Weird, right? Tomato cobbler? But no joke, this dish is sooooo good! Tart roasted tomatoes with caramelized onions, garlic and thyme topped with savory cheesy whole-wheat biscuits, and all on a bed of fresh spinach! The ingredients are simple, but when they all come together they're divine. Some ingredients were just made to mingle, you know? Alright, let's make it!
First, you caramelize the onions. It's easy; just cook the sliced onions in 4 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat until they are soft and brown. Add some thyme and minced garlic and cook for one more minute, then remove from the heat.
Wash 3 lbs of cherry or grape tomatoes. Aren't they beautiful?
Pour the tomatoes into a 9X13 baking dish and toss with flour. The flour will make the tomato juices into a dreamy sauce! Add some salt and pepper and red pepper flakes. Don't forget the thyme-y, garlicy onions like I almost did. That would have been a disaster!
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Now you get to make the biscuits! Stir together 2 cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in a stick of butter (cut into pieces) until the flour forms little crumbs. Stir in 1 cup of shredded gruyere. Pour in 1 1/2 cups of half and half and stir it in with a fork just until all the dry ingredients are incorporated.
Dollop 12 big spoon fulls of batter over the tomatoes and onions. Sprinkle a little more gruyere on the batter. Then bake for about an hour or until the tomatoes are roasted, the  juices are bubbling and the biscuits are browned.
Let cool for about 10 minutes then serve on a bed of fresh spinach. The heat from the tomatoes and juice will wilt the spinach just a bit, it's perfect! Sprinkle with some more gruyere if you like and dig in!

Tomato Cobbler with Gruyere Biscuits
Adapted from: Martha Stewart via Annie's Eats
Serves: 6-8

Filling:
4 tbsp olive oil
2 medium yellow onions, sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp thyme
3 lbs cherry or grape tomatoes (I think I used a mixture of both)
3 tbsp whole wheat flour (you could use all-purpose if you want)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
bit of black pepper

Biscuits:
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
1 stick cold butter, cut into pieces
1 cup grated gruyere cheese, plus some more for serving
1 1/2 cups half and half

One of those 5 oz boxes of spinach for serving.

To make the filling heat the olive oil in a large pan over medium heat. Toss in the onions and cook until soft and caramelized, stirring often. Add the garlic and thyme and cook for a minute more. Remove from the heat.

In a 9X13 baking dish, stir the tomatoes, flour, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper and the onion mixture together. Set aside and preheat the oven to 375 degrees

To make the biscuits, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl. Cut in the butter until the mixture is crumbly. Add the cheese and stir in the half and half with a fork until the dry ingredients are incorporated and a wet dough forms.

Plop big spoonfuls of the dough on top of the tomato mixture and  sprinkle the dough with a bit of gruyere. Bake for an hour or until the tomato juices are bubbling and the biscuits are browning. Let cool at least 10 minutes before serving.

To serve, spoon a biscuit and plenty of tomatoes over a bed of fresh spinach. If desired, sprinkle with more gruyere, and enjoy!

 
 
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Remember summer? Me neither. Don't we need a little reminder? Yes, I think so.

The Simple Southwestern Salad is so easy, refreshing and tasty. It is the perfect compliment to the cheese enchiladas I shared a few weeks ago. Plus, you probably have most of the ingredients in your pantry already!

Simple Southwestern Salad with Corn and Avocado
Source: Real Simple
Serves 4

2 heads romaine lettuce, cut into pieces
2 ears of corn, with kernels cut off (please don't use frozen corn, it would make the salad bland and lack texture. But it is your salad, maybe you prefer salads like that!)
2 avocados (cut into cubes, I just halved mine because I was in a hurry, and I'm lazy.)
1 15.5 ounce pinto beans, rinsed
1/2 red onion thinly sliced
a handful fresh cilantro
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
tortilla chips

Combine the lettuce, corn, avocados, beans, onion and cilantro in a large bowl.

Mix together oil, lime juice, cumin, salt and pepper in a small bowl or shake it together in a mason jar.

Toss the salad with the dressing and serve with some tortilla chips on the side. I like to crumble them up and mix them into the salad. Yummmm.
 
 
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Did you know that squash and zucchini are actually fruits? So, I should really call this recipe "Fruit Enchiladas" but that would evoke an entirely different image, so I'm not going to.

Don't you love a good enchilada? Me too! I just returned from the Texas hill country, (sorry for my absence!) where I enjoyed copious amounts of Tex-Mex food. We also played on Canyon Lake and floated down the Comal River. It was fabulous and I'm very sunburnt! I'll post pictures soon, of the fun we had, not my sunburn.

In honor of my trip to Texas, I wanted to share these spicy and satisfying enchiladas. They also have an unexpected (at least to me) twist, they're filled with squash and zucchini! I've really been craving these gourds and Mexican food lately, so when I found this recipe on Homesick Texan, I had to try it. 

Try it I did, but sadly, with a few adaptations. I couldn't find the dried cascabel or guajillo chiles or even the more common ancho chiles which the recipe called for. I went to three different grocery stores and even called a fourth market to check. So I settled for ancho chile powder. Certainly not a perfect substitute, but very tasty notwithstanding. That's got to be my favorite adverb, notwithstanding I mean.

So here's what you do! First, we have to take care of the enchilada sauce. In a large pan over low to medium heat, warm up some oil. Add 1/2 a diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Toss in 4 chopped garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Spoon onions and garlic into a blender and wipe out the pan to use it again later. To the blender, add 1 canned chipotle pepper, can of diced tomatoes, 2 cups of vegetable stock, 1 teaspoon cumin, 1/2 teaspoon oregano and 2 tablespoons ancho chile powder. (I actually added 4, but I think it was too spicy. Start with 2 and then taste and add more if you want.) Blend until smooth and pour into saucepan to warm it up. Let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste it and add salt and pepper if you want. Clearly, I have no pictures of that whole process, but you can imagine it, right?
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Next, we work on the filling. In the same pan, heat up some more oil over medium-low heat. Then cook the second half of the diced onion until the onions are see-through. Add 2 cloves chopped garlic and 1 chopped jalapeno (seeds removed if you want it to be less spicy) and cook for an additional minute. Throw in the diced zucchini and squash, some cilantro and a bit of cumin. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, adding salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

Now we need to assemble the enchiladas. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat the tortillas while the oven is warming up. Wrap the stack of tortillas in foil and place it in the preheating oven for at least 5 minutes. While you wait, grease a 9X13 inch baking dish.
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Once the tortillas are warmed, use tongs to dip them into the sauce.
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Plop the tortilla on a plate, and fill with about this much of the squash mixture. Then carefully roll the tortilla and place seam down in the greased pan. It's okay if they crack or even fall apart. You're going to cover them with more sauce and cheese, no one will be the wiser. Is that how that saying goes?
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Repeat with all the tortillas that will fit into the baking dish, I could only fit 11. Pour all the sauce over the enchiladas evenly, then top with 2 cups shredded cheese. See, you can't tell that nearly all my tortillas fell apart!
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Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese is golden brown and bubbling. Top with some more cilantro, let it cool a bit and then serve! They're delicious with a side of rice and beans, and a margarita why not?

Veggie Enchiladas
adapted from Homesick Texan

Sauce:
2-4 tablespoons of ancho chile powder
1 canned chipotle pepper in adobo sauce
vegetable oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained.
2 cups vegetable stock
1 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Filling:
vegetable oil
1/2 medium yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, diced (remove seeds if you want)
2 zucchini and 2 yellow squash, diced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped, plus more for garnish
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste

Enchiladas:
12 corn tortillas
2 cups shredded cheese, Mexican blend preferably, or a mix of Monterey Jack and cheddar.

For the sauce, warm up some oil in a large pan over low to medium heat, Add onion and cook until the onions are translucent. Toss in garlic cloves and cook for 1 minute. Spoon onions and garlic into a blender and wipe out the pan to use it again later. To the blender, add chipotle pepper, diced tomatoes, vegetable stock, cumin, oregano and ancho chile powder. Blend until smooth and pour into saucepan to warm it up. Let it simmer over low heat for about 15 minutes. Taste it and add salt and pepper if you want.

For the filling, in the same pan, heat up some more oil over medium-low heat. Then cook the second half of the diced onion until the onions are see-through. Add garlic an jalapeno (seeds removed if you want it to be less spicy) and cook for an additional minute. Throw in the diced zucchini and squash, cilantro and cumin. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring often, adding salt, pepper and cayenne pepper to taste.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and heat the tortillas while the oven is warming up. To do this, wrap the stack of tortillas in foil and place it in the preheating oven for at least 5 minutes. While you wait, grease a 9X13 inch baking dish. 

To assemble the enchiladas, dip one tortilla into the sauce with tongs. Put the tortilla on a plate, and fill with a cooking spoonful of the squash mixture. Then carefully roll the tortilla and place seam down in the greased pan. Repeat with all tortillas. Pour the sauce evenly over the tortillas and top with shredded cheese.

Bake for 10 minutes or until cheese is browning and bubbling. Top with some cilantro, let cool and enjoy!
 
 
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This salad really surprised me! I thought it would be bland and dry but I was wrong, it's perfect! Even though the feta wasn't beautifully breaded it was still a great complement to the tangy greens. The grilled tomatoes release just enough moisture to really coat the greens, allowing the dressing to be used sparingly so the flavor is fresh and light, not heavy. 

Grilled Tomato Salad with Green Beans and Feta.
adapted from Real Simple
Serves 4

5 tablespoons olive oil, separated
juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 pound green beans, ends trimmed
1 8 oz piece of Feta cheese, not crumbled
2 large tomatoes sliced thick, like 4 slices per tomato.
1 tablespoon fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
6 cups greens, arugula, spinach or spring mix.

In a small bowl stir together 4 tablespoons of the oil, lemon juice, capers and parsley. Set aside. I always make salad dressing in a mason jar and shake it to blend the ingredients.

Boil a large pot of salted water. Add green beans and cook for 4 minutes. Drain and run under cool water to stop the cooking process. We want them to be crispy and fresh.

Cut the block of feta into 4 slices. If necessary, place on paper towels to absorb the liquid it's stored in.

Heat a non stick pan over medium heat. Sprinkle salt, pepper and thyme on both sides of the tomato slices. Cook tomatoes until lightly browned, only about a minute per side.

Wipe out the skillet and heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Cover the feta with bread crumbs and cook about 2 minutes per side until browned. (This is where my feta started falling apart so I just gave up and put it on the plate. It was still delicious!)

Arrange greens, beans, tomatoes and feta on plates then drizzle with vinaigrette. You may think there's not enough dressing for 4 people, but trust me there is! The liquid from the tomatoes makes the dressing go a long way.

This may seem a little involved for a salad, but trust me it's really good and not difficult!
 
 
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I love this salad! It's a great way to showcase juicy, bright peaches plus it's a unique summer side dish. Enjoy! I'll definitely make it again.

Peach and Mozzarella Salad
Source: Real Simple


3 peaches
1 cup fresh basil leaves torn or chiffonade
8 ounces fresh mozzarella cut into 1 inch pieces
a bit of olive oil, like a couple of teaspoons
salt and pepper to taste.

Cut each peach into 6 or 8 slices then cut each slice in half. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and serve!
 
 
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I made these sandwiches for Jared's parents as they visited this weekend. I wanted to serve something summery and memorable but something that wouldn't pull me away from our guests and imprison me in the kitchen. This was perfect! 
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All you have to do is roast and peel the peppers then marinade them for a couple of hours or overnight in a blend of olive oil, balsamic vinegar, chopped garlic, capers, salt and pepper. Then you just assemble the sandwiches when you're ready to eat!
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The marinated peppers have a bright flavor that are perfectly paired with creamy goat cheese, peppery fresh basil leaves, and crisp red onion. Try these sandwiches! They're ideal for guests or for a summer picnic.

Roasted Pepper and Goat Cheese Sandwiches
slightly adapted from Barefoot Contessa at Home by Ina Garten
Serves 4

2 red bell peppers
2 yellow bell peppers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic chopped
2 tablespoons capers, drained
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
enough fancy bread for 4 sandwiches, ciabatta or focaccia perhaps
8 oz goat cheese
1 red onion
lots of basil leaves

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. I know, it's the middle of summer, who wants to have a 350 degree box in their house? If you just can't stand heating up your oven, you could buy 2 bottles of roasted red peppers instead. Otherwise, roast the peppers for 30 minutes then place in a folded paper bag or covered bowl to cool and sweat a bit. After they are cool enough to peel, slice them in half and remove the seeds. Peel the skin off and cut the half in half again, so you should have 4 slices for each bell pepper.

In a bowl mix together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, capers, garlic, salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture over the peppers and marinate for a few hours. When you're ready to eat, assemble the sandwiches. Spread the goat cheese on both sides of the bread, top with peppers, then add a few slices of onions and cover with fresh basil leaves. 
 
 
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This sauce has been really popular on food blogs recently. here, here and here for instance! I got tired of seeing it on my RSS feed all the time so I had to try it. Like most of the bloggers above express, I was doubtful that the sauce could be really as good as everyone says since it is so simple. 
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This simple: Just 28 oz crushed tomatoes, 1 peeled and bisected onion,  5 tbsps of butter, and salt. I liked it, and I'll probably make it again. But reading all of its praises made me expect something phenomenal, so I was a little disappointed. I do not want my readers to be disillusioned, so I will cut it to you straight (did I just invent this idiom? sounds vaguely drug related?), this sauce is bland. I do think this would be a perfect pasta sauce for picky kids, but for the adults make sure to provide basil and parmesan to give it more flavor.

Full disclosure, I did forget to add salt to my sauce which is a culinary no-no. Also, I kind of just cooked it for a random amount of time because I was hungry! So it is possible that the sauce is as good as everyone says if you season and cook it properly. I'll let you be the judge! 

Simple Tomato Sauce
source: many many blogs, 3 of which are linked above. I hear the original is in "Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking" by Marcella Hazan.

1 28 oz can whole peeled tomatoes with juices
1 onion peeled and cut in half.
5 tbsps unsalted butter
salt to taste

In a medium saucepan, warm over medium heat the tomatoes, onion and butter. Bring to a simmer and then lower the heat so the sauce will stay simmering and not boiling. Simmer for 45 minutes stirring occasionally and crushing the tomatoes against the side of the pan. Remove from heat and throw away the onion. Taste it and add as much salt as you like.
 
 
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This is a simple summer dish and a great way to enjoy seasonal zucchini. Cooking your own pasta sauces is really easy and makes any pasta dish fresher and less expensive than buying bottled sauces. In my experience, homemade sauces always taste better, too. In this dish ravioli and sauteed zucchini (and squash if you like) are tossed with a parmesan cream sauce seasoned with lemon zest and chives. It's so simple I really didn't think it would taste good as I was making it, I thought there weren't enough ingredients for the sauce to be tasty. I was wrong and we both loved it. I'll definitely be making it again. Just be sure to add the chives after plating it. The bite of the chives adds a great contrast to the creaminess of the sauce. I forgot to add the chives when we had it for dinner, but when I ate leftovers for lunch today I sprinkled a bit on top and it makes a big difference! Give this recipe a shot, you'll be glad you did!

Creamy Ravioli with Zucchini, Lemon, and Chives
adapted from Real Simple
Serves 4+

20 oz. cheese ravioli
olive oil
1/4 large onion or 1/2 small onion chopped (the original recipe calls for 1 shallot, I think this would be a better choice, I just forgot to buy one!)
4 zucchini (and/or yellow squash) thinly sliced
3/4 cup heavy cream
zest of 1 lemon
handful grated parmesan cheese (or if you have really big or small hands, 1/2 cup), plus more for topping
chopped chives to taste

Boil water to cook your ravioli. As your waiting for the water chop your zucchini, onion and chives, grate your parmesan and zest your lemon. Cook ravioli with package instructions.

Warm up some oil in a large pan over medium heat. It has to be big enough to toss around all your zucchini. Add the onion and cook until soft. Next add the zucchini and some salt and pepper to taste. Toss the zucchini often so they don't burn (it's okay if they get a little brown around the edges, but it's not as pretty) for about 4 minutes. They should just be starting to soften. 

Stir in the lemon zest and cream and cook for about 2 more minutes. You may need to lower the heat at this point, you don't want to cream to boil.

Don't forget your ravioli! When it is cooked, reserve 1/4 cup of the pasta water and drain the rest. Put the ravioli back in the pot and toss with the cream sauce and pasta water. Quickly throw in a handful of parmesan and stir it until it is melted with the sauce.

Divide onto plates and top with some more grated parmesan and chopped chives, don't forget!It really is tasty! I'm going to eat some leftovers right now, even though it's 10:30 at night!
 
 
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Today's post is in honor of my dad, whose recipe this is! This sauce is very simple and delicious, this is all you need:
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4 roasted red bell peppers, 3 garlic cloves, 4 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. That's right! No tomatoes, onions, cream, or basil, you don't even have to cook it! 

My dad insists on roasting your own red bell peppers. To do so, put bell peppers in a pan in the oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Then place the peppers in a paper parcel (or bag). Roll up the end of the bag to seal it a bit and let steam for 15 minutes. After the peppers are cool enough to handle, remove the seeds and peel the skin off.

Or, you could buy roasted red bell peppers, already seeded and peeled, in a can. You'll need two 12 oz. cans to equal 4 peppers. There are a few downsides to purchasing pre-prepared peppers. Primarily, the peppers will probably have preservatives and additives like sugar, which you can avoid by roasting the peppers yourself. Also, the sauce tastes better if the peppers are fresh.

I usually use the jarred peppers, just for convenience. I like to keep a few jars of red peppers handy so I can make this sauce whenever I want. It's a staple around here. 

Thanks for sharing this and many other recipes with me, Dad! I have so many great memories of preparing family meals with you. Thanks for spending that time with me. I love you!

Roasted Red Bell Pepper Pasta Sauce
serves 6+

4 roasted red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
4 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Add the red peppers, garlic, salt and pepper to a blender. Drizzle in the olive oil and puree until it is the consistency you want. Taste and add salt and pepper (or more garlic) if desired.

This is phenomenal tossed with 1 lb of linguine and sprinkled with freshly grated parmesan. I bet it would also be good in quinoa with basil and mozzarella, or even served with grilled chicken. 
 
 
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There's a reason Macaroni and Cheese is a classic. It's because it's awesome. Especially when it's home made! This recipe might seem a little involved when there are so many quicker options for mac and cheese, but trust me, it's not that hard and the extra work is sooo worth it! This is a great dish for a potluck or summer picnic.


Macaroni and Cheese
adapted from Annie's Eats

Serves 8-10
Bread crumb topping:
2 tbsp unsalted butter
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tsp dried parsley (I used an Italian Seasoning Mix cause it's all I had)
salt and pepper

Pasta and Sauce:
1 lb pasta shapes (I recommend shells!)
6 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp dried mustard (if you don't have any, use 2-3  tsps yellow mustard)
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 tbsp flour
2 1/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
3 1/2 cups milk
1 lb (16 oz) colby jack cheese, grated
8 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated
pepper

First make the bread crumb topping. Melt 2 tbsp butter in a small sauce pan. Stir in the panko and heat until lightly browned. Turn off the heat and stir in the dried seasoning, and salt and pepper to taste.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Next, start cooking your pasta. Bring your water to a boil and cook the pasta for only 5 minutes, you don't want it to cook completely. Drain the pasta and set aside.

In the same pot, melt the rest of the butter at medium-high. Add garlic, mustard, and cayenne pepper stirring for 30 seconds. Don't want to burn the garlic! Whisk in the flour and stir constantly until it becomes a golden paste. Pour in the chicken broth and milk, stirring frequently for about 10 minutes, or until the mixture thickens and begins to bubble a bit. Turn off the heat. Stir in the cheeses, and keep stirring until they are completely melted. Taste it! Season with salt and pepper till it's the best cheese sauce you've ever tasted!  Stir the pasta into the cheese sauce. It will seem like waaaay too much sauce, but don't worry it will be just right after cooking in the oven.

Pour the pasta and cheese mixture into a lightly greased 9 x 13″ baking dish.  Top with the bread crumbs.   Bake 30-35 minutes, until the sauce is bubbling and the bread crumbs are golden brown. Be sure to put a cookie sheet under the dish so it will catch any cheesy goodness that bubbles out of the pan. When it's done, let cool and then dig in!