Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

We are probably not unique this time of year whereas we are sitting on a bunch of tomatoes. I’ll admit that my wife loves tomatoes a lot more than I do, but when they are hanging from the vine or loaded in a bowl on my counter from a recent harvest, well I’m about to do something about it. That’s when I typically think about harvesting the rest of our basil from outdoors and making a fresh sauce to be used on pizzas or lightly tossed with some pasta, but this time around I decided to take a generous handful of tomatoes and slowly roast them. Why? Well, because I had some great day old bread on the counter, fresh tomatoes, and fresh basil, and that screamed one thing and one thing only. Roasted tomato crostini.

Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe
Roasted Tomato Crostini Recipe

This is a super simple recipe to make, can feed a crowd, and is really delicious especially with the roasted tomatoes.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 whole roma tomatoes, cored, and sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • 1/2 loaf day old French bread, sliced 1/4 inch thick
  • Salt, to taste
  • Cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil, lightly torn
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil, optional
  • mozzarella balls, optional

Start by preheating your oven to 325 degrees. To a parchment lined baking sheet, add the sliced tomatoes. Season the tomatoes with salt and pepper and place into the preheated oven, cooking for about 45 minutes

During this time, slice the bread. Remove the tomatoes, and let them cool.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the bread to the oven, and cook just until lightly crisped.

Take the bread out and rub each piece of the bread with the garlic clove.

Chop up the cooled tomatoes, and add to a bowl with the freshly torn basil. Add in the olive oil and gently stir.

Lay out your bread onto a serving tray, and spoon on the tomato and basil mixture.

Roasted Tomato Crostini
Roasted Tomato Crostini

Add the mozzarella balls in between some of the crostini for those that want to add a bit of cheese to their bite.

Dig in and enjoy. That lightly toasted garlic bread topped with fresh basil and roasted tomatoes really make this a perfect bite for any occasion. Hope you enjoy!

Pasta with Peas and Mint

Lately my wife and I had to cut back the mint in our backyard. If you have never grown mint, be careful, especially if you are not planting in a pot. The mint literally will take over your yard, and this year it decided to not only take over its home where we planted many years ago, but it also decided to make its way into our raspberry bushes. As much as we love using mint for a variety of different recipes and teas, we are not a fan of it taking over our yard. That’s when I decided to take some things into my own hands and figured I would take a couple of handfuls of that mint and use it up in a dish I knew my entire family would enjoy. It’s pasta with peas and mint and it’s a good one.

Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe
Pasta with Peas and Mint Recipe

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 1 lb fettuccine, or your favorite pasta cooked al dente
  • 1 cup of cooked pasta water, reserved
  • 1/2 cup of garlic scapes, blanched, or 1 clove of minced garlic
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 cup of fresh mint, packed
  • 2 cups of frozen peas
  • 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • salt, to taste

Start by heating a large skillet, and on medium heat add the olive oil and butter. Once melted, add the cracked black pepper, blanched garlic scapes, and frozen peas. Add the pasta water, and stir, letting the mixture come to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to a medium-low, then add in the cooked pasta. Stir, making sure to coat all of the pasta.

Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe
Pasta with Mint and Peas Recipe

Once the pasta is coated, add in the fresh mint, giving a good stir and toss, season with a touch of salt, then fold in the parmesan cheese.

Give another stir, then plate and serve. Season with a touch more parmesan cheese, and adjust the taste with any salt.

I was not surprised that my kids devoured this dish. The combination of mint and peas is a match made in heaven, and granted my vegetable hater (age) picked some of those peas out, he was still slurping those noodles, along with the mint. That’s a winner in my book. Hope you enjoy!

Thai Style Honey

Thai honey… I know, big deal right? It is what you do with it that gets really, really good. We were running out of honey so I decided I pick some up at our local farmers market. The vendor had plenty to chose from but we decided to pick up a ‘standard’ batch of local honey. My wife typically uses honey in her teas but I typically use it in my cooking. That’s when I thought I would take some of that honey and infuse it with some Thai flavors.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

This is so easy to make, stores well in the refrigerator, and is perfect drizzled on salads, pizza, or sandwiches.

Let’s get started.

  • 1 cup of honey
  • 3 Thai bird chilies (less for less heat)
  • 1 inch of lemongrass

Add the ingredients to a small pot, and cook on low for about 30 minutes. This will allow for those flavors to infuse the honey.

Thai Style Honey Recipe
Thai Style Honey Recipe

Pour into a sealable container, and place in the refrigerator until it is ready to be used.

The result is a great, sweet honey with just the right amount of spice. Your guest will be questioning what the heck it is, especially with that note of lemongrass. Hope you enjoy!

Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole

I believe, and I only say ‘believe’ because I am somewhat uncertain, that casserole is or has neared the end in our beautiful state of Wisconsin. Just like the seasons, it is one of the things I think we all love. You know when you start new recipes based entirely on the weather. As it was cold and rainy a few weeks back, I decided to once again review the contents of the freezer, cupboards, and pantry, and come up with something for dinner. I’m so glad I did, and as surprised as I was (and probably should not have been) this entire casserole was devoured by just three of us. Please don’t judge us on a rainy, cold day. 

This casserole is definitely not pretty, but my oh my is it ever comforting and delicious.

Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole Recipe
Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole Recipe

Told you it’s not pretty.

Let’s get started.

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp canola oil
  • 4 cups of Ore-Ida frozen hash browns
  • 3 cups of cooked, diced ham
  • 2 cups of Gouda cheese, shredded
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/2 cups of milk
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1 tsp cracked black pepper, to taste
  • 1/2 cup of fine bread crumbs, optional

Start by heating a large skillet on medium heat. Add in the canola oil, and once heated through, add in the hashbrowns, and gently push down, as well as push in the edges a bit to form a nice potato patty.

Let these cook somewhat low and slow. The goal is to get them nice and crispy on the outside while keeping them nice and tender on the inside. Granted these will be mixed and baked but the texture is nice at the end.

During this time, let’s make the cheese sauce, or mornay sauce if you will. It’s your standard bechamel in a way but with cheese added.

To a sauce pan, melt the butter. Once melted, stir in the flour, and cook out the flour on medium heat for a couple of minutes. Stir until it forms a bit of a paste, yet doesn’t turn color on you.

Slowly pour in the milk, continuing to stir and breaking up the flour to create your sauce. Once all of the milk is added, season with a bit of salt and pepper.

Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole Recipe
Ham, Cheese, and Potato Casserole Recipe

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

You’ve been keeping an eye on those hash browns, right? Good. Now give them a flip, reform them into a patty, and continue to lightly crisp on the other side.

Once the sauce begins to thicken a bit, reduce the heat, and slowly add in about 3/4 of the cheese, reserving a bit to finish during baking.

Get a large bowl out to mix everything.

Add in the crisp hash browns, top with the ham, then pour over the cheese sauce. Give this a good mix, breaking up the hash browns to your desire, then pour into a casserole dish.

Top with remaining shredded cheese, and lightly shower on the bread crumbs. Place into the preheated oven and cook for about 25 minutes or until the top is nice and golden brown.

Remove from the heat, let cool for about 5-10 minutes, then scoop into a bowl and dig in.

Talk about comfort food. Two of my kids were out for the evening so I thought it would be just my wife and I in front of the television watching LaLa Land (sigh), but then one of my picky eaters (doesn’t like melted cheese on most if not all foods) comes in with a bowl (and then helped himself to thirds) and we all could not stop eating this stuff. We finished the casserole. Yep, this one is that good.

If you are looking for an easy casserole to make, and have a few things lying around in your freezer and pantry, give this one a shot. Until the fall season starts, this one will have to wait. Sorry, ham, cheese, and potato casserole, but you will be missed!