Tag Archives: Basil

Tomato Pesto Pie

7 Sep

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Now although it may seem like we only eat sweet things in this apartment, there are MANY savory dishes that we’ve been making recently that I had noted for future posts to share with you. However, this particular post features something made yesterday that was just SO darn good, that I had to share it with you all today.

This particular recipe was one I pinned on Pinterest, close to 2 years ago. I thought that it looked gorgeous (which is what caught my eye), but it was also a creative spin on your typical ‘pie’ as well as different type of side dish.

Side dishes are always a spot that I want to experiment with. Of course, we have some fallback staples that are our favorites (my husband LOVES TBM Salad, and we make it at minimum, twice a month), but I am usually looking to try something new and different, even if we’re using the same flavors. As you’ll see, the TBM Salad ingredients are all still present in this dish, just prepared in pie format and with a twist.

We were tasked with bringing a side for a dinner with some friends last night, and knowing we had plethora of tomatoes around the apartment and a pie crust (left from the recently made Sour Cream Apple Pie) – my mind went to this Pinterest pin, from so long ago.

Now, if I made this again I would love to use a few different ingredients – perhaps make some fresh, homemade pesto first, fresh basil and use some light mayo with olive oil (or even greek yogurt).

But that’s for a different time.

And I can tell you, the full-fat and easy version was DELICIOUS. Four of us (and later a fifth who stopped by) devoured the entire pie last night. So whether you choose to lighten this up or not, I think this is a pretty foolproof recipe.

The recipe I used is a tweaked version of what Your Homebased Mom posted for her version, called Tomato Basil Tart.

Ingredients:

  • 1 refrigerated pie crust
  • 1 1/2 cups of shredded Mozzarella
  • 2-3 medium tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 cup of yellow cherry tomatoes (this adds both a pop of color and great flavor to mix in with the larger tomatoes)
  • 1/2 cup of pesto (store-bought OR homemade if you’re fancy and have the time!)
  • 1/2 cup of mayo (I used the full-fat version but you can lighten it up with a lighter mayo version or even mayo with olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup of shredded Parmesan cheese (with extra saved for sprinkling on top)
  • 1/8 tsp white pepper
  • 1 Tbsp of dried basil (or chopped fresh basil, if you have some on hand!)

How to Make:

Similar to the apple pie I posted about yesterday, you start this guy off by baking the refrigerated pie using the instructions on its box – make sure to use the 1 pie crust, filled pie version.

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While it’s baking, shred your mozzarella cheese (and sneak some…because you can). You want this to be all ready when the pie crust comes out!

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Now, instead of letting the pie crust cool before we use it, you’re going to pile the mozzarella inside. I used all 1 1/2 cups and then spread it out so the bottom was all covered. The pie crust’s temperature will start to get the cheese all melty and wonderful.

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While that’s melting and looking tasty, slice and chop up your tomatoes. We were excited to use a mix of medium tomatoes and some yellow cherry tomatoes (Luke and I really have a thing for cherry tomatoes), not only to use up all the tomatoes we had, but it adds two great colors to the dish AND slightly different flavors. I sliced up about 2.5 medium red tomatoes and then chopped about a cup of yellow cherry tomatoes, halving them.

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Now, before the tomatoes go in, spoon out your pesto on top of the mozzarella. Spread it evenly across, and then it’s time to layer on the ‘maters! Layer as evenly as you can, so no matter what slice anyone gets, there’s a great mix of red and yellow tomatoes.

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It sure does look great, doesn’t it?!

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But we’re not done!

Now, mix up your mayo, parmesan cheese (which I bought already shredded) and the white pepper. The white pepper gives just a hint of zip, which mixes so well with the rest of the flavors of the pie.

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Once the creamy mixture is ready, spread this as evenly as you can on top of the tomato layer.

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Then, pop the pie into a 375 degree oven for 35 minutes! When there’s about 10 minutes to go, I pulled the pie out and sprinkled the whole thing with a little extra parmesan cheese. Just because.

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Once it’s all done, pull it out and let it cool, sprinkling the top with dried basil.

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Looks SO good!

Slice this up warm for family and friends, cutting it just like a normal pie. The slices may not all look perfect on a plate, but let me tell you the tomato juices, the creamy tang of the mayo and white pepper, the savory pesto and the flaky pie crust make this a side dish that you’ll want to DEFINITELY make a fallback favorite.

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Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella “TBM” Salad

12 Aug

Now, I’m not fully sure “TBM” is a real name for a salad. To be honest, it reminds me of “TPM” from Hoover Elementary. (Time…Place…Manner. Duh. Completely unrelated. Sorry.)

TBM = Tomato…Basil…Mozzarella. The main ingredients in a reasonably simple salad that I never thought about making before I stumbled upon the recipe here. Just another fantastic food blog that I’ve added to my reading library. You should too – Savory Sweet Life. Look it up. (Or click the link.)

This is a GREAT summer salad but it could also be enjoyed in our other three seasons. Fresh basil is the key.

Trust me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like a mix of red and yellow – more colorful.)
  • 8 ounces fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls (These work better and are much prettier next to the cherry tomatoes.)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 18 basil leaves, chopped (Go fresh!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

How to Make:

This is a hard recipe. Roll up your sleeves. Put on a sweatband. Whatever revs you up.

Ok, ok you caught me. This is probably the easiest recipe on the planet. And you know I don’t exaggerate. Ever.

(Only sometimes.)

Chop the tomatoes….

 

Toss ’em in a bowl…

Drain the mozzarella pearls…maybe eat a few, just to test them out. Then throw ’em in the bowl too…

Roll your basil leaves into a long cylinder…

slice it up…


…throw it in your bowl.

Pour in the olive oil…

Sprinkle in the S&P…

 

Mix it all up.

Drum roll………………………..(it’s a long roll)……

You’re done!

Painless.

This truly is the simplest salad ever but it looks gorgeous and it goes with just about any main dish you can imagine. It’s even a great snack if you’re looking for a little something that falls more in the healthy category and it’s not quite meal time.

Had it with some steak and grilled corn recently. Highly recommend.

I hope you give this one a go – and please let me know if/when you do! I always love your comments and likes if there’s a recipe/post you really enjoy!

Blueberry & Mango Quinoa Salad

19 Apr

Have you ever had quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)?! I never had, but have been hearing about it for quite some time. It’s usually in any list of ‘super foods’ due to its many health and nutritional benefits. But what are those benefits and why is quinoa so great?!?

Get this…it has twice the protein of rice. Wow! It also has all nine essential amino acids, contains vitamin B12, B6 and E, magnesium, iron and zinc. It’s also high in dietary fiber AND….it’s not technically a grain (no gluten in those seeds!) so those gluten-free can still enjoy these tasty little guys.

I found all of these fun facts in my Power Foods cookbook. It also has tons of quinoa recipes which I’ll need to start trying out! The cookbook has both delicious recipes and fantastic photos so I highly recommend it to anyone who wants to start cooking healthy but is not into giving up taste. (Here, here!)

So, enough on the health lesson, quinoa is good for you but how does it taste? Similar to a rice or couscous, it’s all about how you cook it. I found a delicious looking recipe on pinterest that caught my eye and gave me the incentive I needed to buy and eat quinoa for the first time.

The pin took me to a great vegetarian blog, Veggie Belly,  that I encourage you all to look through, no matter if you’re a vegetarian or not. If this recipe is any indication of the taste of her other recipes, it’s bound to be a great site to explore.

Here we go…let the quinoa experiment begin!

Ingredients:

I didn’t alter the ingredients from the original recipe at all, so below is exact wording from Veggie Belly in all aspects of the ingredients and amounts. There are three separate things to make for this salad, broken down below by the ingredients needed for each:

For the quinoa
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water

For the fruits and veggies
½ cup fresh blueberries
½ cup cubed ripe mangoes
½ cup cubed cucumbers
1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries

For the lemon basil dressing
1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon lemon zest
10 Basil leaves, chopped finely
Salt and pepper

How to Make:

Combine the quinoa and water in a skillet and bring it up to a boil.

I had mine at medium/medium high heat. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and cover. I had mine moved down to low heat for this. You’re going to now let it simmer for just about 15 minutes. You’ll know it’s ready to go when you lift up the lid and all that you see is quinoa and no water. You’ll then “fluff the quinoa” according to Veggie Belly – aka – stir it up from where it’s set in on the bottom of the skillet. You can let it cool completely or eat it slightly warm if you’d like too.

While you’re waiting for the 15 minutes of simmering time to pass…instead of the usual distractions of Hulu, making your bed or pinteresting (maybe that’s just me that does those things while killing time?!), you’ll want to chop your fruits and veggie.

Now, I had absolutely no idea how to slice a mango. As you can see, it was a day full of new experiences for me. You may be well-versed in mango slicing and can then skip this next piece. My sous chef for the day shared some wisdom about how this is done properly. Slice the mango the long way, on either side of the long, skinny pit. For each side you sliced off, you can then cube it as my super, expert sous chef does in the pictures below. We then decided the leftover middle chunk left around the pit was best for gnawing at instead of trying to also cube it for the salad. But up to you and how you like to use all parts of your mango.

Ok, I expect you know how to cube the cucumber and well, the blueberries just have to be measured. Combine those three things (and I even threw in the dried cranberries too) in a small bowl and refrigerate until you’re ready to add them to the quinoa.

Last step – the dressing. Add your lemon juice, lemon zest and olive oil to a small bowl.

Chop up the basil – which I do by rolling the leaves all up together and the chopping them all at once. Add your basil to the rest of the dressing and set it aside until you’re ready.

We were eating immediately and were doing so by the lake I live by. We plopped all three mixtures into little Tupperware containers and then once we got to our designated eating location, mixed everything up together in two bowls, one for each of us.

If you’re a person who likes only a bit of dressing, you don’t have to add it all. We used about 91% of it though (It was yummy and I couldn’t resist. At all.) and I didn’t find it too liquidy or oily in the slightest.

This was perfect for a light lunch for two – great for any Spring or Summer day.

Let me know what you think of the quinoa – I liked it and am looking forward to trying another recipe with it soon!

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