I think one of the prettiest salads you can have is the Caprese Salad. It’s vibrant colors are so inviting, promising something creamy, fresh and delicious.
What you may ask is a Caprese Salad. It’s an Italian salad of fresh mozzarella cheese, tomatoes, and basil with a light vinaigrette dressing. It’s said that Caprese Salad was originally made to honor the Italian flag which is Red, White, and Green; the same colors of the salad.
Caprese Salad is definitely a family favorite. It’s not only delicious but it’s so easy to make. We have it for lunch, as a panino or sandwich. You can place the ingredients between 2 slices of bread or better yet a ciabatta roll, grill it just until the bread is toasted and the cheese melts, and you have a wonderfully simple meal!
The most important thing to remember when making Caprese Salad at home is to use the freshest ingredients you can find. This mean unless absolutely necessary the prepacked balls of mozzarella in the supermarket’s dairy case just won’t do!
Short of bringing home fresh mozzarella from Italy (which I’ve actually done) I usually find fresh mozzarella at Costco or the deli counter. It’s the balls of cheese that’s usually floating in the tub it’s packaged in. You’ll know it’s fresh because it’s softer than those hard balls packed in plastic wrap.
Tomatoes of course are fresh, pick nice ripe ones. I get mine from my garden along with the fresh basil. If you don’t have a basil plant (and you should! it’s so easy to keep even a small one in the kitchen window) you can buy fresh basil leaves at the grocery store.
Once you have all the fresh ingredients all you really need is some extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and a bit of Italian seasoning if you have it, and some salt. If you don’t have Italian seasoning you can use dried oregano, parsley, or basil or you can just use black pepper.
Caprese Salad is great for a light lunch or as a fresh addition to any meal. It’s tasty and refreshing, the perfect summer salad!
5-6 slices of Fresh Mozzarella Cheese (slices should be about 1/2″ thick)
1 Firm Ripe Tomato – sliced in about 1/2″ thick rounds
3-6 Fresh Basil Leaves
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Balsamic Vinegar
1 Tsp. Italian Dressing
Salt & Pepper to taste
Slice mozzarella and tomatoes into 1/2″ rounds and arrange on a plate. Alternate tomato and cheese to make it look nice.
You can also add a basil leaf between the cheese and tomato or you can place the leaves in the center. Place the three ingredients on the plate any way you find pleasing.
Mix together oil and vinegar.
Add 1/2 Tsp. of Italian seasoning to the oil mixture and stir well.
Drizzle over the fresh ingredients just before serving.
Sprinkle remaining Italian Seasoning over all and season with salt and pepper if desired.
There’s definitely something to be said about “shrimp on the barbie”, it’s one of our family favorites for our Sunday night barbecues. I love shrimp, but whether raw or cooked I hate peeling them. It’s a messy stinky job! That’s why the easy peel shrimp that I’ve been finding in my grocer’s freezer are terrific.
Here’s the recipe for the best, and easiest shrimp kebobs ever!
2 lbs. Jumbo shrimp
1+ cup Italian Dressing
1. Clean, shell, and de-vein shrimp – leave tails on
2. Place shrimp in small bowl or ziplock bag
3. Pour dressing over shrimp, make sure it covers shrimp – add more if needed
4. Place in refrigerator and marinate at least 1 hour. You can marinate shrimp overnight if possible. Stir occasionally to make sure all the shrimp gets marinated
5. Place shrimp on skewers. Discard marinade.
6. Grill shrimp until they turn pink. You can baste with more dressing if desired, but use fresh dressing not the marinade. Do not over cook shrimp, they will become dry and hard. Serve right away.
Fettuccine Alfredo was invented by Alfredo Di Lelio 1908. It was served in his mother’s restaurant in Rome. It’s fame really spread when Di Lelio opened his own restaurant in central Rome simply called “Alfredo” in 1914.
His original recipe was very simple, pasta tossed in butter and Parmesan cheese. Today if you go to most Roman trattorias or restoranti and ask for Fettuccine Alfredo they will probably have no idea what you’re talking about. The name is mostly used in other countries, mainly in the United States. In Italy it’s simply called “fettuccine al burro”.
There are many versions of this creamy white sauce, you’re almost sure to find it on the menu of many of the Italian style chain restaurants including The Old Spaghetti Factory, Olive Garden, and Macaroni Grill. They make it with shrimp, chicken, and plain with just pasta.
This version is really my son’s recipe. It’s very rich and creamy. We use it as a sauce for Chicken and Shrimp Fettuccine Alfredo and even use it as a pizza sauce. My daughter Jaime loves the sauce over steamed rice.
This recipe is pretty simple but you have to keep stirring it so that the sauce comes out smooth and creamy. Left over sauce keeps well for a week or more in the fridge. Just warm it up and pour over pasta or meats.
Tea Parties are one of my favorite ways of entertaining. If find preparing for a tea party to be simple and easy.
I don’t necessarily have to spend days in the kitchen cooking and baking. I usually bake one or two sweet items and throw together one or two sandwich fillers the day before then supplement the rest with store bought items.
I can put finger sandwiches together early in the day, keep them wrapped in plastic in the fridge, then put them on the table in pretty plates just before guests arrive. The same goes for the sweet treats and cold beverages. Of course water must be boiled for tea if in fact I’m serving hot tea. This leaves me free to actually enjoy visiting with guests.
One of my favorite sandwiches to serve are chicken salad sandwiches. They’re tasty, easy, and guests love them. I used to buy pre-made chicken salad from Cotsco’s deli, but they sell it in big batches and I usually end up throwing some away, it doesn’t keep very long. Recently I’ve started making my own chicken salad using left over Rotisserie chicken I buy from Costco or Sam’s Club. It works out great, I buy the chicken the night before the party, my husband and I have some of it for dinner, then I chop up the rest for chicken salad. Very economical and best of all no left over salad.
I’ll share how I make the chicken salad, but I wouldn’t exactly call it a recipe. At least not a “normal” recipe with measurements. I’ll list the ingredients, but the measurements depend on how much chicken you have left over. I usually have at least half the chicken left over to turn into salad, my husband and I don’t eat very much.
1/2 Rotisserie chicken
1-2 stalks celery
1 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 cup Italian dressing
1/2 cup mayo
salt to taste
1. Remove meat from chicken. Remove skin. Chop meat into small cubes and place into a mixing bowl.
2. Chop celery and onions into small pieces. Add to chicken meat.
3. Add garlic powder and dressing to chicken mixture and mix well. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
4. Add may and salt. Mix well.
5. Make sandwiches using your favorite bread. I like to use King’s Hawaiian Sweet Rolls or any kind of dinner roll for tea sandwiches. Otherwise I use dark rye or pumpernickle and cut the sandwiches into four triangles.
Chicken sandwiches are also great for casual luncheons. Serve them with a side of gourmet chips!
Remove meat from chicken. Remove skin. Chop meat into small cubes and place into a mixing bowl.
Chop celery and onions into small pieces. Add to chicken meat.
Add garlic powder and dressing to chicken mixture and mix well. Let sit for about 10 minutes.
Add may and salt. Mix well.
Make sandwiches using your favorite bread.
I like to use King's Hawaiian Sweet Rolls or any kind of dinner roll for tea sandwiches. Otherwise I use dark rye or pumpernickle and cut the sandwiches into four triangles. Chicken sandwiches are also great for casual luncheons. Serve them with a side of gourmet chips!
I’m always looking for recipes that will entice my 6 year old grandson to eat more veggies, the kid won’t touch anything green! This Chicken/Spinach/Broccoli Stromboli was a hit. It’s really easy to prepare, served with marinara sauce for dipping it makes a filling meal. It’s become a family favorite and I make it quite often. Left overs can be heated up for a quick snack or lunch the next day.
1 loaf Bridgeford Frozen White Bread Loaf
2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts cubed
1/2 cup Italian Dressing
1 9oz. package frozen chopped spinach
1 10oz. package frozen broccoli with cheddar cheese sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Place one loaf of frozen dough on a baking sheet that is lightly oiled with olive oil. Let thaw and rise, about 5 hours.
Marinate cubed chicken in Italian dressing. I place it all in a ziploc bag and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. You can marinate chicken longer, but not more than overnight.
Saute chicken in a small amount of olive oil until fully cooked
Add thawed and drained chopped spinach and stir until combined with chicken
Add thawed broccoli and stir until combined
Cook for another 5 minutes stirring constantly so cheese doesn’t burn
Place chicken mixture in large bowl
Add mozzarella cheese – stir well
Roll out dough on lightly floured surface. Roll into a rectangle shape about 9″x13″ about 1/4″ – 1/2″ thick.
Move rolled dough onto an oiled baking sheet
Arrange chicken mixture down the center of the dough lengthwise
Fold short ends over the chicken mixture
Fold long sides over the short ends and the chicken mixture creating a log shape
Pinch seams together to seal
Spray or brush with olive oil on the top and sides
Sprinkle garlic salt over the top
Bake in 400 degree oven 20-25 minutes or until golden brown
Slice and serve warm with heated marinara sauce for dipping
An easy version of this Italian favorite, Stromboli. It's really just bread stuffed with meat, veggies, and cheese. Great for meals and snacks.