of pepper platters rather than two bowls so I ended up cutting about a third off of the remaining peppers and using the two thirds left for filling and baking.  I opened a jar of my famous Awesome Sauce to pour into the bottom of the casserole.  It was pretty thick and was looking to dry out and burn so I splashed a little water in there when the cheese topping went on.  Both versions were tasty.  Mrs J couldn’t pick a favorite, liking them both equally.

Sauteed Tomatoes

Tomatoes are excellent sauteed with garlic and olive oil for serving with pasta but that isn’t the only reason to cook them that way.  These were another batch of fresh tomatoes from the patio garden.  I fear the oppressive 100+ degree days are taking a toll on them, many are starting to shrivel and wilt despite twice daily watering.

I love the way these tomatoes burst in the mouth – those that haven’t already given up their juice to the saute pan.  The corn was from frozen, the green pepper I picked yesterday and the little bit of red pepper was from a batch of sweet red peppers I froze earlier in the year.  Now and again the grocery has great looking red bells on sale, I stock up and freeze the cleaned and quartered peppers on a tray and then transfer to plastic freezer bags.

Not much to say about the shrimp and mushrooms, we bought both frozen and plopped them into the deep fryer for a few minutes.  The mushrooms were just OK, the shrimp were very good.  Mrs J spotted them in the freezer section of the meat place and wanted to try them.  To try yet are some breaded cauliflower florets.  I’m sure I can make better mushrooms than these tonight, and probably can best the cauliflower too but I’ll give them a fair trial.

Mmm… sauteed cherry tomatoes

This is a most excellent way to use up those proliferating cherry tomatoes.  I cooked these down in some olive oil with minced garlic, a chopped Vidalia onion, and plenty of fresh basil.  Bowties work fine – any pasta will do.  So easy to make:  Halve the tomatoes and chop the onion, pour a fair measure of olive oil into a big skillet and warm it up.  Toss the veggies in and cook them down, adding some tomato paste towards the end.  If the sauce is too thick just ladle some water from the pasta you have a-boil.  I add thin sliced fresh basil as it cooks and save some for garnish at the table.  Use lots!  Dump your drained pasta into the sauce and stir to combine, plate and serve immediately.  I grated some Asiago cheese on the pasta tonight.  Mmm… cheese!

Mmm…sauteed tomato pizza sauce

Absolutely the last of the patio cherry tomatoes.  Mrs J hauled the last container away today after harvesting what tomatoes that remained.  We wanted to do something nice with the last batch.  We had enjoyed the sauteed tomato and pasta dishes so much we decided to try the same process for a pizza sauce.  We believe it worked.


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Tomato sandwich

Some of those sauteed grape and cherry tomatoes left over from the pasta dish the other night.  I grilled a bun in garlic butter and then piled on some of the tomatoes and added some fresh mozzarella and some grated Parmesan then popped it into the toaster oven for a bit.  Some fresh basil and a drizzle of Kroger’s best imported olive oil and ta-da!

And I can never think about “imported olive oil” without hearing the voice of Vito Corleone saying it.

Mmm…pretty sammich

This is maybe the prettiest sandwich I’ve ever put together.  Sourdough garlic bread, ham, salami, pepper jack, colby, and mozzarella cheeses, sauteed tomatoes (I’ll be so missing these guys when they are gone!), and drizzled with herbed olive oil. Basil in lieu of lettuce.

Sauteed grape tomatoes on pasta

This is so easy and fast, and so good!  It goes fast, like a stir fry, so get everything together before you start.

I quartered the grape tomatoes I used because they were pretty large, like mini Romas in shape and texture.  They were perfect for this dish.  Gather some fresh basil leaves, and some fresh thyme or marjoram. Mince a bunch of garlic-I didn’t count but I bet I used 8 cloves.  I like garlic!  Chop the basil and strip the thyme leaves from the stems.  Grate some Parmesan, or Romano, or Asiago or whichever cheese you favor, I also diced some fresh mozzarella.

Start your pasta water, as it heats up start a large pan over medium high heat, add some olive oil.  When it’s hot, add the tomatoes, let them cook down for several minutes, add a bunch of basil and the thyme, add the minced garlic, stir occasionally.  I added a tablespoon of tomato paste at this point.  By now the pasta should be al dente, drain it, reserving a bit of the water, and add the pasta to the pan.  Toss everything together to coat the pasta, adding some of the pasta water if needed, and serve right away, adding fresh basil, and the mozzarella if you are using it, and the grated cheese.  Serve with some nice garlic bread.


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