Tag: tomatoes

Greek Quinoa Salad!

Ready for the long weekend? Memorial Day picnics require the perfect picnic sides. Cold side salads are always a hit. One of my favorites is a Greek quinoa salad! A healthy, quick and easy salad bursting with the traditional and refreshing Greek flavors we love.


Tomatoes, cucumbers, red onion, feta cheese, and a whole lotta squeezed lemon!

This heathy Greek quinoa salad can be served alone or alongside grilled favorites! No guilt and totally healthy, superfood quinoa is a protein powerhouse. Give this salad a try!


Greek Quinoa Salad

1-1/2 cups quinoa
3 cups water
3/4 cup tomatoes, chopped
3/4 cup cucumber, chopped
1 small/medium red onion, chopped
1/2 cup pitted kalamata olives, chopped
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
4 lemons, squeezed
Fresh parsley, chopped

Rinse quinoa in a strainer to remove any sediment.

In a medium saucepan, add water and quinoa.

Being to a boil and summer for 12-18 minutes or until quinoa is soft but still firm to the bite.

Drain quinoa well and cool.

Once the quinoa is cool, add all other ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Squeeze lemon juice and add oregano, salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with fresh parsley and/or chop some and throw it in.



You down with D.O.P ? Yeah, you know me!

D.O.P… How can I explain it…

Yes, I am a wife, mom, nanny, cook, maid, journalist, fashionista, and old school rap sponge!!! Do you get started and just can’t stop? (I hope it is not just me! Well, I know Kevin does it, too! Ha!)

Of course I pair it with the perfect shoulder bounce or hammer dance ; )
Of course I pair it with pursed lips, the perfect shoulder bounce maybe even a hammer dance ; )

I forgot to add tomato snob to the mix. The distinction between San Marzano tomatoes versus a can of whole peeled tomatoes is one of taste. The San Marzano tomatoes are sweeter, picked only when ripe, and grown in the richest of soil in Campania, Italy. Once you start cooking with San Marzano tomatoes and taste the difference you will NEVER use plain, old, sour whole peeled tomatoes in a can ever again. Pay the extra buck! So what is DOP?

DOP Approved!
DOP Approved!

DOP is a further designation that stands for Denominazione d’Origine Protetta from the European Union for the processed product. These tomatoes are grown at the base of Mount Vesuvious in rich soil blended with volcanic ash. This soil produces DOP certified tomatoes that have few seeds and cook down perfectly! DOP is written on the label and means completely legit by the European powers that be. So now you know what DOP means on your San Marzano can AND you know what to look for next time! My faves right now are Ciao brand! You can crush them with a potato masher and use them for pizza sauce…naked!!! Just add your toppings and seasonings!

Easiest pizza sauce ever!  Try it!  San  Marzano DOP!
Easiest pizza sauce ever! Spinach, tomato, mozzarella, salt and pepper! Try it!
San Marzano DOP!


20 Minute Gourmet Pasta Tossed In A Pan Sauce! Open a bottle of wine…You Got This!

This recipe is great! I never add more than 2 veggies!  Peppers an spinach tonight!

Get home at 5 and have nothing prepared for dinner? We are all there multiple times per week! Relax, my 20 minute pasta dish is healthy, easy and quick!! Best part…It looks like you have cooked all day!

Yep...20 minutes!
Yep…20 minutes!

20 Min.Gourmet Pasta in Pan Sauce

2 cloves of garlic presses
2 tbsp olive oil
1 35 oz. can LaValle whole tomatoes
Choose what you have in the fridge! If none – move on there is nothing wrong with a pan marinara sauce! Today, I have a pepper and a bag of spinach.
1 pepper chopped
1 cup fresh spinach
1 pack Mushrooms sliced
1/2 cup Italian olives sliced
1 zucchini sliced
1/2 cup Pepperoni

1 lb. of your favorite pasta- farfalle for us today!
Freshly grated Parmesan


Put hot water in a stock pot on the stove, add 3 pinches of salt and bring to a boil.
Heat your largest frying pan on medium/low heat.
Add olive oil
Add garlic
Stir with wooden spoon- remember no brown- if it is crackling it is too hot!

If garlic burns throw it out and start over! Start over med/low heat.
If garlic burns,  throw it out and start over! Start over med/low heat.

Add peppers (raw veggies) put a lid on and cook 5 mins.
Add can of tomatoes.
Salt and pepper
Put a lid on and let it cook. Totally fine to boil and bubble. You want to quickly cook the veggies and let the flavors mix together.

Chop up tomatoes as you stir . We like to have some chunks of tomato!
Chop up tomatoes as you stir . We like to have some chunks of tomato!

When water is at a rapid boil add pasta and follow directions and cook until al dente. Perfectly chewy!

Add some salt to the hot water. Wait for a rapid boil! Relax, you have time!
Add some salt to the hot water. Wait for a rapid boil! Relax, you have time!

Strain pasta in a strainer over the sink. Take advantage of the pore opening steam facial!!

I love it! Freshen up for dinner! Blot with a paper towel!
I love it! Freshen up for dinner! Blot with a paper towel!

Add a few spoonfuls of sauce in a serving bowl and coat pasta so it doesn’t stick. Mix in spinach last!

This recipe is great! I never add more than 2 veggies!  Peppers an spinach tonight!
This recipe is great! I never add more than 2 veggies! Peppers and spinach tonight!

Serve with a nice ciabatta! I happened to have one in the freezer! OR Make a quick garlic toast in your toaster! Toast bread, butter it and sprinkle on garlic salt and Italian seasoning!

Always add freshly grated Parmesan !! Enjoy!
Always add freshly grated Parmesan !! Enjoy!

A Must Have…Great Sauce!

Hello World!! All women need a great handbag, a great pair of pumps, and a phenomenal sauce! A delicious, super easy sauce is the key to happy stress- free entertaining! Start the sauce in the morning, boil some pasta, make a salad, pick up a loaf of fresh ciabatta and Voila! After realizing that my grandma’s sauce is impossible to replicate, I decided to make my own! I stripped it down and learned from countless episodes of “sauces gone wild.”

I realized I was burning my garlic! Pitch it and start over if this happens because it totally ruins the taste! No brown! I always use San Marzano tomatoes. Why? Their taste is absolutely incredible! The low acidity gives you a bold, rich flavor as opposed to a sour tasting sauce.  Red Pack will not cut it, the extra $2 is so worth it!!



I love the selection of tomatoes at Pennsylvania Macaroni  (you will find I get all of my fresh ingredients here) located in Pittsburgh’s Strip District! Or online!

So here is the most basic (still totally delicious) recipe:

2cloves of garlic chopped
2tbsp olive oil
1/2 onion chopped
2 cans of whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
1 can water
4-5 basil leaves chopped
Heat oil in a frying pan on medium heat add onions and sauté
Add garlic and press with a wooden spoon to release flavors
Cover pan with basil, ground pepper and sprinkle with salt.
Add 2 cans of tomatoes, 1 can tomato paste and 1 can of water to a stock pot and stir well
Add contents from frying pan
Cook on low- medium heat covered with the lid slightly propped.

Cook a pound of pasta. Add one spoon of sauce to serving bowl and coat to avoid pasta sticking together!

Always top off with freshly grated Parmesan!! Enjoy!