Cream Cheese Brownies

Everyone needs a good brownie recipe. This is by far, hands down, my favorite. This recipe brings back fond memories because my mom always made these for us growing up (a slightly different and easier recipe which I will share with you). Truly, this was one of our favorites after school treats. There is nothing like coming home from school and having these waiting for you. After sharing these brownies with a few friends this past week and taking them to a tailgate party, I would say that many of you wouldn’t mind these waiting for you when you walk in the door from a long day at school or work.

A good brownie is moist, rich and dense as it melts in your mouth. They are for me a food that, if around, I will eat. I just can’t resist them. Because of this, I give most of them – not all – away to good friends. I know, it’s crazy, isn’t it? I give away one of my favorite foods. It’s either that or live with it on my thighs for a very long time. I’m not sure which is worse…

As I mentioned before, my husband and I were invited to a tailgate party last Saturday prior to watching the Oakland A’s play the San Francisco Giants. We had a great time and enjoyed some great food and company before the game. Needless to say, we rolled into the stadium with full bellies. I told (or should I say, demanded!?) my husband before we got to the tailgate party that I wanted to get some garlic fries at the concession stand during the game. I mean, what is a baseball game without some grilled or fried food from the stands, whether it’s a hot dog, gourmet sausage dog or garlic fries, and boy do I love their garlic fries. Sadly they’re the main reason I enjoy going to the games. But I must say, this time I was so full and satisfied by all the great food we had tailgating that I wasn’t even tempted by the garlic smell wafting through the air. Not to mention that I really enjoyed watching the game.

I have included two brownie recipes below. One is totally homemade, but more labor intensive (see picture at the beginning). The other is from a box mix and if you’re under a time crunch, is faster and delicious as well – these I grew up with. In my baking quest though I wanted to develop a totally homemade brownie that could rival any box mix and make it even better. I think this recipe did the trick. If you need a dessert and are short on time, the quick mix below will be the one for you.

Cream Cheese Brownies

Brownie Mixture: (adapted from Cook’s Illustrated)
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
12 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into cubes
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup pecans or walnuts (optional)

Cream Cheese Mixture:

  • 2 (3 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Generously grease or spray with cooking oil a 13 x 9 pan. If using nuts, spread on a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese and butter in a bowl until smooth. Add the sugar, eggs, flour, vanilla and mix until combined. Set aside.
To make brownie batter, melt chocolate and butter over double broiler stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. You can do this in the microwave. Just heat on high for 45 seconds, then stir and keep heating for 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until melted. Gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour in thirds, folding each third into batter until just mix and smooth.

Pour half the brownie mixture into the cake pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie layer. Spoon the remaining brownie mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Pull knife through batter in wide curves to create a swirled appearance.

Bake 35-40 minutes on the middle rack. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done. Cool completely (if you can wait) before cutting. Tip: I dipped a serrated knife into hot water (dry it off before cutting) to cut the squares. This makes nice, clean squares.

Quick Mix:

  • Brownie Mixture:
  • 1 box brownie mix

Cream Cheese Mixture:

  • 2 (3 oz) packages cream cheese, room temperature
  • 5 tablespoons butter, room temperature
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon vanilla

Mix up brownie mix as listed on box directions in one bowl. Mix cream cheese mixture in another bowl. Pour half the brownie mixture into the cake pan. Pour the cream cheese mixture over the brownie layer. Spoon the remaining brownie mixture over the cream cheese mixture. Pull knife through batter in wide curves to create a swirled appearance.

Bake 35-40 minutes on the middle rack. Test with a toothpick to make sure they are done. Cool completely (if you can wait) before cutting. Tip: I dipped a serrated knife into hot water (dry it off before cutting) to cut the squares. This makes nice, clean squares. Enjoy!…

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Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Its blood orange season and spring is around the corner. I call it the “sassy” fruit because it has an attitude with its dark red flashy flesh. You can basically use blood oranges any way you would use another citrus. Unfortunately, I think many shy away from it because of its dark color. Sometimes these oranges are hard to find as they blend in with all the other fruit on display at the grocery store. You may have to seek them out but it’s worth it.

I think of this salad as an on the edge of spring salad. The citrus takes it from an ordinary salad to a bright, wake up your taste buds salad. When I’m making a salad, I try to incorporate all kinds of textures and flavors to make it interesting to your tongue. I know most of us usually fall back on the lettuce, tomato and cucumber salad with bottled dressing. I hope every now and then, you’ll give something different a try. Be creative. Add some herbs and different veggies. Make your own dressing. I know you’ll love it and if you’re like me, you’ll never go back to bottled dressing!

Blood Orange Salad with Fennel and Goat Cheese

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 cup of blood orange juice
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Salt and pepper

Add all ingredients to a jar and shake to mix well. Taste for seasoning.

Salad:

  • 1 head of curly romaine, washed, dried and cut or torn into bite-size pieces
  • 1 fennel bulb, cleaned and sliced thin
  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin
  • 5 oz goat cheese, crumbled
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup fresh, chopped basil
  • 1/4 cup sliced toasted almonds

Add all of the salad ingredients except the almonds and goat cheese to a large bowl and toss to mix. Add the dressing a tablespoon at a time until dressed. Sprinkle the goat cheese and almonds on top and serve immediately.…

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Peach Crisp (Gluten Free)

I almost posted another salad but I thought to be fair I should give you something else equally as delicious. I also love dessert!

I have wanted to make a gluten free crisp for a while now. Apple crisps are one of my favorites in the winter but I’m always trying get away from using flour where possible. The challenge is making it so you can’t tell you didn’t use flour, which can be challenging.


Peaches are gorgeous right now. They smell delicious and taste even better. Sometimes it’s hard to eat them though before they go bad. It seems they all ripen at the same time. This recipe works great for those peaches that are getting a little too soft.

I remember growing up my mom used to fix us sliced peaches with milk and sugar. We didn’t have it very often but it was a treat. This crisp, like the peaches and milk, is all comfort. Add some vanilla ice cream and really take it over the top. You’ll be happy you did.

Peach Crisp

Peach Mixture:

  • 2 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch or arrowroot
  • 1-2 tablespoons sugar (depending on the sweetness of the peaches)

Crumb Topping

  • 1 cup gluten-free oats (regular, not quick cooking)
  • 1/4 cup almond meal/flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter cut into small cubes, plus 1 tablespoon for the ramekins

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter four ramekins.

Add the peaches to a small bowl with the cornstarch and sugar. Mix well and set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients except the butter. Mix the ingredients with a fork. Using your hands, add the butter and incorporate the butter by working it into the crumbs to form small pieces of dough, until almost all the crumbs are gone.

Divide up the peaches and add them to the ramekins. Using your hands, add the crumb mixture to each.  Place them on a tray and place in the oven.

Baker for 15-20 minutes. Let sit another 20 minutes before serving. Great with vanilla ice cream or some whipped cream.…

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Grilled Shrimp and Summer Salad

I think I’m on a salad kick. I just realized that I’ve posted quite a few salads. I wish I looked like I eat salads all the time! I do like to make fun salads on the weekend, especially during the summer with all the fresh ingredients you can get.

It was hard to get back into things this week as I went on vacation last week. My family all met up in Idaho for a 4th of July bash and some downtime hanging out with family. It was so nice to get away and spend some time with everyone and just to be outside. The pace is slower, there’s no traffic and it is just a beautiful place.

My grandmother’s garden (yes she does have a green thumb)

I hope you’re enjoying the summer. It’s going by so fast.

I highly recommend a vacation if you can manage it! If not, make this salad and sit outside. At least you can relax for a moment.

Here’s a new widget I have added to my site call Bloglovin. Here you can see all of the blogs you follow in one place and they’ll send you an update daily with any new postings. Cool huh?! Follow my blog with Bloglovin

Summer Salad

  • 1 large head of romaine lettuce, chopped
  • 1 tomato, chopped
  • 1 cob of corn, wrapped in a wet paper towel and microwaved for 2 minutes and then cut off the husks.
  • 6 bocconcini (fresh mozzarella cheese)
  • 1/4 cup sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup basil,

Cumin & Lime Vinaigrette

  • 1 large lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin
  • 1 teaspoon dijon mustard
  • 1/4-1/3 cup olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the salad ingredients into a medium-sized bowl. In a separate smaller bowl or jar, add all of the vinaigrette ingredients. Shake or stir well to combine ingredients.

Grill up your shrimp on a grill pan or outdoors. I seasoned them with some garlic powder and salt and pepper before grilling.

When the shrimp are done, add some of the dressing to the salad and mix well. Serve with the shrimp. Enjoy!…

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Strawberry, Kale and Walnut Salad

Hey! How are you guys? Enjoying the summer I hope.

This recipe came about by accident. I was going to make my Kale and Apple Salad, however, I cut into the only apple I had and it was bad. The only alternative left was strawberries and so I went with it. As you can see, I thought it turned out REALLY good.

This dressing sounds weird and you’ll think it will taste like onion. It doesn’t. It really has great flavor and consistency. Especially if you use sweet onions. I buy a bag of Vidalia onions at Costco every summer and hide them in the coolest, darkest place in the house so they don’t spoil. They really are like candy and the only onion that I usually eat raw. Seriously, the best onions ever. I have made this with regular onions though and it’s still really good.

The summer is flying by as is every month. I feel like we didn’t really have a winter in California. It’s gone from fall to summer. It’s amazing how dry we are versus the rest of the US. If only they could send some water/rain to California.

Until next time…happy cooking!

Strawberry, Kale and Walnut Salad

Salad Dressing:

  • 1/4 large sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Add all ingredients to a blender or food processor and mix until liquid in consistency.

Salad:

  • 5oz bag of baby kale washed (any kind of kale will work, just remove any thick stems and chop it up)
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied walnuts (you can use regular walnuts. I get the candied walnuts at Trader Joe’s)
  • 1 pint of strawberries, cut in quarters
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all of the salad ingredients and then drizzle about half of the dressing over the mix. Toss and add more if necessary. Serve and enjoy!…

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Summer Quinoa Salad

Quinoa pronounced “keenwa” is an interesting grain. It looks a lot like couscous but has more texture and bite to it. It’s similar to any grain in that you have to add flavor as it really doesn’t have any on it’s own. The key to cooking quinoa is to make sure it comes out light and fluffy, like rice. If you add too much liquid, it can be mushy and wet and you end up with a consistency similar to oatmeal which is fine if that’s what you’re looking for. Me, not so much. To be fair though, many people do eat it for breakfast because of it’s higher protein content. One cup of uncooked quinoa has 24g of protein. It’s high in carbs like other grains so keep that in mind when serving some up for yourself.

I have finally found the right ratio of quinoa to water/stock, thanks to America’s Test Kitchen. Your quinoa will come out perfectly every time. Experiment and add anything you want like spices, fruits, veggies, nuts, and herbs. The list is endless. Here is a recipe that I saw on TV recently and changed it up a bit.

A couple of tips:
-Salt your water well as it provides some flavor to the quinoa. You’ll use less later on.
-Rinse your quinoa before using it to prevent any bitterness

Summer Quinoa Salad

Quinoa

  • 1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cup stock or water
  • 2 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil

Directions: Add your olive oil to a saucepan and let it get hot. Add your drained and slightly dry quinoa and let it get hot, stirring for a few minutes. When you hear it popping, add your stock or water and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take a fork and fluff it a bit. Make sure the water has evaporated and it’s fluffy. If not, let it go for another 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat. Let it stay covered for about 5 minutes. Let your quinoa cool completely for this salad.

Salad Mixture

  • 25 red seedless grapes, cut in half
  • 1/2 of an English cucumber cut in 1/2 inch dice
  • 1/2 cup of chopped mint
  • 1/2 cup of chopped parsley
  • 1/2 cup chopped sweet onion or green onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
  • 1 avocado, cut in 1-inch dice
  • 2 limes juiced
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • salt and pepper to taste

In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients except the avocado, lime, olive oil and salt and pepper to the quinoa and toss to mix. In a small bowl, add your lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it well. Taste for seasoning. Pour over salad and mix well. If you like your salad with more tang feel free to add more lime juice. It’s a matter of preference. I added one more lime to mine. Just keep tasting to get the balance of the lime juice and seasoning just right. Add the avocado last so it doesn’t get mushy. I only add it to the salad I’m planning on eating right away. The rest I save and add it later so it doesn’t turn brown. Hope you enjoy.…

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Calypso Chicken Salad

Do you like chicken salad? A good chicken salad is creamy, a bit sweet, a bit salty, has some crunch in it and must have really tender chicken. One of my favorite chicken salads was served at a place I used to work and it was mayonnaise based with cashews. Yum – it brings back fond food memories. The reason I am sharing this recipe with you is that this chicken salad has all those components and more. The pineapple and grapes add sweetness, the green pepper and almonds add crunch and the curry powder gives it all a nice flavorful twist. Not to mention that it came from a dear friend of mine.


My friend Judy gave me this recipe. Judy is a mother, grandmother, golfer, volunteer, friend to many and from what I hear a very successful retired executive administrator. She is what I call a whippersnapper in that she says what she thinks and doesn’t appear to afraid of anything or anyone. She has more energy than I do and can definitely beat me at golf. I feel blessed to have her in my life and I know first hand that she is a wonderful cook. She made my husband and I the best Eggs Benedict that I have ever had one morning at her beach house. I hope this Calypso Chicken Salad is one of the many recipes that she shares with us. Thanks, Judy!

This is a great salad for a party – showers, luncheons or just as a lunch for yourself. There are many ways you can serve this too – as a sandwich, on lettuce, or even on crackers. A lovely side or garnish would be some watermelon or strawberries.

Calypso Chicken Salad

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon curry powder
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon minced onion, dried or fresh
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried ginger
  • 1 lb chicken, about 2-3 cups cooked and cubed chicken breast
  • 1 cup green grapes
  • 1/2 cup diced green pepper
  • 1 8-oz can pineapple chunks, drained
  • 1 small jar chopped pimentos, drained (optional)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds (I didn’t have slivered on hand so used sliced)

Combine the first six ingredients (the dressing) in a bowl. Add chicken, grapes, pepper, pineapple and pimentos. Mix and then cover to chill overnight. When ready to serve, mix in 1/2 cup of almonds and sprinkle remaining on top. I sprinkled a bit of parsley on top as well. Serves 6.

Roasted Chicken Breasts (if you feel like roasting your own)

  • 3 bone-in, skin on chicken breasts
  • Olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place chicken breasts skin side up on a baking sheet. Rub with olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast for 40-50 minutes or until cooked through. Internal temperature should be 165 degrees. Let cool and then remove meat from the bones. Slice or shred the chicken into bite-size cubes. Make about 4 cups.…

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Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping

At least once a month we plan to cook from some of our favorite cookbooks and share these recipes with you. I have quite a collection and those by Jacques Pepin’s are right there at the top of my list. He is one of my favorite cookbook authors as well as TV show host. I enjoy watching him on PBS. He makes cooking look so easy and all of his recipes are healthy as well as delicious.

Today I had some great looking tomatoes that needed to be used. In my search for a recipe, I came upon Jacques Pepin’s Simple and Healthy Cooking and selected Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping. Chef Pepin serves this dish warm, however, I ended up serving mine at room temperature and enjoyed it served this way as well.

I substituted a few ingredients in the recipe. Nothing that changed the taste but I wanted to use what I had on hand. I had Roma and small vine tomatoes. Since they were smaller than the medium tomato called for in the recipe I sliced the top off rather than halved them. I also used dried thyme (didn’t have fresh) and added some fresh parsley for a little more green. Be careful of what you add to the recipe because if your crumb ingredients are too moist your crumbs will become gooey and won’t work.

Seared Tomatoes with Bread Topping

This is a great dish for the company since it can be made ahead of time. It’s best with ripe, flavorful tomatoes. If you prepare them ahead of time, halve the tomatoes, sear them and sprinkle them with the seasoned bread crumbs up to an hour before. Finish them under a hot broiler just before serving. Yield: 6 servings

  • 6 medium tomatoes (2½ pounds)
  • 1 tablespoon plus ½ teaspoon virgin olive oil
  • 2 slices bread
  • 3 scallions (about 2 ounces), washed, trimmed and chopped (1/3 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, crushed and finely chopped (1 teaspoon)
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Cut the tomatoes in half crosswise. Brush a very large nonstick skillet with 1/2 teaspoon of the oil and place it over high heat. When the oil is hot, add the tomato halves, cut side down, and sear for 5 minutes or until they are browned. Transfer the tomatoes to a large gratin dish, placing them seared side up and side by side in the dish.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Add the bread to the bowl of food processor and process it until crumbed. Add the scallions, thyme, garlic, salt and pepper and pulse until the mixture is combined. Transfer the crumb mixture to a small bowl and toss it lightly with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. (Do not over mix or it will become gooey.) Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture on top of the tomatoes, don’t pack the breadcrumbs down. Bake in the center of the oven for 10 minutes. Turn on the broiler, move the dish to the top shelf of the oven and broil for a few minutes, watching closely, until the crumbs are brown.

Per serving: 90 calories, 3.6 g fat (33% of calories), 0.5 g. saturated fat, 0 mg cholesterol, 238 mg. sodium. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did…..…

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Crabby Crab Cakes

One of my favorite things in the world are crab cakes. I love them any which way – on their own, in salads, in a sandwich, or even as a replacement for the ham in eggs benedict which I highly recommend. If they are on the menu, I order them. I am equally enamored by the sauce that accompanies the crab cake. The sauce can take a so-so crab cake and send it over the top. There are many recipes for crab cakes, so I won’t proclaim this to be the best recipe for crab cakes, but it does to come close – at least in my book. These crab cakes are crabby (hence the name); you can really taste the crab as they are only lightly seasoned. They are moist and substantial. You can definitely use them as your main meal, but you can also make them small for little appetizers. They are easy to make and you can mix and form them ahead of time and keep them refrigerated until you are ready to cook them. However, if you do have any leftovers (doesn’t happen often in my house), they are great leftover served warm or cold.

I hate to admit it but I am a sauce person. You either are or you aren’t. I love a good sauce and probably have a tendency to use too much, but it tastes so good! I have to say a few words about the sauce I made to go with the crab cakes. Normally I make a tartar sauce out of mayo, sweet relish, capers and maybe a little mustard. But a while back, I was visiting my brother and my sister-in-law was making fish sandwiches for us. She showed me the tartar sauce recipe and I turned my nose up a bit because it had horseradish in it and I’m not a big fan of horseradish (one of the few foods I don’t like). However, she whipped this recipe up and my brother told me how good it was. My curiosity got the better of me and I tentatively tasted the slightly pink sauce. He was right. It was really good. Needless to say, it is now my favorite tartar sauce recipe. It is really tangy, not sweet and it goes really well with these crab cakes.

If you’re a crab cake fan like I am, give these a try. I’d love to hear your comments. Feel free to experiment and add any other seasonings or vegetables to them. And be sure to use your favorite tartar sauce recipe, or if you don’t have one, try this one. I promise you can’t taste the horseradish!

Crabby Crab Cakes

  • 2/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 5 egg yolks
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped, fresh parsley
  • 2 1/2 cups saltine crackers
  • 2 1bs. lump crab meat

Mix all the ingredients together. Mix lightly so you keep some large chunks of crab in each cake. Form into 4oz. patties or smaller ones if you like. Put in the refrigerator for at least one hour or in the freezer if you’re in a hurry for 20 minutes. When ready to cook, lightly coat each cake with flour (remove any excess). Fry the cakes in a mixture of olive oil (about 3-4 tablespoons) and butter (1/2 stick) until golden brown. As you can see from my picture above my butter had started to turn brown. No problem it will only add more flavor. Serve with tartar sauce. Makes 12 cakes.

Tartar Sauce (by Sunny Anderson)

  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 3 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 2 teaspoons hot sauce
  • 2 teaspoons dill relish
  • pinch of salt and pepper

Mix all the ingredients together and refrigerate until use.…

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Grilled Mediterranean Panzanella

My sister-in-law’s (Emily) birthday is this week, so last weekend we decided to throw her a birthday barbecue. Emily knows how to throw a good party. She was the one that surprised me on my 40th birthday by decorating our house with streamers and balloons. She planned and organized my bridal shower which was a huge hit. She is extremely organized and thrifty and this was my attempt to do something special for her.

Whenever I have Emily and family over I see it as a culinary challenge because their food repertoire is limited, in the sense that they like plain, lightly seasoned food, plus there are two little adorable munchkins in attendance, a 9 and 4-year-old. Being who I am, I work hard to come up with a menu that I know they’ll like. When it comes to feeding and entertaining people, I don’t do anything half as my husband knows. I usually cook too much food (which he enjoys the rest of the week) and even though I don’t consider myself a perfectionist, I expect everything to be perfect. After the many parties that we’ve hosted, my husband knows the drill. Stand at attention and wait for commands. I couldn’t do it without him!

This was the menu for the evening. The appetizers included homemade parmesan cheese sticks, chips and onion dip (Emily and kids favorite), fresh fruit (pineapple and strawberries), pigs in a blanket – I knew the kids would like these, Almond Punch – to which the adults could add their preferred alcohol. For dinner I served this Panzanella, a Basil Corn Salad and marinated chicken – stay tuned for these recipes in the following weeks. The birthday cake was a Texas Sheet Cake with M&Ms on top, served with a scoop of Cookies and Cream ice cream. I knew it was a success when at 10 pm the kids left saying, “Mommy, I am so full.”

Panzanella is an Italian bread salad or sometimes called “leftover salad” popular in the summer months. It includes day to week old sliced bread, fresh tomatoes, basil, olive oil, and vinegar but can be made with any of your favorite ingredients. The original recipe came from Ina Garten but I have made a few changes to the ingredients.

Grilled Mediterranean Panzanella (adapted from Ina Garten)

  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons champagne vinegar
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large ripe tomato or 1 pack of cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 10 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons capers, drained and rinsed
  • 1 red onion, sliced into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 red pepper, seeded, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow pepper, seeded, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 jar of marinated artichokes, drained – can substitute regularly canned or frozen artichokes
  • 1/2 loaf of French or country loaf bread or about 6-8 slices
  • Olive oil

Mix cut onion and peppers with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper. Place on a hot grill or grill pan. Grill on low for about 10 minutes, turning after 5 minutes. Remove from grill and cover with aluminum foil. Cut sliced bread into 1-inch cubes and toss with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Place on grill and toast them until golden brown.

In a small bowl, mix Dijon, garlic, vinegar and 1/4 cup of olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste.

In a large mixing bowl, add capers, artichokes, tomatoes, grilled veggies, basil, and bread. Right before serving add the dressing and toss well. Serves 6-8…

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